William Cowper

(26 November 1731 – 25 April 1800 / Hertfordshire)

The Nightingale And Glow-Worm - Poem by William Cowper

A Nightingale that all day long
Had cheered the village with his song,
Nor yet at eve his note suspended,
Nor yet when eventide was ended,
Began to feel, as well he might,
The keen demands of appetite;
When looking eagerly around,
He spied, far off upon the ground,
A something shining in the dark,
And knew the glow-worm by his spark;
So stooping down from hawthorn top,
He thought to put him in his crop;
The worm, aware of his intent,
Harangued him thus right eloquent:

'Did you admire my lamp,' quoth he,
'As much as I your minstrelsy,
You would abhor to do me wrong,
As much as I to spoil your song,
For 'twas the self-same power divine
Taught you to sing, and me to shine,
That you with music, I with light,
Might beautify and cheer the night.'
The songster heard his short oration,
And warbling out his approbation,
Released him, as my story tells,
And found a supper somewhere else.

Hence jarring sectaries may learn,
Their real interest to discern:
That brother should not war with brother,
And worry and devour each other,
But sing and shine by sweet consent,
Till life's poor transient night is spent,
Respecting in each other's case
The gifts of nature and of grace.

Those Christians best deserve the name,
Who studiously make peace their aim;
Peace, both the duty and the prize
Of him that creeps and him that flies.


Comments about The Nightingale And Glow-Worm by William Cowper

  • Rajnish Manga (11/29/2015 11:37:00 PM)


    Beautiful lyrical poem motivating us to live in co-existence with fellow beings and enjoy 'The gifts of nature and of grace'. The following quote underlines the central theme of the poem:
    For 'twas the self-same power divine
    Taught you to sing, and me to shine,
    (Report) Reply

    3 person liked.
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  • (11/29/2015 2:46:00 PM)


    The ultimate aim should be peace. Lovely verse (Report) Reply

  • Susan Williams (11/29/2015 1:40:00 PM)


    I like his sermon couched in lovely verse, Utopian message that given human nature will never come to pass. (Report) Reply

  • (11/29/2015 1:14:00 PM)


    A beautiful message, especially in this day and age when we are trying to combat terrorism. Why can't we all just get along? Or as Ratnakr Mandlik put it, live and let live. (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (11/29/2015 6:10:00 AM)


    Peace is needed in every aspects of life. Nice work. (Report) Reply

  • (11/29/2015 5:22:00 AM)


    The message of the poem, live and let others live is Superb. The motto of peaceful life for self and others too is sublime. Enjoyed the wonderful poem. Thanks for sharing. (Report) Reply

  • David Wood (11/29/2015 2:32:00 AM)


    Delightful poem, excellent diction a joy to read. (Report) Reply

  • Mohammed Asim Nehal (11/29/2015 1:09:00 AM)


    Song of nightingale is ever fascinating and inspiring and your poem is icing on the cake. (Report) Reply

Read all 8 comments »



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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, April 13, 2010



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