Alfred Austin

(30 May 1835 – 2 June 1913 / Headingley)

A Question Answered - Poem by Alfred Austin

I saw the lark at break of day
Rise from its dewy bed,
And, winged with melody, away
Circle to Heaven o'erhead.

I watched it higher and higher soar,
Still ceasing not to trill,
When, though I could descry no more
Its flight, I heard it still.

But shortly quavered back its note,
And, hovering into sight,
I saw it, homeward sinking, float
Over its nest of night.

``Tell me,'' I cried, ``glad songster, why
You, privileged to wend
Up to the blue and boundless sky,
Where only wings ascend,

``Full into Heaven, to look and gaze
Whither our thoughts aspire,
And, unrebuked, terrestrial lays
Blend with celestial choir,

``Why you, thus welcomed to the height
Of minstrelsy and mirth,
Pavilioned high from mortal sight,
Come back again to Earth.''

Then shook the lark again its wings,
And, fluttering o'er its bed
Deep-bosomed in the grassy floor,
In rippling answer said:-

``'Tis joy to mount, alone, aloft,
Into the ether clear,
And thence look down on garth and croft
Of red-roofed hamlets here.

``To sing my song through endless space,
Towering above, above,
While mortals watch with upturned face
Of longing and of love;

``Then, for a while, unseen to pass
Through unsubstantial dome,
But treble back to tangled grass-
Not Heaven, withal my home.

``And tell me, when I skyward sing,
Am I unlike to you,
That on Imagination's wing
Strain sometimes out of view

``Into the radiant Realms untrod
Song can alone descry,
And whilom join, by grace of God,
Angelic company

``Yet sink down from the firmament
Back to life's dearth and dole,
Knowing full well that song was sent
To comfort and console.''


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Poem Submitted: Thursday, April 8, 2010



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