William Makepeace Thackeray

(1811-1863 / India)

The Caique - Poem by William Makepeace Thackeray

Yonder to the kiosk, beside the creek,
Paddle the swift caique.
Thou brawny oarsman with the sunburnt cheek,
Quick! for it soothes my heart to hear the Bulbul speak.

Ferry me quickly to the Asian shores,
Swift bending to your oars.
Beneath the melancholy sycamores,
Hark! what a ravishing note the lovelorn Bulbul pours.

Behold, the boughs seem quivering with delight,
The stars themselves more bright,
As mid the waving branches out of sight
The Lover of the Rose sits singing through the night.

Under the boughs I sat and listened still,
I could not have my fill.
'How comes,' I said, 'such music to his bill?
Tell me for whom he sings so beautiful a trill.'

'Once I was dumb,' then did the Bird disclose,
'But looked upon the Rose;
And in the garden where the loved one grows,
I straightway did begin sweet music to compose.'

'O bird of song, there's one in this caique
The Rose would also seek,
So he might learn like you to love and speak.'
Then answered me the bird of dusky beak,
'The Rose, the Rose of Love blushes on Leilah's cheek.'

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, April 7, 2010

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