The Nightingale And Glow-Worm Poem by William Cowper

The Nightingale And Glow-Worm

Rating: 4.8

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.

Susan Williams 29 November 2015

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

31 10 Reply
Rajnish Manga 29 November 2015

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,

13 7 Reply
Oduro Bright Amoh 29 November 2015

The ultimate aim should be peace. Lovely verse

8 11 Reply
Kim Barney 29 November 2015

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.

9 7 Reply
Edward Kofi Louis 29 November 2015

Peace is needed in every aspects of life. Nice work.

8 8 Reply
Ratnakar Mandlik 13 November 2019

The philosophy of coexistence beautifully unfolded through the equally beautiful story of nightingale and glow warm. A great classic of the day.

1 1 Reply
Kingsley Egbukole 13 November 2019

Brothers should not war with brothers but live peacefully to sing and shine. For everyone, God has given a gift to excel. Discover yours and excel. Beautiful poem.

1 1 Reply
Andrew Blakemore 13 November 2019

Cowper was a very talented man.

2 1 Reply
Glen Kappy 13 November 2019

Previous to reading this poem, I only knew Cowper from his hymns. This poem, for me, is delightful with its story and its application. And his assertion at the end affirms Jesus’ beatitude that the peacemakers will be called the children of God. -GK

1 3 Reply
Aniruddha Pathak 13 November 2019

What a lovely poem! I liked the second stanza all the more on the message that nightingale conveys to us.

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