Sir Henry Newbolt
The Nightjar - Poem by Sir Henry Newbolt
We loved our nightjar, but she would not stay with us.
We had found her lying as dead, but soft and warm,
Under the apple tree beside the old thatched wall.
Two days we kept her in a basket by the fire,
Fed her, and thought she well might live – till suddenly
I the very moment of most confiding hope
She arised herself all tense, qivered and drooped and died.
Tears sprang into my eyes- why not? The heart of man
Soon sets itself to love a living companion,
The more so if by chance it asks some care of him.
And this one had the kind of loveliness that goes
Far deeper than the optic nerve- full fathom five
To the soul’socean cave, where Wonder and Reason
Tell their alternate dreams of how the world was made.
So wonderful she was-her wings the wings of night
But powdered here and therewith tiny golden clouds
And wave-line markings like sea-ripples on the sand.
O how I wish I might never forget that bird-
But even now, like all beauty of earth,
She is fading from me into the dusk of Time.
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