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NIGHTINGALES
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[ Also see Animals Birds ]

I have head the nightingale herself.
      - Agesilaus, the Great,
        when asked to listed to a man imitate the nightingale, see Plutarch's "Life of Agesilaus"

Hark! ah, the nightingale--
  The tawny-throated!
    Hark from that moonlit cedar what a burst!
      What triumph! hark!--what pain!
        . . . .
          Again--thou hearest?
            Eternal passion!
              Eternal pain!
      - Matthew Arnold, Philomela (l. 32)

For as nightingales do upon glow-worms feed,
  So poets live upon the living light.
      - Philip James Bailey, Festus (sc. Home)

As it fell upon a day
  In the merry month of May,
    Sitting in a pleasant shade
      Which a grove of myrtles made.
      - Richard Barnfield,
        Address to the Nightingale

It is the hour when from the boughs
  The nightingale's high note is heard;
    It is the hour when lovers' vows
      Seem sweet in every whispered word;
        And gentle winds, and waters near,
          Make music to the lonely ear.
            Each flower the dews have lightly wet,
              And in the sky the stars are met,
                And on the wave is deeper blue,
                  And on the leaf a browner hue,
                    And in the heaven that clear obscure,
                      So softly dark, and darkly pure.
                        Which follows the decline of day,
                          As twilight melts beneath the moon away.
      - Lord Byron (George Gordon Noel Byron),
        Parisina (st. 1)

The nightingale, their only vesper-bell, sung sweetly to the rose the day's farewell.
      - Lord Byron (George Gordon Noel Byron),
        The Island (canto II, XV, 57)

"Most musical, most melancholy" bird!
  A melancholy bird! Oh! idle thought!
    In nature there is nothing melancholy.
      - Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Nightingale

'Tis the merry nightingale
  That crowds, and hurries, and precipitates
    With fast thick warble his delicious notes,
      As he were fearful that an April night
        Would be too short for him to utter forth
          His love-chant, and disburthen his full soul
            Of all its music!
      - Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Nightingale
         (l.43)

Sweet bird, that sing'st away the early hours,
  Of winter's past or coming void of care,
    Well pleased with delights which present are,
      Fair seasons, budding sprays, sweet-smelling flowers.
      - William Drummond (1),
        Sonnet--To a Nightingale

Like a wedding-song all-melting
  Sings the nightingale, the dear one.
      - Heinrich Heine, Book of Songs--Donna Clara

The nightingale appear'd the first,
  And as her melody she sang,
    The apple into blossom burst,
      To life the grass and violets sprang.
      - Heinrich Heine, Book of Songs--New Spring
         (no. 9)

Where the nightingale doth sing
  Not a senseless, tranced thing,
    But divine melodious truth.
      - John Keats (1),
        Ode--Bards of Passion and of Mirth

Adieu! adieu! thy plaintive anthem fades
  Past the near meadows, over the still stream,
    Up the hill-side; and now 'tis buried deep
      In the next valley-glades:
        Was it a vision, or a waking dream?
          Fled is that music:--do I wake or sleep?
      - John Keats (1), To a Nightingale

Thou wast not born for death, immortal bird!
  No hungry generations tread thee down;
    The voice I hear this passing night was heard
      In ancient days by emperor and clown.
      - John Keats (1), To a Nightingale

Soft as Memnon's harp at morning,
  To the inward ear devout,
    Touched by light, with heavenly warning
      Your transporting chords ring out.
        Every leaf in every nook,
          Every wave in every brook,
            Chanting with a solemn voice
              Minds us of our better choice.
      - John Keble, The Nightingale

To the red rising moon, and loud and deep
  The nightingale is singing from the steep.
      - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Keats

What bird so sings, yet does so wail?
  O, 'tis the ravish'd nightingale--
    Jug, jug, jug, jug--tereu, she cries,
      And still her woes at midnight rise.
      - John Lyly (Lylie or Lyllie),
        The Songs of Birds

The love-lorn nightingale nightly to thee her sad song mourneth well.
      - John Milton

Sweet bird that shunn'st the nose of folly,
  Most musical, most melancholy!
    Thee, chauntress, oft, the woods among,
      I woo, to hear thy even-song.
      - John Milton, Il Penseroso (l. 61)

O nightingale, that on yon bloomy spray
  Warblest at eve, when all the woods are still;
    Thou with fresh hope the lover's heart dost fill
      While the jolly hours lead on propitious May.
      - John Milton, Sonnet--To the Nightingale

Thy liquid notes that close the eye of day
  First heard before the shallow cuckoo's bill,
    Portend success in love.
      - John Milton, Sonnet--To the Nightingale

I said to the Nightingale:
  "Hail, all hail!
    Pierce with thy trill the dark,
      Like a glittering music-spark,
        When the earth grows pale and dumb."
      - Dinah Maria Mulock (used pseudonym Mrs. Craik),
        A Rhyme About Birds

Yon nightingale, whose strain so sweetly flows,
  Mourning her ravish'd young or much-loved mate,
    A soothing charm o'er all the valleys throws
      And skies, with notes well tuned to her and state.
      - Francesco Petrarch, To Laura in Death
         (sonnet XLIII)

The sunrise wakes the lark to sing,
  The moonrise wakes the nightingale.
    Come, darkness, moonrise, everything
      That is so silent, sweet, and pale:
        Come, so ye wake the nightingale.
      - Christina Georgina Rossetti, Bird Raptures

Hark! that's the nightingale,
  Telling the self-same tale
    Her song told when this ancient earth was young:
      So echoes answered when her song was sung
        In the first wooded vale.
      - Christina Georgina Rossetti, Twilight Calm
         (st. 7)


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