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A Question Answered poem – 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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