To The Nightingale

Exert thy Voice, sweet Harbinger of Spring!
  This Moment is thy Time to sing,
  This Moment I attend to Praise,
And set my Numbers to thy Layes.
  Free as thine shall be my Song;
  As thy Musick, short, or long.

Poets, wild as thee, were born,
  Pleasing best when unconfin'd,
  When to Please is least design'd,
Soothing but their Cares to rest;
  Cares do still their Thoughts molest,
  And still th' unhappy Poet's Breast,
Like thine, when best he sings, is plac'd against a Thorn.

She begins, Let all be still!
  Muse, thy Promise now fulfill!
Sweet, oh! sweet, still sweeter yet
Can thy Words such Accents fit,
Canst thou Syllables refine,
Melt a Sense that shall retain
Still some Spirit of the Brain,
Till with Sounds like these it join.
  'Twill not be! then change thy Note;
  Let division shake thy Throat.
Hark! Division now she tries;
Yet as far the Muse outflies.

  Cease then, prithee, cease thy Tune;
  Trifler, wilt thou sing till June?
Till thy Bus'ness all lies waste,
And the Time of Building's past!
  Thus we Poets that have Speech,
Unlike what thy Forests teach,
  If a fluent Vein be shown
  That's transcendant to our own,
Criticize, reform, or preach,
Or censure what we cannot reach.

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"To The Nightingale" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 22 Jan. 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/3323/to-the-nightingale>.

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