The Darkling Thrush I leant upon a coppice gate shrubs cut to make a fence When Frost was spectre-grey, And Winter's dregs made desolate remains, left-overs The weakening eye of day. bine stems = bare branches The tangled bine-stemsscored the sky scored: scratched against Like strings of broken lyres, harps And all mankind that haunted nigh nearby Had sought their household fires.
The land's sharp features seemed to be The Century's corpse outleant, laid out His crypt the cloudy canopy, cover, roof The wind his death-lament. wail The ancient pulse of germ and birth Was shrunken hard and dry, And every spirit upon earth Seemed fervourless as I. without energy
At once a voice arose among The bleak twigs overhead In a full-hearted evensong evening song Of joy illimited; unlimited An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small, thin In blast-beruffled plume, plumage, feathers Had chosen thus to fling his soul Upon the growing gloom.
So little cause for carolings Of such ecstatic sound joyful Was written on terrestrial things land Afar or nigh around, near That I could think there trembled through His happy good-night air Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew And I was unaware.