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The Nightingale and the Glow-Worm
William Cowper

A nightingale, that all day long
Had cheered the village with his song,
Nor yet at eve his note suspended,
Nor yet when eventide was ended,

Began to feel, as well he might,
The keen demands of appetite;
When, looking eagerly around,
He spied far off, upon the ground,

A something shining in the dark,
And knew the glow-worm by his spark;
So, stooping down from hawthorn top,
He thought to put him in his crop;

The worm, aware of his intent,
Harangued him thus right eloquent:
"Did you admire my lamp," quoth he,
"As much as I your minstrelsy,

You would abhor to do me wrong,
As much as I to spoil your song,
For 'twas the self-same power divine
Taught you to sing, and me to shine,

That you with music, I with light,
Might beautify and cheer the night."

The songster heard his short oration,
And warbling out his approbation,
Released him, as my story tells,
And found a supper somewhere else.

This poem is in the public domain.

Purchase a framed print of this poem.

William Cowper (1731 – 1800), pronounced “Cooper,” was an English poet who enjoyed tremendous success and popularity during his lifetime, a happy change from the cruel bullying he endured as a child. He originally studied law, but discovered his gift for writing early on and published numerous volumes of poems and hymns, including “There Is a Fountain, Filled with Blood” and “Oh, For a Closer Walk with God.” William suffered from crippling depression and mental illness throughout his life, but is remembered as one of the 18th century’s most influential poets.


Date: 2017-05-28 11:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

Just so you know: your <table align="center" width="320"> is causing the poems to post on the far edge of my Friends Page, half-way over into the margin, so I can't read them unless I go to the actual entry. If you want to center something, the old-fashioned HTML tag <center> still works on Lj, and won't screw up the Friends Page formatting.
Edited Date: 2017-05-28 11:31 pm (UTC)

Date: 2017-05-29 01:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Pleased you liked it :)

Ah, sorry about that, it shows up fine in my LJ, so I didn't realize. I was just being lazy, tbh, and copying the poem off the website. Thanks for letting me know; likely you are not the only one having that problem with the formatting.

I'd cleared that formatting, would you do me a favor, go to your friends' page and see if it now shows properly aligned?

Date: 2017-05-31 07:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
OMG, I've sung his hymns. I can hear "there is a fountain" in my head.

Well spoke, Mr. Glow-worm! I hope the nightingale had a good dinner of someone less eloquent.

Date: 2017-05-31 11:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Hee, OK :) I don't believe I'd come across his works before.

And yes, I agree, I hope the nightingale found other, regular worms ;)


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