Project Canterbury

"Songs by the Way"
The Poetical Writings of the Right Rev. George Washington Doane, D.D., LL.D.

Arranged and Edited by His Son, William Croswell Doane

New York: D. Appleton, 1860.



WHAT is that, Mother?
               The lark, my child!
The morn has but just looked out, and smiled;
When be starts, from his humble, grassy nest,
And is up and away, with the dew on his breast,
And a hymn in his heart, to you pure, bright sphere,
To warble it out, in his Maker's ear:
     Ever my child, be thy morn's first lays,
     Tuned, like the lark's, to thy Maker's praise.

What is that, Mother?
               The dove, my son!
And that low sweet voice, like a widow's moan,
Is flowing out, from her gentle breast,
Constant and pure, by that lonely nest,
As the wave is poured from some crystal urn,
For her distant dear one's quick return:
     Ever, my son, be thou, like the dove,
     In friendship as faithful, as constant in love.

What is that, Mother?
               The eagle, boy!
Proudly careering his course of joy,
Firm, on his own mountain vigour, relying,
Breasting the dark storm, the red bolt defying,
His wing on the wind, and his eye on the sun,
He swerves not a hair, but bears onward, right on:
     Boy, may the eagle's flight ever be thine,
     Onward, and upward, and true to the line.

What is that, Mother?
               The swan, my love!
He is floating down, from his native grove;
No loved one, now, no nestling, nigh,
He is floating down, by himself, to die;
Death darkens his eye, and unplumes his wings,
Yet the sweetest song, is the last, he sings.
     Live so, my love, that when death shall come,
     Swanlike and sweet, it may waft thee home!


Project Canterbury