THE SPARROW - Romesh Chunder Dutt Poems


Poems » romesh chunder dutt » the sparrow


O pertest, most self-satisfied
    Of aught that breathes or moves,
See where you sit, with head aside,
    To chirp your vulgar loves:
Or raking in the uncleanly street
    You bolt your ugly meal,
Undaunted by the approaching feet,
    The heedless splashing wheel.

Old poets in your praise were stirred --
    I fear you must forget --
Catullus loved you, shameless bird,
    You were his lady's pet.
You heard her dainty breathing, perched
    Beside her when she slept;
You died: -- her pretty cheeks were smirched; --
    And 'twas for you she wept.

The imperious Bustard strides no more
    Across the grassy waste;
The gallant Ruff deserts the shore
    He trampled into paste;
The Oriole falls, a flaming sprite,
    Before the unsparing gun;
Whilst thou by some diviner right
    Dost wanton in the sun.

When prey is scarce, when tempests fret
    And freeze the stiffening loam,
The worm has tunnelled deeper yet,
    The beetle sits at home,
You shake your chilly limbs, and puff
    Your crest in mild surprise,
And peep, a ball of downy fluff,
    With bright and beaded eyes.

No secret raptures thrill your throat
    On fragrant moonlit nights;
You never had the mind to note
    Indignities or slights;
The soul that craves, but rarely finds
    The vague, the high, the true,
The weaknesses of noble minds, --
    They never troubled you.

Your selfish purpose never swerves
    From its appointed end;
Your sturdy bonhomie deserves
    Success, but ne'er a friend.
Where sweetness languishes, and grace,
    You multiply and thrive; --
It proves you, of the feathered race,
    The fittest to survive.

Contentment and equality
    Are pleasing names enough;
But we prefer, we know not why,
    A more ethereal stuff.
Ignoble welfare, -- doubtful good --
    We see with clouded eyes;
We did not make the world, -- yet would
    To God 'twere otherwise!