Tennyson's Poems

The Blackbird

Not in 1833.

This is another poem placed among the poems of 1833, but not printed till 1842.

O blackbird! sing me something well:

While all the neighbours shoot thee round,

I keep smooth plats of fruitful ground,

Where thou may'st warble, eat and dwell.

The espaliers and the standards all

Are thine; the range of lawn and park:

The unnetted black-hearts ripen dark,

All thine, against the garden wall.

Yet, tho' I spared thee all the spring, [1]

Thy sole delight is, sitting still,

With that gold dagger of thy bill

To fret the summer jenneting. [2]

A golden bill! the silver tongue,

Cold February loved, is dry:

Plenty corrupts the melody

That made thee famous once, when young:

And in the sultry garden-squares, [3]

Now thy flute-notes are changed to coarse,

I hear thee not at all, [4] or hoarse

As when a hawker hawks his wares.

Take warning! he that will not sing

While yon sun prospers in the blue,

Shall sing for want, ere leaves are new,

Caught in the frozen palms of Spring.

[Footnote 1: 1842. Yet, though I spared thee kith and kin. And so till] 1853, when it was altered to the present reading.

[Footnote 2: 1842 to 1851. Jennetin, altered in 1853 to present] reading.

[Footnote 3: 1842. I better brook the drawling stares. Altered, 1843.]

[Footnote 4: 1842. Not hearing thee at all. Altered, 1843.]