The Nightingale's Nest Poem Rhyme Scheme and Analysis


Up this green woodland ride let's softly roveA
And list the nightingale she dwells just hereB
Hush let the wood gate softly clap for fearC
The noise might drive her from her home of loveD
For here I've heard her many a merry yearC
At morn at eve nay all the live long dayE
As though she lived on song This very spotF
Just where that old man's beard all wildly trailsG
Rude arbours o'er the road and stops the wayE
And where that child its blue bell flowers hath gotF
Laughing and creeping through the mossy railsG
There have I hunted like a very boyH
Creeping on hands and knees through matted thornI
To find her nest and see her feed her youngJ
And vainly did I many hours employH
All seemed as hidden as a thought unbornI
And where those crimping fern leaves ramp amongJ
The hazel's under boughs I've nestled downK
And watched her while she sung and her renownK
Hath made me marvel that so famed a birdL
Should have no better dress than russet brownK
Her wings would tremble in her ecstasyM
And feathers stand on end as 'twere with joyH
And mouth wide open to release her heartN
Of its out sobbing songs The happiest partN
Of summer's fame she shared for so to meM
Did happy fancies shapen her employH
But if I touched a bush or scarcely stirredL
All in a moment stopt I watched in vainO
The timid bird had left the hazel bushP
And at a distance hid to sing againQ
Lost in a wilderness of listening leavesR
Rich Ecstasy would pour its luscious strainO
Till envy spurred the emulating thrushS
To start less wild and scarce inferior songsT
For while of half the year Care him bereavesT
To damp the ardour of his speckled breastU
The nightingale to summer's life belongsT
And naked trees and winter's nipping wrongsT
Are strangers to her music and her restU
Her joys are evergreen her world is wideV
Hark there she is as usual let's be hushS
For in this black thorn clump if rightly guestU
Her curious house is hidden Part asideV
These hazel branches in a gentle wayE
And stoop right cautious 'neath the rustling boughsT
For we will have another search to dayE
And hunt this fern strewn thorn clump round and roundW
And where this reeded wood grass idly bowsT
We'll wade right through it is a likely nookX
In such like spots and often on the groundW
They'll build where rude boys never think to lookX
Aye as I live her secret nest is hereB
Upon this white thorn stump I've searched aboutY
For hours in vain There put that bramble byZ
Nay trample on its branches and get nearC
How subtle is the bird she started outY
And raised a plaintive note of danger nighZ
Ere we were past the brambles and now nearC
Her nest she sudden stops as choking fearC
That might betray her home So even nowA2
We'll leave it as we found it safety's guardB2
Of pathless solitudes shall keep it stillC2
See there she's sitting on the old oak boughA2
Mute in her fears our presence doth retardB2
Her joys and doubt turns every rapture chillC2
Sing on sweet bird may no worse hap befallD2
Thy visions than the fear that now deceivesT
We will not plunder music of its dowerE2
Nor turn this spot of happiness to thrallD2
For melody seems hid in every flowerF2
That blossoms near thy home These harebells allD2
Seem bowing with the beautiful in songG2
And gaping cuckoo flower with spotted leavesT
Seems blushing of the singing it has heardL
How curious is the nest no other birdL
Uses such loose materials or weavesT
Its dwelling in such spots dead oaken leavesT
Are placed without and velvet moss withinH2
And little scraps of grass and scant and spareI2
What scarcely seem materials down and hairI2
For from men's haunts she nothing seems to winH2
Yet Nature is the builder and contrivesT
Homes for her children's comfort even hereB
Where Solitude's disciples spend their livesT
Unseen save when a wanderer passes nearC
That loves such pleasant places Deep adownH2
The nest is made a hermit's mossy cellJ2
Snug lie her curious eggs in number fiveK2
Of deadened green or rather olive brownH2
And the old prickly thorn bush guards them wellJ2
So here we'll leave them still unknown to wrongG2
As the old woodland's legacy of songG2

John Clare


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