1799
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

To a Pigeon.

Morning Post and Gazetteer (4 October 1799).

Robert Southey


Three irregular Spenserians (ababcC), not signed. Bird-song was a common subject in lyric odes: "How pleasant is it then to hear thy coo, | O gentle bird! soft sounding thro' the grove! | VENUS in such a mood thy moaning heard, | And chose thee from the tribes of air her fav'rite bird." Few lyrics, however, have such salt on their tails as this. The attribution is from Kenneth Curry, The Contributions of Robert Southey to the Morning Post (1984).



Bird of the Paphian Queen, I love to view
Thy stately steps my morning seat beside,
Thy neck that varies oft its rainbow hue,
Rich to the sun, thy breast distended pride,
To watch the rolling of thine amber eye,
To hear thee flap thy wings, and see thee cut the sky.

And when at eve I wander forth to woo
The melancholy joys of lonely love,
How pleasant is it then to hear thy coo,
O gentle bird! soft sounding thro' the grove!
VENUS in such a mood thy moaning heard,
And chose thee from the tribes of air her fav'rite bird.

But most, O Pigeon! most I should delight,
When in the west has died the latest ray,
And, rising stately in the cloudless night,
The moon majestic rolls along her way,
O Pigeon, most I should delight to spy
Thy curling feet appear to crest a smoking pie!

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