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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Karl Knortz (1841–1918)

Cages and Rhymes

Charles Timothy Brooks

BLESS your hearts, ye little birds,

That you woke me with your singing!

Balmily the vernal air

Greets me, from my pillow springing!

And the little birds sang on,

Undisturbed by my appearing;

True and trustful, there they sat,

With their hymns the morning cheering.

For the darlings noticed not

Snares I slyly spread around them,

Till their little feet were caught

In the threads that closely bound them.

Every morn (I thought) their songs

Would a thrill of joy send through me;

And of happiness the deep

Secret they would whisper to me.

Ah! my error soon I found;—

Say, what stillness has come o’er you?

In a golden palace lodged,

Plenteous food and drink before you!

But no answer did they give,

Pecking wildly at the wire;

And no morning serenade

Can I win for love or hire….

Many a grand and stately thought

Round my musing mind will flutter,

Which, with sweat of brow and brain

Caught in rhyme, I fain would utter.

But so stiff and dead they seemed,

With these fetters round them clinging,

Never they, you would have deemed,

From a human heart came singing.