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Poem by Emma Lazarus

Critic and Poet

                        An Apologue.

("Poetry must be simple, sensuous, or impassioned;
this man is neither simple, sensuous, nor impassioned;
therefore he is not a poet.")

No man had ever heard a nightingale, 
When once a keen-eyed naturalist was stirred 
To study and define--what is a bird, 
To classify by rote and book, nor fail 
To mark its structure and to note the scale 
Whereon its song might possibly be heard. 
Thus far, no farther;--so he spake the word. 
When of a sudden,--hark, the nightingale! 

Oh deeper, higher than he could divine 
That all-unearthly, untaught strain! He saw 
The plain, brown warbler, unabashed. Not mine 
(He cried) the error of this fatal flaw. 
No bird is this, it soars beyond my line, 
Were it a bird, twould answer to my law.

Emma Lazarus

Emma Lazarus's other poems:
  1. Marriage Bells
  2. On the Proposal to Erect a Monument in England to Lord Byron
  3. City Visions
  4. From One Augur to Another
  5. Chopin

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