Come hither, taunted bird, and I will stroke
Thy ruffled plumage with a verse, O triste
And sombre minstrel at our Twelfth Night feast,
A music masquerading in thy croak.
How often, when the wild March mornings broke,
Have I descried thee, like a demon priest,
Heaping hoarse curses on the riotous East
From the bare branches of some tossing oak!
Yet ever welcome is thy wizard flight,
--Most welcome now, when Earth lies imaging
The sleep of death beneath a winding-sheet
Of frozen snow intolerably white,
A pallid waste crossed by the sudden, fleet,
Beautiful shadow of thy sable wing.