The Grey Thrush [poem by C. J. Dennis]

[Editor: This poem by C. J. Dennis was published in The Singing Garden (1935).]

The Grey Thrush

Singing all the summer long
Matin hymn and evensong,
Fluting freely thro’ the noonday’s drowsy hush;
Pouring from my leafy bow’r
Benedictions every hour,
I am the friend of all the world, Grey Thrush.

Mine no monotonic lay
Harping all the livelong day
On a single melody, however sweet;
But, with many a turn and twist,
I, the bushland’s soloist,
Offer all my varied repertoire complete.

Happiest songster of them all,
Who can hear my joyous call
Yet find no echoing gladness in his heart?
Madrigal and lullaby,
Chant and canticle sing I;
Every mood I melodize with careless art.

Singing all the summer long
Matin hymn, and vesper song,
Fluting freely thro’ the noonday’s drowsy hush;
In my drab habiliment
Peace I sing, and glad content,
I’m the bushland’s master melodist, Grey Thrush.

C. J. Dennis, The Singing Garden, Sydney: Angus & Robertson, 1935, pages 71-72

Editor’s notes:
bower = a shaded, leafy resting place or shelter, usually located within a garden or park and often made of latticework upon which plants (especially vines) are grown, or made out of intertwined tree boughs or vines (also known as an “arbor”) (“bower” may also refer to a country cottage or retreat, or to a woman’s bedroom or apartments in a medieval castle or mansion)

lay = song, tune; ballad (may also refer to ballads or narrative poems, as sung by medieval minstrels or bards)

madrigal = a lyrical poem which was set to music (or which was suitable to set to music), or a non-religious part song without instrumental accompaniment (madrigals were popular in the 16th and 17th centuries); or any part song

vesper = (archaic) evening, eventide (may also refer to vespers: prayers which are said or sung in the evening; evening worship; also, Vesper may be a reference to the planet Venus appearing in the sky as “the evening star”)

Vernacular spelling in the original text:
bow’r (bower)

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