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Critic and Poet: an Epilogue

Written by: Emma Lazarus | Biography
 | Quotes (3) |
 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."