To-day within a grog-shop near I saw a newly captured linnet, Who beat against his cage in fear, And fell exhausted every minute; And when I asked the fellow there If he to sell the bird were willing, He told me with a careless air That I could have it for a shilling.
And so I bought it, cage and all (Although I went without my dinner), And where some trees were fairly tall And houses shrank and smoke was thinner, The tiny door I open threw, As down upon the grass I sank me: Poor little chap! How quick he flew . . . He didn't even wait to thank me.
Life's like a cage; we beat the bars, We bruise our breasts, we struggle vainly; Up to the glory of the stars We strain with flutterings ungainly. And then -- God opens wide the door; Our wondrous wings are arched for flying; We poise, we part, we sing, we soar . . . Light, freedom, love. . . . Fools call it -- Dying.