The Winged Worshipers

Gay, guiltless pair,
   What seek ye from the fields of heaven?
     Ye have no need of prayer,
   Ye have no sins to be forgiven.

Why perch ye here,
   Where mortals to their Maker bend?
     Can your pure spirits fear
   The God ye never could offend?

Ye never knew
   The crimes for which we come to weep;
     Penance is not for you,
   Blessed wanderers of the upper deep.

To you 't is given
   To wake sweet Nature's untaught lays;
     Beneath the arch of heaven
   To chirp away a life of praise.

Then spread each wing,
   Far, far above, o'er lakes and lands,
     And join the choirs that sing
   In yon blue dome not reared with hands.

Or, if ye stay
   To note the consecrated hour,
     Teach me the airy way,
   And let me try your envied power.

Above the crowd,
   On upward wings could I but fly,
     I'd bathe in yon bright cloud,
   And seek the stars that gem the sky.

'Twere Heaven indeed,
   Through fields of trackless light to soar,
     On Nature's charms to feed,
   And Nature's own great God adore.

-- Charles Sprague



[Editor's Note: This poem found its way into McGuffey's Fifth Eclectic Reader.  According to the editors of that book, "Charles Sprague (b. 1791, d. 1875) was born in Boston, Mass. He engaged in mercantile business when quite young, leaving school for that purpose. In 1825, he was elected cashier of the Globe Bank of Boston, which position he held until 1864. Mr. Sprague has not been a prolific writer; but his poems, though few in number, are deservedly classed among the best productions of American poets. His chief poem is entitled 'Curiosity'."  - DJMc.]





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