Nightingales

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Nightingales are small passerine birds formerly classed as belonging to the thrush family, but now more generally considered to be Old World flycatchers. They are named from their habit of singing both at night and during the day.

a nightingale

Sourced[edit]

  • Hark! ah, the nightingale—
    The tawny-throated!
    Hark from that moonlit cedar what a burst!
    What triumph! hark!—what pain!
    * * * * * *
    Listen, Eugenia—
    How thick the bursts come crowding through the leaves!
    Again—thou hearest?
    Eternal passion!
    Eternal pain!
  • For as nightingales do upon glow-worms feed,
    So poets live upon the living light.
  • The nightingale, if she should sing by day,
    When every goose is cackling, would be thought
    No better a musician than the wren.
    How many things by season season'd are
    To their right praise, and true perfection!
  • Wilt thou be gone? it is not yet near day:
    It was the nightingale, and not the lark,
    That pierc'd the fearful hollow of thine ear;
    Nightly she sings on yon pomegranate tree:
    Believe me, love, it was the nightingale.
  • Lend me your song, ye Nightingales! O, pour
    The mazy-running soul of melody
    Into my varied verse.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations[edit]

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 557-59.
  • I have heard the nightingale herself.
    • King Agesilaus when asked to listen to a man imitate the nightingale. Plutarch, Life of Agesilaus.
  • As it fell upon a day
    In the merry month of May,
    Sitting in a pleasant shade
    Which a grove of myrtles made.
  • It is the hour when from the boughs
    The nightingale's high note is heard;
    It is the hour when lovers' vows
    Seem sweet in every whisper'd word.
  • "Most musical, most melancholy" bird!
    A melancholy bird! Oh! idle thought!
    In nature there is nothing melancholy.
  • 'Tis the merry nightingale
    That crowds, and hurries, and precipitates
    With fast thick warble his delicious notes,
    As he were fearful that an April night
    Would be too short for him to utter forth
    His love-chant, and disburthen his full soul
    Of all its music!
  • Sweet bird, that sing'st away the early hours,
    Of winter's past or coming void of care,
    Well pleaséd with delights which present are,
    Fair seasons, budding sprays, sweet-smelling flowers.
  • Like a wedding-song all-melting
    Sings the nightingale, the dear one.
  • The nightingale appear'd the first,
    And as her melody she sang,
    The apple into blossom burst,
    To life the grass and violets sprang.
  • Where the nightingale doth sing
    Not a senseless, tranced thing,
    But divine melodious truth.
  • Adieu! adieu! thy plaintive anthem fades
    Past the near meadows, over the still stream,
    Up the hill-side; and now 'tis buried deep
    In the next valley-glades:
    Was it a vision, or a waking dream?
    Fled is that music:—do I wake or sleep?
  • Thou wast not born for death, immortal bird!
    No hungry generations tread thee down;
    The voice I hear this passing night was heard
    In ancient days by emperor and clown.
  • Soft as Memnon's harp at morning,
    To the inward ear devout,
    Touched by light, with heavenly warning
    Your transporting chords ring out.
    Every leaf in every nook,
    Every wave in every brook,
    Chanting with a solemn voice
    Minds us of our better choice.
  • What bird so sings, yet does so wail?
    O, 'tis the ravish'd nightingale—
    Jug, jug, jug, jug—tereu—she cries,
    And still her woes at midnight rise.
  • Sweet bird that shunn'st the noise of folly,
    Most musical, most melancholy!
    Thee, chauntress, oft, the woods among,
    I woo, to hear thy even-song.
  • O nightingale, that on yon bloomy spray
    Warblest at eve, when all the woods are still;
    Thou with fresh hope the lover's heart dost fill
    While the jolly hours lead on propitious May.
  • Thy liquid notes that close the eye of day
    First heard before the shallow cuckoo's bill,
    Portend success in love.
  • I said to the Nightingale:
    "Hail, all hail!
    Pierce with thy trill the dark,
    Like a glittering music-spark,
    When the earth grows pale and dumb."
  • Yon nightingale, whose strain so sweetly flows,
    Mourning her ravish'd young or much-loved mate,
    A soothing charm o'er all the valleys throws
    And skies, with notes well tuned to her sad state.
    • Petrarch, To Laura in Death, Sonnet XLIII.
  • The sunrise wakes the lark to sing,
    The moonrise wakes the nightingale.
    Come, darkness, moonrise, everything
    That is so silent, sweet, and pale:
    Come, so ye wake the nightingale.
  • Hark! that's the nightingale,
    Telling the self-same tale
    Her song told when this ancient earth was young:
    So echoes answered when her song was sung
    In the first wooded vale.
  • The angel of spring, the mellow-throated nightingale.
  • O Nightingale,
    Cease from thy enamoured tale.
  • One nightingale in an interfluous wood
    Satiate the hungry dark with melody.
  • The nightingale as soon as April bringeth
    Unto her rested sense a perfect waking,
    While late bare earth, proud of new clothing, springeth,
    Sings out her woes, a thorn her song-book making.
    And mournfully bewailing,
    Her throat in tunes expresseth
    What grief her breast oppresseth.
  • Where beneath the ivy shade,
    In the dew-besprinkled glade,
    Many a love-lorn nightingale,
    Warbles sweet her plaintive tale.
    • Sophocles, Œdipus Coloneus. Translation by Thomas Francklin.
  • The rose looks out in the valley,
    And thither will I go,
    To the rosy vale, where the nightingale
    Sings his song of woe.
  • —Under the linden,
    On the meadow,
    Where our bed arranged was,
    There now you may find e'en
    In the shadow
    Broken flowers and crushed grass.
    —Near the woods, down in the vale,
    Tandaradi!
    Sweetly sang the nightingale.
  • Last night the nightingale woke me,
    Last night, when all was still.
    It sang in the golden moonlight,
    From out the woodland hill.
    • Christian Winther, Sehnsucht. Translation used by Marzials in his song, Last Night.

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