The Nightingale and the Glow-worm

- By William Cowper
Font Size
William Cowper (/ˈkuːpər/ KOO-pər; 26 November 1731 – 25 April 1800[a]) was an English poet and hymnodist. One of the most popular poets of his time, Cowper changed the direction of 18th-century nature poetry by writing of everyday life and scenes of the English countryside. In many ways, he was one of the forerunners of Romantic poetry. Samuel Taylor Coleridge called him "the best modern poet", whilst William Wordsworth particularly admired his poem Yardley-Oak.[2] After being institutionalised for insanity, Cowper found refuge in a fervent evangelical Christianity. He continued to suffer doubt and, after a dream in 1773, believed that he was doomed to eternal damnation. He recovered and wrote more religious hymns.
A nightingale, that all day long
Had cheered the village with his song,
Nor yet at sunset his note suspended1,
Nor yet when evening was ended,
Began to feel, as well he might,
The strong demands of appetite;
When, looking eagerly around,
He spied far off, upon the ground,
A something shining in the dark,
And knew the glow-worm by his spark;
So, stooping down from hawthorn2 top,
He thought to put him in his crop3
The worm, aware of his intent,
Scolded him thus, right eloquent4:
“Did you admire my lamp,” said he,
“As much as I your minstrelsy5,
You would hate to do me wrong,
As much as I to spoil your song;
For it was the very same power divine6,
That taught you to sing and me to shine;
That you with music, I with light,
Might beautify and cheer the night.”
The songster heard his short oration7,
And singing out his approbation8,
Released him, as my story tells,
And found a supper somewhere else.
1 suspended: stopped
2 hawthorn: a kind of tree
3 crop: pouch in a bird’s throat that holds food
4 eloquent: beautiful speech
5 minstrelsy: singing
6 divine: heavenly

Current Page: 1


Questions and Answers

Please wait while we generate questions and answers...

Ratings & Comments

Write a Review
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star

2 Ratings & 2 Reviews

Word Lists:

Oration : a formal speech, especially one given on a ceremonial occasion

Approbation : approval or praise

Scold : remonstrate with or rebuke (someone) angrily

Spark : a small fiery particle thrown off from a fire, alight in ashes, or produced by striking together two hard surfaces such as stone or metal

Suspended : (of a sentence) imposed by a judge or court but not enforced as long as no further offense is committed within a specified period

Approval : the action of approving something

Stoop : bend one's head or body forward and downward

Appetite : a natural desire to satisfy a bodily need, especially for food

Eloquent : fluent or persuasive in speaking or writing

Intent : intention or purpose


Additional Information:

Rating: A

Words: 204

Unique Words :

Sentences :

Reading Time :

Noun :

Conjunction :

Adverb :

Interjection :

Adjective :

Pronoun :

Verb :

Preposition :

Letter Count :

Sentiment :

Tone :

Difficult Words :

EdSearch WebSearch