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In my garden dwells a stork,
Docile, coming at a word.
'Hark! I call thee; come my stork,'
But the proud and lofty bird
Stood stock still with look askance
Though he heard me, heeding not,
Head aslant with sidelong glance.
'Is it true thou knowest a lot?'
Said I then, 'Like Ka Yi's owl,
Dost thou wish to talk with me?
Art thou then no earth-born fowl?
Heaven thou'st left this world to see?
Canst thy soul with mine commune?
Tell me, tell me, now I pray.'
Soon his thoughts with mine attune,
And I heard him slowly say:
'Lone I stand above the throng
(Not for long below I stay).
Perched on legs so tall and long--
Listen as you will or nay--
Spare my frame and spare my need;
Am I then a toy for thee?
Yield I not though thus you plead.'
Solemn, silent, still stood he.
'Wilt thou baulk me thus?' I cried,
'Drive him up to where I sit.'
Stately stood he then, nor sighed
Gesture none, nor spake, as fit
Sovereign man be served by brute.
Flung I then some grains of corn,
Guerdon fit for birds, and fruit;
But he moved not, as one born
Thrones to fill, not meekly stand
At my whim, and at my call
Pick up food from my right hand.
'Oaf,' he cried, and off he went.
'Bird, Oh! Bird, Oh!' then I thought
'Why? Oh! why, thus am I sent--
Sent to office, it not sought?
Yet I stay, nor try to go,
As thou goest when thou would'st.
Always to myself a foe.
Would I could as, oh! thou could'st
Leave my master's side and fly;
Hie me from my office cares.
By the brooklet then I'd lie,
Catch the finny tribes with snares.
In my cottage in the wood,
Read my books and dream and think,
Love o'er all the past to brood
And the present with it link.'