Prose Idylls

Prose Idylls

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Prose Idylls by Charles Kingsley

Published:

1873

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Prose Idylls

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Book Excerpt

ill testify who recollects the 'Wrangler's Walk' from Cambridge to Trumpington forty years ago, when the covert, which has now become hollow and shelterless, held, at every twenty yards, an unabashed and jubilant nightingale.

Coleridge surely was not far wrong when he guessed that -

'Some night-wandering man, whose heart was pierced With the remembrance of a grievous wrong, Or slow distemper, or neglected love (And so, poor wretch, filled all things with himself, And made all gentle sounds tell back the tale Of his own sorrow)--he, and such as he, First named these sounds a melancholy strain, And many a poet echoes the conceit.'

That the old Greek poets were right, and had some grounds for the myth of Philomela, I do not dispute; though Sophocles, speaking of the nightingales of Colonos, certainly does not represent them as lamenting. The Elizabethan poets, however, when they talked of Philomel, 'her breast against a thorn,' were unaware that they and the Greeks were talking of two different birds

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