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Alfred Noyes

The Matin-Song of Friar Tuck


If souls could sing to heaven's high King

As blackbirds pipe on earth,

How those delicious courts would ring

With gusts of lovely mirth!

What white-robed throng could lift a song

So mellow with righteous glee

As this brown bird that all day long

Delights my hawthorn tree.

Hark! That's the thrush

With speckled breast

From yon white bush,—

Chaunting his best,—

Te Deum! Te Deum laudamus!


If earthly dreams be touched with gleams

Of Paradisal air,

Some wings, perchance, of earth may glance

Around our slumbers there;

Some breaths of may will drift our way

With scents of leaf and loam;

Some whistling bird at dawn be heard

From those old woods of home.

How souls would listen

In those high places!

What tears would glisten

On glorious faces,—

Te Deum! Te Deum laudamus!


All, still as frost, the heavenly host

Would touch no golden wire,

If but one cry of joy went by

From this, our greenwood choir:

Then, at one flash of daffodils,

Where those sweet cries resound,

Their heaven would seem the shadowy dream

And earth the holy ground;

Ay, angels then

Would jostle and clamour

To hear the wren

And the yellow-hammer,—

Te Deum! Te Deum laudamus!


For birds by nature must enjoy

The Lord their God for aye;

Therefore their music cannot cloy

As lutes of angels may.

Break, wild-flowers, through the golden floor

Where long-faced martyrs sing.

Then, let the carolling sky-lark soar

And flood their Heaven with Spring.

O, what a paean

Of joy would shake

The empyrean.

Awake! Awake!—

Te Deum! Te Deum laudamus!


No king or priest shall mar my feast

Wherever my soul may range.

I have no fear for heaven's good cheer

Unless our Master change.

But, when death's night is dying away,

If I might choose my bliss,

My love should say, at break of day,

With her first waking kiss:—

"Hark! That's the thrush

With speckled breast,

From yon white bush

Chaunting his best,—

Te Deum! Te Deum laudamus!"