CELT document E900012-003

The Bird and the Fly

Patrick Augustine Sheehan

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    The Bird and the Fly.

  1. I saw a speck on my window pane
    Last night 'gainst the leaden sky;
    My windows were swept by bullets of rain,
    As the storm went sullenly by.
  2. Was it a fly on the window-pane?
    Was it a bird in the sky,
    Straining wet wings 'gainst the pitiless rain,
    As the storm rushed sweltering by?
  3. It was a fly on my window-pane,
    Happy, and warm, and dry;
    Counting the silvery drops of rain,
    As they hissed from the angry sky.
  4. It was a bird on the stormy blast,
    Plunged in despair to try
    Could he reach a refuge, till death had passed
    On the hurricane thundering by.
  5. And I said; Alas! for my little bird!
    And I said: O happy fly!
    Sheltered and safe from perils unheard,
    And the moods of a winter sky.
  6. Then sudden, a spider leaped from his nest,
    And wrapped the enchanted fly
    In fold and fold to his pitiless breast,
    Without struggle, or plaint, or cry.
  7. And the storm went wailing around the world,
    And here on a branch close by,
    My bird sat chirping, with pinions furled,
    And the clouds soared clear and high.
  8.  p.483
  9. And I said: O my soul! were it better for thee
    Here in thy haven to lie,
    Than out in the stress of the stormy lea,
    Battling for victory?
  10. There is peril at home; there is dread abroad;
    And a bolt from the bluest sky:
    Now, take thy chance, and trust in thy God;
    He is wiser and stronger than I.
  11. P.A. SHEEHAN

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Title (uniform): The Bird and the Fly

Author: Patrick Augustine Sheehan

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Electronic edition compiled by: Benjamin Hazard

Funded by: School of History, University College, Cork and Private donation

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1. First draft

Extent: 760 words

Publication statement

Publisher: CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts: a project of University College, Cork

Address: College Road, Cork, Ireland — http://www.ucc.ie/celt

Date: 2014

Distributor: CELT online at University College, Cork, Ireland.

CELT document ID: E900012-003

Availability: Available with prior consent of the CELT programme for purposes of academic research and teaching only.

Source description


  • [Details to follow].

Canon Sheehan on the Internet

  • http://www.canonsheehanremembered.com.


  • Canon P.A. Sheehan, 'The Bird and the Fly,' The Irish Monthly, 28/326 (August 1900) 482–483.


  1. Herman Joseph Heuser, Canon Sheehan of Doneraile: the story of an Irish parish priest as told chiefly by himself in books, personal memoirs, and letters (New York 1917).
  2. Arthur Coussens. P. A. Sheehan, zijn leven en zijn werken (Brugge/Bruges 1923).
  3. Michael P. Linehan, Canon Sheehan of Doneraile: Priest, Novelist, Man of Letters (Dublin 1952).
  4. James O'Brien (ed.), The Collected Letters of Canon Sheehan of Doneraile, 1883–1913 (Wells 2013).
  5. James O'Brien, Canon Sheehan of Doneraile 1852–1913: Outlines for a Literary Biography (Wells 2013). [Bibliographical references 205-11.]

The edition used in the digital edition

‘The Bird and the Fly’. In: The Irish Monthly: A Magazine of General Literature‍ 28.326. Ed. by Matthew Russell SJ, pp. 482–483.

You can add this reference to your bibliographic database by copying or downloading the following:

  editor 	 = {},
  title 	 = {The Bird and the Fly},
  journal 	 = {The Irish Monthly: A Magazine of General Literature},
  editor 	 = {Matthew Russell SJ},
  address 	 = {Dublin},
  publisher 	 = {Irish Jesuit Province},
  date 	 = {August 1900},
  volume 	 = {28},
  number 	 = {326},
  pages 	 = {482–483}


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Project description: CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts

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Creation: By Patrick Augustine Sheehan (1852–1913)

Date: 1900

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  • The text is in English. (en)

Keywords: poetry; 20c; religious

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(Most recent first)

  1. 2014-01-15: File parsed. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  2. 2014-01-14: Header created; structural mark-up added; file proofed. (ed. Benjamin Hazard)
  3. 2014-01-10: Text captured. (data capture Benjamin Hazard)

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