Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird! No hungry generations tread thee down;
In contrast to human beings, the nightingale is immortal. He seems not to be referring to the literal bird now, but rather to the mythic idea of the nightingale from such stories as the Metamorphosis of the Roman poet Ovid. The nightingale cheats death by echoing its song throughout generations of history. It survives the rise and fall of civilizations.