Page images
PDF

III.

The sun is set ; the swallows are asleep, .

The bats are fitting fast in the gray air ;
The slow soft toads out of damp corners creep;

And evening's breath, wandering here and there
Over the quivering surface of the stream,
Wakes not one ripple from its summer dream.
There are no dews on the dry grass to-night,

Nor damp within the shadow of the trees; The wind is intermitting, dry, and light;

And in the inconstant motion of the breeze The dust and straws are driven up and down, And whirld about the pavement of the town. The chasm in which the sun has sunk, is shut

By darkest barriers of enormous cloud, Like mountain over mountain huddled-but

Growiug and moving upwards in a crowd, And over it a space of watery blue, Which the keen evening star is shining through.

SHELLEY.

The Ebening Hour.
SWEET Evening hour! sweet Evening hour!
That calms the air and shuts the flower;
That brings the wild-bee to its nest-
The infant to its mother's breast.
Sweet hour! that bids the labourer cease,
That gives the weary team release,
And leads them home, and crowns them there
With rest and shelter, food and care.
O season of soft sounds and hues,
Of twilight walks among the dews;
Of feelings calm and converse sweet,
And thoughts too shadowy to repeat !
Yes, lovely hour! thou art the time
When feelings flow and wishes climb;
When timid souls begin to dare,
And God receives and answers prayer.

Then, trembling, through the dewy skies,
Look out the stars, like thoughtful eyes
Of angels, calm reclining there,
And gazing on the world of care.
Sweet hour! for heavenly musing made,
When Isaac walk'd and David pray'd ;
When Abraham's offering God did own,
And Jesus loved to be alone.

Anon.

The Ebening Sky.
O EVENING grey! how oft have I admired
Thy airy tapestry, whose radiance fired
The glowing minstrels of the olden time,
Until their very souls flow'd forth in rhyme !
And I have listen'd till my spirit grew
Familiar with their deathless strains, and drew
From the same source some portion of the glow
Which filled their spirits, when from earth below
They scann'd thy golden imagery. And I
Have consecrated thee, bright Evening Sky,
My fount of inspiration : and I fling
My spirit on thy clouds-an offering

To the great deity of dying day,
Who hath transfused o'er thee his purple ray.

John BETHUNE.

The Evening Cloud.
A CLOUD lay cradled near the setting sun,

A gleam of crimson tinged its braided snow:
Long had I watch'd the glory moving on

O'er the still radiance of the lake below.

Tranquil its spirit seem'd, and floated slow! Even in its very motion there was rest:

While every breath of wind that chanced to blow Wafted the traveller to the beauteous west. Emblem, methought, of the departed soul,

To whose white robe the gleam of bliss is given; And by the breath of mercy made to roll

Right onwards to the golden gates of heaven, Where, to the eye of faith, it peaceful lies, And tells to man his glorious destinies. WILSON.

Moonrise.
Soon will the moon and all her stars be here ;

A smiling light proclaims her o'er yon hill;
Slowly she raises up her radiant sphere,

And stillness at her smile becomes more still.

My heart forgets all thought of human ill, And man seems happy as his place of birth;

All things that yield him joy my spirit fill With kindred joy! and even his humblest mirth Seems at this peaceful hour to beautify the earth.

WILSON.

The Waning Moon.
-And like a dying lady, lean and pale,
Who totters forth, wrapt in a gaudy veil,
Out of her chamber, led by the insane
And feeble wanderings of her faded brain,
The moon arose upon the murky earth,
A white and shapeless mass.

SHELLEY,

To the Moon. O Moon! old boughs lisp forth a holier din The while they feel thine airy fellowship. Thou dost bless everywhere, with silver lip Kissing dead things to life. The sleeping kine, Couch'd in thy brightness, dream of fields divine : Innumerable mountains rise, and rise Ambitious for the hallowing of thine eyes ; And yet thy benediction passeth not One obscure hiding-place, one little spot Where pleasure may be sent: the nested wren Has thy fair face within its tranquil ken, And from beneath a sheltering ivy leaf Takes glimpses of thee; thou art a relief To the poor patient oyster, where it sleeps Within its pearly house : -The mighty deeps, The monstrous sea, is thine—the myriad sea! O Moon ! far spooming Ocean bows to thee, And Tellus feels her forehead's cumbrous load.

KEATS.

How beautiful the Queen of Night.
How beautiful the Queen of Night, on high
Her way pursuing among scatter'd clouds,
Where, ever and anon, her head she shrouds,
Hidden from view in dense obscurity.
But look, and to the watchful eye
A bright’ning edge will indicate, that soon
We shall behold the struggling moon
Break forth-again to walk the clear blue sky.

WORDSWORTH.

A Night Piece.

The sky is overcast With a continuous cloud of texture, close, Heavy, and wan, all whiten'd by the Moon, Which through that veil is indistinctly seen, A dull, contracted circle, yielding light So feebly spread, that not a shadow falls, Chequering the ground from rock, plant, tree, or

tower. At length a pleasant, instantaneous gleam Startles the pensive traveller while he treads His lonesome path, with unobserving eye Bent earthwards. He looks up-the clouds are split Asunder, and above his head he sees The clear Moon, and the glory of the heavens ; There, in a black-blue vault, she sails along, Follow'd by multitudes of stars, that, small, And sharp, and bright, along the dark abyss Drive as she drives : how fast they wheel away, Yet vanish not -The wind is in the tree, But they are silent ;-still they roll along Immeasurably distant; and the vault, Built round by those white clouds-enormous clouds, Still deepens its unfathomable depth. At length the vision closes; and the mind, Not undisturb'd by the delight it feels, Which slowly settles into peaceful calm, Is left to muse upon the solemn scene.

WORDSWORTH.

The Stillness of Night.
The crackling embers on the hearth are dead;

The in-door note of industry is still ;

The latch is fast; upon the window-sill
The small birds wait not for their daily bread:
The voiceless flowers-how quietly they shed

Their nightly odours ! and the household rill
Murmurs continuous dulcet sounds, that fill
The vacant expectation, and the dread
Of listening night. And haply now she sleeps ;

For all the garrulous noises of the air
Are hush'd in peace.

HARTLEY COLERIDGE.

Midnight.
MIDNIGHT was come, and every vital thing
With sweet sound sleep their weary limbs did rest :
The beasts were still, the little birds that sing,
Now sweetly slept, beside their mother's breast,
The old and all well shrouded in their nest;

The waters calm, the cruel seas did cease,
The woods, and fields, and all things held their peace.

The golden stars were whirl'd amid their race,
And on the earth did laugh with twinkling light,
When each thing, nestled in his resting-place,
Forgot day's pain with pleasure of the night;
The hare had not the greedy hounds in sight,

The fearful deer of death stood not in doubt,
The partridge dream'd not of the falcon's foot.

The ugly bear now minded not the stake,
Nor how the cruel mastiffs do him tear;
The stag lay still unrousèd from the brake;
The foamy boar fear'd not the hunter's spear:
All things were still in desert, bush, and brere.

SACKVILLE,

« PreviousContinue »