O the Night, the Night, the solemn Night,
When Earth is bound with her silent zone,
And the spangled sky seems a temple wide,
Where the star-tribes kneel at the Godhead's throne;
O the Night, the Night, the wizard Night,
When the garish reign of day is o'er,
And the myriad barques of the dream-elves come
In a brightsome fleet from Slumber's shore!
O the Night for me,
When blithe and free,
Go the zephyr-hounds on their airy chase;
When the moon is high
In the dewy sky,
And the air is sweet as a bride's embrace!
O the Night, the Night, the charming Night!
From the fountain side in the myrtle shade,
All softly creep on the slumbrous air
The waking notes of the serenade;
While bright eyes shine 'mid the lattice-vines,
And white arms droop o'er the sculptured sills,
And accents fall to the knights below,
Like the babblings soft of mountain rills.
Love in their eyes,
Love in their sighs,
Love in the heave of each lily-bright bosom;
In words so clear,
Lest the listening ear
And the waiting heart may lose them.
O the silent Night, when the student dreams
Of kneeling crowds round a sage's tomb;
And the mother's eyes o'er the cradle rain
Tears for her baby's fading bloom;
O the peaceful Night, when stilled and o'er
Is the charger's tramp on the battle plain,
And the bugle's sound and the sabre's flash,
While the moon looks sad over heaps of slain;
And tears bespeak
On the iron cheek
Of the sentinel lonely pacing,
Thoughts which roll
Through his fearless soul,
Day's sterner mood replacing.
O the sacred Night, when memory comes
With an aspect mild and sweet to me,
But her tones are sad as a ballad air
In childhood heard on a nurse's knee;
And round her throng fair forms long fled,
With brows of snow and hair of gold,
And eyes with the light of summer skies,
And lips that speak of the days of old.
Wide is your flight,
O spirits of Night,
By strath, and stream, and grove,
But most in the gloom
Of the Poet's room
Ye choose, fair ones, to rove.