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Ode to Evening
ODE TO EVENING
IF aught of oaten stop, or pastoral song,
Thy springs and dying gales;
O Nymph reserved, while now the bright-haired sun
O'erhang his wavy bed:
Now air is hushed, save where the weak-eyed bat
His small but sullen horn,
As oft he rises, 'midst the twilight path
Now teach me, maid composed,
To breathe some softened strain,
Whose numbers, stealing through thy darkening vale, May not unseemly with its stillness suit,
As, musing slow, I hail
Thy genial loved return!
For when thy folding-star arising shows
And many a Nymph who wreathes her brows with sedge,
The pensive Pleasures sweet,
Prepare thy shadowy car:
Then lead, calm votaress, where some sheety lake
Or, if chill blustering winds, or driving rain,
Views wilds and swelling floods,
And hamlets brown, and dim-discovered spires,
The gradual dusky veil.
While Spring shall pour his showers, as of the wont,
While sallow Autumn fills thy lap with leaves,
And rudely rends thy robes:
So long, regardful of thy quiet rule,
Shall Fancy, Friendship, Science, smiling Peace,
Thy gentlest influence own,
And hymn thy favorite name!
William Collins [1721-1759]
"IT IS A BEAUTEOUS EVENING, CALM AND FREE”
It is a beauteous evening, calm and free;
The holy time is quiet as a Nun
Breathless with adoration; the broad sun
Is sinking down in his tranquility;
The gentleness of heaven broods o'er the Sea;
Listen! the mighty Being is awake,
And doth with his eternal motion make
A sound like thunder-everlastingly.
Dear Child! dear Girl! that walkest with me here,
If thou appear untouched by solemn thought,
Thy nature is not therefore less divine:
SKIES to the West are stained with madder;
The sough of the pines is growing sadder;
Skies to the East are streaked with golden;
Air is sweet with the breath of clover;
O THAT the pines which crown yon steep
O that yon fervid knoll might keep,
Pale poplars on the breeze that lean,
O that your golden stems might screen
That yon white bird on homeward wing
And now in blue air vanishing
Like snow-flake lost in ocean,
Beyond our sight might never flee,
Pellucid thus in saintly trance,
Thus mute in expectation,
What waits the earth? Deliverance?
She dreams of that "New Earth" divine,
She sings "Not mine the holier shrine,
Aubrey Thomas de Vere [1814-1902]
"IN THE COOL OF THE EVENING"
IN the cool of the evening, when the low sweet whispers waken,
When the laborers turn them homeward, and the weary have their will,
When the censers of the roses o'er the forest aisles are shaken,
Is it but the wind that cometh o'er the far green hill?
For they say 'tis but the sunset winds that wander through the heather,
Rustle all the meadow-grass and bend the dewy fern; They say 'tis but the winds that bow the reeds in prayer together,
And fill the shaken pools with fire along the shadowy burn.
In the beauty of the twilight, in the Garden that He loveth, They have veiled His lovely vesture with the darkness of a name!
Through His Garden, through His Garden, it is but the wind that moveth,
No more! But O the miracle, the miracle is the same.
In the cool of the evening, when the sky is an old story, Slowly dying, but remembered, ay, and loved with passion still
Hush! . . . the fringes of His garment, in the fading golden
Softly rustling as He cometh o'er the far green hill.
Alfred Noyes [1880
SPIRIT of Twilight, through your folded wings
Spirit of Twilight, you are like a song
That sleeps, and waits a singer,-like a hymn That God finds lovely and keeps near Him long, Till it is choired by aureoled cherubim.
Spirit of Twilight, in the golden gloom
Of dreamland dim I sought you, and I found
A woman sitting in a silent room
Full of white flowers that moved and made no sound.
These white flowers were the thoughts you bring to all,
Olive Custance [18
OH the grave and gloomy quiet at the closing of the day! When the sun has long gone down,
Not in splendors of his own,
But behind a veil of vapor vaguely vanishing away;
With a wraith of filmy cloud,
Creased and wrinkled, to enshroud
All the glow that he should give us at the closing of the day.