Classic and Contemporary Poetry
THE EARTHQUAKE, by JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY Poet's Biography
First Line: An hour ago the lulling twilight
Last Line: And still shall weep, a world above its loss.
Alternate Author Name(s): Johnson Of Boone, Benj. F.
Subject(s): Disasters; Earth; Earthquakes; Evening; Loss; World; Sunset; Twilight
CHARLESTON, SEPTEMBER 1, 1886
AN hour ago the lulling twilight leant
Above us like a gentle nurse who slips
A slow palm o'er our eyes, in soft eclipse
Of feigned slumber of most sweet content.
The fragrant zephyrs of the tropic went
And came across the senses, like to sips
Of lovers' kisses, when upon her lips
Silence sets finger in grave merriment.
Then -- sudden -- did the earth moan as it slept,
And start as one in evil dreams, and toss
Its peopled arms up, as the horror crept,
And with vast breast upheaved and rent across,
Fling down the storied citadel where wept,
And still shall weep, a world above its loss.
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