Classic and Contemporary Poetry
SUB SILENTIO, by MARY LOUISE RITTER
First Line: Hush! The night is calm and quiet
Last Line: Satisfying and complete.
HUSH! the night is calm and quiet
And the crescent moon hangs low;
Silence deep and wide hath power,
And the south wind wanders slow
Through a casement where the curtain
Faintly rustles to and fro.
Like a spirit softly sighing
Flits it all the chamber round,
Where the dim lamp fading, dying,
Just dispels the gloom profound;
Hangs above two happy dreamers,
By love's perfect promise crowned.
Even through the gates of slumber
To the shadowy land of rest
He still clasps his long-sought treasure
Closely, closely to his breast,
With the ardor of a passion
Long denied and long repressed.
With his lips still warm with kisses
Close and clinging as his own,
Sighing still in happy dreaming
For the joy his heart hath known
Sweetly, peacefully, he slumbers,
In the arms about him thrown.
And she gazes at him, thinking
Not of all her dreary years
Only of this isle of glory,
Reached with many doubts and fears,
Over love's frail bridge of rainbows
Fading in a mist of tears.
Then she nestles still more closely
To the heart so kind and dear,
Whispering, "Love me, love me, darling,
All my hope and rest is here,
And without thee, earth is nothing
But a desert cold and drear.
"O, that every night my slumbers
Might be so supremely blest,
Bounded by thy dear embraces,
Kissed from passion into rest;
I would ask no better heaven
Sheltered thus and thus caressed."
Fan them gently, odorous south wind,
And begone on pinions fleet!
Nothing in thy nightly journey
Shall thy wandering vision greet,
Half as perfect in fulfillment,
Satisfying and complete.
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