Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, NIGHT, by AUGUSTA COOPER BRISTOL



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NIGHT, by            
First Line: I stood and watched the still, mysterious night
Last Line: Fled timid o'er the distant western hills.
Subject(s): Night; Bedtime


I stood and watched the still, mysterious Night,
Steal from her shadowy caverns in the East,
To work her deep enchantments on the world.
Her black veil floated down the silent glens,
While her dark sandalled feet, with noiseless tread,
Moved to a secret harmony. Along
The brows of the majestic hills, she strung
Her glorious diamonds so stealthily,
It never marred their dreams; and in the deep,
Cool thickets of the wood, where scarce the day
Could reach the dim retreat, her dusky hand
Pinned on the breast of the exhaling flower,
A glittering gem; while all the tangled ferns
And forest lace-work, as she moved along
Grew moist and shining.
Who would e'er have guessed
The queenly Night would deign to stoop and love
A little flower! And yet, with all her stealth
I saw her press her damp and cooling lip
Upon the feverish bosom of a rose;
At which a watchful bird poured sudden forth
A love-sick song, of sweet and saddest strain.

Upon the ivied rocks and rugged crags
On which the ocean billows break, she hung
Her sombre mantle; and the gray old sea
That had been high in tumult all the day,
Became so mesmerized beneath her wiles,
He seemed a mere reflection of herself.
The billows sank into a dimpled sleep;
Only the little tide-waves glided up
To kiss the blackness of the airy robe
That floated o'er them.
Long I stood and watched
The mystic spell-like influence of Night;
Till o'er the eastern hills, came up the first
Faint glories of the crown that Phoebus wears.
And soon, the Earth, surprised to see the work
That Night had wrought, began to glow and blush,
Like maidens, conscious of the glance of Love.
While she -- the dark Enchantress -- like to one
Who decorates her bower with all things fair,
Wherewith to please her lover, but yet flees
At his approaching step -- at the first gleam
That lit the zenith from the day-god's eye,
Fled timid o'er the distant western hills.





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