Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE MOTH, by CHARLOTTE SMITH

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THE MOTH, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: When dews fall fast, and rosy day
Last Line: Follows the fatal light, and in its flame expires.
Alternate Author Name(s): Smith, Charlotte Turner
Subject(s): Moths

When dews fall fast, and rosy day
Fades slowly in the west away,
While evening breezes bend the future sheaves;
Votary of vesper's humid light,
The moth, pale wanderer of the night,
From his green cradle comes, amid the whispering leaves.

The birds on insect life that feast
Now in their woody coverts rest,
The swallow slumbers in his dome of clay,
And of the numerous tribes who war
On the small denizens of air,
The shrieking bat alone is on the wing for prey.

Eluding him, on lacey plume
The silver moth enjoys the gloom,
Glancing on tremulous wing thro' twilight bowers,
Now flits where warm nasturtiums glow,
Now quivers on the jasmine bough,
And sucks with spiral tongue the balm of sleeping flowers.

Yet if from open casement stream
The taper's bright aspiring beam,
And strikes with comet ray his dazzled sight;
Nor perfum'd leaf, nor honied flower,
To check his wild career have power,
But to the attracting flame he takes his rapid flight.

Round it he darts in dizzy rings,
And soon his soft and powder'd wings
Are singed; and dimmer grow his pearly eyes,
And now his struggling feet are foil'd,
And scorch'd, entangled, burnt, and soil'd,
His fragile form is lost -- the wretched insect dies!

Emblem too just of one, whose way
Thro the calm vale of life might lay,
Yet lured by vanity's illusive fires
Far from that tranquil vale aside,
Like this poor insect suicide
Follows the fatal light, and in its flame expires.

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