Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, STUDIES FOR PICTURES: 3. UNDER THE STARS, by BAYARD TAYLOR

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

STUDIES FOR PICTURES: 3. UNDER THE STARS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: How the hot revel's fever dies
Last Line: Without, the god that speaks in souls!
Alternate Author Name(s): Taylor, James Bayard
Subject(s): Night; Bedtime

How the hot revel's fever dies,
Beneath the stillness of the skies!
How suddenly the whirl and glare
Shoot far away, and this cold air
Its icy beverage brings, to chase
The burning wine-flush from my face!
The window's gleam still faintly falls,
And music sounds at intervals,
Jarring the pulses of the night
With whispers of profane delight;
But on the midnight's awful strand,
Like some wrecked swimmer flung to land,
I lie, and hear those breakers roar:
And smile -- they cannot harm me more!

Keep, keep your lamps; they do not mar
The silver of a single star.
The painted roses you display
Drop from your cheeks, and fade away;
The snowy warmth you bid me see
Is hollowness and mockery;
The words that make your sin so fair
Grow silent in this vestal air;
The loosened madness of your hair,
That wrapped me in its snaky coils,
No more shall mesh me in your toils;
Your very kisses on my brow
Burn like the lips of devils now.
O sacred night! O virgin calm!
Teach me the immemorial psalm
Of your eternal watch sublime
Above the grovelling lusts of Time!
Within, the orgie shouts and reels;
Without, the planets' golden wheels
Spin, circling through the utmost space;
Within, each flushed and reckless face
Is masked to cheat a haunting care;
Without, the silence and the prayer.
Within, the beast of flesh controls;
Without, the God that speaks in souls!

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