The day wears out, and the starry night
Hushes the world to sleep, to sleep;
The dew-shower falls in the still moonlight,
And none wake now, save those who weep;
But rustling on through the starry night,
Like a band of spirits the Passage-birds flee,
Cleaving the darkness above the sea,
Swift and straight as an arrow’s flight.
Is the wind their guide through the trackless sky?
For here there’s no landmark to travel by.
The first faint streak of the morning glows,
Like the feeble blush on the budding rose;
And in long grey lines the clouds divide,
And march away with retreating Night,
Whilst the bright gleams of victorious Light,
Follow them goldenly far and wide:
And when the mists have all pass’d away,
And left the heavens serene and clear,
As an eye that has never shed a tear
And the universe basks in the smile of Day,
Dreamy and still, and the sleepy breeze,
Lazily moves o’er the glassy seas,
The Passage-birds flit o’er the disc of noon,
Like shadows across a mirror’s face,
For now their journey wanes apace,
And the realms of Summer they’ll enter soon.
The land looms far through the waters
The Land of Promise, the Land of Rest;
Through cloud and storm they have travell’d true,
And joy thrills now in each throbbing breast
Down they sink, with a wheeling flight,
Whilst the song of birds comes floating high,
And they pass the lark in the sunny sky;
But down, without pausing, down they fly;
Their travel is over, their Summer shines bright.
Hot blows the wild simoom across the waste,
The desert waste, amid the dreary sand,
With fiery breath swift burning up the land,
O’er the scared pilgrim, speeding on in haste,
Hurling fierce death-drifts with broad-scorching hand.
O weary Wilderness! No shady tree
To spread its arms around the fainting soul;
No spring to sparkle in the parched bowl;
No refuge in the drear immensity,
Where lies the Past, wreck’d ’neath a sandy sea,
Where o’er its glories blighting billows roll.
Ho! Sea, yield up thy buried dead again;
Heave back thy waves, and let the Past arise;
Restore Time’s relics to the startled skies,
Till giant shadows tremble on the plain,
And awe the heart with old-world mysteries!
Old Menmon! Once again thy Poet-voice
May sing sweet paeans to the golden Morn,
Again may hail the saviour Light sun-born,
And bid the wild and desert waste rejoice,—
Again with sighs the looming darkness mourn.
Thou Watchman, waiting weary for the dawn,
Breathing low longings for its golden light,
Through the dim silence of the drowsy night,
What wistful sighs with thine are softly drawn,
Till day-beams on the darken’d spirit smite!