Hymn to the Night


I heard the trailing garments of the Night

     Sweep through her marble halls!

I saw her sable skirts all fringed with light

     From the celestial walls!


5I felt her presence, by its spell of might,

     Stoop o'er me from above;

The calm, majestic presence of the Night,

     As of the one I love.


I heard the sounds of sorrow and delight,

10     The manifold, soft chimes,

That fill the haunted chambers of the Night

     Like some old poet's rhymes.


From the cool cisterns of the midnight air

     My spirit drank repose;

15The fountain of perpetual peace flows there,--

     From those deep cisterns flows.


O holy Night! from thee I learn to bear

     What man has borne before!

Thou layest thy finger on the lips of Care,

20     And they complain no more.


Peace! Peace! Orestes-like I breathe this prayer!

     Descend with broad-winged flight,

The welcome, the thrice-prayed for, the most fair,

     The best-beloved Night!