Verse > Anthologies > Alfred H. Miles, ed. > The Sacred Poets of the Nineteenth Century
Alfred H. Miles, ed.  The Sacred Poets of the Nineteenth Century.  1907.
I. The Vesper Hour
By James Drummond Burns (1823–1864)
(In Madeira)

A ROSY light the Eastern sky is steeping,—
  The ripple on the sea has died away
To a low murmur,—and the ships are sleeping
  Each on its glassy shadow in the Bay:
The young moon’s golden shell over the hill        5
Trembles with lustre, and the trees are still.
The air grows clearer, and her amice blue
  The gentle Twilight hath about her cast,
And from her silver urn she sprinkles dew:
  Silence and Sleep, twin sisters, follow fast        10
Her soundless sandals, and where’er she goes
Day-wearied Nature settles to repose.
Hark! the clear bell from that tall convent-tower
  Hath sounded,—and, or e’er its echoes die,
Another chime hath rung the vesper hour,—        15
  A farther and a fainter makes reply;
Till far and near the soft appeal to prayer
With music fills the undulating air.
Ye sweet-voiced bells, ring on! Though at your call
  I may not breathe in prayer a creature’s name,        20
Yet on my heart more touching memories fall,
  And ye remind me of a holier claim,—
His, whose undrooping eye alone can keep
  Watch over His belovèd as they sleep.

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