Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. IV. Wordsworth to Rossetti
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. IV. The Nineteenth Century: Wordsworth to Rossetti
 
To Night
By Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822)
 
I.
SWIFTLY walk over the western wave,
            Spirit of Night!
Out of the misty eastern cave
    Where, all the long and lone daylight,
Thou wovest dreams of joy and fear        5
Which make thee terrible and dear,
            Swift be thy flight!
 
II.
Wrap thy form in a mantle grey,
            Star-inwrought;
Blind with thine hair the eyes of Day;        10
    Kiss her until she be wearied out.
Then wander o’er city and sea and land,
Touching all with thine opiate wand—
            Come, long-sought!
 
III.
When I arose and saw the dawn,
        15
            I sighed for thee;
When light rode high, and the dew was gone,
    And noon lay heavy on flower and tree,
And the weary Day turned to his rest,
Lingering like an unloved guest,        20
            I sighed for thee.
 
IV.
Thy brother Death came, and cried,
            ‘Wouldst thou me?’
Thy sweet child Sleep, the filmy-eyed,
    Murmured like a noontide bee,        25
‘Shall I nestle near thy side?
Wouldst thou me?’—And I replied,
            ‘No, not thee.’
 
V.
Death will come when thou art dead,
            Soon, too soon—        30
Sleep will come when thou art fled.
    Of neither would I ask the boon
I ask of thee, beloved Night—
Swift be thine approaching flight,
            Come soon, soon!
(1821.)    
        35
 
 
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