Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. V. Nature
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume V. Nature.  1904.
 
II. Light: Day: Night
From the “Hymn to Light”
Abraham Cowley (1618–1667)
 
  SAY, from what golden quivers of the sky
      Do all thy wingèd arrows fly?
      Swiftness and Power by birth are thine:
From thy great sire they came, thy sire, the Word Divine.
 
  Thou in the Moon’s bright chariot, proud and gay,        5
      Dost thy bright wood of stars survey;
      And all the year dost with thee bring
Of thousand flowery lights thine own nocturnal spring.
 
  Thou, Scythian-like, dost round thy lands above
      The Sun’s gilt tent forever move,        10
      And still, as thou in pomp dost go,
The shining pageants of the world attend thy show.
 
  Nor amidst all these triumphs dost thou scorn
      The humble glow-worms to adorn,
      And with those living spangles gild        15
(O greatness without pride!) the bushes of the field.
 
  Night and her ugly subjects thou dost fright,
      And Sleep, the lazy owl of night;
      Ashamed and fearful to appear,
They screen their horrid shapes with the black hemisphere.
*        *        *        *        *
        20
  At thy appearance, Grief itself is said
      To shake his wings, and rouse his head:
      And cloudy Care has often took
A gentle beamy smile, reflected from thy look.
 
  At thy appearance, Fear itself grows bold;        25
      The sunshine melts away his cold.
      Encouraged at the sight of thee
To the cheek color comes, and firmness to the knee.
 
  When, goddess, thou lift’st up thy wakened head
      Out of the morning’s purple bed,        30
      Thy quire of birds about thee play,
And all the joyful world salutes the rising day.
 
  All the world’s bravery, that delights our eyes,
      Is but thy several liveries;
      Thou the rich dye on them bestow’st,        35
Thy nimble pencil paints this landscape as thou go’st.
 
  A crimson garment in the rose thou wear’st;
      A crown of studded gold thou bear’st;
      The virgin-lilies, in their white,
Are clad but with the lawn of almost naked light.        40
 
  The violet, Spring’s little infant, stands
      Girt in thy purple swaddling-bands;
      On the fair tulip thou dost dote;
Thou cloth’st it in a gay and party-colored coat.
*        *        *        *        *
  Through the soft ways of heaven, and air, and sea,        45
      Which open all their pores to thee,
      Like a clear river thou dost glide,
And with thy living stream through the close channels slide.
*        *        *        *        *
  But the vast ocean of unbounded day,
      In the empyrean heaven does stay.        50
      Thy rivers, lakes, and springs, below,
From thence took first their rise, thither at last must flow.
 
 
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