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
Night
Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822)
 
From “Queen Mab

HOW beautiful this night! the balmiest sigh
Which vernal zephyrs breathe in evening’s ear
Were discord to the speaking quietude
That wraps this moveless scene. Heaven’s ebon vault,
Studded with stars unutterably bright,        5
Through which the moon’s unclouded grandeur rolls,
Seems like a canopy which love has spread
To curtain her sleeping world. Yon gentle hills,
Robed in a garment of untrodden snow:
Yon darksome rocks, whence icicles depend        10
So stainless that their white and glittering spires
Tinge not the moon’s pure beam; yon castle steep,
Whose banner hangeth o’er the time-worn tower
So idly that rapt fancy deemeth it
A metaphor of peace—all form a scene        15
Where musing solitude might love to lift
Her soul above this sphere of earthliness;
Where silence undisturbed might watch alone,
So cold, so bright, so still.

                        The orb of day
In southern climes o’er ocean’s waveless field        20
Sinks sweetly smiling: not the faintest breath
Steals o’er the unruffled deep; the clouds of eve
Reflect unmoved the lingering beam of day;
And vesper’s image on the western main
Is beautifully still. To-morrow comes:        25
Cloud upon cloud, in dark and deepening mass,
Rolls o’er the blackened waters; the deep roar
Of distant thunder mutters awfully;
Tempest unfolds its pinion o’er the gloom
That shrouds the boiling surge; the pitiless fiend,        30
With all his winds and lightnings, tracks his prey;
The torn deep yawns,—the vessel finds a grave
Beneath its jaggèd gulf.
 
 
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