Verse > Anthologies > Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. > Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry
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Ralph Waldo Emerson, comp. (1803–1882).  Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry.  1880.
 
Ode to Evening
By William Collins (1721–1759)
 
IF aught of oaten stop, or pastoral song,
May hope, chaste Eve, to soothe thy modest ear,
  Like thy own brawling springs,
  Thy springs, and dying gales;
 
O nymph reserved, while now the bright-haired sun        5
Sits in yon western tent, whose cloudy skirts,
  With brede ethereal wove,
  O’erhang his wavy bed:
 
Now air is hush’d, save where the weak-eyed bat
With short shrill shriek flits by on leathern wing;        10
  Or where the beetle winds
  His small but sullen horn,
 
As oft he rises ’midst the twilight path,
Against the pilgrim borne in heedless hum:
  Now teach me, maid composed,        15
  To breathe some softened strain,
 
Whose numbers, stealing through thy darkening vale,
May not unseemly with its stillness suit;
  As, musing slow, I hail
  Thy genial loved return!        20
 
For when thy folding-star arising shows
His paly circlet, at his warning lamp
    The fragrant Hours and Elves
    Who slept in buds the day,
 
And many a Nymph who wreathes her brows with sedge,        25
And sheds the freshening dew, and, lovelier still,
    The pensive Pleasures sweet,
    Prepare thy shadowy car.
 
Then let me rove some wild and healthy scene;
Or find some ruin, ’midst its dreary dells,        30
    Whose walls more awful nod
    By thy religious gleams.
 
Or, if chill blustering winds, or driving rain,
Prevent my willing feet, be mine the hut,
    That from the mountain’s side,        35
    Views wilds, and swelling floods,
 
And hamlets brown, and dim-discovered spires;
And hears their simple bell, and marks o’er all
    Thy dewy fingers draw
    The gradual dusky veil.        40
 
While Spring shall pour his showers, as oft he wont,
And bathe thy breathing tresses, meekest Eve!
    While Summer loves to sport
    Beneath thy lingering light;
 
While sallow Autumn fills thy lap with leaves;        45
Or Winter, yelling through the troublous air,
    Affrights thy shrinking train,
    And rudely rends thy robes;
 
So long, regardful of the quiet rule,
Shall Fancy, Friendship, Science, smiling Peace,        50
    Thy gentlest influence own,
    And love thy favorite name!
 
 
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