Nonfiction > E.C. Stedman & E.M. Hutchinson, eds. > A Library of American Literature > 1861–1889
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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps.  A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes.  1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889
 
A Nocturne of Rubinstein
By Helen Gray Cone (1859–1934)
 
[Born in New York, N. Y., 1859. Died there, 1934. From Oberon and Puck: Verses Grave and Gay. 1885.]

I.
WHAT now remains, what now remains but night?
Night hopeless, since the moon is in her grave!
 
        Late came a glorious light
In one wide flood on spire and field and wave.
        It found a flowing way        5
To secret places where the dead leaves lay;
        It won the half-hid stream
To shy remembrance of her morning gleam;
        Then on the sky’s sharp shore
Rolled back, a fading tide, and was no more.        10
No more on spire and ivied window bright!
        No more on field and wave!
 
What now remains, what now remains but night?
Night hopeless, since the moon is in her grave!
 
II.
        Dumb waits the dim, broad land,
        15
Like one who hears, yet cannot understand,
        Tidings of grief to come.
The woods and waters, with the winds, are dumb.
        But now a breeze has found
Sorrowful voice, and sobs along the ground:        20
“Oh the lost light, the last, the best lost light!
        No more on field and wave!”
 
What now remains, what now remains but night?
Night hopeless, since the moon is in her grave!
 
III.
        Hark, how the wind outswells!
        25
Tempting the wood’s dark heart till he rebels,
        And, shaking his black hair,
Lifts up a cry of passion and despair!
        The groaning branches chafe
Till scarce the small, hushed singing-birds are safe,        30
        Tossed rocking in the nest,
Like gentle memories in a stormy breast.
A shudder, as good angels passed in flight,
        Thrills over field and wave!
 
What now remains, what now remains but night?        35
Night lawless, while the moon is in her grave!
 
IV.
        There falls a mighty hush:
And forth from far recesses fern-scents rush,
        Faint as a waft from years
Long past; they touch in heaven the springs of tears.        40
        In great drops, slow and warm,
Breaks all at once the spirit of the storm.
 
What now remains, what now remains but night?
Night grieving, while the moon is in her grave!
 
V.
Behold! the rain is over: on the wave
        45
        A new, a flashing light!
        Lo, she arises calm,
The pale, the patient moon, and pours like balm
        Through the wet wood’s wrecked aisle
Her own unutterably tender smile!        50
There is no calm like that when storm is done;
There is no pleasure keen as pain’s release;
There is no joy that lies so deep as peace,
No peace so deep as that by struggle won.
 
Naught now remains, naught now remains but night        55
Night peaceful, with the moon on field and wave!
 
 
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