Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
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Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
 
That Silent Moon
By George Washington Doane (1790–1859)
 
THAT silent moon, that silent moon,
  Carcering now through cloudless sky,
Oh! who shall tell what varied scenes
  Have pass’d beneath her placid eye,
Since first, to light this wayward earth,        5
  She walk’d in tranquil beauty forth.
 
How oft has guilt’s unhallow’d hand,
  And superstition’s senseless rite,
And loud, licentious revelry,
  Profaned her pure and holy light:        10
Small sympathy is hers, I ween,
  With sights like these, that virgin queen.
 
But dear to her, in summer eve,
  By rippling wave, or tufted grove,
When hand in hand is purely clasp’d,        15
  And heart meets heart in holy love,
To smile, in quiet loneliness,
  And hear each whisper’d vow and bless.
 
Dispersed along the world’s wide way,
  When friends are far, and fond ones rove,        20
How powerful she to wake the thought,
  And start the tear for those we love!
Who watch, with us, at night’s pale noon,
And gaze upon that silent moon.
 
How powerful, too, to hearts that mourn,        25
  The magic of that moonlight sky,
To bring again the vanish’d scenes,
  The happy eves of days gone by;
Again to bring, ’mid bursting tears,
The loved, the lost of other years.        30
 
And oft she looks, that silent moon,
  On lonely eyes that wake to weep,
In dungeon dark, or sacred cell,
  Or couch, whence pain has banish’d sleep:
Oh! softly beams that gentle eye,        35
On those who mourn, and those who die.
 
But beam on whomsoe’er she will,
  And fall where’er her splendor may,
There ’s pureness in her chasten’d light,
  There ’s comfort in her tranquil ray:        40
What power is hers to soothe the heart—
What power, the trembling tear to start!
 
The dewy morn let others love,
  Or bask them in the noontide ray;
There ’s not an hour but has its charm,        45
  From dawning light to dying day:—
But oh! be mine a fairer boon—
That silent moon, that silent moon!
 
 
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