Verse > Anthologies > J. C. Squire, ed. > A Book of Women’s Verse
J. C. Squire, ed.  A Book of Women’s Verse.  1921.
A Ballade of the Night
By Margaret L. Woods (1856–1945)
FAR from the earth the deep-descended day
Lies dim in hidden sanctuaries of sleep.
The wingèd winds couched on the threshold keep
Uneasy watch, and still expectant stay
The voice that bids their rushing host delay        5
No more to rise, and with tempestuous power
Rend the wide veil of heaven. Long watching they
Sigh in the silence of the midnight hour.
Hark! where the forests slow in slumber sway
Below the blue wild ridges, steep on steep,        10
Thronging the sky—how shuddering as they leap
The impetuous waters go their fated way,
And mourn in mountain chasms, and as they stray
By many a magic town and marble tower,
As those that still unreconciled obey,        15
Sigh in the silence of the midnight hour.
Listen—the quiet darkness doth array
The toiling earth, and there is time to weep—
A deeper sound is mingled with the sweep
Of streams and winds that whisper far away.        20
Oh listen! where the populous cities lay
Low in the lap of sleep their ancient dower,
The changeless spirit of our changeful clay
Sighs in the silence of the midnight hour.
Sigh, watcher for a dawn remote and grey,        25
Mourn, journeyer to an undesirèd deep,
Eternal sower, thou that shalt not reap,
Immortal, whom the plagues of God devour.
Mourn—’tis the hour when thou wert wont to pray.
Sigh in the silence of the midnight hour.        30

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