The Silent Eve.

The shades of night are hastening down,1
To steep in blue the mountains brown,2
The sky is cloudless, and serene ;3
The winds are pillowed ; and the scene4
So beautiful, so wild, so sweet,5
Where forests, fields, and waters meet,6
Is bathed in such delicious hues,7
Beneath the twilight’s falling dues,8
That man, afar from Sorrows sphere,9
Might muse away his anguish here ;10
While, o’er his erring thoughts subdued,11
That quiet—tranquillizing mood,12
That tone of harmony would steal,13
Which poets feign, and angels feel.14
Earth answers to the hues above15
The music ceases in the grove ;16
While not a breeze, in wandering, stir17
The branches of the silent firs,18
That stretch their azure cones on high,19
And shoot into the lucid sky.20
There is no living motion round,21
Save, that, with meek and mellow sound,22
The shaded river murmurs on,23
’Tween banks with copsewood overgrown ;24
Athwart its bed, the willow throws25
The brightness of its pendent boughs,26
And hangs, with melancholy air,27
And languid head, its tresses there ;28
Like Guilt, that feels remorse endure,29
Performing penance to be pure.—30
Lo ! in the south, a silver star,31
With amber radiance, shines afar ;— 32
The eldest daughter of the night,33
In glory warm, in beauty bright.34
Thou diamond in the pathless dome35
Of azure, whether dost thou come ?— 36
Far—far, within the orbless blue,37
A tiny lustre twinkles thro’,38
With distant and unsteady light,39
To catch the eye, then mock the sight ;40
Till—as the shades of Darkness frown,41
And throw their viewless curtains down,42
The very veil, that mantles earth,43
Awakens thee to brighter birth,44
And bids thee glow, with purer ray,45
A lily on the tomb of Day !46
With outlines palpable, and clear,47
And, ’mid the lowering darkness drear,48
Above the forest, rise sublime49
The gothic towers of olden time ;50
Thro’ lattices, unframed, looks forth51
The calm, pure azure of the North,52
Unbroken, save, where, dark and down,53
The ivy tendrils hang, and frown ;54
And Time, with mimic finger, weaves55
A natural latticework of leaves.56
What marvel, then, that trembling fear,57
In many a grot, and cavern here,58
Should hold her solitary reign,59
To scare the natives of the plain,60
And people every lonesome glade,61
With many a mute, and wandering shade.62
Lo ! in the convent’s dewy cell,63
What time awoke the vesper bell,64
The homeward-stalking peasant hears,65
Beneath the moonlight of the spheres,66
Strange music on the breezes swim,67
A low—a wild—a wailing hymn,68
Soaring, and sinking, like the breeze.69
Among December’s leafless trees ;70
Nor backward is his mind to dream,71
In passing, that strange faces gleam72
From every frowning cranny there73
As throbs his heart, and stirs his hair,74
With quickened step he hastens on,75
For well he knows in ages gone,76
When sack-cloth-vested abbots swayed,77
And Rome was mighty and obeyed78
That there unholy deeds were done,79
Perceived by few, and told by none,80
And oft the restless spirits sweep,81
When storms are dark, and night is deep,82
Amid the gothic aisles, where rest,83
In charnel cell, their bones unblest.84
The blue horizon circles round85
This silent spot of fairy ground ;86
So hushed, that even my very breath87
Intrudes upon the still of death !88
No trace of mind or man is here,89
The sight to win, the heart to cheer ;90
Like him, who, on Fernandez, sate,91
Lamenting o’er his lonely fate,—92
While, in the hush of winds, the roar93
Of Ocean thundering on the shore94
Was heard, the only living sound,95
To break the deep, and dull profound,—96
So here I rest ; no tempests roll97
Above my head, or in my soul,98
A musing heart, and watchful eye,99
Conversing with the earth, and sky.100