Bayard Taylor image

Bayard Taylor

Jan. 11, 1825 - Dec 19, 1878


Second Evening

by Bayard Taylor

It was the evening of the second day,
Which swifter, sweeter than the first had fled
My heart's delicious tumult passed away,
And left a sober happiness instead.
For Ernest's voice was ever in mine ear,
His presence mingled as of old with mine,
But stronger, manlier, brighter, more divine
Its effluence now: within his starry sphere
Of love new-risen my nature too was drawn,
And warmed with rosy flushes of the dawn.

All day we drove about the lovely vales,
Under the hill-side farms, through summer woods, --
The land of mingled homes and solitudes
That Ernest loved. We told the dear old tales
Of childhood, music new to Edith's ear,
Sang olden songs, lived old adventures o'er,
And, when the hours brought need of other cheer.

Spread on the ferny rocks a tempting store
Of country dainties. 'T was our favorite dell,
Cut by the trout-stream through a wooded ridge:
Above, the highway on a mossy bridge
Strode o'er it, and below, the water fell
Through hornblende boulders, where the dircus flung
His pliant rods, the berried spice-wood grew,
And tulip-trees and smooth magnolias hung
A million leaves between us and the blue.
The silver water-dust in puffs arose
And turned to dust of jewels in the sun,
And like a canon, in its close begun
Afresh, the stream's perpetual lullaby
Sang down the dell, and deepened its repose.
Here, till the western hours had left the sky,
We sat: then homeward loitered through the dusk
Of chestnut woods, along the meadow-side,
And lost in lanes that breathed ambrosial musk
Of wild-grape blossoms: and the twilight died.

Long after every star came out, we paced
The terrace, still discoursing on the themes
The day had started, intermixed with dreams
Born of the summer night. Then, golden-faced,
Behind her daybreak of auroral gleams,
The moon arose: the bosom of the lawn
Whitened beneath her silent snow of light,
Save where the trees made isles of mystic night,
Dark blots against the rising splendor drawn,
And where the eastern wall of woodland towered,
Blue darkness, filled with undistinguished shapes:
But elsewhere, over all the landscape showered --
A silver drizzle on the distant capes
Of hills -- the glory of the moon. We sought,
Drawn thither by the same unspoken thought,
The mound, where now the leaves of laurel clashed
Their dagger-points of light, around the bower,
And through the nets of leaf and elfin flower,
Cold fire, the sprinkled drops of moonshine flashed.

Erelong in Ernest's hand the volume lay,
(I did not need a second time to ask,)
And he resumed the intermitted task.
This night, dear Philip, is the Poet's day,
He said: the world is one confessional:
Our sacred memories as freely fall
As leaves from o'er-ripe blossoms: we betray
Ourselves to Nature, who the tale can win
We shrink from uttering in the daylight's din.
So, Friend, come back with me a little way
Along the years, and in these records find
The sole inscriptions they have left behind.


The Poet's Journal
Copyright 1863
Ticknor and Fields, Boston