Percy Bysshe Shelley

Aug. 4, 1792 - July 8, 1822


To Night

by Percy Bysshe Shelley


Swiftly walk o'er the western wave,
Spirit of Night!
Out of the misty eastern cave,
Where, all the long and lone daylight,
Thou wovest dreams of joy and fear,
Which make thee terrible and dear, --
Swift be thy flight!


Wrap thy form in a mantle gray,
Blind with thine hair the eyes of Day;
Kiss her until she be wearied out,
Then wander o'er city, and sea, and land,
Touching all with thine opiate wand --
Come, long-sought!


When I arose and saw the dawn,
I sighed for thee;
When light rode high, and the dew was gone,
And noon lay heavy on flower and tree,
And the weary Day turned to his rest,
Lingering like an unloved guest,
I sighed for thee.


Thy brother Death came, and cried,
Wouldst thou me?
Thy sweet child Sleep, the filmy-eyed,
Murmured like a noontide bee,
Shall I nestle near thy side?
Wouldst thou me? -- And I replied,
No, not thee!


Death will come when thou art dead,
Soon, too soon --
Sleep will come when thou art fled;
Of neither would I ask the boon
I ask of thee, belovèd Night --
Swift be thine approaching flight,
Come soon, soon!

Published 1824.


The Lyrics and Shorter Poems of Percy Bysshe Shelley
Copyright 1907, reprinted 1913
London: J.M. Dent and Sons, Ltd.
New York: E.P. Dutton and Co.
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