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Beautiful night! sombre mother of Day!
Scarcely less resplendent and delightful,
And even more mysteriously lovely!
Spectacle of wondrous magnificence!
Darkly as thy mantle wraps the fair earth,
Thou displayest, rather than concealest,
The incomparable wisdom of God!


Now, from the windows of my soul I gaze!
Pondering on thy dark sublimity
In silent thought, enraptured and amazed!
Filled with a sense of awe, and love intense,
Far--far above the dearest joys of earth!
O scene sublime!--most eloquently grand!
Thy own deep language can best picture thee;
I faint--I languish--in default of words!


Thy veil is down!--in thy maternal breast
Earth's weary children rest, and busy life
In temp'rary suspension is eclipsed!
Thy shadow dims the world, and on the homes,
And hearts of men its influence falls;
Stilling the troubled sea of human cares,
And bitter woes, in dull forgetfulness!


The beauteous moon, in solitary state,
Glides, like a saintly queen in cloister dress,
Down the still depths of her celestial course,
Ever thy faithful and most ready friend,
To watch thy steps and mitigate thy gloom!
How silv'ry bright her pure and placid beams!
Of fairest lamps, most exquisitely fair!
How like angelic virtue looks she down,
Smiling benignant on a sleeping world!


Far gleam the starry hosts, a countless throng
Of matchless splendour, magnitude, and light!
Swift bowling though the fields of space they whirl,
In mute obedience to the Infinite,
And brightest shine when thou art all alone!
Yon lacteous zone, that, like a jewelled robe,
Scarfs the fair bosom of Immensity,
As if to veil the beauty else too bright,
Passes man's pow'rs of sight to penetrate,
Or mind to comprehend! An arc of deep,
Unfathomable mystery! A blaze
That on thy melancholy gloom soft sheds
A tender light, and, through thy tow'ring plume,
Flashes pale waves of everburning fires,
Making thy depth of darkness all sublime!
What eye enkindled can such glory view?
What mind withhold its tribute of applause?
Or be indiff'rent to the lavish wealth
With such profusion scattered o'er the heav'ns,
Alone be held through the transparent shade?
How limit its extent? or calculate
The sum of such amazing multitudes?
How weigh one atom of those dazzling sands
That, like a sea of gems, unceasing roll
In circling billows through eternity?
Studding the velvet of thy sable train
With regal splendour and magnificence?
How contemplate, and not exalted, glow
At revelation so astonishing--
So full of wisdom and sublimity?
How gaze, and not with rev'rence bow the head
In awe of Him, whose altars, thus alight,
Proclaim the presence of the Deity?


Thy mission is not lonely, lovely Night!
But full of sweet companionship in toil.
Wisdom, Mercy, Love, are thy handmaidens;
Minist'ring angels of thy tender care!
Wrapping all weary nature in repose,
Thy soft, refreshing dews they gently strew
Upon the thirsty plains and fainting herbs;
Soothe the spent pow'rs of laborious man,
And bind his giant energies in sleep;
Building the structures of his teeming brain,
With fancy toys, in sweet delusive dreams;
In which his vengeful passions are subdued!
His envy, hatred, malice, disappear!
His love and disappointment sting no more!
His joys and sorrows melt to shapeless mist!
His aim, and his existence, are forgot!