translated from the Hebrew by Emma Lazarus

Night, and the heavens beam serene with peace, 
Like a pure heart benignly smiles the moon.
Oh, guard thy blessed beauty from mischance, 
This I beseech thee in all tender love. 
See where the Storm his cloudy mantle spreads, 
An ashy curtain covereth the moon. 
As if the tempest thirsted for the rain, 
The clouds he presses, till they burst in streams. 
Heaven wears a dusky raiment, and the moon
Appeareth dead—her tomb is yonder cloud, 
And weeping shades come after, like the people 
Who mourn with tearful grief a noble queen. 
But look! the thunder pierced night’s close-linked mail,
His keen-tipped lance of lightning brandishing;
He lovers like a seraph-conqueror.—
Dazed by the flaming splendor of his wings, 
In rapid flight as in a whirling dance, 
The black cloud-ravens hurry scared away. 
So, though the powers of darkness chain my soul, 
My heart, a hero, chafes and breaks its bonds. 

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on May 18, 2024, by the Academy of American Poets.