Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


To Night

                       I
Swiftly walk o'er the western wave,
            Spirit of the 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!

                       II
Wrap thy form in a mantle gray,
            Star-inwrought!
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!

                       III
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.

                       IV
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!

                       V
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!

Credit


This poem is in the public domain.

Author


Percy Bysshe Shelley

Percy Bysshe Shelley, whose literary career was marked with controversy due to his views on religion, atheism, socialism, and free love, is known as a talented lyrical poet and one of the major figures of English romanticism. 

Date Published: 1821-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/night-0