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English Poetry II: From Collins to Fitzgerald.
The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.

Percy Bysshe Shelley

503. To the Night

SWIFTLY walk over 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 sigh’d for thee;

When light rode high, and the dew was gone,

And noon lay heavy on flower and tree,

And the weary Day turn’d to his rest

Lingering like an unloved guest,

I sigh’d for thee.

Thy brother Death came, and cried

Wouldst thou me?

Thy sweet child Sleep, the filmy-eyed,

Murmur’d like a noon-tide 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, belovéd Night—

Swift be thine approaching flight,

Come soon, soon!