Home  »  The Sacred Poets of the Nineteenth Century  »  James Drummond Burns (1823–1864)

Alfred H. Miles, ed. The Sacred Poets of the Nineteenth Century. 1907.

By Poems. I. The Vesper Hour

James Drummond Burns (1823–1864)

(In Madeira)

A ROSY light the Eastern sky is steeping,—

The ripple on the sea has died away

To a low murmur,—and the ships are sleeping

Each on its glassy shadow in the Bay:

The young moon’s golden shell over the hill

Trembles with lustre, and the trees are still.

The air grows clearer, and her amice blue

The gentle Twilight hath about her cast,

And from her silver urn she sprinkles dew:

Silence and Sleep, twin sisters, follow fast

Her soundless sandals, and where’er she goes

Day-wearied Nature settles to repose.

Hark! the clear bell from that tall convent-tower

Hath sounded,—and, or e’er its echoes die,

Another chime hath rung the vesper hour,—

A farther and a fainter makes reply;

Till far and near the soft appeal to prayer

With music fills the undulating air.

Ye sweet-voiced bells, ring on! Though at your call

I may not breathe in prayer a creature’s name,

Yet on my heart more touching memories fall,

And ye remind me of a holier claim,—

His, whose undrooping eye alone can keep

Watch over His belovèd as they sleep.