Orion, and Other Poems

by Charles G.D. Roberts


 

ODE TO NIGHT


 

I

THE noon has dried thy dewdrops from my wings,
    My spirit’s wings, so they no longer soar;
       And, drooping more and more,
I pant, O Night, for thy soft whisperings
    Of bounteous blessings which thou hast in store                            

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       For me, and all who serve thee with due rites;
Not with a riotous loose merriment,
       That thy soft wrath excites;
But with sweet yielding to thy lavishment
Of warm syringa-scented breathings, blent                                      
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       With trancéd draughts of subtle-souled delights.

II

Low-sighing zephyr, pulsing from the west,
    Before thee sheds earth-purifying dew,
       As priests were wont to do
With lustral waters, ere the victims, dressed                                    

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For sacrifice, felt the keen-searching knife.
Then, thy light-fingered forager, and rife
    With thefts from all lush odors and sweet sounds,
       He drowses on thy skirt;
Whilst thou, breast-full of new, sweet milk of life,                            
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    Loosest the robe thy bounteous bosom bounds,
       With heart’s-ease blooms and marigolds begirt.

III

Dear goddess, come. Thy feather-sandalled feet
    Tread out the dying crimsons of the day,
       Whose warm, red-spirted spray                                              

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I’ll find soft-changed to flushes rosy sweet,
Dowered by thee to my love’s lips and cheeks:
My love, with whom is covert from the freaks
    Of Folly, so heart-vexing through the light,
       With whom a safe retreat,                                                        
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In whose dusk bower sour Envy never speaks,
    Nor poison drips from venomed fangs of Spite;
       Thither, dear Night, we’ll haste on happy feet.