Of Ethiop Night are sparkling, O! ye sprites
That watch our slumbers, weave delicious dreams
and wind them round our souls!
O! let the breeze be soft, and bid it bring
Delightful visions on its noiseless wing;
That when half sunk in dark forgetfulness
My mind may catch some moments sorrowless,
And find that bliss in sleep, which waking life
Denies the spirit in this world of strife.
Send a fair seraph to my pillow. Night!
Wrapt in a mantle of transparent light.
And thy command unto that spirit be
to weave a dream of happiness for me;
Or disentangle from the coils of thought
those blest realities, which once were wrought
By some unearthly, but sweet pitying power.
And placed before me in no dreaming hour.
They've fled for ever; but fond Memory
Keeps of the past a potent, mystic key,
And opes its portal, and holds up a lamp
To light its chambers dismal, drear, and damp.
Ah! in those caverns of Cimmerian gloom
Whose darkness dims the midnight of the tomb,
How many shapes of loveliness there be.
Which made us once forget that misery
Had in this earth existence, save in sound —
But being gone, we to our grief have found
That there is nothing in the garish day
Save woe eternal, which the sun's bright ray
Brings to our aching hearts and throbbing sight.
But we again forget them when 'tis night
O! bid an angel minstrel on a beam
Of bright Arcturus glide, and pour his stream
Of heavenly melody to soothe my rest.
And lull th' undying worm within my breast
Or, let a magic dream at thy command
Bear me upon its wing to Fairy land.
That with Titania in a flowret's bell
Like its own balmy odour I may dwell.
And wake its scent, and bid it wander far
With a sweet message to some island star.
Which floats upon that azure pathless sea.
Wafted by angels' sighs of ecstasy!
Or, if perchance so favored by the dream
I would (if to my mind it well might seem)
Ride with King Oberon upon a ray.
Which in its earthward flight tiad lost its way.
Or on a waving bridge of gossamer
Which, with their dying sighs, the breezes stir.
I'd walk from leaf to leaf, or seek the bower
Where youthful lovers while the midnight hour.
And I would steal with swift, but noiseless feet
Upon the boughs o'er-head, to hear the beat
Of their impassioned hearts between each close
Of their enraptured speech — and when Repose
Had locked them in its arms. I'd sit and sing
The sweetest strain that ever fay might bring
From elfin bower, or cave, or ocean-shell.
Or wheresoe'er soft Music loves to dwell!
Or I might scare the cricket that would shake
The diamond dew which falls on bush, and brake—
A heavenly boon upon a darksome spot,
Like joy unto a heart that feels it not! —
Let morning find me thus; and when the sun
Springs gaily forth with plumes of light to run
Like a young ardent spirit, a bright race,
And earth the mask of darkness from her face
Flings off — then must I wake to grief and pain,
And suffer ills — until thou com'st again.