Collected Poems of Henry Derozio: Preface by Manu Samriti Chander; Edited by Amardeep Singh

To Night

   When the bright stars like jewels on the brow 
   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. 

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