The sun swims down, in golden splendour clad,
And earth prepares the coming night to meet;
The night urged on by twilight’s hurrying feet.
Wanes in the western sky the glow it had.
Soon in the paling vault hangs trembling there
Alone in all the wide expanse of heaven,
A little star to which is glamour given,
And in its wake the other start appear.
Oh, little lamp, thou art a pioneer,
A pioneer in an unknown land,
Beset by worlds unknown on either hand.
Whilst men upon this earth, this crusted sphere,
Raise monuments to great discoverers,
There’s none for thee in all the universe,
Save that thou raisest by thy body bright,
Hung high amid the other darkened orbs
Which seem, by thee, as tawdry tinsel daubs
Around thee swarming as the moths round light!
And moths they are, for while draws on the night
They singe their wings and fall away in dread,
And when the morning comes, what are they? Dead.
But thou art still alive, star of delight.
Thus, thus they come, we know, the whole world o’er
To live reflected in another’s glow,
Sink to obscurity then, dark and low.
No longer ‘bove the heads of rank to soar,
Burned are their hopes and all they held most dear –
Still dost thou shine, O twinkling pioneer!