Beautiful Night


A golden moon hung low upon the sea.
The hills were yellow where they turned their slopes,
But black upon the farther darkened side
Shrouded in wet black mist that crept upon
Their rugged faces where they dipped their feet
Into the ever-murmuring ocean.
Here was a mellowness, a holy night,
This night below the great low golden moon.
The sea replete just murmured drowsily
And snuggled up into the loving arms
Of Heav’n’s own island and there fell asleep.
Our lantern case a warm and ruddy glow
On daisies and on clover at our feet.
Cockchafer beetles came to us from out the dark
Of woodland shadows like fat furry blots
And passed us by with a low sudden drone
That faded after them into the night,
And darkness swallowed them. The glimmering sheep,
Not folded on this warm autumnal night,
Still cropped with patient jaws near where we trod
The blades of upland grass which now were wet
With the night dew, of which the drops shone red
Like rubies in the lantern beam. That night,
So mystic and so gentle, so divine,
Can never be forgotten. ‘Twas a night
When elves may dance and call the mushrooms up,
When the deep glens are full of hidden life,
When the Phynoderee gets up to work
At reaping and at churning. Such a night
As this comes all too rarely upon earth
To buoy the heart with promise of a day
That will from pain be free, and human guilt.
On such a night as this can spectres walk
In a triumphant mood, quite regally,
Not as fearful gruesome company,
But clad in filmy clouds and wreaths of gauze
Through which the moonbeams shine, casting around
Their slender forms a halo, and a crown
Upon their heads. And voices of those, loved
Once upon earth and now departed, sigh
Gently into our hearts; their faces smile
Sad smiles but sweet. And, oh, the whole world
Is but a mirage and its lovely shapes
A passing show. The farm lane sleeps; the gate
Makes drowsy protest as upon its hinge
It swings to let us in the garden plot
Where sleeps the rose in beds of mint and weed.
Only the hills are wakeful, and the moon.
We sleep at last, wrapped in this glorious night!

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