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To Night
by Percy Bysshe Shelley

English Romantic poet and essayist. Shelley's best-known works include his Prometheus Unbound (1819), a lyrical drama in which Shelley expounds the cause of an imaginative revolution, his atheistic poem Queen Mab (1821), his prose essay A Defence of Poetry (1840) and The Triumph of Life, left unfinished at Shelley's death. Many of Shelley's other works were written around 1820: these include The Mask of Anarchy (1820), the poem 'Ode to the West Wind' (1819), Peter Bell the Third (1819) and the political odes 'To Liberty' and 'To Naples' (both 1820). Other works include the unfinished novella The Assassins (1814), the essay A Philosophical View of Reform (1820), and a number of pamphlets on vegetarianism and political subjects - including his An Address to the Irish People (1812) and A Letter to Lord Ellenorough (1812) - as well as an early novel Zastrozzi: A Romance (1810).


To Night
by Percy Bysshe Shelley

Swiftly walk over the western wave,
Spirit of Night!
Out of the misty eastern cave
Where, all the long and lone daylight,
Thou wovest dreams of joy and fear,
Which make thee terrible and dear, -
Swift be thy flight!

Wrap thy form in a mantle grey,
Star-inwrought!
Blind with thine hair the eyes of Day,
Kiss her until she be wearied out,
Then wander o'er city, and sea, and land,
Touching all with thine opiate wand -
Come, long-sought!

When I arose and saw the dawn,
I sighed for thee;
When light rode high, and the dew was gone,
And noon lay heavy on flower and tree,
And the weary Day turned to his rest,
Lingering like an unloved guest,
I sighed for thee.

Thy brother Death came, and cried
`Wouldst thou me?'
Thy sweet child Sleep, the filmy-eyed,
Murmured like a noontide bee
`Shall I nestle near thy side?
Wouldst thou me?' -And I replied
`No, not thee!'

Death will come when thou art dead,
Soon, too soon -
Sleep will come when thou art fled;
Of neither would I ask the boon
I ask of thee, beloved Night -
Swift be thine approaching flight,
Come soon, soon!


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