A Song for the Night by Daniel Henry Deniehy

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O the Night, the Night, the solemn Night,
   When Earth is bound with her silent zone,
And the spangled sky seems a temple wide,
   Where the star-tribes kneel at the Godhead's throne;
O the Night, the Night, the wizard Night,
   When the garish reign of day is o'er,
And the myriad barques of the dream-elves come
   In a brightsome fleet from Slumber's shore!
      O the Night for me,
      When blithe and free,
Go the zephyr-hounds on their airy chase;
      When the moon is high
      In the dewy sky,
And the air is sweet as a bride's embrace!

O the Night, the Night, the charming Night!
   From the fountain side in the myrtle shade,
All softly creep on the slumbrous air
   The waking notes of the serenade;
While bright eyes shine 'mid the lattice-vines,
   And white arms droop o'er the sculptured sills,
And accents fall to the knights below,
   Like the babblings soft of mountain rills.
      Love in their eyes,
      Love in their sighs,
Love in the heave of each lily-bright bosom;
      In words so clear,
      Lest the listening ear
And the waiting heart may lose them.

O the silent Night, when the student dreams
   Of kneeling crowds round a sage's tomb;
And the mother's eyes o'er the cradle rain
   Tears for her baby's fading bloom;
O the peaceful Night, when stilled and o'er
   Is the charger's tramp on the battle plain,
And the bugle's sound and the sabre's flash,
   While the moon looks sad over heaps of slain;
      And tears bespeak
      On the iron cheek
Of the sentinel lonely pacing,
      Thoughts which roll
      Through his fearless soul,
Day's sterner mood replacing.

O the sacred Night, when memory comes
   With an aspect mild and sweet to me,
But her tones are sad as a ballad air
   In childhood heard on a nurse's knee;
And round her throng fair forms long fled,
   With brows of snow and hair of gold,
And eyes with the light of summer skies,
   And lips that speak of the days of old.
      Wide is your flight,
      O spirits of Night,
By strath, and stream, and grove,
      But most in the gloom
      Of the Poet's room
Ye choose, fair ones, to rove.

First published in The Bulletin, 18 May 1895;
and later in
An Anthology of Australian Verse edited by Bertram Stevens, 1907; and
A Treasury of Colonial Poetry, 1982.

Author: Daniel Henry Deniehy (1828-1865) was born in Sydney, the son of parents who had both been transported convicts.  He studied law and was admitted as a solicitor in 1851.  He published his first literary work, a novelette, in 1845 and his love of literature and poetry continued to grow.  As did his interest in politics, which resulted in being elected to the NSW Parliament in 1857.  His parliamentary career was only short, ending in 1860, and Deniehy and his family moved to Melbourne in 1862 where he edited the Victorian.  After the failure of the paper in April 1864 he returned to Sydney but soon moved to Bathurst in an attempt to resurrect his legal practice. Deniehy died in Bathurst in 1865 after a fall in the street resulted in a major head injury. 

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on May 18, 2011 7:47 AM.

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