Night is the time for rest;
How sweet, when labors close,
To gather round an aching breast
The curtain of repose,
Stretch the tired limbs, and lay the head
Down on our own delightful bed!
Night is the time for dreams;
The gay romance of life,
When truth that is, and truth that seems,
Blend in fantastic strife;
Ah! visions, less beguiling far
Than waking dreams by daylight are!
Night is the time for toil;
To plough the classic field,
Intent to find the buried spoil
Its wealthy furrows yield;
Till all is ours that sages taught,
That poets sang, or heroes wrought.
Night is the time to weep;
To wet with unseen tears
Those graves of Memory, where sleep
The joys of other years;
Hopes, that were Angels at their birth,
But perished young, like things of earth.
Night is the time to watch;
O'er ocean's dark expanse,
To hail the Pleiades, or catch
The full moon's earliest glance,
That brings into the homesick mind
All we have loved and left behind.
Night is the time for care;
Brooding on hours misspent,
To see the spectre of Despair
Come to our lonely tent;
Like Brutus, "midst his slumbering host,
Summoned to die by Caesar's ghost.
Night is the time to think;
When, from the eye, the soul
Takes flight; and, on the utmost brink,
Of yonder starry pole
Descries beyond the abyss of night
The dawn of uncreated light.
Night is the time to pray;
Our Saviour oft withdrew
To desert mountains far away;
So will his followers do, -
Steal from the throng to haunts untrod,
And hold communion there with God.
Night is the time for Death;
When all around is peace,
Calmly to yield the weary breath,
From sin and suffering cease,
Think of heaven's bliss, and give the sign
To parting friends; - such death be mine!
James Montgomery [1771-1854]