Oh, pleasant eventide! Clouds on the western side Grow grey and greyer hiding the warm sun: The bees and birds, their happy labours done, Seek their close nests and bide.
Screened in the leafy wood The stock-doves sit and brood: The very squirrel leaps from bough to bough But lazily; pauses; and settles now Where once he stored his food.
One by one the flowers close, Lily and dewy rose Shutting their tender petals from the moon: The grasshoppers are still; but not so soon Are still the noisy crows.
The dormouse squats and eats Choice little dainty bits Beneath the spreading roots of a broad lime; Nibbling his fill he stops from time to time And listens where he sits.
From far the lowings come Of cattle driven home: From farther still the wind brings fitfully The vast continual murmur of the sea, Now loud, now almost dumb.
The gnats whirl in the air, The evening gnats; and there The owl opes broad his eyes and wings to sail For prey; the bat wakes; and the shell-less snail Comes forth, clammy and bare.
Hark! that's the nightingale, Telling the selfsame tale Her song told when this ancient earth was young: So echoes answered when her song was sung In the first wooded vale.
We call it love and pain The passion of her strain; And yet we little understand or know: Why should it not be rather joy that so Throbs in each throbbing vein?
In separate herds the deer Lie; here the bucks, and here The does, and by its mother sleeps the fawn: Through all the hours of night until the dawn They sleep, forgetting fear.
The hare sleeps where it lies, With wary half-closed eyes; The cock has ceased to crow, the hen to cluck: Only the fox is out, some heedless duck Or chicken to surprise.
Remote, each single star Comes out, till there they are All shining brightly: how the dews fall damp! While close at hand the glow-worm lights her lamp Or twinkles from afar.
But evening now is done As much as if the sun Day-giving had arisen in the East: For night has come; and the great calm has ceased, The quiet sands have run.