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Twilight Calm

by Christina Rossetti
    Oh, pleasant eventide!
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Twilight Calm

by Christina Rossetti
    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.

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