Christina Rossetti: Twilight Calm

Twilight Calm

    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.