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Short poem

Joseph Blanco White (1775-1841)

To Night

              1Mysterious Night! when our first parent knew
              2Thee from report divine, and heard thy name,
              3Did he not tremble for this lovely frame,
              4This glorious canopy of light and blue?
              5Yet 'neath a curtain of translucent dew,
              6Bathed in the rays of the great setting flame,
              7Hesperus with the host of heaven came,
              8And lo! Creation widened in man's view.
              9Who could have thought such darkness lay concealed
            10Within thy beams, O Sun! or who could find,
            11Whilst fly and leaf and insect stood revealed,
            12That to such countless orbs thou mad'st us blind!
            13Why do we then shun death with anxious strife?
            14If Light can thus deceive, wherefore not Life?


1] Dedicated to Coleridge.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: The Bijou; or, Annual of Literature and the arts (London: W. Pickering, 1828). AP 4 B4 Robarts Library.
First publication date: 1828
RPO poem editor: J. D. Robins
RP edition: 2RP.2.148; RPO 1996-2000.
Recent editing: 2:2002/1/30

Form: sonnet
Rhyme: abbaabbacdcdee

Other poems by Joseph Blanco White