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Phoebe Cary (1824-1871)

"The Day is Done"


              1The day is done, and darkness
              2    From the wing of night is loosed,
              3As a feather is wafted downward
              4    From a chicken going to roost.

              5I see the lights of the baker
              6    Gleam through the rain and mist,
              7And a feeling of sadness comes o'er me,
              8    That I cannot well resist.

              9A feeling of sadness and longing,
            10    That is not like being sick,
            11And resembles sorrow only
            12    As a brick-bat resembles a brick.

            13Come, get for me some supper, --
            14    A good and regular meal,
            15That shall soothe this restless feeling,
            16    And banish the pain I feel.

            17Not from the pastry's baker's,
            18    Not from the shops for cake,
            19I wouldn't give a farthing
            20    For all that they can make.

            21For, like the soup at dinner,
            22    Such things would but suggest
            23Some dishes more substantial,
            24    And to-night I want the best.

            25Got to some honest butcher,
            26    Whose beef is fresh and nice
            27As any they have in the city,
            28    And get a liberal slice.

            29Such things through days of labor,
            30    And nights devoid of ease,
            31For sad and desperate feelings
            32    Are wonderful remedies.

            33They have an astonishing power
            34    To aid and reinforce,
            35And come like the "Finally, brethern,"
            36    That follows a long discourse

            37Then get me a tender sirloin
            38    From off the bench or hook,
            39And lend to its sterling goodness
            40    The silence of the cook.

            41And the night shall be filled with comfort,
            42    And the cares with which it begun
            43Shall fold up their blankets like Indians,
            44    And silently cut and run.

Notes

1] Cf. Henry Wadworth Longfellow's "The Day is Done":

The day is done, and the darkness
    Falls from the wings of Night,
As a feather is wafted downward
    From an eagle in his flight

I see the lights of the village
    Gleam through the rain and the mist,
And a feeling of sadness comes o'er me
    That my soul cannot resists:

A feeling of sadness and longing,
    That is not akin to pain,
And resembles sorrow only
    As the mist resembles the rain.

Come, read to me some poem,
    Some simple and heartfelt lay,
That shall soothe this restless feeling,
    And banish the thoughts of day.

Not from the grand old masters,
    Not from the bards sublime,
Whose distant footsteps echo
    Through the corridors of Time.

For, like strains of martial music,
    Their mighty thoughts suggest
Life's endless toil and endeavour;
    And to-night I long for rest.

Read from some humbler poet,
    Whose songs gushed from his heart,
As showers from the clouds of summer,
    Or tears from the eyelids start;

Who, through long days of labour,
    And nights devoid of ease,
Still heard in his soul the music
    Of wonderful melodies.

Such songs have power to quiet
    The restless pulse of care,
And come like the benediction
    That follows after prayer.

Then read from the treasured volume
    The poem of thy choice,
And lend to the rhyme of the poet
    The beauty of thy voice.

And the night shall be filled with music,
    And the cares that infest the day
Shall fold their tents, like the Arabs,
    And as silently steal away.



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: Poems of Alice and Phoebe Cary with Notes (A. L. Burt, n.d.): 120-21. York University PS 1263 A25 B8
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 2000.
Recent editing: 2:2002/3/21

Rhyme: abcb


Other poems by Phoebe Cary