'Tis night—and, save the waterfall
That murmurs through the stony vale,
No sound is near the castle wall
On which the moonlight falls so pale!
There is no wind, but up on high
The clouds are passing hurriedly;
And the bright tops of tree and tow'r
Look chilly cold, although the hour
Is midtime of a summer's night,
When moon is mixt with morning light.
There is a terror o'er the scene,
As if but lately it had been
A battle-plain,—and dead and dying
Were silent in the shadows lying!
Is it within the night's lone hour—
The open vale, or closed bower—
The murmur of the distant dells,
That such wild melancholy dwells?
Is it the silvery orbs that sleep
So tranquilly in heaven's deep,
That with their silence wake the mind
To such calm sorrow—such refin'd,
And mixture sweet of joy and grief,
That makes young hearts think tears relief?
Why should the softest season bring
The mind such blissful suffering,
As oft we feel when Nature's rest
Seems most divinely—calmly blest?
Who ever roam'd on moonlit night,
And thought its beam was gaily bright?
Who ever heard a serenade,
With ev'n a theme of lightest mirth,
But melancholy echoes play'd,
And sighs within the heart had birth?
Who ever trode, in glenwood way,
The trellised shadows of the trees,
But felt come o'er his spirit's play
A mournful cadence like a breeze?—
A mingled thrill of pain and bliss—
A dream of hopes and mem'ries lost?
Oh! even happiest lovers' kiss,
By moonlight is with sadness crost!
At such an hour the gayest thing
Is sicklied o'er with pleasing sorrow:
The nightingale would gladly sing,
Were we to list its song by morrow!
Such is to-night—a soft, calm, summer night—
Dim in its beauty,—gloomy in its light!—
Breathing a peacefulness o'er vale and hill,
But in its quiet, something sadden'd still!