Edward Bulwer-Lytton

The Evening Hymn of the Hours


'Through the summer day, through the weary day,
We have glided long;
Ere we speed to the Night through her portals grey,
Hail us with song!-
With song, with song,
With a bright and joyous song;
Such as the Cretan maid,
While the twilight made her bolder,
Woke, high through the ivy shade,
When the wine-god first consoled her.
From the hush'd, low-breathing skies,
Half-shut look'd their starry eyes,
And all around,
With a loving sound,
The AEgean waves were creeping:
On her lap lay the lynx's head;
Wild thyme was her bridal bed;
And aye through each tiny space,
In the green vine's green embrace
The Fauns were slily peeping-
The Fauns, the prying Fauns-
The arch, the laughing Fauns-
The Fauns were slily peeping!


Flagging and faint are we
With our ceaseless flight,
And dull shall our journey be
Through the realm of night,
Bathe us, O bathe our weary wings
In the purple wave, as it freshly springs
To your cups from the fount of light-
From the fount of light-from the fount of light,

For there, when the sun has gone down in night,
There in the bowl we find him.
The grape is the well of that summer sun,
Or rather the stream that he gazed upon,
Till he left in truth, like the Thespian youth,
His soul, as he gazed, behind him.


A cup to Jove, and a cup to Love,
And a cup to the son of Maia;
And honour with three, the band zone-free,
The band of the bright Aglaia.
But since every bud in the wreath of pleasure
Ye owe to the sister Hours,
No stinted cups, in a formal measure,
The Bromian law makes ours.
He honors us most who gives us most,
And boasts, with a Bacchanal's honest boast,
He never will count the treasure.
Fastly we fleet, then seize our wings,
And plunge us deep in the sparkling springs;
And aye, as we rise with a dripping plume,
We'll scatter the spray round the garland's bloom;
We glow-we glow,
Behold, as the girls of the Eastern wave
Bore once with a shout to the crystal cave
The prize of the Mysian Hylas,
Even so-even so,
We have caught the young god in our warm embrace
We hurry him on in our laughing race;
We hurry him on, with a whoop and song,
The cloudy rivers of night along-
Ho, ho!-we have caught thee, Psilas! 

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