Night was published in the anthology, The Oxford Book of English Verse (1900), compiled by the author Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch.
SWIFTLY walk o'er the western wave,
        Spirit of Night!
Out of the misty eastern cave,—
Where, all the long and lone daylight,
Thou wovest dreams of joy and fear
Which make thee terrible and dear,—
        Swift be thy flight!

Wrap thy form in a mantle grey,
Blind with thine hair the eyes of Day;
Kiss her until she be wearied out.
Then wander o'er city and sea and land,
Touching all with thine opiate wand—
        Come, long-sought!

When I arose and saw the dawn,
        I sigh'd for thee;
When light rode high, and the dew was gone,
And noon lay heavy on flower and tree,
And the weary Day turn'd to his rest,
Lingering like an unloved guest,
        I sigh'd for thee.

Thy brother Death came, and cried,
        'Wouldst thou me?'
Thy sweet child Sleep, the filmy-eyed,
Murmur'd like a noontide bee,
'Shall I nestle near thy side?
Wouldst thou me?'—And I replied,
        'No, not thee!'

Death will come when thou art dead,
        Soon, too soon—
Sleep will come when thou art fled.
Of neither would I ask the boon
I ask of thee, beloved Night—
Swift be thine approaching flight,
        Come soon, soon!


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Return to the Percy Bysshe Shelley library , or . . . Read the next poem; Ode to the West Wind

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