I pass'd on my nightly path alone; No friendly form was hovering near, No friendly voice was in mine ear, But the night wind's wailing tone. On the wide drear field no autumn bloom Look'd gay, no flowret's rich perfume Was breathing incense o'er the pall Of the shrouded earth: and dark and tall And sighing to the passing breeze Stood up the gray old trees. I pass'd on my nightly path alone And my weary feet trode faintly on: I look'd around me—the desolate earth To wan and sorrowful thoughts gave birth And flung its own dark-woven stole And its damp chill breathings o'er my soul And my spirit was heavy: It is sad To look on this beautiful earth when clad In its robes of darkness; as it were But one vast chamber of the dead: A mighty mausoleum, where Nature lay shrouded: And the tread Of man gives out a hollow sound, As from a tomb. I look'd around O'er the desolate earth: there was no ray Of gladness there: I turn'd away, And look'd to the glorious heavens afar, Where the stranger orb, in his flaming car, Rode on his destined way: Like a proud and bloody conqueror, Bearing the banner of his war, Arrayed in his golden robes of fame, And crown'd with a victor's diadem. I look'd to the lovely vestal throng Of shining stars, and they smiled on me With a kind and gentle sympathy— For I have lov'd them long: From youth to manhood I have lov'd With each pure and bright divinity To hold sweet commune: I have rov'd, In boyhood's hours of glee, And since the sombre scarf of years Was over me, full many a night Beneath their canopy of light, And felt my soul grow pure and bright As I gaz'd on them: And yet it cheers My spirit, when the phantom fears Of the far future darkly rise, Like storms in autumn's mellow skies, And memories of sorrow roll, Like mountain mists, upon my soul. I lov'd them all: each one had power To chase the shades of my dark hour: Each one was dear: but yet, than all That sate within Night's regal hall,— As round some Sultan's haram throne Sit the bright dames,—more sweetly shone, To me, my own lov'd Pleiades; When glancing through the old elm trees, That proudly rear'd their leafy dome Around my boyhood's peaceful home, As the eyes of gentle sisters, they Sent down their mild and tranquil ray. When years had roll'd and on their wings Were borne away life's blossomings, Their gentle smile, serene and calm, Came o'er my heart, a healing balm. For it brought in all the glow of truth The hallow'd memories of youth.