Littell's Living Age/Volume 150/Issue 1943/Nightfall

For works with similar titles, see Nightfall.

Originally published in Sunday Magazine.

The hush of twilight, far and wide,
     Falls on the green and sloping meadows;
All tremulous the aspens stand,
By way-worn zephyrs lightly fanned,
Where the clear brooklet's mimic tide
     Sweeps onward to the shadows.

All day its sun-flecked ripples flow
     Through pastures strown with hay and clover;
Through lonely glens, where alders lean
To kiss the dimpled waves, unseen,
And sweet wild roses blush below
     The brambles drooping over!

By this low bridge and moss-grown fence,
     In fitful mood its music tarries;
While fluted beech-leaves wide dispread,
And circling swallows overhead
Move lightly, till each wavelet hence
     Some fair reflection carries.

Up the broad shoulders of the hills
     Soft twilight shadows climb and darken;
But on their faces, westward set,
A smile of sunset trembles yet,
And there a throstle sings, and thrills
     The world below to hearken!

Far off the cuckoo's plaintive call,
     Scarce separate from the silence lingers;
In shadowland the blossoms sleep,
Where white-robed mists arise to keep
Their nightly watch, caressing all
     With silent, dewy fingers.

The stars peep forth, the afterglow
     Fades slowly out behind the larches;
The birds are hushed — save one that seems
To chirp a little in his dreams —
When outcast breezes faintly blow
     Adown the woodland arches.

The ripples vanish, seaward drawn;
     The flowers in sleep their perfume render;
So nightly round each darkening slope,
The light is sown in patient hope,
That the rich harvest of the dawn
     May rise in golden splendor!