SWEET solace of the dark and dreary hour,
When active mind eludes the bond of sleep;
When brooding MEMORY would exert her power,
To make FATE’s victim mournful vigils keep.
Blest was the night, when from her leafy throne,
The wandering GLOW-WORM gave the hint of thee,
Yielding a joy to ACHMED long unknown,
A new delight to HEALTH and LIBERTY.
This wild recess by ART commodious made,
Secured from damps, and screen’d from wintry wind,
Ev’n noon-day radiance would in vain pervade,
Yet MIDNIGHT, smiling, throws her glooms behind.
In vain her shadowy train to caverns fly,
Whilst beams around the MOON’s mild cheerful light:
More clear, more lovely, beams thy lucid eye
To me, than all the lustrous orbs of night.
No more the hideous bat, on fiend-like wing,
Shall hold with cries obscene his orgies here;
No more the bird of night his dirges sing,
To demon powers, or scream on ACHMED’s ear.
In beetled forms those demon powers, no more
With ceaseless whirl shall break my calm repose,
Nor, darkling to my anguish’d soul restore
The direful register of distant woes.
Ye sluggish hours, oppress’d with wintry gloom,
’Mid your chill horrors sinks the languid frame:
Deep throbs the heart, as tho’ impending doom
Hung in dank vapour o’er my vital flame.
Such often was the lonely exile’s state,
Ere heaven-born PEACE could soothe his soul to rest;
Ere thy bright presence thus could compensate
The loss of many a joy his youth possest.
For ah! one comfort in the hour of ill,
One soothing FRIEND when FORTUNE adverse proves,
Beside this grot, the pure, tho’ scanty rill,
Outweighs the world’s false smile, its joys, and loves.
Here might the idly great, abash’d, survey
Of needful industry th’ untutor’d skill,
The rush work curtain, and the slender spray,
Rudely entwined, but use-directed still.
There might they see the wicker-woven door
Closing the entrance of my inmost cell;
The moss-form’d bed, the smooth-compacted floor,
Where LUXURY’s self might inly sigh to dwell.
There, often too, thy rays, blest LAMP! diffuse
Their cheering influence thro’ the wakeful night,
Nor will the soothing power of sleep refuse
To smile complacent on thy sober light.
Ne’er may the wintry gust’s unhallow’d breath
Consign thy transient beam to darkness and to death.