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TO A NIGHT HAWK.

BY J. W. STEBBINS.

BIRD of the noiseless night!
While life is folded to a silent sleep,
I sit beneath thy solitary flight,

In revery deep.

I hail thee, fiend of air !
As through the shadows of the mystic hour,
Thy form appears in rushing freedom there,

From tree or tower.

Or from some mountain cave,
Forgotten by the day, as thou dost rise,
Like solemn vision from a secret grave,

To range the skies.

And while in circling motion,
Upwheeling calmly on thy phantom wings;
With thee in deep dispassionate devotion,

My spirit springs !

It mounts with thee, fleet minion
Of evening wild, as thy nocturnal form
Is wafting on the north-wind's clouded pinion,

Like threatening storm.

Poised high-and higher now
In thy ethereal life so still and far;
Thou seem'st to me on night's impending brow,

Some darkling star!

And now sublimely wading
Amid the cold light that the moon doth shed,
I catch the last gleam of thy gilt wing fading-

But thou art fled !

And hark! the vault of heaven
Is dismal with the piercing cry thou hast,
That sounds like old impressive warning given

By prophets past.

Soar on—with yon high cloud,
Haunt up the starry halls of heaven together,
And from mortality's vile vision shroud,

Thyself in ether!

0! in thy strange career,
Diving through distant solitude alone;
Thou art an emblem of my spirit here,

Thou cheerless one!

For, from the revel hall,
Where pleasure glows in banquet pomp, I fly,
And seek the joy that wealth-power-honour-all-

My soul deny.

Like thee I darkly close
My spirit from the light and voice of day:
And in the breathless hour of night's repose,

Brood time away.

But thy serener path,
Through silence dead, and ether's quiet blue,
To me a holier retirement hath,

Than man e'er knew.

And could I wing thy height;
All ties which link me to the earth I'd seyer,
And floating in illimitable flight,

Ascend for ever!

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