The Evening Hour

Fast fades the busy weary day,
Come, Alice, lay the needle down,
Lo, gentle twilight, cool and grey,
Comes stealing o'er the coppice brown,
Comes stealing over fields and skies;
Stand with me by our cottage door
And watch the yellow moon up rise,
She never rose more bright before.

They tell us evening hours are cold,
Her skies are dim, her dews are tears,
Earth weeping that her flowers grow old;
They do not know how time endears.
They never felt the calm delight
Each year of patient love bestows,
Nor think how yonder river bright
Grows broader as it onward flows.

And we have won life's evening hour,
I see thy brow no more is smooth;
I see that time's remorseless power
Has dimm'd the golden hairs of youth.
To me, those silver locks of thine
Still shadow eyes as bright and fond
As when they deck'd the village shrine
And bound us both in holy bond.
Yes, there are charms which time that mars
All outward beauty, cannot blight;
Pale evening brings her train of stars,
And flowers smell sweetly all the night.
As sweet as in its earliest birth,
The rose still decks my cottage wall;
Still bright as stars, beside my hearth,
Soft smiles and gentle glances fall.

Round many an English household tree,
The secret lurks of joy like this,
Were woman what she ought to be,
Did man but know his proper bliss.
If clamorous discord were not heard,
Nor temper wove her evil spell,
With stern reproof and angry word,
Where soft-toned peace should love to dwell.

If kind good humour brought her smile,
And meek forbearance harbour'd there,
And ever ready love the while
Drew nigh, each lighten'd grief to share:
If faith and hope unearthly shone
Through all their tears, and lit their eyes,
If each with loving hand led on
A fellow pilgrim to the skies.

Then not in vain, o'er man and wife,
The Church had pour'd her blessing free,
Nor sought in vain in wedded life,
Types of her love and unity.
Come, Alice, lay the needle by,
And, grateful that such joys are ours,
We'll tell them o'er with brimming eye,
While stars look down on sweet night flowers.

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