Midnight

The dank earth reeks with three days' rain,
The phantom trees are dark and still,
Above the darkness and the hill
The tardy moon shines out again.
O heavy lethargy of pain!
O shadows of forgotten ill!

My parrot lips, when I was young,
To prove and to disprove were bold.
The mighty world has tied my tongue,
And in dull custom growing old
I leave the burning truth untold
And the heart's anguish all unsung.

Youth dies in man's benumbed soul,
Maid bows to woman's broken life,
A thousand leagues of silence roll
Between the husband and the wife.
The spirit faints with inward strife
And lonely gazing at the pole.

But how should reptiles pine for wings
Or a parched desert know its dearth?
Immortal is the soul that sings
The sorrow of her mortal birth.
O cruel beauty of the earth!
O love's unutterable stings!
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