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A Hymn for Evening

Thomas Parnell 1679 (Dublin) – 1718



The beam-repelling mists arise,
And evening spreads obscurer skies;
The twilight will the night forerun,
And night itself be soon begun.
Upon thy knees devoutly bow,
And pray the Lord of glory now
To fill thy breast, or deadly sin
May cause a blinder night within.
And whether pleasing vapours rise
Which gently dim the closing eyes,
Which make the weary members bless'd
With sweet refreshment in their rest,
Or whether spirits in the brain
Dispel their soft embrace again,
And on my watchful bed I stay,
Forsook by sleep and waiting day,
Be God for ever in my view
And never He forsake me, too;
But, still as day concludes in night
To break again with new-born light,
His wondrous bounty let me find
With still a more enlighten'd mind
When grace and love in one agree,
Grace from God, and love from me,
Grace that will from heaven inspire,
Love that seals it with desire,
Grace and love that mingle beams,
And fill me with encreasing flames.
Thou that hast Thy palace far
Above the moon and every star,
Thou that sittest on a throne
To which the night was never known,
Regard my voice and make me bless'd,
By kindly granting its request.
If thoughts on Thee my soul employ,
My darkness will afford me joy,
'Till Thou shalt call, and I shall soar,
And part with darkness evermore.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Thomas Parnell

Thomas Parnell was an Anglo-Irish poet and clergyman who was a friend of both Alexander Pope and Jonathan Swift. He was the son of Thomas Parnell of Maryborough, Queen's County now Port Laoise, County Laoise}, a prosperous landowner who had been a loyal supporter of Cromwell during the English Civil War and moved to Ireland after the restoration of the monarchy. Thomas was educated at Trinity College, Dublin and collated archdeacon of Clogher in 1705. He however spent much of his time in London, where he participated with Pope, Swift and others in the Scriblerus Club, contributing to The Spectator and aiding Pope in his translation of The Iliad. He was also one of the so-called "Graveyard poets": his 'A Night-Piece on Death,' widely considered the first "Graveyard School" poem, was published posthumously in Poems on Several Occasions, collected and edited by Alexander Pope and is thought by some scholars to have been published in December of 1721 (although dated in 1722 on its title page, the year accepted by The Concise Oxford Chronology of English Literature; see 1721 in poetry, 1722 in poetry). It is said of his poetry 'it was in keeping with his character, easy and pleasing, ennunciating the common places with felicity and grace. more…

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