O STRANGE soft gleam, o ghostly dawn
That never brightens unto day;
Ere earth's mirk pale once more be drawn
Let us look out beyond the gray.
It is just midnight by the clock--
There is no sound on glen or hill,
The moaning linn adown its rock
Leaps, but the woods lie dark and still.
Austere against the kindling sky
Yon broken turret blacker grows;
Harsh light, to show remorselessly
Ruins night hid in kind repose!
Nay, beauteous light, nay, light that fills
The whole heaven like a dream of morn,
As waking upon northern hills
She smiles to find herself new-born,--
Strange light, I know thou wilt not stay,
That many an hour must come and go
Before the pale November day
Break in the east, forlorn and slow.
Yet blest one gleam--one gleam like this,
When all heaven brightens in our sight,
And the long night that was and is
And shall be, vanishes in light:
O blest one hour like this! to rise
And see grief's shadows backward roll;
While bursts on unaccustomed eyes
The glad Aurora of the soul.