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C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

The Impeachment of Night

By Michaelangelo (1475–1564)

Translation of John Addington Symonds

WHAT time bright Phœbus doth not stretch and bend

His shining arms around this terrene sphere,

The people call that season dark and drear

Night,—for the cause they do not comprehend.

So weak is Night that if our hand extend

A glimmering torch, her shadows disappear,

Leaving her dead; like frailest gossamere,

Tinder and steel her mantle rive and rend.

Nay, if this Night be anything at all,

Sure she is daughter of the sun and earth;

This holds, the other spreads that shadowy pall.

Howbeit, they err who praise this gloomy birth,

So frail and desolate and void of mirth

That one poor firefly can her might appall.