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

Joseph Blanco White (1775–1841)

Night and Death

MYSTERIOUS Night! when our first parent knew

Thee from report divine, and heard thy name,

Did he not tremble for this lovely frame,

This glorious canopy of light and blue?

Yet ’neath the curtain of translucent dew,

Bathed in the rays of the great setting flame,

Hesperus with the host of heaven came;

And lo! creation widened in man’s view.

Who could have thought such darkness lay concealed

Within thy beams, O Sun? or who could find,

While fly and leaf and insect stood revealed,

That to such countless orbs thou mad’st us blind?

Why do we then shun death with anxious strife?—

If light can thus deceive, wherefore not life?