SCULLING AT MIDNIGHT.
A darkling furlong down a leafy lane : And lo I the open valley, the river's shining reaches, The boat-house, and the abandoned rafts again.
And there my skiff lies waiting, a shallop light and slender, And strains its tether like a fretting steed :
A steed that frets and wearies for the wings that I shall
lend her, And tugs the cord, impatient to be freed. And feel the stretcher braced against my feet!
While on my cheek the night wind lays the coolness of her lip With childish kisses innocent and sweet.
The moon is high in heaven, and from her station throwing Along the stream a quivering line of light ; And down the central current so softly, swiftly flowing, I trace that silver pathway out of sight.
Here are the fields of silence, the broad, deep-bosomed meadows, Where June lies sleeping like a sleeping child.
I see the rustling zephyr that sways the poplar shadows ; I hear the myriad voices of the wild.
And o'er those moonlit spaces, and from those meadows vernal, The breeze comes fragrant with the beanflower's breath, Trefoil and honeysuckle, the gorse's bloom eternal, And snowy-petalled woodruff sweet in death.
And here by darker reaches my noiseless vessel passes, And dim backwaters, full of mystery ; Where strange, shy creatures scurry amid the flowering grasses : I see them for an instant as they flee.
Where patiently awaiting the finny prey he follows
Silent and swift, the leopard of the stream—
From his sequestered lair among its sandy hollows, The otter's eyes of shining betyl gleam.
The oak-tree boughs above me extend their leafy fingers, Like priestly hands in benediction spread; But in this green cathedral no sound of music lingers, And all its hundred choristers are fled.
Sudden! a silver prelude breaks on the woodland hushes, And thrills with passion all the listening vale ; And as I pause to hearken, from yonder thicket gushes The mellow fluting of the nightingale.
But now the earth stirs faintly in her enchanted slumber, And trembles at the impetuous kiss of morn. Beneath a rosy sunrise that drifted clouds encumber The misty fields look empty and forlorn.
And through the whispering twilight, so lovely and so eerie, When all night's homeless children seek their rest, I too, her constant lover, with languid wings and weary, Return at dawn to my forsaken nest.
EDWARD SYDNEY TYLEE.