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"To Night"

By: Percy Shelley
by

Jordan Wightman

on 29 April 2010

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Transcript of "To Night"


Swiftly walk o'er the western wave,
Spirit of Night,
Out of the mist eastern cave,
Where all the long and lone daylight,
Thou wovest dreams of joy and fear,
Which make thee terrible and dear,
Swift be thy flight!
Wrap thy form in a mantle grey,
Star- inwrought
Blind with thine hair the eyes of day,
Kissed her until she be wearied out,
Then travel o'er city, and sea, and land,
Touching all with thine opiate wand,
Come, long sought,
When i arose and saw the dawn
I sighed for thee,
When light rode high and the dew was gone,
And noon lay heavy on flower and tree,
and the weary day turned to his rest,
Lingering, like an unloved guest,
I sighed for thee
Thy brother death came and cried,
Wouldst thou me?
Thy sweet child sleep, the filmy eyed,
Murmered like a noontide bee,
Shall i nestle near thy side,
Wouldst thou me? And I replied,
No, not thee!
Death will come when thou art dead,
Soon, too soon,
Sleep will come when thou art fled,
Of neither would I ask the boon,
I ask of thee, belived night,
Swift be thine approaching flight,
Come soon, soon First Stanza
"To Night"
The first stanza discusses dreams and their meanings. According to Dowden, in romantic poetry, dreams were meant for inward, repressed people whose only source of satisfaction was through dreaming. This is proven by the line "All the long and lone daylight" suggesting that people had enough time to dream during the day.
First Stanza cont. "Thou wovest dreams of joy and Fear" This part of the stanza talks about how people have dreams and nightmares, which brings joy or fear. Whether the dreams are good or bad, Shelley suggests that this is all the person has to hold onto which make them "terrible and dear." Second Stanza
The theme in stanza three deals with longing for dreams. "Star in-wrought" and "Blind with thine hair the eyes of day" suggests Shelley longs for it to be night time so can dream. According to Bagby, when Shelley uses the phrase "opiate wand", he is saying that Shelley used opiates to help him fall into a deep sleep so he could dream. Dreams for Shelley were long sought out. Third Stanza In stanza three, the poet talks about daylight bringing weariness. "When i arose and saw dawn, I sighed for thee." Shelley is depressed that it's daytime and he can longer dream. He says that daytime is "Lingering like and unloved guest." Fourth Stanza Death, in this stanza is referred to as daytime. The boon, which is night, is considered to be a blessing.The
fifth stanza and the first stanza contradict each other
because stanza one talks about having all day to dream while the last stanza talks about day time being
like death to a dreamer. Once again, Shelley is as awaiting night time.
boon-a timely blessing or
event
Full transcript