Behold, upon the field of Night,
Far-scattered seeds of golden light;
Nor one to wither, but anon
To bear the heaven-full harvest, Dawn.
The Dawn Star
Feed me, O morning, till the ray
That love hath kindled in the shade,
Lost in the satisfying day
Of Light’s perfection, fade.
In ashes from the wasted fires of noon,
Aweary of the light,
Comes Evening, a tearful novice, soon
To take the veil of night.
Like Ruth, she follows where the reaper Day
Lets fall the slender shadows in her way;
Then—winnowing the darkness—home again,
She counts her golden grain.
We know thee not, save that when thou art gone,
Thy sister, Beauty, follows in thy train,
Leaving the soul in exile till the dawn
Come with the gift of franchisement again.
For a recitation, click the play button:
“Stars”: Poems, p. 42; Poetry, p. 334. 1894.
“The Dawn Star”: Later Poems, p. 93; Poetry, p. 335. 1910. The Dawn Star: the planet Venus, often called the Morning Star or Dawn Star during the periods when it is brightest just before sunrise.
“The Postulant”: Lyrics, p. 137; Poetry, p. 332. December 1893. A postulant is a candidate for membership in a religious order; a novice has advanced from postulancy and taken temporary vows, but is not yet a full, permanent member of the order; to take the veil is to enter a convent or to become a nun.
“Twilight”: Later Lyrics, p. 127; Poetry, p. 336. January 1889. This poem personifies the evening twilight according to the Old Testament story of Ruth gleaning the fields, Ruth 2:1-9; the stars of night are her golden grain.
“Light”: Lyrics, p. 148; Poetry, p. 332. 1897. Franchisement means entitlement to the rights of residents, or perhaps residence itself, to be contrasted with exile, meaning banishment or absence.