Selections from the American poets
William Cullen Bryant

THE LIGHT OF STARS.

THE night is come, but not too soon;
And sinking silently,
All silently, the little moon
Drops down behind the sky.
There is no light in earth or heaven
But the cold light of stars;
And the first watch of night is given
To the red planet Mars.
Is it the tender star of love?
The star of love and dreams?
Oh no! from that blue tent above,
A hero's armour gleams.
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And earnest thoughts within me rise,
When I behold afar,
Suspended in the evening skies,
The shield of that red star.
Oh star of strength! I see thee stand
And smile upon my pain;
Thou beckonest with thy mailed hand,
And I am strong again.
Within my breast there is no light
But the cold light of stars:
I give the first watch of the night
To the red planet Mars.
The star of the unconquer'd will,
He rises in my breast,
Serene, and resolute, and still,
And calm, and self-possess'd.
And thou, too, whosoe'er thou art,
That readest this brief psalm,
As one by one thy hopes depart,
Be resolute and calm.
Oh, fear not in a world like this,
And thou shalt know ere long,
Know how sublime a thing it is
To suffer and be strong.