All night long, by a distant bell,
by Henry Van Dyke
The passing hours were notched
On the dark, while her breathing rose and fell,
And the spark of life I watched
In her face was glowing or fading, -- who could tell? --
And the open window of the room,
With a flare of yellow light,
Was peering out into the gloom,
Like an eye that searched the night.
Oh, what do you see in the dark, little window, and why do you fear?
"I see that the garden is crowded with creeping forms of fear:
Little white ghosts in the locust-tree, that wave in the night-wind's breath,
And low in the leafy laurels the larking shadow of death."
Sweet, clear notes of a waking bird
Told of the passing away
Of the dark, -- and my darling may have heard;
For she smiled in her sleep, while the ray
Of the rising dawn spoke joy without a word,
Till the splendor born in the east outburned
The yellow lamplight, pale and thin,
And the open window slowly turned
To the eye of the morning, looking in.
Oh, what do you see in the room, little window, that makes you so bright?
"I see that a child is asleep on her pillow, soft and white,
With the rose of life on her tips, and the breath of life in her breast,
And the arms of God around her as she quietly takes her rest."