19th Century

Sun-Set (1835) | Charles Cole

The following poem was written by the radical poet Charles Cole and printed in A Poetical Address to his Grace the Duke of Wellington (1835). It has been transcribed by Stephen Basdeo.

How grand—how glorious, from a lonely height,

To view the farewell beams of fading light

To stand, serene, and feast the raptur’d eye

On splendor, streaming through the western sky!

To catch the hue of ev’ry changing ray,

Till, like the landscape, heav’n is veil’d in gray!

Is that the ocean, gorgeous to behold,

Brighten’d into a sea of molten gold?

Or vapor, burnish’d in the sun-set glow,

Fill’d with the tints of heav’n’s aeriel bow?

Those purple masses — what the mind might deem—

Transparent mountains lighted by the beam?

Or shadows all? assuming that vast form

To veil the dark proud spirit of the storm.

‘Tis vapor! see it rise — dispart — and sail

High, o’er the verge of the ethereal vale;

Glowing more faint as, tinged by milder beams,

Like fairy boats that glide on roseate streams,

Up the cerulean arch they take their way,

Faint and more faint, till Luna sheds her ray,

Upon those soft chameleons of the night,

Which shine in silver, ‘neath the silver light!

A change is in the west—the glory fades

And night, advancing, throws her sombre shades

Beyond the zenith of the darkling sky;

Earth half conceals the dazzling pageantry

Of the retiring Day-God; yet, his beams

How beautiful! Light breaks in fitful gleams,

Spreads in a blush, like that o’er parting breath,

A fatal bloom! the lighting up of Death!

And, now, the West assumes another hue,

All deep’ning into an impurpled blue;

Dark mist around the horizon is curl’d,

Like smoke above a conflagrated world,

And not a gleam appears of all that bright

Effulgence:—is the glory quench’d in night?

Oh, no! e’en now, Light sheds its dawning beams,

Awakes the blossom, and illumes the streams

Of lands, that lie afar, beneath the West,

While here the Queen of Night presides o’er realms of rest.