Poems: Patriotic, Religious

Author: Abram Joseph Ryan

Feast of the Assumption

"A Night Prayer"

Dark! Dark! Dark!
The sun is set; the day is dead:
Thy Feast has fled;
My eyes are wet with tears unshed;
I bow my head;
Where the star-fringed shadows softly sway
I bend my knee,
And, like a homesick child, I pray,
Mary, to thee.

Dark! Dark! Dark!
And, all the day — since white-robed priest
In farthest East,
In dawn’s first ray — began the Feast,
I — I the least —
Thy least, and last, and lowest child,
I called on thee!
Virgin! didst hear? my words were wild;
Didst think of me?

Dark! Dark! Dark!
Alas! and no! The angels bright,
With wings as white
As a dream of snow in love and light,
Flashed on thy sight;
They shone like stars around thee, Queen!
I knelt afar —
A shadow only dims the scene
Where shines a star!

Dark! Dark! Dark!
And all day long, beyond the sky,
Sweet, pure, and high,
The angel’s song swept sounding by
And when such music filled thy ear,
Rose round thy throne,
How could I hope that thou wouldst hear
My far, faint moan?

Dark! Dark! Dark!
And all day long, where altars stand,
Or poor or grand,
A countless throng from every land,
With lifted hand,
Winged hymns to thee from sorrow’s vale
In glad acclaim;
How couldst thou hear my lone lips wail
Thy sweet, pure name?

Dark! Dark! Dark!
Alas! and no! Thou didst not hear
Nor bend thy ear,
To prayer of woe as mine so drear;
For hearts more dear
Hid me from hearing and from sight
This bright Feast-day;
Wilt hear me, Mother, if in its night
I kneel and pray?

Dark! Dark! Dark!
The sun is set, the day is dead;
Thy Feast hath fled;
My eyes are wet with the tears I shed;
I bow my head;
Angels and altars hailed thee, Queen,
All day; ah! be
To-night what thou hast ever been —
A mother to me!

Dark! Dark! Dark!
Thy queenly crown in angels’ sight
Is fair and bright;
Ah! lay it down; for, oh! to-night
Its jeweled light
Shines not as the tender love-light shines,
O Mary! mild,
In the mother’s eyes, whose pure heart pines
For poor, lost child!

Dark! Dark! Dark!
Sceptre in hand, thou dost hold sway
Fore’er and aye
In angel-land; but, fair Queen! pray
Lay it away.
Let thy sceptre wave in the realms above
Where angels are;
But, Mother! fold in thine arms of love
Thy child afar!

Dark! Dark! Dark!
Mary, I call! Wilt hear the prayer
My poor lips dare?
Yea! be to all a Queen most fair,
Crown, sceptre, bear!
But look on me with a mother’s eyes
From heaven’s bliss;
And waft to me from the starry skies
A mother’s kiss!

Dark! Dark! Dark!
The sun is set; the day is dead;
Her Feast has fled;
Can she forget the sweet blood shed,
The last words said
That evening — "Woman! behold thy Son!
Oh! priceless right,
Of all His children! The last, least one,
Is heard to-night.


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Chicago: Abram Joseph Ryan, "Feast of the Assumption," Poems: Patriotic, Religious, ed. Keil, Heinrich, 1822-1894 and trans. Seaton, R. C. in Poems: Patriotic, Religious (New York: George E. Wood, 1850), Original Sources, accessed June 19, 2024, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=3W2YZGZTE9LGC4S.

MLA: Ryan, Abram Joseph. "Feast of the Assumption." Poems: Patriotic, Religious, edited by Keil, Heinrich, 1822-1894, and translated by Seaton, R. C., in Poems: Patriotic, Religious, New York, George E. Wood, 1850, Original Sources. 19 Jun. 2024. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=3W2YZGZTE9LGC4S.

Harvard: Ryan, AJ, 'Feast of the Assumption' in Poems: Patriotic, Religious, ed. and trans. . cited in 1850, Poems: Patriotic, Religious, George E. Wood, New York. Original Sources, retrieved 19 June 2024, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=3W2YZGZTE9LGC4S.