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To Night Analysis

Author: poem of Percy Bysshe Shelley Type: poem Views: 15

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Swiftly walk over the western wave,

Spirit of Night!

Out of the misty eastern cave

Where, all the long and lone daylight,

Thou wovest dreams of joy and fear,

Which make thee terrible and dear, --

Swift be thy flight!

Wrap thy form in a mantle grey,


Blind with thine hair the eyes of Day,

Kiss her until she be wearied out,

Then wander o'er city, and sea, and land,

Touching all with thine opiate wand --

Come, long-sought!

When I arose and saw the dawn,

I sighed for thee;

When light rode high, and the dew was gone,

And noon lay heavy on flower and tree,

And the weary Day turned to his rest,

Lingering like an unloved guest,

I sighed for thee.

Thy brother Death came, and cried

`Wouldst thou me?'

Thy sweet child Sleep, the filmy-eyed,

Murmured like a noontide bee

`Shall I nestle near thy side?

Wouldst thou me?' -- And I replied

`No, not thee!'

Death will come when thou art dead,

Soon, too soon --

Sleep will come when thou art fled;

Of neither would I ask the boon

I ask of thee, beloved Night --

Swift be thine approaching flight,

Come soon, soon!


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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

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In the first stanza, Percy is describing night spreading over the city. "misty eastern cave" is a reference to how the moon rises in the east.
In the second stanza, he details night spreading in more detail. He also says it causes people to sleep by touching people with an "opiate wand".
The third stanza is detailing his disdain for the day, and how tired he is. He's waiting for night and describes day as "lingering like an unloved guest."
The fourth stanza relates death to night. Death asks Percy "woulds't thou me?" (which I interpret as Would you join me?) along with "Shall I nestle near thy side?", and Percy replies with "No, not thee!" showing that he is rejecting death, or death's relation to night. It also mentions "Thy sweet Child Sleep" (notice "Sleep" is capitalized) , saying sleep is the child of night, and that death is coming whilst "the filmy-eyed, murmured like a noontide bee."
The final stanza says "Death will come when thou art dead" which has different meanings depending on who he is speaking to. If he's referring to night/day, then he is saying that when night/day is over, or "dead", then death will come. If he is talking to us, the audience then he is stating that when you're dead then death will come (It's redundant but wholly possible). The next line "Sleep will come when thou art fled" makes me believe that he was now talking to day, though. He says death will come "Soon, too soon", once more he is rejecting death. It ends with him once more awaiting the coming of night with anticipation and lack of patience.
(Posted by E.T., highschool student, any relations to this in my analysis aren't plagiarism, but I wrote them myself in order to help people find information on this poem, as I could not.)

| Posted on 2016-09-07 | by a guest

.: :.

As far i am concern, this poem is (and the poet) is indirectly pointing out to his beloved. The poet is describing her beauty by taking the support of night.
Further it describes it like it spreads on his heart (Which is his sky), and he is eager of coming her soon.
Darkness also point out to the hair of a nice girl which everyone might concern it to a beloved.
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| Posted on 2013-01-03 | by a guest

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This poem expresses the writer’s intense longing for Night and contains an invitation to her to come soon. The night has been personified. The poem is an address of welcome to Night.
The poet asks Night to spread herself rapidly over the sky. All day, Night has been weaving dreams of joy and fear in her cave. These dreams are to be seen by human beings in their sleep.
Those who see joyous dreams love Night, while those who see fearful dreams regard Night as it is terrible. The poet wants Night to come without delay and let Night establish her supremacy over the land. Let her wrap herself in a gray cloak decorated with stars, and let her wipe out the light of the day with her hair. Let her sleepy influence be felt over city, sea and land.

| Posted on 2012-03-08 | by a guest

.: :.

I think it is all about Shelley wanting night time to just hurry up and arrive. Asking it to "swiftly walk over the western wave" just gives it away, since that is where the night comes from.
The "thou wovest dreams... Dear,-" bit shows how much dreaming (therefore night time, since you sleep at night) entertains him, and he can't wait for his dreams so he then begs again "swift be thy flight"
He then goes on about wrapping the world in darkness with stars up above... And then how the night puts everyone to sleep (opiate wand bit, opium makes you sleepy)
After he's done explaining how awesome night is, he then expresses how dissapointing day time is for him. "Lingering like an unloved guest" is a very good similie for this situation. As you'd expect, you want unloved guests to seave ASAP, but unfortunately they are guests, and therefore must leave at their own disgression (the norm for the 1800's)
Then he writes on about how death is similar to night time. He does not wanna die so soon, as shown in the last verse. But since he loves to sleep at night so much, being dead will most likely be a relief.
Ironic, since he only lived for like 30 years.

| Posted on 2010-07-25 | by a guest

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This poem is talking about how he loves a girl who is dead. His wife. How he cant live without her. He is nothing without this girl. not how he longs for the night. night represents death. dark, cold. you know! This pom is great.

| Posted on 2010-01-07 | by a guest

.: :.

here shelley is saying about how much he yearns for the night time

| Posted on 2009-11-05 | by a guest

.: :.

Swiftly walk over the western wave,
Spirit of Night!
Out of the misty eastern cave
Where, all the long and lone daylight,
Thou wovest dreams of joy and fear,
Which make thee terrible and dear, --
Swift be thy flight!

| Posted on 2008-09-28 | by a guest

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