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An August Evening in Italy

by George Gordon Byron, 1881

(Childe Harold, Canto iv. Stanzas 27–29.)

  THE MOON is up, and yet it is not night—
  Sunset divides the sky with her—a sea
  Of glory streams along the Alpine height
  Of blue Friuli’s mountains; Heaven is free
  From clouds, but of all colours seems to be
  Melted to one vast Iris of the West,
  Where the Day joins the past Eternity;
  While, on the other hand, meet Dian’s crest
Floats through the azure air—an island of the blest!

  A single star is at her side, and reigns
  With her o’er half the lovely heaven; but still
  Yon sunny sea heaves brightly, and remains
  Roll’d o’er the peak of the far Rhætian hill,
  As day and Night contending were, until
  Nature reclaim’d her order:—gently flows
  The deep-dyed Brenta, where their hues instil
  The odorous purple of a new-born rose,
Which streams upon her stream, and glass’d within it glows,

  Fill’d with the face of heaven, which, from afar,
  Comes down upon the waters; all its hues,
  From the rich sunset to the rising star,
  Their magical variety diffuse:
  And now they change; a paler shadow strews
  Its mantle o’er the mountains; parting day
  Dies like the dolphin, whom each pang imbues
  With a new colour as it gasps away,
The last still loveliest, till—’tis gone—and all is gray.

Published in Poetry of Byron

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