The Night of the Dance

The cold moon hangs to the sky by its horn,
      And centres its gaze on me;
The stars, like eyes in reverie,
Their westering as for a while forborne,
      Quiz downward curiously.

Old Robert draws the backbrand in,
      The green logs steam and spit;
The half-awakened sparrows flit
From the riddled thatch; and owls begin
      To whoo from the gable-slit.

Yes; far and nigh things seem to know
      Sweet scenes are impending here;
That all is prepared; that the hour is near
For welcomes, fellowships, and flow
      Of sally, song, and cheer;

That spigots are pulled and viols strung;
      That soon will arise the sound
Of measures trod to tunes renowned;
That She will return in Love’s low tongue
      My vows as we wheel around.

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