By Richard W. Gilder

The night was dark, though sometimes a faint star
A little while a little space made bright.
The night was long, and, like an iron bar,
Lay heavy on the land: till o’er the sea
Slowly, within the east, there grew a light
Which half was starlight, and half seemed to be
The herald of a greater. The pale white
Turned slowly to pale rose, and up the height
Of heaven slowly climbed. The gray sea grew
Rose-colored like the sky. A white gull flew
Straight toward the utmost boundary of the east,
Where slowly the rose gathered and increased.
It was as on the opening of a door
By one that in his hand a lamp doth hold,
Whose flame is hidden by the garment’s fold –
The still air moves, the wide room is less dim.

More bright the east became; the ocean turned
Dark and more dark against the brightening sky –
Sharper against the sky the long sea-line.
The hollows of the breakers on the shore
Were green like leaves whereon no sun doth shine,
Though white the outer branches of the tree.
From rose to red the level heaven burned;
Then sudden, as if a sword fell from on high,
A blade of gold flashed on the horizon’s rim.

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