TK/B/B: Byron, night person.

I’ve recently had my attention drawn to Caterina Fake’s tidbits in defense of night people. I am, of course, a total night person, and was recently pointed to the above tidbits in the course of lamenting the fact that I’m only ever productive after ten PM. Consequently, I am now an unqualified fan of Fake’s (and also Hunch looks awesome — it’s a fancy-dancy data-intensive decisionmaking system — go see — I can’t wait for my invitation to arrive). So, on that theme, the following is from Canto 3 of Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage.

LXXXVI
It is the hush of night, and all between
Thy margin and the mountains, dusk, yet clear,
Mellow’d and mingling, yet distinctly seen,
Save darken’d Jura, whose capt heights appear
Precipitously steep; and drawing near,
There breathes a living fragrance from the shore,
Of flowers yet fresh with childhood; on the ear
Drops the light drip of the suspended oar,
Or chirps the grasshopper one good-night carol more;

LXXXVII
He is an evening reveller, who makes
His life an infancy, and sings his fill;
At intervals, some bird from out the brakes
Starts into voice a moment, then is still.
There seems a floating whisper on the hill,
But that is fancy, for the starlight dews
All silently their tears of love instill,
Weeping themselves away, till they infuse
Deep into Nature’s breast the spirit of her hues.

LXXXVIII
Ye stars! which are the poetry of heaven
If in your bright leaves we would read the fate
Of men and empires, — ’tis to be forgiven,
That in our aspirations to be great,
Our destinies o’erleap their mortal state,
And claim a kindred with you; for ye are
A beauty and mystery, and create
In us such love and reverence from afar,
That fortune, fame, power, life, have named themselves a star.

LXXXIX
All heaven and earth are still — though not in sleep,
But breathless, as we grow when feeling most;
And silent, as we stand in thoughts too deep: —
All heaven and earth are still: From the high host
Of stars, to the lull’d lake and mountain-coast,
All is concenter’d in a life intense,
Where not a beam, nor air, nor leaf is lost,
But hath a part of being, and a sense
Of that which is of all Creator and defence.

XC
Then stirs the feeling infinite, so felt,
In solitude, where we are least alone;
A truth, which through our being then doth melt
And purifies from self: it is a tone,
The soul and source of music which makes known
Eternal harmony, and sheds a charm,
Like to the fabled Cytherea’s zone,
Binding all things with beauty; — ‘twould disarm
The spectre Death, had he substantial power to harm.

XCI
Not vainly did the early Persian make
His altar the high places and the peak
Of earth-o’ergazing mountains, and thus take
A fit and unwall’d temple, there to seek
The Spirit in whose honour shrines are weak,
Uprear’d of human hands. Come, and compare
Columns and idol-dwellings, Goth or Greek,
With Nature’s realms of worship, earth and air,
Nor fix on fond abodes to circumscribe thy pray’r!

XCII
Thy sky is changed! — and such a change! Oh night,
And storm, and darkness, ye are wondrous strong,
Yet lovely in your strength, as is the light
Of a dark eye in woman! Far along,
From peak to peak, the rattling crags among
Leaps the live thunder! Not from one lone cloud,
But every mountain now hath found a tongue,
And Jura answers, through her misty shroud,
Back to the joyous Alps, who call to her aloud!

XCIII
And this is in the night: Most glorious night!
Thou wert not sent for slumber! let me be
A sharer in thy fierce and far delight, —
A portion of the tempest and of thee!
How the lit lake shines, a phosphoric sea,
And the big rain comes dancing to the earth!
And now again ’tis black, — and now, the glee
Of the loud hills shakes with its mountain-mirth,
As if they did rejoice o’er a young earthquake’s birth.

XCIV
Now, where the swift Rhone cleaves his way between
Heights which appear as lovers who have parted
In hate, whose mining depths so intervene,
That they can meet no more, though broken-hearted;
Though in their souls, which thus each other thwarted,
Love was the very root of the fond rage
Which blighted their life’s bloom and then departed:
Itself expired, but leaving them an age
Of years all winters, — war within themselves to wage.

XCV
Now, where the quick Rhone thus hath cleft his way,
The mightiest of the storms hath ta’en his stand:
For here, not one, but many, make their play,
And fling their thunder-bolts from hand to hand,
Flashing and cast around: of all the band,
The brightest through these parted hills hath fork’d
His lightnings, — as if he did understand,
That in such gaps as desolation work’d,
There the hot shaft should blast whatever therein lurk’d.

XCVI
Sky, mountain, river, winds, lake, lightnings! ye!
With night, and clouds, and thunder, and a soul
To make these felt and feeling, well may be
Things that have made me watchful; the far roll
Of your departing voices, is the knoll
Of what in me is sleepless, — if I rest.
But where of ye, oh tempests! is the goal?
Are ye like those within the human breast?
Or do ye find, at length, like eagles, some high nest?

XCVII
Could I embody and unbosom now
That which is most within me, — could I wreak
My thoughts upon expression, and thus throw
Soul, heart, mind, passions, feelings, strong or weak,
All that I would have sought, and all I seek,
Bear, know, feel, and yet breathe — into one word,
And that one word were Lightning, I would speak;
But as it is, I live and die unheard,
With a most voiceless thought, sheathing it as a sword

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