Feast of the Assumption. – “A Night Prayer” By Abram Joseph Ryan

          Dark!    Dark!    Dark!
    The sun is set; the day is dead:
            Thy Feast has fled;
    My eyes are wet with tears unshed;
            I bow my head;
    Where the star-fringed shadows softly sway
            I bend my knee,
    And, like a homesick child, I pray,
            Mary, to thee.

            Dark!    Dark!    Dark!
    And, all the day — since white-robed priest
            In farthest East,
    In dawn’s first ray — began the Feast,
            I — I the least —
    Thy least, and last, and lowest child,
            I called on thee!
    Virgin! didst hear? my words were wild;
            Didst think of me?

            Dark!    Dark!    Dark!
    Alas! and no!    The angels bright,
            With wings as white
    As a dream of snow in love and light,
            Flashed on thy sight;
    They shone like stars around thee, Queen!
            I knelt afar —
    A shadow only dims the scene
            Where shines a star!

            Dark!    Dark!    Dark!
    And all day long, beyond the sky,
            Sweet, pure, and high,
    The angel’s song swept sounding by
    And when such music filled thy ear,
            Rose round thy throne,
    How could I hope that thou wouldst hear
            My far, faint moan?

            Dark!    Dark!    Dark!
    And all day long, where altars stand,
            Or poor or grand,
    A countless throng from every land,
            With lifted hand,
    Winged hymns to thee from sorrow’s vale
            In glad acclaim;
    How couldst thou hear my lone lips wail
            Thy sweet, pure name?

            Dark!    Dark!    Dark!
    Alas! and no! Thou didst not hear
            Nor bend thy ear,
    To prayer of woe as mine so drear;
            For hearts more dear
    Hid me from hearing and from sight
            This bright Feast-day;
    Wilt hear me, Mother, if in its night
            I kneel and pray?

            Dark!    Dark!    Dark!
    The sun is set, the day is dead;
            Thy Feast hath fled;
    My eyes are wet with the tears I shed;
            I bow my head;
    Angels and altars hailed thee, Queen,
            All day; ah! be
    To-night what thou hast ever been —
            A mother to me!

            Dark!    Dark!    Dark!
    Thy queenly crown in angels’ sight
            Is fair and bright;
    Ah! lay it down; for, oh! to-night
            Its jeweled light
    Shines not as the tender love-light shines,
            O Mary! mild,
    In the mother’s eyes, whose pure heart pines
            For poor, lost child!

            Dark!    Dark!    Dark!
    Sceptre in hand, thou dost hold sway
            Fore’er and aye
    In angel-land; but, fair Queen! pray
            Lay it away.
    Let thy sceptre wave in the realms above
            Where angels are;
    But, Mother! fold in thine arms of love
            Thy child afar!

            Dark!    Dark!    Dark!
    Mary, I call!    Wilt hear the prayer
            My poor lips dare?
    Yea! be to all a Queen most fair,
            Crown, sceptre, bear!
    But look on me with a mother’s eyes
            From heaven’s bliss;
    And waft to me from the starry skies
            A mother’s kiss!

            Dark!    Dark!    Dark!
    The sun is set; the day is dead;
            Her Feast has fled;
    Can she forget the sweet blood shed,
            The last words said
    That evening — “Woman! behold thy Son!
            Oh! priceless right,
    Of all His children!    The last, least one,
            Is heard to-night.