The Bengal Annual: A Digital Exploration of Non-Canonical British Romantic Literature

"Night on the Ganges" - Emma Roberts - Annotation


How calm, how lovely is the soft repose,
Of Nature sleeping in the summer night !
How sweet, how willingly, the current flows,
Beneath the stream of melted chrysolite
Spread by the Ganges' flood, —reflecting o'er
Its silvery surface,—with those countless stars,
The ingot gems of heaven's cerulean floor,
Mosques, groves, and cliffs, and pinnacled minars.

The air is fresh, and yet the evening breeze
Has died away ; so hushed, 'tis scarcely heard
To breathe amid the clustering lemon trees,
Whose snowy blossoms, by its faint sighs stirred,
Give out their perfume, and the bulbul's notes
Awake the echoes of the balmy clime ;
While from yon marble-domed pagoda floats
The music of its bell's soft, silvery chime.

Mildly, vet with resplendent beauty shines
The scene around, altho' the stars alone,
From the bright treasures of their golden mine,
A tender radiance o'er the earth have thrown.
Oh ! far more lovely are those gentle rays
With their undazzling lustre, than the beam
The sun pours down in his meridian blaze,
Lighting with diamond pomp the glittering stream.

No tint is lost amid the mantling leaves
Which clothe the river's bank; — each varying hue
The summer-noon in all its glory gives,
Adorns the peepul, mango, and bamboo.
There too, distinctly seen, though buried deep
Amid the shadows of the midnight hour,
The native huts in modest clusters peep,
Contrasting with some tall mosque's graceful tower.

With snowy vases crowned the lily springs,
In queen-like beauty by the river's brink ;
And o'er the wave the bright-leaved lotus flings,
Its roseate flowers in many a knotted link.
Oh ! when the sultry sun has sunk to rest,
When evening's soft and tender shadows rise,
How sweet the scene upon the Ganges' breast.
Beneath the star-light of its tropic skies.

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