Nox Oculis

Sarah Williams (1837-1868)

Blinded by the Light

    Look Ma,
    What's that star ?
    It's just a passing plane.
    Grandma sighs so sadly,
    The nights just aren't the same ;
    I'm sure they used to be darker ;
    Wonder filled the skies ;
    Where have all the stars gone ?
    Could it be my failing eyes ?
    Too many of our children
    Haven't known a true dark night ;
    Will they ever see the beauty
    We're losing to the light ?

    Sarah Williams

The Old Astronomer to his Pupil

    Reach me down my Tycho Brahe, I would know him when we meet,
    When I share my later science, sitting humbly at his feet ;
    He may know the law of all things, yet be ignorant of how
    We are working to completion, working on from then to now.

    Pray remember that I leave you all my theory complete,
    Lacking only certain data for your adding, as is meet,
    And remember men will scorn it, 'tis original and true,
    And the obloquy of newness may fall bitterly on you.

    But, my pupil, as my pupil you have learned the worth of scorn,
    You have laughed with me at pity, we have joyed to be forlorn,
    What for us are all distractions of men's fellowship and smiles ;
    What for us the Goddess Pleasure with her meretricious smiles !

    You may tell that German College that their honor comes too late,
    But they must not waste repentance on the grizzly savant's fate.
    Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light ;
    I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.

    Sarah Williams, dans Best Loved Poems of the American People (1936), pages 613-614

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