You, Andrew Marvell

By Archibald MacLeish 1892–1982 Archibald MacLeish
And here face down beneath the sun   
And here upon earth’s noonward height   
To feel the always coming on
The always rising of the night:

To feel creep up the curving east   
The earthy chill of dusk and slow   
Upon those under lands the vast   
And ever climbing shadow grow

And strange at Ecbatan the trees   
Take leaf by leaf the evening strange   
The flooding dark about their knees   
The mountains over Persia change

And now at Kermanshah the gate   
Dark empty and the withered grass   
And through the twilight now the late   
Few travelers in the westward pass

And Baghdad darken and the bridge   
Across the silent river gone
And through Arabia the edge
Of evening widen and steal on

And deepen on Palmyra’s street
The wheel rut in the ruined stone   
And Lebanon fade out and Crete
High through the clouds and overblown

And over Sicily the air
Still flashing with the landward gulls   
And loom and slowly disappear   
The sails above the shadowy hulls

And Spain go under and the shore   
Of Africa the gilded sand
And evening vanish and no more   
The low pale light across that land

Nor now the long light on the sea:

And here face downward in the sun   
To feel how swift how secretly
The shadow of the night comes on ...   



Archibald MacLeish, “You, Andrew Marvell” from Collected Poems 1917-1982. Copyright © 1985 by The Estate of Archibald MacLeish. Reprinted with the permission of Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

Source: Collected Poems 1917-1952 (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1952)

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Poet Archibald MacLeish 1892–1982

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

Subjects Travels & Journeys, Poetry & Poets, Activities, Arts & Sciences

Poetic Terms Ode, Rhymed Stanza

 Archibald  MacLeish

Biography

A poet, playwright, lawyer, and statesman, Archibald MacLeish's roots were firmly planted in both the new and the old worlds. His father, the son of a poor shopkeeper in Glasgow, Scotland, was born in 1837—the year of Victoria's coronation as Queen of England—and ran away first to London and then, at the age of eighteen, to Chicago. His mother was a Hillard, a family that, as Dialogues of Archibald MacLeish and Mark Van Doren . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Travels & Journeys, Poetry & Poets, Activities, Arts & Sciences

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

Poetic Terms Ode, Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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