Skip to main content
By 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)

  • Activities
  • Arts & Sciences

Poet Bio

Archibald MacLeish
Archibald MacLeish was born in Glencoe, Illinois, and attended Yale University where he was a member of the Skull and Bones secret society. After college, he enrolled at Harvard Law School, but he put his studies on hold to become first an ambulance driver and later a captain of artillery during World War I. He graduated from Harvard in 1919. MacLeish’s long and prestigious career includes several years practicing law, writing and editing for Fortune magazine, and a five-year stint as Librarian of Congress. He received numerous fellowships, grants, honorary degrees, and awards. He won three Pulitzer Prizes, including one for his verse drama, J.B.

More By This Poet

More Poems about Activities

Browse poems about Activities

More Poems about Arts & Sciences

Browse poems about Arts & Sciences