Thomas Buchanan Read

The Windy Night

Alow and aloof,

Over the roof,

How the midnight tempests howl!

With a dreary voice, like the dismal tune

Of wolves that bay at the desert moon;—

Or whistle and shriek

Through limbs that creak,

"Tu-who! tu-whit!"

They cry and flit,

"Tu-whit! tu-who!" like the solemn owl!

Alow and aloof,

Over the roof,

Sweep the moaning winds amain,

And wildly dash

The elm and ash,

Clattering on the window-sash,

With a clatter and patter,

Like hail and rain

That well nigh shatter

The dusky pane!

Alow and aloof

Over the roof,

How the tempests swell and roar!

Though no foot is astir,

Though the cat and the cur

Lie dozing along the kitchen floor,

There are feet of air

On every stair—

Through every hall,

Through every gusty door,

There's a jostle and bustle,

With a silken rustle,

Like the meeting of guests at a festival!

Alow and aloof,

Over the roof,

How the stormy tempests swell!

And make the vane

On the spire complain;

They heave at the steeple with might and main,

And burst and sweep

Into the belfry, on the bell!

They smite it so hard, and they smite it so well,

That the sexton tosses his arms in sleep,

And dreams he is ringing a funeral knell!