Sway to and fro in the twilight gray;
This is the ferry for Sleepy Town;
It always sails at the end of the day,
Just as the darkness closes down.
Rest little head, on my shoulder, so;
A sleepy kiss is the only fare,
Drifting away from the world, we go,
Baby and I in the rocking-chair.
See where the fire-logs glow and spark,
Glitter the lights of the shadowland,
The raining drops on the window, hark!
Are ripples lapping upon its strand.
There, where the mirror is glancing dim,
A lake lies shimmering, cool and still.
Blossoms are waving above its brim,
Those over there on the window-sill.
Rock slow, more slow in the dusky light,
Silently lower the anchor down;
Dear little passenger, say “Good-night.”
We’ve reached the harbor of Sleepy Town.
So it is over, the long bright Day,
And little Maid Twilight, quiet and meek,
Comes stealing along in her creep-mouse way
Whispering low—for she may not speak—
“The Gentle Dark is coming to play
At a game of Hide and Seek.”
Some babies are cross when she whispers them this,
And some are afraid and begin to cry.
I never can think what they find amiss.
Afraid of the Dark! I wonder why.
The Gentle Dark that falls like a kiss
Down from the sleepy sky.
O Gentle Dark, we know you are kind
By the lingering touch of your cool soft hand;
As over our eyes the veil you bind
We shut them tight at word of command,
You are only playing at Hoodman-Blind,
A game that we understand.
The voice is tender (O little one, hark!),
The eyes are kindly under the hood,
Blow out the candle, leave not a spark,
Trusting your friend as a playmate should.
Hold up your arms to the Gentle Dark,
The Dark that is kind and good.