[NOTE: Blind did not reprint this sonnet in her 1893 collection Songs and Sonnets, nor did Arthur Symons publish it in The Poetical Works of Mathilde Blind (1900). It was published in the same issue as chapter four of Sheridan Le Fanu’s “Carmilla” and “The Last Man of Mexican Camp” by Joaquin Miller, who had proposed marriage to Blind the previous year. For more on the Dark Blue, including a discussion of synesthesia (which “Nocturne” exemplifies), see Anna Marie Jones, “On the publication of Dark Blue, 1871-73” ]
How hushed the world is: how the sea-like sound
Of multitudinous streets, that shriek and swell
With life, is muffled, save for some lone bell
Making the sunless silence more profound.
The awful whiteness, spread along the ground,
Of the inviolate snow, seems to compel
The flames of fire to flash with visible
Increase of radiance, by drear norlight bound.
Thou, too, O heart, sore beat by roar and flow
Of heavy-weltering, clamorous-tongued desires,
Liest hush’d, as yon shrill streets smooth’d by the snow,
Each louder wish ‘neath fresh-fallen peace expires;
Yet all the intenser throb thought’s quenchless fires,
Wan memory rims with tears and years of woe.