Archibald MacLeish

(7 May 1892 – 20 April 1982 / Glencoe, Illinois)

You, Andrew Marvell

Poem 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...

Comments about You, Andrew Marvell by Archibald MacLeish

  • Michael WalkerMichael Walker (8/7/2019 9:35:00 PM)

    Not an easy, straightforward poem to understand, but still glows with brilliance, including its off-beat title.
    It takes us on a flight over Eastern countries-Baghdad, Lebanon, Ecbatan; then Crete, Spain and Africa. During the flight, there is light outside, then evening comes on over the sea. I feel as if I am on the flight. Brilliant.(Report)Reply

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  • Elisa Guss (4/21/2013 9:04:00 PM)

    I think this is one of the most beautiful poems ever written.(Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Les Berkley (6/4/2008 9:12:00 AM)

    I heard MacLeish read this when I was eighteen, and it changed my entire appreciation of poetry.(Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
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Read poems about / on: africa, river, change, dark, sun, light, sea, night, tree, rose

Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003