'Tis placid midnight, stars are keeping
Their meek and silent course in heaven;
Save pale recluse, for knowledge seeking,
All mortal things to sleep are given.
But see! a wandering Night-moth enters,
Allured by taper gleaming bright;
Awhile keeps hovering round, then ventures
On Goethe's mystic page to light.
With awe she views the candle blazing;
A universe of fire it seems
To moth-savante with rapture gazing,
Or Fount whence Live and Motion streams.
What passions in her small heart whirling,
Hopes boundless, adoration, dread;
At length her tiny pinions twirling,
She darts, and--puff!--the moth is dead.
--Thomas Carlyle, The Tragedy of the Night Moth