This poem focuses on a speaker who, as the night replaces the light of day, finds himself burdened by "the restless pulse of care" and is rather depressed by the onset of night and the life of toil and work that he leads. As a result, the speaker asks the person close to him, perhaps his wife, to read a poem to him in order to banish his gloom and moodiness. However, she is not to read a poem from a famous poet of the past for the following reason:
For, like strains of martial music,
Their mighty thoughts suggest
Life's endless toil and endeavor;
And to-night I long for rest.
Instead, the speaker asks for a poem from a humbler source, a poet "Whose songs gushed from his heart," who was able to hear the sound of "wonderful melodies" in his soul in spite of his life of unceasing labour and toil. Hearing such a poem read out loud will have the effect of banishing the evening gloom, as the final stanza of the poem suggests:
And the night shall be filled with music
And the cares, that infest the day,
Shall fold their tents, like the Arabs,
And as silently steal away.
The simile that compares the "cares" of the speaker to Arabs who "silently steal away" reflects the way that such a poem will have the power to banish the depression and gloom of the speaker and help him to enjoy life without being concerned about his various worries.