"The Quiet-colored End Of Evening"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: In this poem a lover is speaking of his conviction that love, itself, is the highest value in life. In a mood of impassioned reflection, he describes the ruins which he and his love have used as a rendezvous. The ruins, themselves, are all that remains of the capital of a vanished civilization. This civilization was once so powerful that it sent millions of warriors to fight abroad while holding in reserve a thousand gold chariots at home. Of all this might and glory there is only a "single turret that remains." Displaying a quality of restrained passion, warmth, and serenity, the lover places greater value on his present love affair than on all the past grandeur of dead civilizations. These ruins assume worth only because "a girl with eager eyes and yellow hair/ Awaits me there." The poem opens with a balanced description of the setting:

Where the quiet-coloured end of evening smiles,
Miles and miles
On the solitary pastures where our sheep
Tinkle homeward through the twilight, stray or stop
As they crop–
Was the site once of a city great and gay
(So they say),
Of our country's very capital, its prince
Ages since
Held his court in, gathered councils, wielding far
Peace or War.