The Long Day Closes that reflects on the moment of death. The song tells us, the listeners, to let go, our time of pain is over.
The first verse describes the way the calmness of nature itself reflects death(remember pathetic fallacy from your school days?) – no stars are left, the moon is falling asleep, and the last of the leaves fall. The clock has already stopped – a metaphor for the ticking of the heart.
The second verse encourages the listener to sit by the fire, think of the fun that is now over, forget about hope and fate, shadows are drawing in and the long day of life is closing.
The light fades in the 3rd verse, and the fire which was once so full of life, is now merely quivering. The life of the fire is reflected in the crescendo in the music, but even that fades.
In the final verse, the sense of peace is absolute in the opening phrase. The words invite us to let go, and enter the world of dreamless sleep. We are reminded that death means letting go of the pain, grief and toil of life. The last conflict of the ego and spirit is reflected in the huge crescendo, where we are reminded in the strongest of ways, that our life, our “book of toil” is ended. The energy dies from the music in the second last phrase – Go to thy/the dreamless, dreamless bed”, and the body’s final breath is taken and released on the word “bed”. The silence following this word is the moment where the soul escapes the body.
The final phrase reflects the soul rising from the body, to a higher plane, and is like a sunrise, with a constant but tiny crescendo until the second last bar, where the music comes to rest and the soul floats away into eternity.