A Dream Within a Dream !
Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow:
You are not wrong who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.
I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand--
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep--while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?
O Thou bright jewel in my aim I strive
To comprehend thee. Thine own words declare
Wisdom is higher than a fool can reach.
I cease to wonder, and no more attempt
Thine height t’explore, or fathom thy profound.
But, O my soul, sink not into despair,
Virtue is near thee, and with gentle hand
Would now embrace thee, hovers o’er thine head.
Fain would the heav’n-born soul with her converse,
Then seek, then court her for her promis’d bliss.
Auspicious queen, thine heav’nly pinions spread,
And lead celestial Chastity along;
Lo! now her sacred retinue descends,
Array’d in glory from the orbs above.
Attend me, Virtue, thro’ my youthful years!
O leave me not to the false joys of time!
But guide my steps to endless life and bliss.
Greatness, or Goodness, say what I shall call thee,
To give an higher appellation still,
Teach me a better strain, a nobler lay,
O thou, enthron’d with Cherubs in the realms of day!
BLove, if I weep it will not matter,
And if you laugh I shall not care;
Foolish am I to think about it,
But it is good to feel you there.
Love, in my sleep I dreamed of waking, —
White and awful the moonlight reached
Over the floor, and somewhere, somewhere,
There was a shutter loose, —it screeched!
Swung in the wind, — and no wind blowing! —
I was afraid, and turned to you,
Put out my hand to you for comfort, —
And you were gone! Cold, cold as dew,
Under my hand the moonlight lay!
Love, if you laugh I shall not care,
But if I weep it will not matter, —
Ah, it is good to feel you there!
Led by a star, a golden star,
The youngest star, an olden star,
Here the kings and the shepherds are,
Akneeling on the ground.
What did they come to the inn to see?
God in the Highest, and this is He,
A baby asleep on His mother’s knee
And with her kisses crowned.
Now is the earth a dreary place,
A troubled place, a weary place.
Peace has hidden her lovely face
And turned in tears away.
Yet the sun, through the war-cloud, sees
Babies asleep on their mother’s knees.
While there are love and home—and these—
There shall be Christmas Day.
It is the time when crimson stars
Weary of heaven’s cold delight,
And take, like petals from a rose,
Their soft and hesitating flight
Upon the cool wings of the air
Across the purple night.
It is the time when silver sails
Go drifting down the violet sea,
And every poppy’s crimson mouth
Kisses to sleep a lovesick bee;
The fireweed waves her rosy plumes
On pasture, hill and lea.
It is the time to dream—and feel
The lanquid rocking of a boat,
The pushing ripple round the keel
Where cool, deep-hearted lilies float,
And hear thro’ wild syringas steal
Some songster’s drowsy note.
It is the time, at eve, to lie
And in a hammock faintly sway,
To watch the golds and crimsons die
Across the blue stretch of the bay;
To hear the sweet dusk tiptoe by
In the footsteps of the day.
Lord God, the winter has been sweet and brief
In this fair land;
For us the budded willow and the leaf,
The peaceful strand.
For us the silver nights and golden days,
The violet mist;
The pearly clouds pierced with vibrating rays
At evening, every wave of our blue sea
Hollowed to hold
A fragment of the sunset’s mystery—
A fleck of gold.
The crimson haze is on the alder trees
In places lush;
Already sings with sweet and lyric ease
The western thrush.
Lord God, for some of us the days and years
Have bitter been;
For some of us the burden and the tears,
The gnawing sin.
For some of us, O God, the scanty store,
The failing bin;
For some of us the gray wolf at the door,
The red, within!
But to the hungry Thou hast given meat,
Hast clothed the cold;
And Thou hast given courage strong and sweet
To the sad and old.
And so we thank Thee, Thou most tender God,
For the leaf and flower;
For the tempered winds, and quickening, velvet sod,
And the gracious shower.
Yea, generous God, we thank Thee for this land
Where all are fed,
Where at the doors no freezing beggars stand,
Pleading for bread.
Ho, wind of March, speed over sea,
From mountains where the snows lie deep
The cruel glaciers threatening creep,
And witness this, my jubilee!
Roar from the surf of boreal isles,
Roar from the hidden, jagged steeps,
Where the destroyer never sleeps;
Ring through the iceberg’s Gothic piles!
Voyage through space with your wild train,
Harping its shrillest, searching tone,
Or wailing deep its ancient moan,
And learn how impotent your reign.
Then hover by this garden bed,
With all your willful power, behold,
Just breaking from the leafy mould,
My little primrose lift its head!
In the still, star-lit night,
By the full fountain and the willow-tree,
I walked, and not alone—
A spirit walked with me!
A shade fell on the grass;
Upon the water fell a deeper shade:
Something the willow stirred,
For to and fro it swayed.
The grass was in a quiver,
The water trembled, and the willow-tree
Sighed softly; I sighed loud—
The spirit taunted me.
All the night long I walked
By the full fountain, dropping icy tears;
I tore the willow leaves,
I tore the long, green spears!
I clutched the quaking grass,
And beat the rough bark of the willow-tree;
I shook the wreathèd boughs,
To make the spirit flee.
It haunted me till dawn,
By the full fountain and the willow-tree;
For with myself I walked—
How could the spirit flee?