Now I would dream that I awake
In scent of cool night air,
Above me star-clouds close and break;
Beneath—where am I, where?
A strange delight pervades my breast,
Of ancient pictures dim,
Where fair forms on the waters rest,
Or in the breezes swim.
I rest on arms as soft as strong,
Great arms of woman-mould;
My head is pillowed whence a song,
In many a rippling fold,
O’erfloods me from its bubbling spring:
A Titan goddess bears
Me, floating on her unseen wing,
Through gracious midnight airs.
And I am borne o’er sleeping seas,
O’er murmuring ears of corn,
Over the billowy tops of trees,
O’er roses pale till morn.
Over the lake—ah! nearer float,
Down on the water’s breast;
Let me look deep, and gazing doat
On that white lily’s nest.
The harebell’s bed, as o’er we pass,
Swings all its bells about;
From waving blades of polished grass,
Flash moony splendours out.
Old homes we brush in wooded glades;
No eyes at windows shine;
For all true men and noble maids
Are out in dreams like mine.
And foam-bell-kisses drift and break
From wind-waves of the South
Against my brow and eyes awake,
And yet I see no mouth.
Light laughter ripples down the air,
Light sighs float up below;
And o’er me ever, radiant pair,
The Queen’s great star-eyes go.
And motion like a dreaming wave
Wafts me in gladness dim
Through air just cool enough to lave
With sense each conscious limb.
But ah! the dream eludes the rhyme,
As dreams break free from sleep;
The dream will keep its own free time,
In mazy float or sweep.
And thought too keen for joy awakes,
As on the horizon far,
A dead pale light the circle breaks,
But not a dawning star.
No, there I cannot, dare not go;
Pale women wander there;
With cold fire murderous eyeballs glow;
And children see despair.
The joy has lost its dreamy zest;
I feel a pang of loss;
My wandering hand o’er mounds of rest
Finds only mounds of moss.
Beneath the bare night-stars I lie;
Cold winds are moaning past:
Alas! the earth with grief will die,
The great earth is aghast.
I look above—there dawns no face;
Around—no footsteps come;
No voice inhabits this great space;
God knows, but keepeth dumb.
I wake, and know that God is by,
And more than dreams will give;
And that the hearts that moan and die,
Shall yet awake and live.
TO AURELIO SAFFI.
To God and man be simply true:
Do as thou hast been wont to do:
Or, Of the old more in the new:
Mean all the same when said to you.
I love thee. Thou art calm and strong;
Firm in the right, mild to the wrong;
Thy heart, in every raging throng,
A chamber shut for prayer and song.