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Title: The Tower of the Dream
Author: Charles Harpur
eBook No.: 2100461h.html
Language: English
Date first posted: 2021
Most recent update: 2021

This eBook was produced by: Walter Moore

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The Tower of the Dream

Charles Harpur


Part I
Part II
    The Song
Part III
Part IV

Part I

How wonderful are dreams! Yet, are they but
(As some suppose) the thin disjoining shades
Of thoughts or feelings long foregone or late,
As recomposed and put in ghostly act,
And strange procession, wildly mixed, and yet
So life-like, though thus composite and wild,
By mimic Fancy; when, alone awake,
And thence unhindered in her mystic craft,
She tracks again the drifts of wearied Thought,
Itself sunk sleepward! Wonderful no less
Are they though this be true; and wondrous more
Is she who in the dark, and stript of sense,
Can claim such sovereignty — the Queen of Art!
For what a cunning painter is she then,
Who hurriedly embodying from the waste
Of things memorial littering life’s dim floor,
The forms and features, manifold and quaint,
That crowd the timeless vistas of a Dream,
Fails never in a stroke; and breathes as well
(With powers that laugh at Sculpture, — or make good
The fabled influence of Pygmalion’s weird
Devotion to his own creative craft)
A spirit of motion into all her work —
The test of Deity; — inspiring too
Her phantom creatures with more eloquent tones
Than ever broke in subtle light-like wares
Upon the province of a waking ear.

But are they more? True glimpses oft, though vague,
Derived from some unnavigable sea
Of mystic being, on whose lonely shore
The normal terminates; and where the pent,
Impatient Soul, from its sleep-shrouded crib,
Is sometimes wont to slip, and roam at large,
Like Crusoe, staring forth; or musing, stand
As did the intelligence of Newton once
On the bare beach of time, while the great deep
Of Truth, by Science yet uncharted, loomed
In shoreless width, — illimitably out,
Under the incommunicable sky?

No answer cometh, and as vain is all
Conjecture: they are dreams! but wonderful,
However we may rank them in our lore.
And worthy of some fond record are those states
Of our interior being, though aberrant,
That with so capable a wand can bring
Back to the faded heart, the rosy flush
And sweetness of a long fled love, or touch
The eyes of an old enmity with tears
Of a yet older friendship; or restore
A world-lost mate, or reunite in joy
The living and the dead! And this can Dreams:
With more as wonderful;— can, when so wills
Their wands weird wielder, whatsoe’er it be,
Lift up the fallen — fallen however low!
Rejuvenate the worn, enrich the poor,
The past imparadise, and enchant the present;
Build in the future higher than the hope
Of Power, when boldest, ever dared to soar;
Annul, as with the sanction of the Infinite,
The prison bars of place, the dens of time, —
Giving the rigid and cold clanking chain
Which Force, that grey iniquity, hath clenched
About its captive, to relent, — yea, stretch
Forth into Fairy Land; or melt like wax
In that fierce life whose spirit lightens wide
Round Freedom, seated on his mountain throne!
Or witching Memory, where she darkling lies,
Can so accomplish her that she can make
All brute bulk ocular — the great Earth itself
Diaphanous, like a mighty globe of glass
Hung in the dim Inane, and thence reveal
Some yearned-for hearth at the antipodes,
With all its loves; or spread. at once her wings
O’er all the eras of a wandering life,
As from the orient to the ends of heaven
The silvery fans of light, evolving, show
All things beneath them in one world-wide act
Instant and universal. — Wonderful!

But not thus always are our dreams benign:
Oft are they miscreations — gloomier worlds,
Crowded tempestuously with Wrongs and Fears,
More ghastly than the Actual ever knew;
And rent with racking noises — such as might,
If audible ever to a soul awake,
Go thundering only through the wastes of Hell.

So wonderful are Dreams: and I have known
Many most wild and strange. And once, long since,
As in the death-like mystery of Sleep
My body lay impalled, my soul arose
And journeyed outward in a dream of wonder,
In the mid hour of a dark night, methought
I roamed the margin of a waveless lake,
That, in the knotted forehead of the land
Deep sunken, like a huge Cyclopean eye,
Lidless and void of speculation, stared
Glassily up, — forever sleepless, — up
At the wide vault of heaven; and that I had
Also a vague and mystic consciousness
That over against me, on the farther shore,
Which yet I might not see, there stood a Tower
Such as we read of in some old romance.

The darkness darkened, until overhead
Solidly black the starless heaven domed,
And earth was one wide blot; — when, as I looked,
A light swung blazing from the tower (as yet
Prophesied only in imagination,)
And brought at once its rounded structure forth
Out of the mighty gloom, wherein, till then
So shut, it seemed as one in substance with it.
And when this light had steadied, hanging there
Suspended as by magic, I might see
In the wide lake, whose whole disc new first shown,
Glimmered enormous, — the far falling stream
Of its wild radiance, columnar and vast,
Reach quivering — down, like a great shaft of fire,
Through the lit fluid, that, so lightened, seemed
A vague abysm infinitely deep.

Long at that wild light was I gazing held
In speechless wonder — till I thence could feel
A strange and thrillingly attractive power
In gradual operation; and ere long
My bodily weight seemed witched away, and up
I mounted, poised within the passive air;
Then glode ascendingly sheer o’er the lake,
Which far below, as tow’rds the wondrous light
The attraction drew me, I beheld illumined
Even to its sullen depths with shifting beams,
That tangled tower-ward into one broad path
Of multifarious splendour — one red blaze
Yet various, interwrithing, wild and quick,
As every molecule of the watery mass
Had an organic life, and played a part
Restlessly proper to its wayward self,
Though tending all into one glow of bright
Disunion in bright union — one red blaze

Still poised within the soft air, on I slid:
Nor knew I why — but my amaze wore off
As thus I glode over the lake, and still
Approached the tower, and that so wondrous light!
And soon, instead, a many-branching warmth
Like the sweet inklings of new love,
Began to tingle in my blood, and so divine
The nearness of some yet unseen Content,
Still nearing, or some yet inaudible Joy,
So great, so reconciling, that it seemed
It was a golden destiny whose spell
Had lifted me aloft, and tower-ward on
Thus richly attracted:— and with this so sweet
Conception — lo, how beautiful a change!


Part II

Within a circular balcony, whose roof
Was fluted silver, ledging at the eaves
Outward, and resting upon shafts of jet,
Whose polished pencils, in a curving row
Descending to an ivory balustrade
Glistened in contrast with a covert gleam;
And which, high up the tower, emporched a huge
And brazen door — behold a Lady, all
Of light immaculate! Yea, face and form
All of a Hesper radiancy composed,
And lovelier than lustrous, stood alone,
Yet, as it seemed, expectant; for as still
She witched me tow’rds her, she kept beckoning still
With tiny hand more splendid than a star:
Beckoning and smiling — not as mortals smile,
With visible throes, to the more face confined,
But with her whole bright influence all at once
In gracious act — as the immortals smile,
God-happy; or as smiles the morning, when
Its subtle lips in rosy glory part
And redden lengthwise, under and above
Full many a pearly cloud, and breathe the while
A golden prevalence of power abroad,
That takes them all into his own delight —
Transfiguring all! and with a voice intense
And intimately tender as the first
Fine feeling of a love-born bliss — and oh!
More silvery in its sweetness to the soul’s
Oracular ear, than seemeth to the eye
The wild white radiance of the maiden moon,
When from some cape’s dark beak her rising mass
Looks o’er the ocean — even with such a voice,
So keen, so silvery, did she ask me then,
“Where hast thou stayed so long? Oh, tell me where!”

With thrilling ears and heart, I heard — but felt
Pass from me forth a cry of sudden fear,
As swooning through the wildness of my joy,
Methought I drifted: — whither? All was now
One wide cold blank — the Lady and the Tower —
The gleaming lake, with all around it — one
Wide dreary blank, — the drearier for that still
A dizzy, clinging, ghostly consciousness
Kept flickering from mine inmost pulse of life,
Like a fair meteor in some dismal marsh:
How long I dreamt not — but the thrilling warmth
That like the new birth of a passionate bliss,
Erewhile had searched me to the quick, again
Shuddered within me, — more and more, — until
Mine eyes had opened under two that made
All else like darkness; and upon my cheek
A breath that seemed the final spirit of health
And floral sweetness, harbingered once more
The fond enquiry of that silver voice
Which once to have heard was never to forget —
“Where hast thou stayed so long? Oh, tell me where!”

And when she thus in her so wondrous way
Had spoken, there came, warbled as it seemed
In mystical respondence to her voice,
Still music, such as Eolus gives forth,
But purer, deeper; — warbled as from some
Unsearchable recess of soul supreme —
Some depth of the Eternal! echoing thence
Through the sweet meanings of its spirit speech,
The fond enquiry that awoke me now:
“Where hast thou stayed so long? Oh, tell me where!”

I answered not, but followed in mute love
The beamy glances of her eyes with mine,
As in that balcony which up that tower
Emporched the brazen door, methought I now
Close at her side reclined upon a couch
Of purple, blazoned all with stars of gold,
Tremblingly rayed with spiculated gems,
And argent moons, — and bearing on cushions, rough
(Save where they met the flexure of the arm)
With sheaves of flowers in glowing tissue wrought.
Thus set we, looking forth; nor did I marvel,
As her’s now led my vision, to remark
How the broad lake, with its green shelving shores,
Swarming with honey-yielding flowers, or hung
With vines in masses, bunched with fruit; and thence
The prospect all — hills, skies, and winding vales,
And bloomy forests of unspeakable beauty,
Were basking in the blessedness of a day
So goldenly serene, that never yet
The perfect power of life-essential light
Might so enrobe, since Paradise was lost,
The common world inhabited by man.

I saw all this surpassing beauty — but,
I saw it thus through her superior life,
As orbing mine in love — yea, saw it through
Her mystic moon-like sphere of being, that seemed
(Transpicuously) the inexhaustible source
Of holiest motives, and truth-breathing thoughts —
Breathing abroad like odours from a flower;
And orient idealities; and more
Of rosy passion, and affectionate joy,
And earnest tenderness, than many souls
Of earth’s most fervent and ecstatic daughters
United might possess; all interflowing
Through the fine issues of a love at once
Wilful and nice, but sanctioned none the less
By its so brilliant purity. Nor might
The glassy lake below more quickly give
Nimble impressions of the coming wind’s
Invisible footsteps, dimpling swift along,
Than instant tokens of communion sweet
With outward beauty’s subtle spirit, passed
Forth from her eyes, and thence in lambent waves
Suffused and lightened o’er the splendid whole
Of her bright visage, or about her head
In spheres ran raying like a glory of bliss!

But as upon the wonder of her beauty
My soul new feasted, even till it seemed
Instinct with kindred lustre, — lo, her eyes
Suddenly saddened; then abstractedly
Outfixing them as on some far wild thought
That darkened up like a portentous cloud,
Over the morning of our peace, she flung
Her silver voice into a mystic song
Of many measures, which as forth they went,
Slid all into a sweet abundant flood
Of metric melody! And with this, as still
She poured it out, invisible singers mixed
A choral burden that prolonged the strain’s
Rich concords, till the echoes of the hills
Came challengingly forth, and backward then
Subsiding like a refluent wave, afar,
Blent all into one mystery of sound —
One manifold cadence — dying down. The Song
(Which strangely seemed through all its mystic drift
Addressed to the so stubborn fact, that I
Was sleeping, and its utterer but a Dream)
Is traced upon the tablet of my soul
In shining lines that intonate themselves —
Not sounding to the ear, but to the thought,
Out of the vague east of the wonderful!
And might when hardened into mortal speech,
And narrowed from its wide and various sweep
Into such flows as make our waking rhymes
Most wildly musical, be written thus:—

The Song

       Wide apart — wide apart,
       In old Time’s dim heart
One terrible fiend doth his stern watch keep
       Over the mystery
           Lovely and deep,
       Locked in thy history,
           Beautiful Sleep!

       Could we disarm him —
       Could we but charm him,
The soul of the sleeper might happily leap
Through the darkness so dreadful — so deathly and deep
       That shroudeth the triple divinity
       Composing thy mystical trinity:
           Liberty, Gratitude,
           Boundless Beatitude,
       Beautiful Spirit of Sleep!

       Beautiful Spirit of Sleep!
       Could we confound him
           Who darkens thy throne —
       Could we surround him
           With spells like thy own;
           For the divinity
           Then of thy Trinity,
       Oh, what a blesseder reign were begun!
       For then were it evermore one
With all that soul, freed from the body’s strait scheme,
Inherits of seer-light and mystical dream.

       And to sleep were to die,
           Into life in the Infinite,
       Holy and high,
           Spotless and bright,
And so peacefully deep;
And thence unto Liberty, thence unto Gratitude,
With the third in thy trinity — Boundless Beatitude:
       Beautiful Spirit of Sleep!


Part III

She ceased: and a deep tingling silence fell
Instantly round, — silence complete, and yet
Instinct as with a breathing sweetness, left
By the rare spirit of her voice foregone:
Even as the fragrance of a flower were felt
Pervading the mute air through which erewhile,
It had been borne by the delighted hand
Of some sweet-thoughted maiden. Turning then
Her bright face tow’rds me, as I stood entranced,
Yet with keen wonder stung, she said, “I love thee!
As first love loveth — utterly! But ah!
This Love itself — this purple-wingèd Love —
This spirit-enriching Spirit of delight
Is but a honey-bee of Paradise,
That only in the morning glory dares
To range abroad — and when a vagrant most
Adventure out into the common world
Of man and woman; — thither lured by sight
Of some sweet human soul that blooms apart,
Untainted by a rank soil’s weedy growths: —
Lured thither thus — yet being even then,
But wilful wandering away — away
From its pure birth-place (innocent only there!)
And whereunto it must again return,
Or forfeit else its natal passport, — ere
The dread night cometh. Yet of how great worth
Is all foregone affection? In the spring
Of even the lowliest love, how many rich
And gracious things that could not else have been,
Grow up like flowers, and breathe a perfume forth
That never leaves again the quickened sense
It once hath hit, as with a fairy’s wand,
However fanciful may seem at last
The charm through which it came.” And having said
These mystic sentences, so wild and sweet,
And memorably mournful, — lo, her eyes
Ran o’er with lustres as they opened up
Under mine own now melancholy gaze.

And thus we stood, turned one unto the other,
Till Love again grew glad even from the rich
And wine-like luxury and voluptuous worth
Of its own tear-showers, shed as from the heart!
Forth then once more we looked — silently happy:
Alas! not long: for with a short low gasp
Of sudden fear, she started; nor might I
Stand unalarmed. For hark! within the Tower,
A sound of strenuous steps approaching fast,
Rang upward, as it seemed, from the hard slabs
Of a steep-winding stair; and soon the huge
And brazen portal that behind us shut,
Burst open! with a clang of loosened bolts —
A clang like thunder, that went rattling out
Against the echoes of the distant hills.

With deafened ears and looks aghast, I turned
Tow’rds the harsh noise — there to behold, between
The mighty jambs in the Tower-wall from which
The door swung inward, a tremendous Form!
A horrid gloomy Form! that shapeless seemed,
And yet, in its so monstrous bulk, to Man
A hideous likeness bare! Still more and more
Deform it grew, as forth it swelled, and then
Its outlines, shadowing forward, so were lost
On all sides in a grizzly haze, that hung
Vaguely about them, — even as dull grey clouds
Beskirt a coming Tempest’s denser mass,
That thickens still internally, and shows
The murkiest in the midst — yea, murkiest there
Where big with fate, and hid in solid gloom,
The yet-still spirit of the thunder broods,
And menaces the world. So dread that Form!

Meanwhile, beholding it, the Lady of light
Had rushed to my extended arms, and hid
Her beamy face, fright-harrowed, in my bosom!
And thus we stood, made one in fear; while still
That terrible Vision out upon us glared
With horny eyeballs — all the more horrid
For that no evidence of conscious will,
Or touch of passion, vitalised their fixed
Eumenidèan, stone-cold stare, as tow’rds
Some surely destined task they seemed to guide
Its shapeless bulk and pitiless strength alone.

Then with a motion as of one dark stride
Shadowing forward, and outstretching straight
One vague-seen arm, from my reluctant grasp
It tore the radiant Lady, muttering “This
Is love forbidden!”
 in a voice whose tones
Were like low guttural thunders heard afar,
Outgrowling from the clouded gorges wild
Of neighboring mountains, when a sultry storm
Is pondering in its dark pavilions there,
And concentrating, like a hill-born host,
Ere it rush valeward; and, as suddenly,
Seized by the other, I was backward thrown
Within the Tower, and heard ere I could rise
From the cold platform, the huge brazen door
Drawn harshly grating to; its beamlike bar
Dropt, with a wall-quake, and the bolts all shot
Into their sockets with a shattering jar!

I may not paint the horrible despair
That froze me now: (more horrible than aught
In actual destiny, whether bonds or death,
Could give the self-possession of my soul,
If wide awake.) I listened. All was still!
Within — without; — all silent, stirless, cold!
What was my doom? And where was she, my late
So luminous delight? Gone! Reft away
So strangely, terribly! and I myself,
For some all-unimaginable cause,
A dungeoned wretch! Time, every drip of which
Was as an age, kept trickling on, but there
Brought no release — no hope; — brought not a breath
That spake of fellowship, or even of life.
Out of myself — my lonely self! I stood
Utterly blank — utterly shrunken up,
In marble-cold astonishment of heart!
And when at length I cast a desperate look —
A look so desperate that the common gift
Of vision stung me like a deadly curse —
Up and around, pure pity of myself
So warmed and loosened from my brain the pent
And icy anguish, that its load at once
Came, like an alp-thaw, streaming through mine eyes;
Till resignation, that so balmy sweet
Meek flower of Grief which hath its root in tears,
Grew out of mine, — and leisure therewithal
To inspect my prison, whether weak or strong.

It was a lofty coil, half round, and had,
Massively set, within the crossing wall
That seemed to cut the Tower’s whole round in twain,
A second door — shut, and all clamped with brass,
And rough with rows of monstrous iron studs,
And which might haply have thence opened in
Athwart some stairway (as I guessed) that led
Down through the Tower; and by the side of this
A bat-wing’d steed on scaly dragon claws —
A strange, mute, mystic, almost terrible thing,
Stood rigid, with a tripod near it placed.
Bare were the dull and ragged walls, but pierced
High out of reach by two small ports that looked
Eastward and westward. As I noted these,
Full on my sight a transient sunbeam fell
Slantingly through, and glowed on the damp floor
A moment, like a streak of burning blood,
Then vanished: wherefore in my heart I guessed
That o’er the mountain tops the sun was then
Oceanward sinking mid the fiery clouds.

By sure and palpable degrees the night
Came on, and the cell darkened. Yea, I saw
The steed and tripod — all its furniture —
Fade, melting gradually, more and more,
Into the darkness; even as a fish,
Through the dense medium of its element,
Retiring down, is in its outlines seen
More shadowy — till ’tis lost. Then all was black.
And to and fro I paced, hour after hour,
And heard my step, the only sound to me
In all the wide world, throb with a dull blow
Down through the hollow Tower that seemed to yawn
Immeasurably beneath me, — as it were
A monstrous well whose wide waste mouth was bridged
By that dull-quaking strip of floor alone
On which I darkling strode. Yet on I kept
Pacing, though horrified. Hour after hour
Passed as if clotting at the heart of Time —
Each an eternity of wild expectation,
And weary astonishment! — hour after hour!
And yet no other sound had being there,
Though, as I knew, one live, unmoving Thing
So near me stood in that blind solitude —
Stood waiting — wherefore? by the inner door.


Part IV

At last, all suddenly, in the air aloft,
O’er the tower a wild, weird, wailful song
Woke flying, many-voiced; — then sweeping off
Out tow’rds the echoey hills, so passed away
In dying murmurs through the hollow dark.


              In vain were our spells wrought —
              In vain was She well taught
How that dread Watcher’s eyes drowsy to keep;
              In vein was the dragon-steed
              There at the hour of need,
Out with his double-freight blissward to sweep.

              Lost — lost — lost — lost!
In vain were our spells of an infinite cost!
              Lost — lost — lost — lost!
Yon Gulf by a mortal may never be crossed never!
              Never — ah never!
              The doom holds for ever!
     And to aid her aught more
Is out of sphere and transcendeth our lore.

              Lost — lost — lost — lost!
              Come away — come away.
Since only in soul yon vague Gulf can be crost,
Our beautiful Mistress her failure must weep —
              Weep — weep — weep — weep!
                     Away — come away!
For see, wide uprolling, the white front of day!
Away to the mystic mid-regions of Sleep —
Of the beautiful Spirit of Sleep!
              Lost — lost — lost — lost!

* * * * * * * *

So passed that song (of which the drift alone
Is here reached after in such leaden speech
As uncharmed mortals use.) And when its tones
Out tow’rds the mountains in the dark afar,
Had wasted, I grew sensible, methought,
Of seasonable change; — that now the Cell
Kept clarifying till the darkness seemed
Marbled with grey; and then the steed again,
With his strange dragon-claws and half spread wings,
And eke the tripod, where it still had stood,
Figured like shadows through the thinning gloom,
And gradually thence, by just the same
Degrees reversed in which they’d faded there
Into the darkness as the night advanced,
Came forth in full development again.

It was the Dawn: and thus it clearing kept,
Till through the eastern port a golden rod
Of light fell transiently, and so bespake
The sunrise! Oh, it was a desolate pass,
To feel, — immured in that relentless keep, —
How on the purple bills the sun was then
Rejoicing in his glory! Then to know
That he was wheeling up the heaven, and o’er
My prison roof, — hour after hour, to think
How he was tracking with a step of fire
His midway course, and loudening through the world
The thunder of its universal life!
Or how his mighty orb had sloped in Time’s
Descending scale, and thence was glorying down
Into the crimson waves of some wide sea
Beyond the Hesperides! But this, alas!
Was my dread fate while seven times day and night
So wearily came, — so wore away; and yet
I slept not! nor (to my amazement) there,
Through all this drear time, did the wintry tooth
Of hunger gnaw within my corporal frame!
No thirst inflamed me! While by the grim door
Which seemed to shut athwart some stairway, stood
That strange, unmoving, dragon-footed Steed,
As from the first, — and there the tripod, placed
As if to aid some fugitive to mount
At once — and fly! Mere wonder at my doom,
So unimaginably wild and vague,
Relieved the else-fixed darkness of despair.

But on the seventh night, in the stillness, — hark!
What might I hear? A step? — a small light step,
That by the stair ascending, swiftly came
Straight to the inner door — then stopt. Alas!
The black leaf opened not; and yet, the while,
In evidence of some bright Being that out
Beyond it stood, a rainbow radiance through
Its solid breadth, in subtle wave on wave
Came flushing, — even as a sunset glow
Through some dense cloud upon the verge of heaven,
In swift rich curves wells percolating forth:
So came it — filling all the cell at length
With rosy lights that in the darkness fumed
Like luminous odors; at the scent of which,
The mystic steed, so rigid until then,
Moved, and spread wide his glimmering bat-like wings.
When hark! deep down in the mysterious Tower,
Another step? Yea, the same strenuous tramp
That once before I’d heard big-beating up,
Came following — till a low sad cry without
Went to my heart, and I might hear ensue
A struggle as of one forced down the stair
By that so ruthless Guard! — down, till the cell
Again had darkened, and the Tower itself
Stood once more as in some mute void of Time,
Or depth of distance infinitely out,
Achingly still. But not for long! Again
The Monster’s hateful tramp came booming up,
Quake above quake that with a shudder stopt
Dead at the door. It opened; and he stood
In dubious presence ’twixt the mighty jambs,
Filling the whole wide space. But ere the Fiend
Might enter farther, rage and hate at once
Possessed me, and I charged him! For awhile
His horrible glooms voluminously vague,
Yet with a smothering pressure in their folds,
Involved me! — concentrating more and more,
And lapping closer in yet denser coils,
Every dread moment! But my agony now,
My pain, and hate, and loathing, — all had grown
Into so vast a horror, that methought
I burst with irresistible strength away!
Rushed through the door, and down the stairway — down
An endless depth; till a portcullis, hinged
In the Tower’s basement, opened to my flight!
No sooner had I passed it, than it fell
In thunder too! and thence my passage lay
Along the difficult ledges of a rock
Against whose base the Lake’s long ripple lapped.

And when at last, breathless and faint, I paused
In that so giddy flight, methought I saw
The lustrous Lady up through the lit air
Ascending, with a steadfast downward look
Of parting recognition, — full of love,
But painless, passionless. Upward she passed,
Above the Tower, and o’er the clouds, — and when
Her radiance melted through heaven’s marble dome
And left it vacant in its infinite vastness,
All things methought had changed, and I was there
Standing alone in a wide waste that stretched
On all hands out — illimitably out!
Standing alone in a waste universe,
That showed, as under an abortive dawn,
Its grey immensity, and nothing more!
Still, empty, objectless! — and thereupon
There fell back on my soul a sense of loss
So bleak, so desolate, that with a wild
Sleep-startling outcry, suddenly I awoke!
Awoke, to find it but a Dream of Wonder!
Yet ever since to feel as if some pure
And guardian Soul, out of the day and night,
Had passed for ever from the reach of Love!
Albeit I know, that to the Poet’s mind,
No light, no loveliness it once hath known,
Though only through the mystery of a dream,
Is after lost; but in effect remains,
As comfort, or as wisdom, or as grace,
In union with its substance evermore —
A gathered portion of the life and might
Of His predestined influence on the world.


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