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A Book Of Dreams
by [?]

I thought He signed that I should yield,
And give the error way.
I held my peace; no word revealed,
No gesture uttered nay.

Against the cross a scaffold stood,
Whence easy hands could nail
The doomed upon that altar-wood,
Whose fire burns slow and pale.

Upon this ledge he lifted me.
I stood all thoughtful there,
Waiting until the deadly tree
My form for fruit should bear.

Rose up the waves of fear and doubt,
Rose up from heart to brain;
They shut the world of vision out,
And thus they cried amain:

“Ah me! my hands–the hammer’s knock–
The nails–the tearing strength!”
My soul replied: “‘Tis but a shock,
That grows to pain at length.”

“Ah me! the awful fight with death;
The hours to hang and die;
The thirsting gasp for common breath,
That passes heedless by!”

My soul replied: “A faintness soon
Will shroud thee in its fold;
The hours will go,–the fearful noon
Rise, pass–and thou art cold.

“And for thy suffering, what to thee
Is that? or care of thine?
Thou living branch upon the tree
Whose root is the Divine!

“‘Tis His to care that thou endure;
That pain shall grow or fade;
With bleeding hands hang on thy cure,
He knows what He hath made.”

And still, for all the inward wail,
My foot was firmly pressed;
For still the fear lest I should fail
Was stronger than the rest.

And thus I stood, until the strife
The bonds of slumber brake;
I felt as I had ruined life,
Had fled, and come awake.

Yet I was glad, my heart confessed,
The trial went not on;
Glad likewise I had stood the test,
As far as it had gone.

And yet I fear some recreant thought,
Which now I all forget,
That painful feeling in me wrought
Of failure, lingering yet.

And if the dream had had its scope,
I might have fled the field;
But yet I thank Thee for the hope,
And think I dared not yield.


Methinks I hear, as I lie slowly dying,
Indulgent friends say, weeping, “He was good.”
I fail to speak, a faint denial trying,–
They answer, “His humility withstood.”

I, knowing better, part with love unspoken;
And find the unknown world not all unknown.
The bonds that held me from my centre broken,
I seek my home, the Saviour’s homely throne.

How He will greet me, I walk on and wonder;
And think I know what I will say to Him.
I fear no sapphire floor of cloudy thunder,
I fear no passing vision great and dim.

But He knows all my unknown weary story:
How will He judge me, pure, and good, and fair?
I come to Him in all His conquered glory,
Won from such life as I went dreaming there!

I come; I fall before Him, faintly saying:
“Ah, Lord, shall I thy loving favour win?
Earth’s beauties tempted me; my walk was straying–
I have no honour–but may I come in?”

“I know thee well. Strong prayer did keep me stable;
To me the earth is very lovely too.
Thou shouldst have come to me to make thee able
To love it greatly–but thou hast got through.”




Lord of the world’s undying youth,
What joys are in thy might!
What beauties of the inner truth,
And of the outer sight!
And when the heart is dim and sad,
Too weak for wisdom’s beam,
Thou sometimes makest it right glad
With but a childish dream

* * * * *

Lo! I will dream this windy day;
No sunny spot is bare;
Dull vapours, in uncomely play,
Are weltering through the air.
If I throw wide my windowed breast
To all the blasts that blow,
My soul will rival in unrest
Those tree-tops–how they go!