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A Book Of Dreams
by [?]

But I will dream like any child;
For, lo! a mighty swan,
With radiant plumage undented,
And folded airy van,
With serpent neck all proudly bent,
And stroke of swarthy oar,
Dreams on to me, by sea-maids sent
Over the billows hoar.

For in a wave-worn rock I lie;
Outside, the waters foam;
And echoes of old storms go by
Within my sea-built dome.
The waters, half the gloomy way,
Beneath its arches come;
Throbbing to unseen billows’ play,
The green gulfs waver dumb.

A dawning twilight through the cave
In moony gleams doth go,
Half from the swan above the wave,
Half from the swan below.
Close to my feet she gently drifts,
Among the glistening things;
She stoops her crowny head, and lifts
White shoulders of her wings.

Oh! earth is rich with many a nest,
Deep, soft, and ever new,
Pure, delicate, and full of rest;
But dearest there are two.
I would not tell them but to minds
That are as white as they;
If others hear, of other kinds,
I wish them far away.

Upon the neck, between the wings,
Of a white, sailing swan,
A flaky bed of shelterings–
There you will find the one.
The other–well, it will not out,
Nor need I tell it you;
I’ve told you one, and need you doubt,
When there are only two?

Fulfil old dreams, O splendid bird,
Me o’er the waters bear;
Sure never ocean’s face was stirred
By any ship so fair!
Sure never whiteness found a dress,
Upon the earth to go,
So true, profound, and rich, unless
It was the falling snow.

With quick short flutter of each wing
Half-spread, and stooping crown,
She calls me; and with one glad spring
I nestle in the down.
Plunges the bark, then bounds aloft,
With lessening dip and rise.
Round curves her neck with motion soft–
Sure those are woman’s eyes.

One stroke unseen, with oary feet,
One stroke–away she sweeps;
Over the waters pale we fleet,
Suspended in the deeps.
And round the sheltering rock, and lo!
The tumbling, weltering sea!
On to the west, away we go,
Over the waters free!

Her motions moulded to the wave,
Her billowy neck thrown back,
With slow strong pulse, stately and grave,
She cleaves a rippling track.
And up the mounting wave we glide,
With climbing sweeping blow;
And down the steep, far-sloping side,
To flowing vales below.

I hear the murmur of the deep
In countless ripples pass,
Like talking children in their sleep,
Like winds in reedy grass.
And through some ruffled feathers, I
The glassy rolling mark,
With which the waves eternally
Roll on from dawn to dark.

The night is blue, the stars aglow;
In solemn peace o’erhead
The archless depth of heaven; below,
The murmuring, heaving bed.
A thickened night, it heaveth on,
A fallen earthly sky;
The shadows of its stars alone
Are left to know it by.

What faints across the lifted loop
Of cloud-veil upward cast?
With sea-veiled limbs, a sleeping group
Of Nereids dreaming past.
Swim on, my boat; who knows but I,
Ere night sinks to her grave,
May see in splendour pale float by
The Venus of the wave?


In the night, round a lady dreaming–
A queen among the dreams–
Came the silent sunset streaming,
Mixed with the voice of streams.
A silver fountain springing
Blossoms in molten gold;
And the airs of the birds float ringing
Through harmonies manifold.