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A Dream Within A Dream
by [?]


Young, as the day’s first-born Titanic brood,
Lifting their foreheads jubilant to heaven,
Rose the great mountains on my opening dream.
And yet the aged peace of countless years
Reposed on every crag and precipice
Outfacing ruggedly the storms that swept
Far overhead the sheltered furrow-vales;
Which smiled abroad in green as the clouds broke
Drifting adown the tide of the wind-waves,
Till shattered on the mountain rocks. Oh! still,
And cold and hard to look upon, like men
Who do stern deeds in times of turbulence,
Quell the hail-rattle with their granite brows,
And let the thunder burst and pass away–
They too did gather round sky-dwelling peaks
The trailing garments of the travelling sun,
Which he had lifted from his ocean-bed,
And swept along his road. They rent them down
In scattering showers upon the trees and grass,
In noontide rains with heavy ringing drops,
Or in still twilight moisture tenderly.
And from their sides were born the gladsome streams;
Some creeping gently out in tiny springs,
As they were just created, scarce a foot
From the hill’s surface, in the matted roots
Of plants, whose green betrays the secret birth;
Some hurrying forth from caverns deep and dark,
Upfilling to the brim a basin huge,
Thick covered with soft moss, greening the wave,
As evermore it welled over the edge
Upon the rocks below in boiling heaps;
Fit basin for a demi-god at morn,
Waking amid the crags, to lave his limbs,
Then stride, Hyperion, o’er sun-paven peaks.
And down the hill-side sped the fresh-born wave,
Now hid from sight in arched caverns cold,
Now arrowing slantwise down the terraced steep,
Now springing like a child from step to step
Of the rough water-stair; until it found
A deep-hewn passage for its slower course,
Guiding it down to lowliness and rest,
Betwixt wet walls of darkness, darker yet
With pine trees lining all their sides like hair,
Or as their own straight needles clothe their boughs;
Until at length in broader light it ran,
With more articulate sounds amid the stones,
In the slight shadow of the maiden birch,
And the stream-loving willow; and ere long
Great blossoming trees dropt flowers upon its breast;
Chiefly the crimson-spotted, cream-white flowers,
Heaped up in cones amid cone-drooping leaves;
Green hanging leaf-cones, towering white flower-cones
Upon the great cone-fashioned chestnut tree.
Each made a tiny ripple where it fell,
The trembling pleasure of the smiling wave,
Which bore it then, in slow funereal course,
Down to the outspread sunny sheen, where lies
The lake uplooking to the far-off snow,
Its mother still, though now so far away;
Feeding it still with long descending lines
Of shining, speeding streams, that gather peace
In journeying to the rest of that still lake
Now lying sleepy in the warm red sun,
Which says its dear goodnight, and goeth down.

All pale, and withered, and disconsolate,
The moon is looking on impatiently;
For ‘twixt the shining tent-roof of the day,
And the sun-deluged lake, for mirror-floor,
Her thin pale lamping is too sadly grey
To shoot, in silver-barbed, white-plumed arrows,
Cold maiden splendours on the flashing fish:
Wait for thy empire Night, day-weary moon!
And thou shalt lord it in one realm at least,
Where two souls walk a single Paradise.
Take to thee courage, for the sun is gone;
His praisers, the glad birds, have hid their heads;
Long, ghost-like forms of trees lie on the grass;
All things are clothed in an obscuring light,
Fusing their outline in a dreamy mass;
Some faint, dim shadows from thy beauty fall
On the clear lake which melts them half away–
Shine faster, stronger, O reviving moon!
Burn up, O lamp of Earth, hung high in Heaven!