To My Dream-Child.

All is nothing—and less than nothing !  The children of Alice
call Bartrum father.’
—Charles Lamb’s ‘ Dream-Children .
Little one ! I lie i’ the dark1
With thy sweet lips pressed to mine ;2
My hot, restless pulses meeting3
Thy still heart’s slow, quiet beating,4
In a calm divine.5
On my breast thy bright hair floats ;6
Well its memoried hue I know !7
And thine eyes if thou wert raising,8
They would answer to my gazing9
Looks of long ago.10
Fairy hand, that on my cheek11
Falls with touch as dove’s wing soft,12
I can feel its curves, resembling13
One that, like a young bird trembling,14
Lay in mine so oft.15
Thou wilt spring up at my feet,16
Flower-like—beautiful and mild ;17
Gossips, too, on me bestowing18
Flattery sweet, will say, ‘ Thou’rt growing19
Like thy father, child.’20
No ! I would not have my face21
Imaged, blessed one! in thine ;22
I, who crushed out all my being23
In one love, and poured—clear-seeing24
My heart’s blood like wine.25
I have given thee a name,26
What name—none shall ever know ;27
When I say it, there comes thronging28
A whole lifetime’s aim and longing,29
And a life-time’s wo.30
Ah, that word !— I wake—I wake—31
And the light breaks cold and bare ;32
Bright one—never born, yet dying33
To my love—without replying,34
Dream-child, melt to air !35
Eyes, no wife shall ever kiss ;36
Arms, no child shall ever pile ;37
Lift I up to Heaven, beseeching38
Him who sent this bitter teaching ;39
Be it as His will !40
Not as man sees, seeth God ;41
Not as man loves, loveth He ;42
When the dregs-stained lips are failing,43
When the tear-spent eyes are veiling,44
Dawns eternity.45