The Boy’s Dream.

Through a narrow casement window1
The solemn moonbeams crept2
Into a chamber quaint and old,3
Where childhood calmly slept.4
They rested on the walnut press5
And the antique mirror bright,6
And threw across the oaken floor7
A line of cold pale light.8
They showed a boy of eight years old9
Within the dark-green bed ;10
A child of sturdy form and mind—11
Such as old England bred.12
Power rested on his infant brow,13
Pale in the ghostly ray ;14
A dormant spirit stern and high—15
To dawn in manhood’s day.16
No cherub face of mirth asleep17
Was his ; no child-like smile18
Lingered upon the firm-set lip ;19
No pleasant dreams beguile20
His haunted slumbers. Lo, he starts !21
Does the moon’s clear cold beams22
Mar his repose, or are his thoughts23
Troubled by evil dreams ?24
Look how he proudly rises up,25
And lifts his tiny hand26
As though he grasped a warrior’s sword27
Or baton of command.28
No mortal eye save his can see29
A giant form of gloom,30
Which, robed in ghostly majesty,31
Stands in the quiet room,32
And offers to his infant grasp33
The shadow of a crown34
Then with a laugh of mocking scorn35
Casts the rich bauble down.36
No one save he can hear the voice37
That murmurs, ‘ It is thine !38
Thou crownless lord of future years—39
Foe to the throne and shrine !’40
Thou shalt be first in England’s realm, —41
And by my power shalt reign42
When meteors lead the land astray,43
And truth is sought in vain.44
I am thy genius, Oliver,45
Whether for good or ill ;46
Lord of fair England shalt thou be—47
Yer law thine iron will.’48
The deep voice ceased ; a cloud obscured49
The moon ; a shadow deep50
Lingered, then passed—the form was gone51
And Cromwell woke from sleep.52
It was a dream—only a dream,53
And such we idle rate !54
Yet ofttimes in the solemn night55
We hear the voice of Fate.56
The soul unveils her secrets dark57
That shun our waking eye,58
And shows the latent seed from whence59
Springs forth our destiny.60
The wish is father to the thought’61
That frames those visions wild62
The ambition of the future man63
Had whispered to the child !64