A Dream.

I waked—she fled—and day brought back my night !’
Methought I saw thee yesternight 1
Sit near me in thine olden guise ; 2
The white robes and the palm foregone3
Weaving, instead of amaranth crown, 4
A web of earthly dyes.5
I cried, ‘ Where hast thou been so long ?’ 6
The mild eyes turned and mutely smiled7
Why bide’st thou in those distant lands ? 8
What is that web within thy hands ?’ 9
— ‘ I work for thee, my child.’10
I clasped thee in my arms, and wept : 11
I kissed thee oft with passion wild ; 12
I poured fond questions—tender blame ; 13
Still thy sole answer was the same14
I work for thee, my child.’15
Come forth—walk with me as of old !’ 16
Thou came’st—all silent as before ; 17
We passed along the churchyard way18
My child-feet trod each Sabbath-day, 19
But now tread never more.20
I felt thy hand upon my arm, 21
Beside me thy meek face I saw ; 22
Yet in thy gesture, look, and air23
A something more than earth was there, 24
That left a nameless awe.25
Trembling I said, ‘ Sad years have passed 26
Since thou wert from my heart beguiled ; 27
Now thou art come, and all shall be28
As was before.’ Half-pensively29
Thou answeredst, ‘ Nay, my child !’30
I pleaded sore— ‘ Hast thou forgot 31
The love wherewith we loved of old32
The long sweet days of converse blest, 33
The nights’ calm slumber on thy breast ? 34
Art thou to me grown cold ?’35
Then beamed on me those eyes of heaven 36
That wept no more, but ever smiled : 37
I may not leave the happy home38
Wherein I dwell—where till thou come39
I work for thee, my child.’40
If from my sight thou passedst then, 41
Or if my sobs the dream exiled,42
I know not ; but in memory clear43
I seem those strange words still to hear44
I work for thee, my child.’45
Amen—amen !  Though lone I stand 46
Here in the sight of God and thee,47
I know, if e’er blest souls are given48
To guard beloved ones from heaven,49
Thou dost so ‘ work ’ for me !50