Two Dreams.

Dream the First.

I saw, in dream, an aged reverend Man,1
Sitting upon a heap of shards and cinders ;2
Whom when I greeted passing, “ Stop !” said he,3
Thou must not that way go !”  “And wherefore not?”4
Because I disallow it. Stay, my son ;5
O hear me, gentle son !  Close, close thine eyes,6
That I may teach thy pathway.—Wilt thou not ?7
Audacious vagabond ! rejecting him8
Who sits in place of God !”9
At which I smiled,10
And pass’d. He, frowning, lifted both his hands,11
As if to curse, but in that effort split12
And fell to pieces, like a lump of sand13
Upon the seashore in a rising tide.14
Then all the sea-fowl rose and scream’d, and all15
The fishes leap’d and tumbled in the surf,16
A shrill harsh cry, a fluttering turbulence,17
Subsiding instantly ; and lo, I paced18
The broad smooth strand familiar, and the sea19
Roll’d calmly shoreward, murmuring round my steps20
With music, underneath a sky of light21
Purer than azure wildflow’rs ; music finer,22
Tenderer than song of birds or children’s voices23
Floating in hymns of joy on morning breezes.24


I dream’d :25
And, as it seem’d,26
A gorgeous Palace-Temple I beheld ;27
And through its,golden gates impell’d,28
And measureless halls, a moving crowd29
From every land where men may live and die30
Drew to the central dome.31
There sat the Prophet-King enthronèd high,32
White-robed, serene, in solemn majesty ;33
Melodious wail of anthems, waxing loud,34
Burst in thundering billows of sound ;35
Incense creeping round36
Rose without intermission to his feet, and clomb37
And hung with clouds the mighty dome,38
Wreathing the sculptured saints and angels there ;39
While to the people’s prayerful eyes40
Angels and saints themselves were dimly congregated41
Midway the dome and in the outside air ;42
A throng of glorious messengers that waited,43
Eager for errands to and from the skies,44
With wings of strength45
To mount the steep of heav’n and find at length46
God’s own47
Almighty Throne.48
Then my dream shifted somehow, and became49
Different ; and yet the things were still the same :50
A lonely hut on a moor ;51
A white-beard Man and poor ;52
Wind in the crannies whistling and sighing ;53
Embers dying, red in the gloom,54
Sending a sluggish bleary fume55
To eddy around the rotten thatch ;56
And the beetles and centipedes ran about57
From the holes in the floor ;58
And the rickety door59
Stirr’d its latch60
At the push of some creature sniffing without.61
’Twas near midnight,62
The falling flake63
Had turn’d the black moor deathly white,64
When this Old Man mutter’d, half-awake,65
I am supreme over every King66
My talisman’s greater than Solomon’s Ring67
All wisdom and power to me belong !”68
And the fire went out as he croon’d his lingering song.69
Ice-cold grew his feet ;70
All his limbs lost heat ;71
His brain ceased to think,72
His eyes ceased to wink,73
His heart ceased to beat ;74
His jaw fell, but his forehead kept a frown.75
Louder the wind began to blow,76
And blew the hovel down,77
And hid the corpse in snow.78