In the Clouds.

A man sits against a tree and smokes a pipe. A closed book lies next to him. Smoke and clouds emit from his pipe; the clouds contain the following scenes. At the far left, a knight on horseback raises his sword in the air while another knight reaches toward him. Below them, a man lies on the ground, crouched over two books. In the centre, a man wraps his hands around another man’s neck. The afflicted man drops small bags and coins. On the right, a woman drops a bouquet of flowers as she looks back toward a man who gestures towards her. Below these figures, two boys fight. One boy pulls back his hand as if to punch the other boy. The second boy looks up as he drops his hat and possessions. There is a castle and indistinct crowned royal figures in the background of the clouds. 3/4 page illustration.
Sitting underneath a tree1
I build airy castles,2
While in every cloud I blow3
Float my fairy vassals,4
Dancing round me, dancing round
Circling in the vapour,6
Like the midges o’er a pool,7
Like the boys released from school,8
Or moths around a taper.9
Let me preach in playful tone10
With the due inflation ;11
Pointing morals, sure as fate,12
To my congregation.13
" See this slender rod of clay,14
White and frail and little,15
Type of poor mortality,16
(That Death snaps in cruel play,)17
Life is no less brittle.”18
Thin and sharp and winding blue19
Rise the clouds above one,20
Lingering o’er the preacher’s head21
(How can such things love one ?)22
Half contemptuously I roll23
Up my sermon paper,24
Riches, beauty, glory—all25
(Let the words like good seed fall)26
Vanish like a vapour.”27