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Resignedly beneath the sky
The melancholy waters lie.
So blend the turrets and shadows there
That all seem pendulous in air,
While from a proud tower in the town
Death looks gigantically down.
There open fanes and gaping graves
Yawn level with the luminous waves;
But not the riches there that lie
In each idol's diamond eye-
Not the gaily-jewelled dead
Tempt the waters from their bed
For no ripples curl, alas!
Along that wilderness of glass--
No swellings tell that winds may be
Upon some far-off happier sea-
No heavings hint that winds have been
On seas less hideously serene.
At midnight, in the month of June,
I stand beneath the mystic moon.
An opiate vapour, dewy, dim,
Exhales from out her golden rim,
And, softly dripping, drop by drop,
Upon the quiet mountain top,
Steals drowsily and musically
Into the universal valley.
The rosemary nods upon
grave; The lily lolls
the wave ; Wrapping the fog about its breast, The ruin moulders into rest; Looking like Lethe, see! the lake A conscious slumber seems to take, And would not, for the world, awake. All Beauty sleeps !—and lo! where lies (Her casement open to the skies) Irene, with her Destinies !
Oh, lady bright! can it be right-
This window open to the night?
The wanton airs, from the tree-top,
Laughingly through the lattice drop
The bodiless airs, a wizard rout,
Flit through thy chamber in and
And wave the curtain canopy
So fitfully--so fearfully-
Above the closed and fringed lid
'Neath which thy slumb'ring soul lies hid,
That, o'er the floor and down the wall,
Like ghosts the shadows rise and fall !
Oh, lady dear, hast thou no fear ?
Why and what art thou dreaming here?
Sure thou art come o’er far-off seas,
A wonder to these garden trees!
Strange is thy pallor! strange thy dress!
Strange, above all, thy length of tress,
And this all solemn silentness !
The lady sleeps! Oh, may her sleep,
Which is enduring, so be deep!
Heaven have her in its sacred keep !
This chamber changed for one more holy,
This bed for one more melancholy,
pray to God that she
lie Forever with unopened eye, While the dim sheeted ghosts go by!
My love, she sleeps! Oh, may her sleep
As it is lasting, so be deep !
may the worms about her creep!
Far in the forest, dim and old,
For her may some tall vault unfold-
Some vault that oft hath flung its black
And winged pannels fluttering back,
Triumphant, o'er the crested palls,
Of her grand family funerals--
Some sepulchre, remote, alone,
Against whose portal she hath thrown,
In childhood, many an idle stone--
Some tomb from out whose sounding door
She ne'er shall force an echo more,
Thrilling to think, poor child of sin !
It was the dead who groaned within.
There are some qualities—some incorporate things,
That have a double life, which thus is made A type of that twin entity which springs
From matter and light, evinced in solid and shade. There is a two-fold Silence-sea and shore
Newly with grass o'ergrown ; some solemn graces,
Some human memories and tearful lore,
Render him terrorless: his name's “ No More.”
He is the corporate Silence: dread him not !
No power hath he of evil in himself ;
But should some urgent fate (untimely lot !)
Bring thee to meet his shadow (nameless elf,
That haunteth the lone regions where hath trod
No foot of man,) commend thyself to God'
Take this kiss upon the brow !
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream •
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone ?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.
I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within
Grains of the golden sand-
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep--while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp ?
O God ! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave ?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream ?