A Dream, Written After The Author's Recovery From Illness

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O! it is pleasant, with a heart at ease,
Just after sunset, or by moonlight skies,
To make the shifting clouds be what you please. ~ COLERIDGE.


Why, what a Paradise is earth to-day!
Some heavy torpor must have locked my soul
In dull, unvarying listlessness till now!
Some envious film must sure have dimmed my eyes,
And veiled this world of beauty from my sight,
For long, long years!—Yon ever glorious sun
Darts his life-giving beams upon my heart,
And stirs it to a deeper sense of bliss
Than e'er it felt before. My pulses grow
Instinct with new existence, fresher life;
And all around me gathers as I gaze,
Hues of a more pervading loveliness
Than it was wont to wear! The clouds above
Flow on like molten silver; now and then
Fretted with crimson tinges, and anon
Streaked with the deep blue of the upper sky,
That spreads and spreads beyond them in a sea
Of living sapphire. Multitudes of forms,
Palpably bright and beautiful, are moving
Athwart the depths of heaven; and I see,—
So Fancy in her wayward mood would deem,—
File upon file of rich and gorgeous shapes
Advancing, and advancing without end!
Throned in a car, inwoven of the beams
Of the descending sun, whose flashing wheels
Leave a long trail of glory as they speed,
Towers the mighty and majestic form
Of the Imperial Captain;—Him who led
The forces of the' Omnipotent against
The dark and daring Lucifer, and hurled
The “race rebellious” to “combustion down”
And “bottomless perdition!” On his brow,
His starry brow, a coronal is wreathed,
Worthy the temples of the King of kings!
His shining sword is sheathless, and its blade,
Like a death-dooming meteor ere it falls
In ruin upon earth, flashes in light,
In terrible light, whichever way it turns!
Celestial scorn, defiance without pride,
And all the wrath the son of God may own,
Hath curled his lip in beautiful disdain.
In the distance,
A huge, slow moving mass appears to rise
Darkening the sky. I look again, and lo!
Myriads of forms, in phalanx firm conjoined,
Press on to ruin in one turbulent host
'Gainst the celestial Chief. In the van,
The master Demon lifts his lordly crest
In proud and insolent triumph, and abroad
Waves his tremendous falchion! In his eye,
Pride, hate, ambition, cruelty are glassed,
As in a mirror. O'er his lofty front
His ebon locks, Medusa-like, are wreathed
In many a snaky fold; and on his brow,
Undiademed, are throned revenge sublime,
Bloated defiance, lust of pomp and power,
And resolution not to be subdued.
Those hostile bands advance, and now have gained
Midway the arch of heaven!—They pause a while,—
Then to the charge, and straight from pole to pole,
The bray of battle rings!
The sun hath dropped
Into the blushing bosom of the West,
And with him the bright pageant too hath vanished!
The clash of helm and shield, the sounds of war,
Fancy had wafted on my dreaming ear,
Have sunk to silence. Not a breath disturbs
The deep serene around me; and above,
Rises a lofty cupola of sky,
In blue, eye-soothing beauty and repose!
No battling seraphim are there; but clouds
Slow sailing on, in placid loveliness,
Like pleasure-barques upon a summer sea.
No shields and helms shine forth in dazzling lustre;
But where the God of day hath left his smile,
Are countless hues cameleon-like that change
As the glance strives to trace them, and become
Momently deeper than before; anon,
Twilight begins to weave her fairy web
Of light and gloom, and, from the deepening East,
Night spreads her ebon arms to clasp the world.

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