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The bowers whereat, in dreams, I see
The waritonest singing birds,

Are lips—and all thy melody
Of lip-begotten words

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Thine eyes, in Heaven of heart enshrined

Then desolately fall, O God! on my funereal mind

Like starlight on a pall—


Thy heart—thy heart!—I wake and sigh,

And sleep to dream till day
Of the truth that gold can never buy—

Of the baubles that it may.


In visions of the dark night

I have dream'd of joy departed—

But a waking dream of life and light
Hath left me broken-hearted.

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Ah! what is not a dream by day
To him whose eyes are cast

On things around him with a ray
Turn'd back upon the past?


That holy dream—that holy dream,
While all the world were chiding,

Hath cheered me as a lovely beam
A lonely spirit guiding.


What though that light, through storm and night,

So trembled from afar—
What could there be more purely bright

In Truth's day-star?

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In spring of youth it was my lot
To haunt of the wide world a spot
The which I could not love the less—
So lovely was the loneliness
Of a wild lake, with black rock bound,
And the tall pines that towered around.


But when the night had thrown her pall
Upon that spot, as upon all,
And the mystic wind went by
Murmuring in melody—
Then—ah then I would awake
To the terror of the lone lake.


Yet that terror was not fright,
But a tremulous delight—
A feeling not the jewelled mine
Could teach or bribe me to define —
Nor Love—although the Love were thine.


Death was in that poisonous wave,

And in its gulf a fitting grave

For him who thence could solace bring

To his lone imagining—

Whose solitary soul could make

An Eden of that dim lake.


Romance, who loves to nod and sing,
With drowsy head and folded wing,
Among the green leaves as they shake
Far down within some shadowy lake,
To me a painted paroquet
Hath been—a most familiar bird—
Taught me my alphabet to say—
To lisp my very earliest word
While in the wild wood I did lie,
A child—with a most knowing eye.

Of late, eternal Condor years
So shake the very Heaven on high
With tumult as they thunder by,
I have no time for idle cares
Through gazing on the unquiet sky;
And when an hour with calmer wings
Its down upon my spirit flings—
That little time with lyre and rhyme
To while away—forbidden things!
My heart would feel to be a crime
Unless it trembled with the strings.

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