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A PALE dream came to a Lady fair,
And said, "A boon, a boon, I pray!
I know the secrets of the air;

And things are lost in the glare of day,
Which I can make the sleeping see,
If they will put their trust in me.


"And thou shalt know of things unknown,
If thou wilt let me rest between
The veiny lids whose fringe is thrown

Over thine eyes so dark and sheen."
And half in hope and half in fright
The Lady closed her eyes so bright.


At first all deadly shapes were driven
Tumultuously across her sleep,

And o'er the vast cope of bending heaven
All ghastly-visaged clouds did sweep;
And the Lady ever looked to spy

If the golden sun shone forth on high.

Marianne's Dream. Published by Hunt in The Literary PocketBook, 1819. Composed at Marlow, 1817.

iii. 6 gold, Mrs. Shelley, 1824.


And, as towards the east she turned,
She saw aloft in the morning air,
Which now with hues of sunrise burned,
A great black Anchor rising there;
And, wherever the Lady turned her eyes,
It hung before her in the skies.


The sky was blue as the summer sea,

The depths were cloudless overhead, The air was calm as it could be,

There was no sight or sound of dread, But that black Anchor floating still Over the piny eastern hill.


The Lady grew sick with a weight of fear
To see that Anchor ever hanging,
And veiled her eyes; she then did hear
The sound as of a dim low clanging,
And looked abroad if she might know
Was it aught else, or but the flow
Of the blood in her own veins, to and fro.


There was a mist in the sunless air,

Which shook as it were with an earthquake's


But the very weeds that blossomed there
Were moveless, and each mighty rock

Stood on its basis steadfastly;
The Anchor was seen no more on high.


But piled around, with summits hid
In lines of cloud at intervals,
Stood many a mountain pyramid,

Among whose everlasting walls
Two mighty cities shone, and ever
Through the red mist their domes did quiver.


On two dread mountains, from whose crest
Might seem the eagle for her brood
Would ne'er have hung her dizzy nest,

Those tower-encircled cities stood.
A vision strange such towers to see,
Sculptured and wrought so gorgeously,
Where human art could never be.


And columns framed of marble white,
And giant fanes, dome over dome
Piled, and triumphant gates, all bright

With workmanship, which could not come From touch of mortal instrument,

Shot o'er the vales, or lustre lent
From its own shapes magnificent.


But still the Lady heard that clang
Filling the wide air far away;

x. 6 vales a, Rossetti conj.; 7 its || their, Rossetti conj.

And still the mist whose light did hang
Among the mountains shook alway;
So that the Lady's heart beat fast,
As, half in joy and half aghast,
On those high domes her look she cast.


Sudden from out that city sprung

A light that made the earth grow red; Two flames that each with quivering tongue Licked its high domes, and overhead Among those mighty towers and fanes Dropped fire, as a volcano rains Its sulphurous ruin on the plains.


And hark! a rush, as if the deep

Had burst its bonds; she looked behind, And saw over the western steep

A raging flood descend, and wind
Through that wide vale; she felt no fear,
But said within herself, ""Tis clear
These towers are Nature's own, and she
To save them has sent forth the sea."


And now those raging billows came
Where that fair Lady sate, and she
Was borne towards the showering flame

By the wild waves heaped tumultuously; And, on a little plank, the flow Of the whirlpool bore her to and fro.


The flames were fiercely vomited
From every tower and every dome,
And dreary light did widely shed

O'er that vast flood's suspended foam,
Beneath the smoke which hung its night
On the stained cope of heaven's light.


The plank whereon that Lady sate Was driven through the chasms, about and about,

Between the peaks so desolate

Of the drowning mountains, in and out, As the thistle-beard on a whirlwind sailsWhile the flood was filling those hollow vales.


At last her plank an eddy crossed,

And bore her to the city's wall,

Which now the flood had reached almost;
It might the stoutest heart appall

To hear the fire roar and hiss

Through the domes of those mighty palaces.


The eddy whirled her round and round
Before a gorgeous gate, which stood
Piercing the clouds of smoke which bound
Its aëry arch with light like blood;
She looked on that gate of marble clear
With wonder that extinguished fear;
xv. 1 flames, Rossetti || waves, Hunt, 1819.

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