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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

A Dream of the South Winds

By Paul Hamilton Hayne (1830–1886)

[From Poems. Complete Edition. 1882.]

O FRESH, how fresh and fair

Through the crystal gulfs of air,

The fairy South Wind floateth on her subtle wings of balm!

And the green earth lapped in bliss,

To the magic of her kiss

Seems yearning upward fondly through the golden-crested calm!

From the distant Tropic strand,

Where the billows, bright and bland,

Go creeping, curling round the palms with sweet, faint undertune,

From its fields of purpling flowers

Still wet with fragrant showers,

The happy South Wind lingering sweeps the royal blooms of June.

All heavenly fancies rise

On the perfume of her sighs,

Which steep the inmost spirit in a language rare and fine,

And a peace more pure than sleep’s

Unto dim, half-conscious deeps,

Transports me, lulled and dreaming, on its twilight tides divine.

Those dreams! ah me! the splendor,

So mystical and tender,

Wherewith like soft-heat lightnings they gird their meaning round,

And those waters, calling, calling,

With a nameless charm enthralling,

Like the ghost of music melting on a rainbow spray of sound!

Touch, touch me not, nor wake me,

Lest grosser thoughts o’ertake me,

From earth receding faintly with her dreary din and jars,—

What viewless arms caress me?

What whispered voices bless me,

With welcomes dropping dewlike from the weird and wondrous stars?

Alas! dim, dim, and dimmer

Grows the preternatural glimmer

Of that trance the South Wind brought me on her subtle wings of balm;

For behold! its spirit flieth,

And its fairy murmur dieth,

And the silence closing round me is a dull and soulless calm!