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Matthew Arnold (1822–88). The Poems of Matthew Arnold, 1840–1867. 1909.

Poems; A New Edition. 1853

A Dream

[First published 1853. Reprinted 1854, ’57.]

WAS it a dream? We sail’d, I thought we sail’d,

Martin and I, down a green Alpine stream,

Under o’erhanging pines; the morning sun,

On the wet umbrage of their glossy tops,

On the red pinings of their forest floor,

Drew a warm scent abroad; behind the pines

The mountain skirts, with all their sylvan change

Of bright-leaf’d chestnuts, and moss’d walnut-trees,

And the frail scarlet-berried ash, began.

Swiss chalets glitter’d on the dewy slopes,

And from some swarded shelf high up, there came

Notes of wild pastoral music: over all

Rang’d, diamond-bright, the eternal wall of snow.

Upon the mossy rocks at the stream’s edge,

Back’d by the pines, a plank-built cottage stood,

Bright in the sun; the climbing gourd-plant’s leaves

Muffled its walls, and on the stone-strewn roof

Lay the warm golden gourds; golden, within,

Under the eaves, peer’d rows of Indian corn.

We shot beneath the cottage with the stream.

On the brown rude-carv’d balcony two Forms

Came forth—Olivia’s, Marguerite! and thine.

Clad were they both in white, flowers in their breast;

Straw hats bedeck’d their heads, with ribbons blue

Which wav’d, and on their shoulders fluttering play’d.

They saw us, they conferr’d; their bosoms heav’d,

And more than mortal impulse fill’d their eyes.

Their lips mov’d; their white arms, wav’d eagerly,

Flash’d once, like falling streams:—we rose, we gaz’d:

One moment, on the rapid’s top, our boat

Hung pois’d—and then the darting River of Life,

Loud thundering, bore us by: swift, swift it foam’d;

Black under cliffs it rac’d, round headlands shone.

Soon the plank’d cottage ’mid the sun-warm’d pines

Faded, the moss, the rocks; us burning Plains

Bristled with cities, us the Sea receiv’d.