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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
England: Vols. I–IV. 1876–79.

London Tower

Clarence’s Dream

By William Shakespeare (1564–1616)

METHOUGHT that I had broken from the Tower

And was embarked to cross to Burgundy;

And in my company, my brother Gloster:

Who from my cabin tempted me to walk

Upon the hatches: thence we looked toward England.

And cited up a thousand heavy times,

During the wars of York and Lancaster,

That had befallen us. As we paced along

Upon the giddy footing of the hatches,

Methought that Gloster stumbled; and, in falling,

Struck me, that thought to stay him, overboard

Into the tumbling billows of the main.

O Heaven! methought what pain it was to drown!

What dreadful noise of water in mine ears!

What sights of ugly death within mine eyes!

Methought I saw a thousand fearful wrecks;

A thousand men, that fishes gnawed upon;

Wedges of gold, great anchors, heaps of pearl,

Inestimable stones, unvalued jewels,

All scattered in the bottom of the sea.

Some lay in dead men’s skulls; and in those holes

Where eyes did once inhabit there were crept

(As ’t were in scorn of eyes) reflecting gems,

That wooed the slimy bottom of the deep,

And mocked the dead bones that lay scattered by.


I passed, methought, the melancholy flood,

With that grim ferryman which poets write of,

Unto the kingdom of perpetual night.

The first that there did greet my stranger soul

Was my great father-in-law, renownéd Warwick,

Who cried aloud, “What scourge for perjury

Can this dark monarchy afford false Clarence?”

And so he vanished: then came wandering by

A shadow like an angel, with bright hair

Dabbled in blood; and he shrieked out aloud,

“Clarence is come,—false, fleeting, perjured Clarence,—

That stabbed me in the field by Tewksbury;—

Seize on him, Furies, take him to your torments!”

With that, methought, a legion of foul fiends

Environed me, and howled in mine ears

Such hideous cries, that with the very noise

I trembling waked, and, for a season after,

Could not believe but that I was in hell,

Such terrible impression made my dream.