Verse > George William Russell > Collected Poems by A.E.
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George William (“A. E.”) Russell (1867–1935).  Collected Poems by A.E.  1913.
 
75. The Dream of the Children
 
 
THE CHILDREN awoke in their dreaming
  While earth lay dewy and still:
They followed the rill in its gleaming
  To the heart-light of the hill.
 
Its sounds and sights were forsaking        5
  The world as they faded in sleep,
When they heard a music breaking
  Out from the heart-light deep.
 
It ran where the rill in its flowing
  Under the star-light gay,        10
With wonderful colour was glowing
  Like the bubbles they blew in their play.
 
From the misty mountain under
  Shot gleams of an opal star;
Its pathways of rainbow wonder        15
  Rayed to their feet from afar.
 
From their feet as they strayed in the meadow
  It led through caverned aisles,
Filled with purple and green light and shadow
  For mystic miles on miles.        20
 
The children were glad: it was lonely
  To play on the hillside by day.
“But now,” they said, “we have only
  To go where the good people stray.”
 
For all the hillside was haunted        25
  By the faery folk come again;
And down in the heart-light enchanted
  Were opal-coloured men.
 
They moved like kings unattended
  Without a squire or dame,        30
But they wore tiaras splendid
  With feathers of starlight flame.
 
They laughed at the children over
  And called them into the heart.
“Come down here, each sleepless rover;        35
  We will show you some of our art.”
 
And down through the cool of the mountain
  The children sank at the call,
And stood in a blazing fountain
  And never a mountain at all.        40
 
The lights were coming and going
  In many a shining strand,
For the opal fire-kings were blowing
  The darkness out of the land.
 
This golden breath was a madness        45
  To set a poet on fire;
And this was a cure for sadness,
  And that the ease of desire.
 
They said as dawn glimmered hoary,
  “We will show yourselves for an hour.”        50
And the children were changed to a glory
  By the beautiful magic of power.
 
The fire-kings smiled on their faces
  And called them by olden names,
Till they towered like the starry races        55
  All plumed with the twilight flames.
 
They talked for a while together
  How the toil of ages oppressed,
And of how they best could weather
  The ship of the world to its rest.        60
 
The dawn in the room was straying:
  The children began to blink,
When they heard a far voice saying
  “You can grow like that if you think.”
 
The sun came in yellow and gay light:        65
  They tumbled out of the cot:
And half of the dream went with daylight
  And half was never forgot.
 

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