Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895
Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895.  1895.
A Pure Hypothesis
May Kendall (b. 1861)
A Lover, in Four-Dimensioned Space, Describes a Dream.
AH, love, the teacher we decried,
  That erudite professor grim,
In mathematics drenched and dyed,
  Too hastily we scouted him.
He said: “The bounds of Time and Space,        5
  The categories we revere,
May be in quite another case
  In quite another sphere.”
He told us: “Science can conceive
  A race whose feeble comprehension        10
Can’t be persuaded to believe
  That there exists our Fourth Dimension,
Whom Time and Space for ever balk;
  But of these beings incomplete,
Whether upon their heads they walk        15
  Or stand upon their feet—
“We cannot tell, we do not know,
  Imagination stops confounded;
We can but say ‘It may be so,’
  To every theory propounded.”        20
Too glad were we in this our scheme
  Of things, his notions to embrace,—
But—I have dreamed an awful dream
  Of Three-dimensioned Space!
I dreamed—the horror seemed to stun        25
  My logical perception strong—
That everything beneath the sun
  Was so unutterably wrong.
I thought—what words can I command?—
  That nothing ever did come right.        30
No wonder you can’t understand:
  I could not, till last night!
I would not, if I could, recall
  The horror of those novel heavens,
Where Present, Past, and Future all        35
  Appeared at sixes and at sevens,
Where Capital and Labor fought,
  And, in the nightmare of the mind,
No contradictories were thought
  As truthfully combined!        40
Nay, in that dream-distorted clime,
  These fatal wilds I wandered through,
The boundaries of Space and Time
  Had got most frightfully askew.
“What is ‘askew’?” my love, you cry;        45
  I cannot answer, can’t portray;
The sense of Everything awry
  No language can convey.
I can’t tell what my words denote,
  I know not what my phrases mean;        50
Inexplicable terrors float
  Before this spirit once serene.
Ah, what if on some lurid star
  There should exist a hapless race,
Who live and love, who think and are,        55
  In Three-dimensioned Space!


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