Verse > Matthew Arnold > Poems
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 1 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,        5
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,        10
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,        15
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.        20
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; 2
Straw hats bedeck’d their heads, with ribbons blue
Which wav’d, and on their shoulders fluttering play’d.        25
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        30
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        35
Bristled with cities, us the Sea receiv’d.
Note 1. A Dream Title] Switzerland. III. A Dream 1853, 1854, 1857. [back]
Note 2. breast] breasts 1853. [back]

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