Nonfiction > E.C. Stedman & E.M. Hutchinson, eds. > A Library of American Literature > 1861–1889
Stedman and Hutchinson, comps.  A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes.  1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889
Between the Lights
By Maurice Francis Egan (1852–1924)
IN the cool, soft, fragrant summer grass,
  ’Mid trembling stalks of white-tipped clover,
I lie and dream, as the shadows pass
  From twilight’s gates the cloud-bridge over.
On the other side, dim other side,        5
  Lie starlight, gloom, and the night’s chill wind,
Calm eve comes forth, like a timid bride,
  And with shaded eyes looks on mankind;—
She looks at me, as I lounge and dream;
  She builds in the sky for my delight        10
High-towered castles that glow and gleam
  Redder than snow-crests in North fires bright.
She shows me Ceres, mid corn-flowers blue,
  And Pluto’s bride on her throne below,
And Helen fair, to her lord untrue,        15
  Anguished and wailing in deathless woe;
Gold arabesques on a jasper ground,
  Gray cameo-faces, cold and grand,
Puck and Peas-blossom hovering round,
  Oberon and his glittering band.        20
She changes her aspect, opal eye—
  Shows me a plain near the walls of Troy,
Where shepherds sheep in low shrubs leave
  In haste, to gaze on a bright-haired boy:
The boy is Paris, he cometh out,        25
  Out of the city, strong-limbed and fair.
Live I in future or past? I doubt
  Am I Greek shepherd or gay trouvère—
Who lieth, dreaming perhaps of her,
  Œnone weeping for him, forlorn?        30
Who strives with the plaintive lute to stir
  Some love in a Norman heart of scorn?
Out of a balcon of hues that glow,
  There leans a lady against the sky;
Her robe is bordered with pearls, I know,        35
  Pearls on her neck with her pearl-skin vie.
There stands a lover in gay slashed hose,
  With a bright plumed hat and purple cloak;
He calls her “lily” and “damask rose”;
  Even in cloudland they wear love’s yoke.        40
Bold knights ride forward on prancing steeds,
  King Arthur’s court, with Sir Launcelot—
Presto! ’Tis Syrinx among the reeds:
  Apollo seeks her, but finds her not.
I am so idle in summer grass,        45
  I cannot think for scent of clover;
No moral I find in clouds that pass,
  I only know that sunset’s over.

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