Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Poems (Boston: Roberts Bros., 1870). PR 5240 E70 ROBA.
1 Master of the murmuring courts
2 Where the shapes of sleep convene!--
3Lo! my spirit here exhorts
4 All the powers of thy demesne
5 For their aid to woo my queen.
6 What reports
7 Yield thy jealous courts unseen?
8 Vaporous, unaccountable,
9 Dreamland lies forlorn of light,
10Hollow like a breathing shell.
11 Ah! that from all dreams I might
12 Choose one dream and guide its flight!
13 I know well
14 What her sleep should tell to-night.
15 There the dreams are multitudes:
16 Some that will not wait for sleep,
17Deep within the August woods;
18 Some that hum while rest may steep
19 Weary labour laid a-heap;
21 Some, of grievous moods that weep.
22 Poets' fancies all are there:
23 There the elf-girls flood with wings
24Valleys full of plaintive air;
25 There breathe perfumes; there in rings
26 Whirl the foam-bewildered springs;
27 Siren there
28 Winds her dizzy hair and sings.
29 Thence the one dream mutually
30 Dreamed in bridal unison,
31Less than waking ecstasy;
32 Half-formed visions that make moan
33 In the house of birth alone;
34 And what we
35 At death's wicket see, unknown.
36 But for mine own sleep, it lies
37 In one gracious form's control,
38Fair with honourable eyes,
39 Lamps of a translucent soul:
40 O their glance is loftiest dole,
41 Sweet and wise,
42 Wherein Love descries his goal.
43 Reft of her, my dreams are all
44 Clammy trance that fears the sky:
45Changing footpaths shift and fall;
46 From polluted coverts nigh,
47 Miserable phantoms sigh;
48 Quakes the pall,
49 And the funeral goes by.
50 Master, is it soothly said
51 That, as echoes of man's speech
52Far in secret clefts are made,
53 So do all men's bodies reach
54 Shadows o'er thy sunken beach,--
55 Shape or shade
56 In those halls pourtrayed of each?
57 Ah! might I, by thy good grace
58 Groping in the windy stair,
59(Darkness and the breath of space
60 Like loud waters everywhere,)
61 Meeting mine own image there
62 Face to face,
63 Send it from that place to her!
64 Nay, not I; but oh! do thou,
65 Master, from thy shadowkind
66Call my body's phantom now:
67 Bid it bear its face declin'd
68 Till its flight her slumbers find,
69 And her brow
70 Feel its presence bow like wind.
71 Where in groves the gracile Spring
72 Trembles, with mute orison
74 Water's voice and wind's as one
75 Shed an echo in the sun.
76 Soft as Spring,
77 Master, bid it sing and moan.
78 Song shall tell how glad and strong
79 Is the night she soothes alway;
80Moan shall grieve with that parched tongue
81 Of the brazen hours of day:
82 Sounds as of the springtide they,
83 Moan and song,
84 While the chill months long for May.
85 Not the prayers which with all leave
86 The world's fluent woes prefer,--
87Not the praise the world doth give,
88 Dulcet fulsome whisperer;--
89 Let it yield my love to her,
90 And achieve
91 Strength that shall not grieve or err.
92 Wheresoe'er my dreams befall,
93 Both at night-watch, (let it say,)
94And where round the sundial
95 The reluctant hours of day,
96 Heartless, hopeless of their way,
97 Rest and call;--
98 There her glance doth fall and stay.
99 Suddenly her face is there:
100 So do mounting vapours wreathe
101Subtle-scented transports where
102 The black firwood sets its teeth.
103 Part the boughs and look beneath,--
104 Lilies share
105 Secret waters there, and breathe.
106 Master, bid my shadow bend
107 Whispering thus till birth of light,
108Lest new shapes that sleep may send
109 Scatter all its work to flight;--
110 Master, master of the night,
111 Bid it spend
112 Speech, song, prayer, and end aright.
113 Yet, ah me! if at her head
114 There another phantom lean
115Murmuring o'er the fragrant bed,--
116 Ah! and if my spirit's queen
117 Smile those alien prayers between,--
118 Ah! poor shade!
119 Shall it strive, or fade unseen?
120 How should love's own messenger
121 Strive with love and be love's foe?
122Master, nay! If thus, in her,
123 Sleep a wedded heart should show,--
124 Silent let mine image go,
125 Its old share
126 Of thy spell-bound air to know.
127 Like a vapour wan and mute,
128 Like a flame, so let it pass;
129One low sigh across her lute,
130 One dull breath against her glass;
131 And to my sad soul, alas!
132 One salute
133 Cold as when Death's foot shall pass.
134 Then, too, let all hopes of mine,
135 All vain hopes by night and day,
136Slowly at thy summoning sign
137 Rise up pallid and obey.
138 Dreams, if this is thus, were they:--
139 Be they thine,
140 And to dreamworld pine away.
141 Yet from old time, life, not death,
142 Master, in thy rule is rife:
143Lo! through thee, with mingling breath,
144 Adam woke beside his wife.
145 O Love bring me so, for strife,
146 Force and faith,
147 Bring me so not death but life!
148 Yea, to Love himself is pour'd
149 This frail song of hope and fear.
150Thou art Love, of one accord
151 With kind Sleep to bring her near,
152 Still-eyed, deep-eyed, ah how dear.
153 Master, Lord,
154 In her name implor'd, O hear!
Publication Start Year
RPO poem Editors
J. D. Robins