But huge and mighty Forms that do not live like living men mov’d slowly through my mind>
By day and were the trouble of my dreams.
But more marvelous and luminous are the imaginations of men, when their thoughts
are dissolved in soft summer rain; and the faint exaltation of seas and glimmering waters
move swiftly through the silent ocean, her vast wings and high sweeping curves, till with a sudden brightness; of crystal noiselessly an ardent swan of prismatic form, with plumes that arc tween two spirals or the reflection of a circle, gives up a magical report to the air.
And, as a wanderer home, sometimes, well passing around a hill, would hope that behind him the unseen if it come from a distant lofty land, and such it be, a home of peace and solitude to come.
At times of discontent and sickness, pillows covered with white birch boughs, the dark moss
Along the trees was moist, and cottages by watersides still left their grassy slope. But neither trees nor miles of grass, unlike the artificial things of Man, nor grass grown for buildings, nor waters drained.
And purified into a shallow and undrinkable concentration, nor fruit or flowers in sight, reminded me that the long and tranquil stream of Individual life must needs return before the stream of inorganic life can begin to dissipate and come to die. Its long memories have come to slumber as the long-continued dreams of Man.
But I was tempted by the stream. The solitude would seem so natural and so necessary, and be so reserved, and the solitude so good for thought, there was no heat of mind to arouse it; and even the
Exhilaration of the remembrance of that solitude : had a melancholy relief. But, as in death, the last affection awoke; and, sullenly sinking in a swathing silence, I fell asleep; And though my weary limbs
Were heavy, I slept with my mind reclined upon my breast. Come night, the vision of O the Wanderer of the Hills varying with the stars, and evoking each as the heavenly Eye pictures to a man an illimitable hall, and I was conscious of a sinister shadow creeping. It was a living, moving thing, a slithering thing. From the Cottage the shadow came along the steps and slanted over the plough, and on the lawn the grass was raised, till in the distance it and the shadowy Other turned its head; and then the lightning was brought down by the shrill clang of the bells, and though I thought the sky was dark and gloomy,
It was beautiful in the light of the lightning: then as I watched the storm came on—dreadfully fearful—and very thick: the waves and low groaning hills and swift-growing woods and noisome clouds with rows of storm-clouds of flame darting through them, while all in bright lightning the shadow crept.
So, when I awoke, a little later in the day, my body was ill with thirst, and I could not bear to stand up, but laid down against the cold stone and shut my eyes. The shutters had been thrown up of late. Strange and silent to me!
Were the night-cloaks that let in no ray, such light was gone
That Heaven, with eyes closed, was a dull light to me, black. This body on the stone without the weather-worn yellow waiting on, and in contempt, a coarse solitude.
And I dreamed of O in the Marsh—not exactly what I
Had dreamed of O the Wanderer of the Hills, but all
The same like it: but, turning aside as I do to run
(or travel, as I preferred), and every line of the
Ahab plot, for fifty miles, was clothed with strange
Fog like something floating in a vague haze, and more
And more, like the fog on the cliffs of Benares or at
The foot of Mount Almora in Persia, and took me
Into the Land of Vultures, where had past a Harrowing
Of the Dead.
Such were the dreams, which I dreamt in that room, and of which
They were dreams no more; and I only wished with all my heart
That I had not dreamed of O.
:: 10.17.2020 ::