A Dream.

A poem by Denis Florence MacCarthy

I dreamt a dream, a dazzling dream, of a green isle far away,
Where the glowing West to the ocean's breast calleth the dying day;
And that island green was as fair a scene as ever man's eye did see,
With its chieftains bold and its temples old, and its homes and its altars free!
No foreign foe did that green isle know, no stranger band it bore,
Save the merchant train from sunny Spain, and from Afric's golden shore!
And the young man's heart would fondly start, and the old man's eye would smile,
As their thoughts would roam o'er the ocean foam to that lone and "holy isle!"

Years passed by, and the orient sky blazed with a newborn light,
And Bethlehem's star shone bright afar o'er the lost world's darksome night;
And the diamond shrines from plundered mines, and the golden fanes of Jove,
Melted away in the blaze of day at the simple spellword--Love!
The light serene o'er that island green played with its saving beams,
And the fires of Baal waxed dim and pale like the stars in the morning streams!
And 'twas joy to hear, in the bright air clear, from out each sunny glade,
The tinkling bell, from the quiet cell, or the cloister's tranquil shade!

A cloud of night o'er that dream so bright soon with its dark wing came,
And the happy scene of that island green was lost in blood and shame;
For its kings unjust betrayed their trust, and its queens, though fair, were frail,
And a robber band, from a stranger land, with their war-whoops filled the gale;
A fatal spell on that green isle fell, a shadow of death and gloom
Passed withering o'er, from shore to shore, like the breath of the foul simoom;
And each green hill's side was crimson dyed, and each stream rolled red and wild,
With the mingled blood of the brave and good--of mother and maid and child!

Dark was my dream, though many a gleam of hope through that black night broke,
Like a star's bright form through a whistling storm, or the moon through a midnight oak!
And many a time, with its wings sublime, and its robes of saffron light,
Would the morning rise on the eastern skies, but to vanish again in night!
For, in abject prayer, the people there still raised their fettered hands,
When the sense of right and the power to smite are the spirit that commands;
For those who would sneer at the mourner's tear, and heed not the suppliant's sigh,
Would bow in awe to that first great law, a banded nation's cry!

At length arose o'er that isle of woes a dawn with a steadier smile,
And in happy hour a voice of power awoke the slumbering isle!
And the people all obeyed the call of their chief's unsceptred hand,
Vowing to raise, as in ancient days, the name of their own dear land!
My dream grew bright as the sunbeam's light, as I watched that isle's career,
Through the varied scene and the joys serene of many a future year;
And, oh! what a thrill did my bosom fill as I gazed on a pillared pile,
Where a senate once more in power watched o'er the rights of that lone green isle!

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