A Dream

A poem by Matthew Arnold

Was 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,
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,
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,
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.
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;
Straw hats bedeck’d their heads, with ribbons blue
Which wav’d, and on their shoulders fluttering play’d.
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
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
Bristled with cities, us the Sea receiv’d

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