The Day was dying; his breath
Wavered away in a hectic gleam;
And I said, if Life's a dream, and Death
And Love and all are dreams - I'll dream.
A mist came over the bay
Like as a dream would over an eye.
The mist was white and the dream was grey
And both contained a human cry,
The burthen whereof was "Love",
And it filled both mist and dream with pain,
And the hills below and the skies above
Were touched and uttered it back again.
The mist broke: down the rift
A kind ray shot from a holy star.
Then my dream did waver and break and lift -
Through it, O Love, shone thy face, afar.
So Boyhood sets: comes Youth,
A painful night of mists and dreams;
That broods till Love's exquisite truth,
The star of a morn-clear manhood, beams.
Boykin's Bluff, Virginia, 1863.