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Strange is thy pallor! strange thy dress! Strange, above all, thy length of tress, And this all solemn silentness!
The lady sleeps! Oh, may her sleep,
My love, she sleeps! Oh, may her sleep,
As it is lasting, so be deep!
Soft may the worms about her creep!
Far in the forest, dim and old,
For her may some tall vault unfold—
Some vault that oft hath flung its black
And winged panels fluttering back,
Triumphant, o'er the crested palls,
Of her grand family funerals;
Some sepulchre, remote, alone,
Against whose portal she hath thrown,
In childhood, many an idle stone;
There are some qualities—some incorporate things,
That have a double life, which thus is made A type of that twin entity which springs
From matter and light, evinced in solid and shade.
No power hath he of evil in himself;
Bring thee to meet his shadow (nameless elf,
THE CONQUEROR WORM.
Lo! 'tis a gala night
Within the lonesome latter years! An angel throng, bewinged, bedight
In veils, and drowned in tears,
A play of hopes and fears,
The music of the spheres.
Mimes, in the form of God on high,
Mutter and mumble low, And hither and thither fly;
Mere puppets they, who come and go At bidding of vast formless things
That shift the scenery to and fro, Flapping from out their Condor wings
That motley drama—oh, be sure
With its Phantom chased for evermore,
By a crowd that seize it not,
To the self-same spot;
And Horror the soul of the plot.
But, see, amid the mimic rout
A crawling shape intrude!
The scenic solitude!
The mimes become its food,
In human gore imbued.
Out—out are the lights—out all!
And, over each quivering form, The curtain, a funeral pall,
Comes down with the rush of a storm;
Uprising, unveiling, affirm
And its hero the Conqueror Worm.
A DREAM WITHIN A DREAM.
Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow:—
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it, therefore, the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.
I stand amid the roar