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    A Dream Within A Dream

    by George MacDonald
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    The Outer Dream.

    Young, as the day's first-born Titanic brood,
    Lifting their foreheads jubilant to heaven,
    Rose the great mountains on my opening dream.
    And yet the aged peace of countless years
    Reposed on every crag and precipice
    Outfacing ruggedly the storms that swept
    Far overhead the sheltered furrow-vales;
    Which smiled abroad in green as the clouds broke
    Drifting adown the tide of the wind-waves,
    Till shattered on the mountain rocks. Oh! still,
    And cold and hard to look upon, like men
    Who do stern deeds in times of turbulence,
    Quell the hail-rattle with their granite brows,
    And let the thunder burst and pass away--
    They too did gather round sky-dwelling peaks
    The trailing garments of the travelling sun,
    Which he had lifted from his ocean-bed,
    And swept along his road. They rent them down
    In scattering showers upon the trees and grass,
    In noontide rains with heavy ringing drops,
    Or in still twilight moisture tenderly.
    And from their sides were born the gladsome streams;
    Some creeping gently out in tiny springs,
    As they were just created, scarce a foot
    From the hill's surface, in the matted roots
    Of plants, whose green betrays the secret birth;
    Some hurrying forth from caverns deep and dark,
    Upfilling to the brim a basin huge,
    Thick covered with soft moss, greening the wave,
    As evermore it welled over the edge
    Upon the rocks below in boiling heaps;
    Fit basin for a demi-god at morn,
    Waking amid the crags, to lave his limbs,
    Then stride, Hyperion, o'er sun-paven peaks.
    And down the hill-side sped the fresh-born wave,
    Now hid from sight in arched caverns cold,
    Now arrowing slantwise down the terraced steep,
    Now springing like a child from step to step
    Of the rough water-stair; until it found
    A deep-hewn passage for its slower course,
    Guiding it down to lowliness and rest,
    Betwixt wet walls of darkness, darker yet
    With pine trees lining all their sides like hair,
    Or as their own straight needles clothe their boughs;
    Until at length in broader light it ran,
    With more articulate sounds amid the stones,
    In the slight shadow of the maiden birch,
    And the stream-loving willow; and ere long
    Great blossoming trees dropt flowers upon its breast;
    Chiefly the crimson-spotted, cream-white flowers,
    Heaped up in cones amid cone-drooping leaves;
    Green hanging leaf-cones, towering white flower-cones
    Upon the great cone-fashioned chestnut tree.
    Each made a tiny ripple where it fell,
    The trembling pleasure of the smiling wave,
    Which bore it then, in slow funereal course,
    Down to the outspread sunny sheen, where lies
    The lake uplooking to the far-off snow,
    Its mother still, though now so far away;
    Feeding it still with long descending lines
    Of shining, speeding streams, that gather peace
    In journeying to the rest of that still lake
    Now lying sleepy in the warm red sun,
    Which says its dear goodnight, and goeth down.

    All pale, and withered, and disconsolate,
    The moon is looking on impatiently;
    For 'twixt the shining tent-roof of the day,
    And the sun-deluged lake, for mirror-floor,
    Her thin pale lamping is too sadly grey
    To shoot, in silver-barbed, white-plumed arrows,
    Cold maiden splendours on the flashing fish:
    Wait for thy empire Night, day-weary moon!
    And thou shalt lord it in one realm at least,
    Where two souls walk a single Paradise.
    Take to thee courage, for the sun is gone;
    His praisers, the glad birds, have hid their heads;
    Long, ghost-like forms of trees lie on the grass;
    All things are clothed in an obscuring light,
    Fusing their outline in a dreamy mass;
    Some faint, dim shadows from thy beauty fall
    On the clear lake which melts them half away--
    Shine faster, stronger, O reviving moon!
    Burn up, O lamp of Earth, hung high in Heaven!

    And through a warm thin summer mist she shines,
    A silver setting to the diamond stars;
    And the dark boat cleaveth a glittering way,
    Where the one steady beauty of the moon
    Makes many changing beauties on the wave
    Broken by jewel-dropping oars, which drive
    The boat, as human impulses the soul;
    While, like the sovereign will, the helm's firm law
    Directs the whither of the onward force.
    At length midway he leaves the swaying oars
    Half floating in the blue gulf underneath,
    And on a load of gathered flowers reclines,
    Leaving the boat to any air that blows,
    His soul to any pulse from the unseen heart.
    Straight from the helm a white hand gleaming flits,
    And settles on his face, and nestles there,
    Pale, night-belated butterfly, to sleep.
    For on her knees his head lies satisfied;
    And upward, downward, dark eyes look and rest,
    Finding their home in likeness. Lifting then
    Her hair upon her white arm heavily,
    The overflowing of her beauteousness,
    Her hand that cannot trespass, singles out
    Some of the curls that stray across her lap;
    And mingling dark locks in the pallid light,
    She asks him which is darker of the twain,
    Which his, which hers, and laugheth like a lute.
    But now her hair, an unvexed cataract,
    Falls dark and heavy round his upturned face,
    And with a heaven shuts out the shallow sky,
    A heaven profound, the home of two black stars;
    Till, tired with gazing, face to face they lie,
    Suspended, with closed eyelids, in the night;
    Their bodies bathed in conscious sleepiness,
    While o'er their souls creeps every rippling breath
    Of the night-gambols of the moth-winged wind,
    Flitting a handbreadth, folding up its wings,
    Its dreamy wings, then spreading them anew,
    And with an unfelt gliding, like the years,
    Wafting them to a water-lily bed,
    Whose shield-like leaves and chalice-bearing arms
    Hold back the boat from the slow-sloping shore,
    Far as a child might shoot with his toy-bow.
    There the long drooping grass drooped to the wave;
    And, ever as the moth-wind lit thereon,
    A small-leafed tree, whose roots were always cool,
    Dipped one low bow, with many sister-leaves,
    Upon the water's face with a low plash,
    Lifting and dipping yet and yet again;
    And aye the water-drops rained from the leaves,
    With music-laughter as they found their home.
    And from the woods came blossom-fragrance, faint,
    Or full, like rising, falling harmonies;
    Luxuriance of life, which overflows
    In scents ethereal on the ocean air;
    Each breathing on the rest the blessedness
    Of its peculiar being, filled with good
    Till its cup runneth over with delight:
    They drank the mingled odours as they lay,
    The air in which the sensuous being breathes,
    Till summer-sleep fell on their hearts and eyes.

    The night was mild and innocent of ill;
    'Twas but a sleeping day that breathed low,
    And babbled in its sleep. The moon at length
    Grew sleepy too. Her level glances crept
    Through sleeping branches to their curtained eyes,
    As down the steep bank of the west she slid,
    Slowly and slowly

    But alas! alas!
    The awful time 'twixt moondown and sunrise!
    It is a ghostly time. A low thick fog
    Steamed up and swathed the trees, and overwhelmed
    The floating couch with pall on pall of grey.
    The sky was desolate, dull, and meaningless.
    The blazing hues of the last sunset eve,
    And the pale magic moonshine that had made
    The common, strange,--all were swept clean away;
    The earth around, the great sky over, were
    Like a deserted theatre, tomb-dumb;
    The lights long dead; the first sick grey of morn
    Oozing through rents in the slow-mouldering curtain;
    The sweet sounds fled away for evermore;
    Nought left, except a creeping chill, a sense
    As if dead deeds were strown upon the stage,
    As if dead bodies simulated life,
    And spoke dead words without informing thought.
    A horror, as of power without a soul,
    Dark, undefined, and mighty unto ill,
    Jarred through the earth and through the vault-like air.

    And on the sleepers fell a wondrous dream,
    That dured till sunrise, filling all the cells
    Remotest of the throbbing heart and brain.
    And as I watched them, ever and anon
    The quivering limb and half-unclosèd eye
    Witnessed of torture scarce endured, and yet
    Endured; for still the dream had mastery,
    And held them in a helplessness supine;
    Till, by degrees, the labouring breath grew calm,
    Save frequent murmured sighs; and o'er each face
    Stole radiant sadness, and a hopeful grief;
    And the convulsive motion passed away.

    Upon their faces, reading them, I gazed,--
    Reading them earnestly, like wondrous book,--
    When suddenly the vapours of the dream
    Rose and enveloped me, and through my soul
    Passed with possession; will fell fast asleep.
    And through the portals of the spirit-land,
    Upon whose frontiers time and space grow dumb,
    Quenched like a cloud that all the roaring wind
    Drives not beyond the mountain top, I went,
    And entering, beheld them in their dream.
    Their world inwrapt me for the time as mine,
    And what befel them there, I saw, and tell.

    The Inner Dream.

    It was a drizzly morning where I stood.
    The cloud had sunk, and filled with fold on fold
    The chimneyed city; so the smoke rose not,
    But spread diluted in the cloud, and fell
    A black precipitate on miry streets,
    Where dim grey faces vision-like went by,
    But half-awake, half satisfied with sleep.

    Slave engines had begun their ceaseless growl
    Of labour. Iron bands and huge stone blocks
    That held them to their task, strained, shook, until
    The city trembled. Those pale-visaged forms
    Were hastening on to feed their groaning strength
    With labour to the full.

    Look! there they come,
    Poor amid poverty; she with her gown
    Drawn over her meek head; he trying much,
    But fruitless half, to shield her from the rain.
    They enter the wide gates, amid the jar,
    And clash, and shudder of the awful force
    That, conquering force, still vibrates on, as if
    With an excess of power, hungry for work.
    With differing strength to different tasks they part,
    To be the soul of knowledge unto strength;
    For man has eked his body out with wheels,
    And cranks, and belts, and levers, pinions, screws--
    One body all, pervaded still with life
    From man the maker's will. 'Mid keen-eyed men,
    Thin featured and exact, his part is found;
    Hers where the dusk air shines with lustrous eyes.

    And there they laboured through the murky day,
    Whose air was livid mist, their only breath;
    Foul floating dust of swift revolving wheels
    And feathery spoil of fast contorted threads
    Making a sultry chaos in the sun.
    Until at length slow swelled the welcome dark,
    A dull Lethean heaving tide of death,
    Up from the caves of Night to make an end;
    And filling every corner of the place,
    Choked in its waves the clanking of the looms.
    And Earth put on her sleeping dress, and took
    Her children home into its bosom-folds,
    And nursed them as a mother-ghost might sit
    With her neglected darlings in the dark.
    So with dim satisfaction in their hearts,
    Though with tired feet and aching head, they went,
    Parting the clinging fog to find their home.
    It was a dreary place. Unfinished walls,
    Far drearier than ruins overspread
    With long-worn sweet forgetfulness, amidst
    Earth-heaps and bricks, rain-pools and ugliness,
    Rose up around, banishing further yet
    The Earth, with its spring-time, young-mother smile,
    From children's eyes that had forgot to play.
    But though the house was dull and wrapt in fog,
    It yet awoke to life, yea, cheerfulness,
    When darkness oped a fire-eye in the grate,
    And the dim candle's smoky flame revealed
    A room which could not be all desolate,
    Being a temple, proven by the signs
    Seen in the ancient place. For here was light;
    And blazing fire with darkness on its skirts;
    Bread; and pure water, ready to make clean,
    Beside a chest of holiday attire;
    And in the twilight edges of the light,
    A book scarce seen; and for the wondrous veil,
    Those human forms, behind which lay concealed
    The Holy of Holies, God's own secret place,
    The lowly human heart wherein He dwells.
    And by the table-altar they sat down
    To eat their Eucharist, God feeding them:
    Their food was Love, made visible in Form--
    Incarnate Love in food. For he to whom
    A common meal can be no Eucharist,
    Who thanks for food and strength, not for the love
    That made cold water for its blessedness,
    And wine for gladness' sake, has yet to learn
    The heart-delight of inmost thankfulness
    For innermost reception.

    Then they sat
    Resting with silence, the soul's inward sleep,
    Which feedeth it with strength; till gradually
    They grew aware of light, that overcame
    The light within, and through the dingy blind,
    Cast from the window-frame, two shadow-glooms
    That made a cross of darkness on the white,
    Dark messenger of light itself unseen.
    The woman rose, and half she put aside
    The veil that hid the whole of glorious night;
    And lo! a wind had mowed the earth-sprung fog;
    And lo! on high the white exultant moon
    From clear blue window curtained all with white,
    Greeted them, at their shadowy window low,
    With quiet smile; for two things made her glad:
    One that she saw the glory of the sun;
    For while the earth lay all athirst for light,
    She drank the fountain-waves. The other joy;
    Sprung from herself: she fought the darkness well,
    Thinning the great cone-shadow of the earth,
    Paling its ebon hue with radiant showers
    Upon its sloping side. The woman said,
    With hopeful look: "To-morrow will be bright
    With sunshine for our holiday--to-morrow--
    Think! we shall see the green fields in the sun."
    So with hearts hoping for a simple joy,
    Yet high withal, being no less than the sun,
    They laid them down in nightly death that waits
    Patiently for the day.

    That sun was high
    When they awoke at length. The moon, low down,
    Had almost vanished, clothed upon with light;
    And night was swallowed up of day. In haste,
    Chiding their weariness that leagued with sleep,
    They, having clothed themselves in clean attire,
    By the low door, stooping with priestly hearts,
    Entered God's vision-room, his wonder-world.

    One side the street, the windows all were moons
    To light the other that in shadow lay.
    The path was almost dry; the wind asleep.
    And down the sunny side a woman came
    In a red cloak that made the whole street glad--
    Fit clothing, though she was so feeble and old;
    For when they stopped and asked her how she fared,
    She said with cheerful words, and smile that owed
    None of its sweetness to an ivory lining:
    "I'm always better in the open air."
    "Dear heart!" said they, "how freely she will breathe
    In the open air of heaven!" She stood in the morn
    Like a belated autumn-flower in spring,
    Dazed by the rushing of the new-born life
    Up the earth's winding cavern-stairs to see
    Through window-buds the calling, waking sun.
    Or as in dreams we meet the ghost of one
    Beloved in youth, who walketh with few words,
    And they are of the past. Yet, joy to her!
    She too from earthy grave was climbing up
    Unto the spirit-windows high and far,
    She the new life for a celestial spring,
    Answering the light that shineth evermore.

    With hopeful sadness thus they passed along
    Dissolving streets towards the smiles of spring,
    Of which green visions gleamed and glided by,
    Across far-narrowing avenues of brick:
    The ripples only of her laughter float
    Through the low winding caverns of the town;
    Yet not a stone upon the paven street,
    But shareth in the impulse of her joy,
    Heaven's life that thrills anew through the outworn earth;
    Descending like the angel that did stir
    Bethesda's pool, and made the sleepy wave
    Pulse with quick healing through the withered limb,
    In joyous pangs. By an unfinished street,
    Forth came they on a wide and level space;
    Green fields lay side by side, and hedgerow trees
    Stood here and there as waiting for some good.
    But no calm river meditated through
    The weary flat to the less level sea;
    No forest trees on pillared stems and boughs
    Bent in great Gothic arches, bore aloft
    A cloudy temple-roof of tremulous leaves;
    No clear line where the kissing lips of sky
    And earth meet undulating, but a haze
    That hides--oh, if it hid wild waves! alas!
    It hides but fields, it hides but fields and trees!
    Save eastward, where a few hills, far away,
    Came forth in the sun, or drew back when the clouds
    Went over them, dissolving them in shade.
    But the life-robe of earth was beautiful,
    As all most common things are loveliest;
    A forest of green waving fairy trees,
    That carpeted the earth for lowly feet,
    Bending unto their tread, lowliest of all
    Earth's lowly children born for ministering
    Unto the heavenly stranger, stately man;
    That he, by subtle service from all kinds,
    From every breeze and every bounding wave,
    From night-sky cavernous with heaps of storm,
    And from the hill rejoicing in the sun,
    Might grow a humble, lowly child of God;
    Lowly, as knowing his high parentage;
    Humble, because all beauties wait on him,
    Like lady-servants ministering for love.
    And he that hath not rock, and hill, and stream,
    Must learn to look for other beauty near;
    To know the face of ocean solitudes,
    The darkness dashed with glory, and the shades
    Wind-fretted, and the mingled tints upthrown
    From shallow bed, or raining from the sky.
    And he that hath not ocean, and dwells low,
    Not hill-befriended, if his eyes have ceased
    To drink enjoyment from the billowy grass,
    And from the road-side flower (like one who dwells
    With homely features round him every day,
    And so takes refuge in the loving eyes
    Which are their heaven, the dwelling-place of light),
    Must straightway lift his eyes unto the heavens,
    Like God's great palette, where His artist hand
    Never can strike the brush, but beauty wakes;
    Vast sweepy comet-curves, that net the soul
    In pleasure; endless sky-stairs; patient clouds,
    White till they blush at the sun's goodnight kiss;
    And filmy pallours, and great mountain crags.
    But beyond all, absorbing all the rest,
    Lies the great heaven, the expression of deep space,
    Foreshortened to a vaulted dome of blue;
    The Infinite, crowded in a single glance,
    Where yet the eye descends depth within depth;
    Like mystery of Truth, clothed in high form,
    Evasive, spiritual, no limiting,
    But something that denies an end, and yet
    Can be beheld by wondering human eyes.
    There looking up, one well may feel how vain
    To search for God in this vast wilderness!
    For over him would arch void depth for ever;
    Nor ever would he find a God or Heaven,
    Though lifting wings were his to soar abroad
    Through boundless heights of space; or eyes to dive
    To microscopic depths: he would come back,
    And say, There is no God; and sit and weep;
    Till in his heart a child's voice woke and cried,
    Father! my Father! Then the face of God
    Breaks forth with eyes, everywhere, suddenly
    And not a space of blue, nor floating cloud,
    Nor grassy vale, nor distant purple height,
    But, trembling with a presence all divine,
    Says, Here I am, my child.

    Gazing awhile,
    They let the lesson of the sky sink deep
    Into their hearts; withdrawing then their eyes,
    They knew the Earth again. And as they went,
    Oft in the changing heavens, those distant hills
    Shone clear upon the horizon. Then awoke
    A strange and unknown longing in their souls,
    As if for something loved in years gone by,
    And vanished in its beauty and its love
    So long, that it retained no name or form,
    And lay on childhood's verge, all but forgot,
    Wrapt in the enchanted rose-mists of that land:
    As if amidst those hills were wooded dells,
    Summer, and gentle winds, and odours free,
    Deep sleeping waters, gorgeous flowers, and birds,
    Pure winged throats. But here, all things around
    Were in their spring. The very light that lay
    Upon the grass seemed new-born like the grass,
    Sprung with it from the earth. The very stones
    Looked warm. The brown ploughed earth seemed swelling up,
    Filled like a sponge with sunbeams, which lay still,
    Nestling unseen, and broodingly, and warm,
    In every little nest, corner, or crack,
    Wherein might hide a blind and sleepy seed,
    Waiting the touch of penetrative life
    To wake, and grow, and beautify the earth.
    The mossy stems and boughs, where yet no life
    Exuberant overflowed in buds and leaves,
    Were clothed in golden splendours, interwoven
    With many shadows from the branches bare.
    And through their tops the west wind rushing went,
    Calling aloud the sleeping sap within:
    The thrill passed downwards from the roots in air
    To the roots tremulous in the embracing ground.
    And though no buds with little dots of light
    Sparkled the darkness of the hedgerow twigs;
    Softening, expanding in the warm light-bath,
    Seemed the dry smoky bark.

    Thus in the fields
    They spent their holiday. And when the sun
    Was near the going down, they turned them home
    With strengthened hearts. For they were filled with light,
    And with the spring; and, like the bees, went back
    To their dark house, laden with blessed sights,
    With gladsome sounds home to their treasure-cave;
    Where henceforth sudden gleams of spring would pass
    Thorough the four-walled darkness of the room;
    And sounds of spring-time whisper trembling by,
    Though stony streets with iron echoed round.
    And as they crossed a field, they came by chance
    Upon a place where once a home had been;
    Fragments of ruined walls, half-overgrown
    With moss, for even stones had their green robe.
    It had been a small cottage, with a plot
    Of garden-ground in front, mapped out with walks
    Now scarce discernible, but that the grass
    Was thinner, the ground harder to the foot:
    The place was simply shadowed with an old
    Almost erased human carefulness.
    Close by the ruined wall, where once had been
    The door dividing it from the great world,
    Making it home, a single snowdrop grew.
    'Twas the sole remnant of a family
    Of flowers that in this garden once had dwelt,
    Vanished with all their hues of glowing life,
    Save one too white for death.

    And as its form
    Arose within the brain, a feeling sprung
    Up in their souls, new, white, and delicate;
    A waiting, longing, patient hopefulness,
    The snowdrop of the heart. The heavenly child,
    Pale with the earthly cold, hung its meek head,
    Enduring all, and so victorious;
    The Summer's earnest in the waking Earth,
    The spirit's in the heart.

    I love thee, flower,
    With a love almost human, tenderly;
    The Spring's first child, yea, thine, my hoping heart!
    Upon thy inner leaves and in thy heart,
    Enough of green to tell thou know'st the grass;
    In thy white mind remembering lowly friends;
    But most I love thee for that little stain
    Of earth on thy transfigured radiancy,
    Which thou hast lifted with thee from thy grave,
    The soiling of thy garments on thy road,
    Travelling forth into the light and air,
    The heaven of thy pure rest. Some gentle rain
    Will surely wash thee white, and send the earth
    Back to the place of earth; but now it signs
    Thee child of earth, of human birth as we.

    With careful hands uprooting it, they bore
    The little plant a willing captive home;
    Willing to enter dark abodes, secure
    In its own tale of light. As once of old,
    Bearing all heaven in words of promising,
    The Angel of the Annunciation came,
    It carried all the spring into that house;
    A pot of mould its only tie to Earth,
    Its heaven an ell of blue 'twixt chimney-tops,
    Its world henceforth that little, low-ceiled room,
    Symbol and child of spring, it took its place
    'Midst all those types, to be a type with them,
    Of what so many feel, not knowing it;
    The hidden springtime that is drawing nigh.
    And henceforth, when the shadow of the cross
    Will enter, clothed in moonlight, still and dark,
    The flower will nestle at its foot till day,
    Pale, drooping, heart-content.

    To rest they went.
    And all night long the snowdrop glimmered white
    Amid the dark, unconscious and unseen.

    Before the sun had crowned his eastern hill
    With its world-diadem, they woke.

    I looked
    Out of the windows of the inner dream,
    And saw the edge of the sun's glory rise
    Eastward behind the hills, the lake-cup's rim.
    And as it came, it sucked up in itself,
    As deeds drink words, or daylight candle-flame,
    That other sun rising to light the dream.
    They lay awake and thoughtful, comforted
    With yesterday which nested in their hearts,
    Yet haunted with the sound of grinding wheels.

    The Outer Dream.

    And as they lay and looked into the room,
    It wavered, changed, dissolved beneath the sun,
    Which mingled both the mornings in their eyes,
    Till the true conquered, and the unreal passed.
    No walls, but woods bathed in a level sun;
    No ceiling, but the vestal sky of morn;
    No bed, but flowers floating 'mid floating leaves
    On water which grew audible as they stirred
    And lifted up their heads. And a low wind
    That flowed from out the west, washed from their eye
    The last films of the dream. And they sat up,
    Silent for one long cool delicious breath,
    Gazing upon each other lost and found,
    With a dumb ecstasy, new, undefined.
    Followed a long embrace, and then the oars
    Broke up their prison-bands.

    And through the woods
    They slowly went, beneath a firmament
    Of boughs, and clouded leaves, filmy and pale
    In the sunshine, but shadowy on the grass.
    And roving odours met them on their way,
    Sun-quickened odours, which the fog had slain.
    And their green sky had many a blossom-moon,
    And constellations thick with starry flowers.
    And deep and still were all the woods, except
    For the Memnonian, glory-stricken birds;
    And golden beetles 'mid the shadowy roots,
    Green goblins of the grass, and mining mice;
    And on the leaves the fairy butterflies,
    Or doubting in the air, scarlet and blue.
    The divine depth of summer clasped the Earth.

    But 'twixt their hearts and summer's perfectness
    Came a dividing thought that seemed to say:
    "Ye wear strange looks." Did summer speak, or they?
    They said within: "We know that ye are fair,
    Bright flowers; but ye shine far away, as in
    A land of other thoughts. Alas! alas!

    "Where shall we find the snowdrop-bell half-blown?
    What shall we do? we feel the throbbing spring
    Bursting in new and unexpressive thoughts;
    Our hearts are swelling like a tied-up bud,
    And summer crushes them with too much light.
    Action is bubbling up within our souls;
    The woods oppress us more than stony streets;
    That was the life indeed; this is the dream;
    Summer is too complete for growing hearts;
    They need a broken season, and a land
    With shadows pointing ever far away;
    Where incompleteness rouses longing thoughts
    With spires abrupt, and broken spheres, and circles
    Cut that they may be widened evermore:
    Through shattered cloudy roof, looks in the sky,
    A discord from a loftier harmony;
    And tempests waken peace within our thoughts,
    Driving them inward to the inmost rest.
    Come, my beloved, we will haste and go
    To those pale faces of our fellow men;
    Our loving hearts, burning with summer-fire,
    Will cast a glow upon their pallidness;
    Our hands will help them, far as servants may;
    Hands are apostles still to saviour-hearts.
    So we may share their blessedness with them;
    So may the snowdrop time be likewise ours;
    And Earth smile tearfully the spirit smile
    Wherewith she smiled upon our holiday,
    As a sweet child may laugh with weeping eyes.
    If ever we return, these glorious flowers
    May all be snowdrops of a higher spring."
    Their eyes one moment met, and then they knew
    That they did mean the same thing in their hearts.
    So with no farther words they turned and went
    Back to the boat, and so across the mere.

    I wake from out my dream, and know my room,
    My darling books, the cherub forms above;
    I know 'tis springtime in the world without;
    I feel it springtime in my world within;
    I know that bending o'er an early flower,
    Crocus, or primrose, or anemone,
    The heart that striveth for a higher life,
    And hath not yet been conquered, findeth there
    A beauty deep, unshared by any rose,
    A human loveliness about the flower;
    That a heath-bell upon a lonely waste
    Hath more than scarlet splendour on thick leaves;
    That a blue opening 'midst rain-bosomed clouds
    Is more than Paphian sun-set harmonies;
    That higher beauty dwells on earth, because
    Man seeks a higher home than Paradise;
    And, having lost, is roused thereby to fill
    A deeper need than could be filled by all
    The lost ten times restored; and so he loves
    The snowdrop more than the magnolia;
    Spring-hope is more to him than summer-joy;
    Dark towns than Eden-groves with rivers four.
    If you're writing a A Dream Within A Dream essay and need some advice, post your George MacDonald essay question on our Facebook page where fellow bookworms are always glad to help!

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