Classic and Contemporary Poetry
THE DREAM OF THE LITTLE PRINCESS, by JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY Poet's Biography
First Line: Twas a curious dream, goo
Last Line: Of the sandals of his feet!
Alternate Author Name(s): Johnson Of Boone, Benj. F.
Subject(s): Dreams; Youth; Nightmares
'TWAS a curious dream, good sooth! --
The dream of The Little Princess;
It seemed a dream, yet a truth,
Long years ago in her youth. --
It came as a dream -- no less
It was not a dream, she says.
(She is singing and saying things
Musical as the wile
Of the eery quaverings
That drip from the grieved strings
Of her lute. -- We weep or smile
Even as she, meanwhile.)
In a day, long dead and gone,
When her castle-turrets threw
Their long, sharp shadows on
The sward like lances, -- wan
And lone, she strayed into
Strange grounds where lilies grew.
There, late in the afternoon,
As she sate in the terrace shade,
Rav'ling a half-spun tune
From a lute like a wee new-moon, --
High off was a bugle played,
And a sound as of steeds that neighed.
And the lute fell from her hands,
As her eyes raised, half in doubt,
To the arch of the azure lands
Where lo! with the fluttering strands
Of a rainbow reined about
His wrist, rode a horseman out.
And The Little Princess was stirred
No less at his steeds than him; --
A jet-black span of them gird
In advance, he bestrode the third;
And the troop of them seemed to swim
The skies as the Seraphim.
Wingless they were, yet so
Upborne in their wondrous flight --
As their master bade them go,
They dwindled on high; or lo!
They curved from their heaven-most height
And swooped to her level sight.
And the eyes of The Little Princess
Grow O so bright as the chants
Of the horseman's courtliness, --
Saluting her low -- Ah, yes!
And lifting a voice that haunts
Her own song's weird romance.
For (she sings) at last he swept
As near to her as the tips
Of the lilies, that whitely slept,
As he leaned o'er one and wept
And touched it with his lips --
Sweeter than honey-drips!
And she keeps the lily yet --
As the horseman bade (she says)
As he launched, with a wild curvet,
His steeds toward the far sunset,
Till gulfed in its gorgeousness
And lost to The Little Princess:
But O my master sweet!
He is coming again! (she sings)
My Prince of the Coursers fleet,
With his bugle's echoings,
And the breath of his voice for the wings
Of the sandals of his feet!
Other Poems of Interest...