Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, HASCHEESH, by THOMAS BAILEY ALDRICH

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HASCHEESH, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Stricken with dreams, I wandered through the night
Last Line: Honey of paradise, black dew of hell!
Subject(s): Dreams; Terror; Nightmares


STRICKEN with dreams, I wandered through the night;
The heavens leaned down to me with splendid fires;
The south-wind breathing upon unseen lyres
Made music as I went; and to my sight
A Palace shaped itself against the skies:
Great sapphire-studded portals suddenly
Opened on vast Ionic galleries
Of gold and porphyry, and I could see,
Through half-drawn curtains that let in the day,
Dim tropic gardens stretching far away.


Ah! what a wonder fell upon my soul,
When from that structure of the upper airs
I saw unfold a flight of crystal stairs
For my ascending.... Then I heard the roll
Of unseen oceans clashing at the Pole....
A terror seized upon me ... a vague sense
Of near calamity. "O, lead me hence!"
I shrieked, and lo! from out a darkling hole
That opened at my feet, crawled after me,
Up the broad staircase, creatures of huge size,
Fanged, warty monsters, with their lips and eyes
Hung with slim leeches sucking hungrily. --
Away, vile drug! I will avoid thy spell,
Honey of Paradise, black dew of Hell!

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