Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, IMITATIONS OF SHAKESPEARE: PROGNE'S DREAM, by JOHN ARMSTRONG

Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

First Line: Last night I dreamt
Last Line: And with the struggling waked.
Subject(s): Dramatists; Dreams; Mythology - Greek; Plays & Playwrights ; Poetry & Poets; Shakespeare, William (1564-1616); Nightmares; Dramatists


.... Last night I dreamt,
Whate'er it may forebode it moves me strangely,
That I was rapt into the raving deep;
An old and reverend sire conducted me:
He plunged into the bosom of the main,
And bade me not to fear, but follow him.
I followed; with impetuous speed we dived,
And heard the dashing thunder o'er our heads.
Many a slippery fathom down we sunk,
Beneath all plummet's sound, and reached the bottom.
When there, I asked my venerable guide
If he could tell me where my sister was;
He told me that she lay not far from thence
Within the bosom of a flinty rock,
Where Neptune kept her for his paramour
Hid from the jealous Amphitrite's sight;
And said he could conduct me to the place.
I begged he would. Through dreadful ways we past,
'Twixt rocks that frightfully lowered on either side,
Whence here and there the branching coral sprung;
O'er dead men's bones we walked, o'er heaps of gold and gems,
Into a hideous kind of wilderness,
Where stood a stern and prison-looking rock,
Daubed with a mossy verdure all around,
The mockery of paint. As we drew near
Out sprung a hydra from a den below,
A speckled fury; fearfully it hissed,
And rolled its sea-green eyes so angrily
As it would kill with looking. My old guide
Against its sharp head hurled a rugged stone—
The curling monster raised a brazen shriek,
Wallowed and died in fitful agonies.
We gained the cave. Through woven adamant
I looked, and saw my sister all alone.
Employed she seemed in writing something sad,
So sad she looked: her cheek was wondrous wan,
Her mournful locks like weary sedges hung.
I called—she, turning, started when she saw me,
And threw her head aside as if ashamed;
She wept, but would not speak—I called again;
Still she was mute.—Then madly I address'd,
With all the lion-sinews of despair,
To break the flinty ribs that held me out;
And with the struggling waked.

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