Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE IDEAL, by ANNE CHARLOTTE LYNCH BOTTA

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE IDEAL, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: A sad, sweet dream! It fell upon my soul
Last Line: To welcome my approach to thine own spirit-land.
Subject(s): Dreams; Hearts; Life; Longing; Nature; Nightmares

A sad, sweet dream! It fell upon my soul
When song and thought first woke their echoes there,
Swaying my spirit to its wild control,
And with the shadow of a fond despair,
Darkening the fountain of my young life's stream.
It haunts me still, and yet I know 'tis but a dream.

Whence art thou, shadowy presence, that canst hide
From my charmed sight the glorious things of earth?
A mirage o'er life's desert dost thou glide?
Or with those glimmerings of a former birth,
A "trailing cloud of glory," hast thou come
From some bright world afar, our unremembered home?

I know thou dwell'st not in this dull, cold Real,
I know thy home is in some brighter sphere;
I know I shall not meet thee, my Ideal,
In the dark wanderings that await me here:
Why comes thy gentle image then, to me,
Wasting my night of life in one long dream of thee?

The city's peopled solitude, the glare
Of festal halls, moonlight, and music's tone,
All breathe the sad refrain -- thou are not there!
And even with Nature I am still alone:
With joy I see her summer bloom depart;
I love drear winter's reign -- 't is winter in my heart.

And if I sigh upon my brow to see
The deep'ning shadow of Time's restless wing,
'T is for the youth I might not give to thee,
The vanished brightness of my first sweet spring;
That I might give thee not the joyous form
Unworn by tears and cares, unblighted by the storm.

And when the hearts I should be proud to win,
Breathe, in those tones that woman holds so dear,
Words of impassioned homage unto mine,
Coldly and harsh they fall upon my ear;
And as I listen to the fervent vow,
My weary heart replies, "Alas! it is not thou."

And when the thoughts within my spirit glow,
That would outpour themselves in words of fire,
If some kind influence bade the music flow,
Like that which woke the notes of Memnon's lyre,
Thou, sunlight of my life, wak'st not the lay,
And song within my heart, unuttered, dies away.

Depart, oh shadow! fatal dream, depart!
Go! I conjure thee leave me this poor life,
And I will meet with firm, heroic heart,
Its threat'ning storms and its tumultuous strife,
And with the poet-seer will see thee stand
To welcome my approach to thine own spirit-land.

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