Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A DREAM, by ROBERT SEYMOUR BRIDGES



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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

A DREAM, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: I had come in front of a building and knew
Last Line: A batch of those french poets.'
Alternate Author Name(s): Bridges, Robert+(2)
Subject(s): Dreams; Nightmares


I HAD come in front of a building and knew
I should enter: the gates were barr'd,
but a postern was open, and I push'd through
and stood in a wide courtyard.

Twas built, as colleges are, four-square,
though arch and colonnade
all here were of wood and out of repair,
timeworn but undecay'd.

Great carven portals in Gothic style,
when building could save man's soul:
doors worthy to face a cathedral aisle,
or where men-at-arms patrol.

But whether 'twere some old abbey of monks
with cloister, chapel and cell,
or a farmstead with pens and stalls and bunks
for cattle, I could not tell.

There neither were cattle nor men about,
no cock nor clock gave steven;
and I in my dream had never a doubt
'twas the entry-court of heaven.

An old man then appear'd from a door
and silently moved around;
his beard was grisled and thick, and he wore
a cassock that reach'd the ground;

Stately his figure and lofty his mien,
solemn and slow his tread:
'twas Peter the Saint; I had often seen
in pictures his noble head,

Which truly in Guido's painting is shown
sadden'd and full of force,
as unconvinced he sits on a stone
suffering Paul's discourse.

Like any night-watchman he walked along
peering about on his rounds,
attentive to see that nothing is wrong,
no smoke nor thief within bounds;

Or like a merchant who checks his stores,
sorting his trusty keys,
he unlock'd and anon relock'd the doors,
visiting now those, now these.

Quiet I stood sans hope or fear,
nor moved to catch his eye,
nor felt annoy'd when he came quite near
and pass'd me unnoticed by:

I knew he must know I was there; the scheme
of eternity gave us time;
so I took whatever might hap in my dream
as easy as now in my rhyme.

When, as to a prodigal son, from afar
he approach'd—he had been remiss
through kindness—he said 'I know who you are:
you won't get further than this:

'You needn't be bash'd nor mortified,
nor fancy you're laid on the shelf:
things ain't as they used to be inside;
I don't go in much myself.'

Then passing away he turn'd again,
as if to relieve his mind,
and spoke—if partly he wished to explain,
I'm sure he willed to be kind:—

He look'd full glum—it may be a sin
to repeat his words, as I know it's
bad taste—but he said—(He'll square me the sin):
'Why! what d'you think? We've just took in
a batch of those French poets.'





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