Methought I saw a vision at my bed.
Ere rosy dawn upraised her glowing spear;
But whence the revelation, wherefore sped,
From what far clime or yet remoter year,
I know not—Only that two rivers spread
Through realms of solitude. This fell in wild career
Of gorges deep ; and that had scarce career
At all, or ripple; like a lily-bed
Untouched by any wind in all the year;
A stillness brooded; drowsy branches spread
Their shadowed silences ; and never spear
Of sunlight entered, ere the last soft twilight sped.
But this was tossed along its banks, and sped
Howling down-Stream ; wherein at mid-career
'Twas caught by rocks that scourged it on its bed ;
As by the Inquisition many a year
Long since, were martyrs scourged on rack outspread,
Or tossed in agony from spear to cruel spear.
From rock to rock, from pinnacle or spear.
Through whirling pools that sucked it to its bed,
The tortured river leapt. Year after year
Fresh fountains formed, and fought, and broke, and spread
Screaming in terror of their own career;
And all the welkin thrilled, as wailing echo sped.
Thereat an Angel from the zenith sped.
Folding great wings, and pointing with his spear ;
I turned, and lo ! that other Stream outspread
Beneath the feet of God. Its calm career
Was shadowed o'er by healing leaves ; its bed
A crystal, where sweet water weltered all the year.
Ah, sacred stream of life, that year by year
Bearest from earth our Saints, with hands out-spread
To God ! Their parting is indeed a spear
Whose point is in our hearts who watch their bed.
But they are happy ; and a glad career
Awaits reunion, when sorrow's self is sped.
" Yet look," the Angel spake with wings outspread,
" Where ends the Stream of sin its mad career;
In yon red lake of fire, which glows upon its bed."