University of Virginia Library



Now Nehemiah with wistful heart
Much heed had given to myths which bore
Upon that Pentateuchal shore;
Him could the wilder legend thrill
With credulous impulse, whose appeal,
Oblique, touched on his Christian vein.
Wakeful he bode. With throbbing brain
O'erwrought by travel, long he lay
In febrile musings, life's decay,
Begetting soon an ecstasy
Wherein he saw arcade and fane
And people moving in the deep;
Strange hum he heard, and minstrel-sweep.
Then, by that sleight each dreamer knows,
Dream merged in dream: the city rose—
Shrouded, it went up from the wave;
Transfigured came down out of heaven
Clad like a bride in splendor brave.
There, through the streets, with purling sound
Clear waters the clear agates lave,
Opal and pearl in pebbles strown;
The palaces with palms were crowned—
The water-palaces each one;
And from the fount of rivers shone
Soft rays as of Saint Martin's sun;
Last, dearer than ere Jason found,
A fleece—the Fleece upon a throne!
And a great voice he hears which saith,
Pain is no more, no more is death;
I wipe away all tears: Come, ye,


Enter, it is eternity.
And happy souls, the saved and blest,
Welcomed by angels and caressed,
Hand linked in hand like lovers sweet,
Festoons of tenderness complete—
Roamed up and on, by orchards fair
To bright ascents and mellower air;
Thence, highest, toward the throne were led,
And kissed, amid the sobbings shed
Of faith fulfilled.—In magic play
So to the meek one in the dream
Appeared the New Jerusalem:
Haven for which how many a day—
In bed, afoot, or on the knee—
He yearned: Would God I were in thee!
The visions changed and counterchanged—
Blended and parted—distant ranged,
And beckoned, beckoned him away.
In sleep he rose; and none did wist
When vanished this somnambulist.