The story of the world is an absorbing dream.
Though longer than our lives, it sometimes feels as brief
As our own rapid days, whose swiftly flowing stream
Bears memory downstream: a light and helpless leaf.
Our minds grow ripe with age and urge our hearts to leave
The cradle of our youth for more alluring shores,
Yet—late in life—we find it troubling to conceive
A kinder image which our pummeled faith restores.
When sleep bewitches reason on its restless course,
The wind of power breathes its daring way across
The distant, fleeting kingdom of our happy source
Of long-forgotten songs sojourning on old loss.
The heavy cataracts of wonted, dull display
And leaden tension creeping down on silent man
Throw freedom and its passions into disarray
And wake the fiendish force whose roar bright fancies ban.
The sign of spent desires—a breeze of the unseen—
Takes shape upon the cloudy shore’s unlevelled sand.
Alas, I cannot linger in the realm between
True form and wish, before fair Hypnos takes my hand.