A vision o'er my soul hath swept,
A dream of light; 'twas music part,
And part it was my happy heart
Made music as I slept.
I cannot paint that glorious dream,
Words are such cold and lifeless things;
Of all the life and light it brings,
I can but give a gleam.
I wandered with a calm surprise
Half on the earth, and half in air,
And sometimes I went gliding where
The ocean meets the skies.
O, it was sweet to roam away!
No cumbrous limbs to clog the motion,
As through the fields, the air, the ocean,
I could not choose but stray.
Asleep in body, but awake
In soul to all things bright and dear,
My fancies wandered far and near,
Nor would my slumbers break.
There seemed a ceaseless harmony,
Which sounding every where I went
Came ringing through the firmament,
Or from the pathless sea;
Or sometimes from the lonely woods,
Or from the high o'er-watching stars,
For silence now had burst her bars
Through Nature's solitudes.
And then I knew that music is
The native tongue of none but Gladness,
That Silence weds herself to Sadness,
Who hath no harmonies.
And still I roamed with lightsome heart,
And from the tones so intermingled,
Swift-gathering Fancy every singled
One voice from every part.
And first I heard the mighty ocean
Go thundering to his empire bounds;
A voice of many blended sounds
In sad and wild commotion.
The mad waves roared in spray-fire flame,
The white storm-bird flew screaming by;
But sweetly from the listening sky
The softened echoes came.
All mingled in one giant tone,
Till stunned by the loud ocean band,
I turned away--'twas sad to stand
On that dark shore alone.
But to the stars my face I turned,
And strange as it may seem, methought
My ears a slow faint anthem caught
From the calm orbs that burned
Amid the dark blue firmament:
There hung the seven-stringed lyre on high,
But a reckless comet came rushing by,
And swept it as he went;
And there came a troubled music out,
And yet it jarred not on the ear,
For the circling choir rang sweet and clear
As their first morning shout.
I wandered still and heard it come;
It fell with the meek starlight down,
And not a thunder voice or frown
Passed o'er the glittering dome:
Till by the border of a wood,
While silver moonlight edged the trees
Where a thousand birds rocked by the breeze
Were sleeping, soon I stood.
A soft and swelling music crept
As from some mighty wind-harp strings,
Too soft to wake the myriad things
That mid the branches slept.
The winds were sifting through the pines;
'Twas sweet yet sad to hear them moan:
Ah! then I felt I was alone
By Nature's holiest shrines.
And deep amid the o'er-arching trees
A low-toned waterfall was gushing;
Unseen, beneath, a stream went rushing
And mingling with the breeze.
A musing spirit o'er me passed,
And Memory took me to the day
When in the woodlands, far away,
I thus stood listening last.
Sudden a light flashed on my dream,
The pensive tones of night were gone,
And I was by a dewy lawn
Lit by the sun's first beam.
A wandering voice went twittering by,
It seemed a meadow-bird of spring;
It came, on gay and glancing wing
Fast leaping through the sky.
It bore me back to childhood's hours,
And I was in the fields again,
And by the stream and in the glen
Hunting the wild wood flowers.
It did not seem so very strange,
And yet I felt myself a child,
As gay, as thoughtless and as wild,
As when I knew no change.
And then came tinkling on my ear,
As if to strengthen all this spell,
The grazing herd's low meadow-bell:
O, it was sweet to hear!
And I was young--my heart was light;
The stream of years was backward rolled;
How could I feel that I'd grown old,
When Memory was so bright?
I wandered, drinking in the sound:
There is no music like to this
That floats within a dream of bliss,
When night is all around.
Through all my night there was a morn,
A little fairy morning beaming,
Like sunlight through a forest streaming
On one who walks forlorn.
And all along, where'er I wandered,
The sweet mysterious music played;
'Twas part around me, partly made
Within me, as I pondered.
And part of it a mingled feeling
Made up of joy and harmony,
A presence that brought light to me,
A hidden self revealing.
The sea, the stars, the winds, the trees,
The stream, the waterfall, the dell,
The bird, the flowers, the meadow-bell--
I felt that all of these
Were but the symbols of a soul
Alive with hope or memory;
The mind's immortal harmony
That through its chambers stole.
And to the spirit's listening ear,
Whilst slept the limbs and senses all,
Made every thing seem musical;
How could I cease to hear?
And thus it may be, when this frame
Is laid asleep in death at last;
The soul no longer overcast,
To Him from whom it came,
Shall brighten upward and be free,
And roam amid the chiming spheres,
And feel within, while thus it hears,
We brought it with us here below--
Within, without, we feel it ever;
Why should it not, as now, forever
Through an Hereafter go!
For music, I must think, was given
To be of higher life a token,
The language by the angels spoken,
The native tongue of heaven!