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The Poetical Works of George MacDonald

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rainbow-wave o'erflowed her, A glory that deepened and grew,
song of colour and odour
That thrilled her through and through:

'Twas a dream of too much gladness

Ever to see the light;

They are only dreams of sadness

That weary out the night.

Slow darkness began to rifle

The nest of the sunset fair;

Dank vapour began to stifle

The scents that enriched the air;

The flowers paled fast and faster,

They crumbled, leaf and crown,

Till they looked like the stained plaster

Of a cornice fallen down.

And the change crept nigh and nigher,

Inward and closer stole,

Till the flameless, blasting fire

Entered and withered her soul.--

But the fiends had only flouted

Her vision of the night;

Up came the morn and routed

The darksome things with light.

Wide awake I have often been in it--

The dream that all is none;

It will come in the gladdest minute

And wither the very sun.

Two moments of sad commotion,

One more of doubt's palsied rule--

And the great wave-pulsing ocean

Is only a gathered pool;

flower is a spot of painting, A lifeless, loveless hue;

Though your heart be sick to fainting

It says not a word to you;

bird knows nothing of gladness, Is only a song-machine;
man is a reasoning madness, A woman a pictured queen!

Then fiercely we dig the fountain:

Oh! whence do the waters rise?

Then panting we climb the mountain:

Oh! are there indeed blue skies?

We dig till the soul is weary,

Nor find the water-nest out;

We climb to the stone-crest dreary,

And still the sky is a doubt!

Let alone the roots of the fountain;

Drink of the water bright;

Leave the sky at rest on the mountain,

Walk in its torrent of light;

Although thou seest no beauty,

Though widowed thy heart yet cries,

With thy hands go and do thy duty,

And thy work will clear thine eyes.

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