Table of Contents   Previous Chapter   Next Chapter



965                                 Night Song for a Child!

SLEEP, our lord, and for thy peace
  Let thy mother’s softer voice
Pray thy patrons to increase
  Freedom from all light and noise
Hark, her invocation draws
To thy guard those princely Laws!
Prince of Fire, in favour quench
  Moonlight upon wall and floor
And with gentle shadow drench
  Candles entering at the door;
Michael, round about his bed
Be thy great protection shed.
Prince of Air, lest winds rush by
  Blustering about the park
Of this night, with watchful eye
  Keep the palings of the dark;
Raphael, round about his bed
Be thy great protection shed.
Prince of Water, if thy rains
  Must to-night prevent our dearth,
Keep them from the window-panes;
  Softly let them bless the earth;
Gabriel, round about his bed
Be thy great protection shed.
Prince of Earth, beneath our tread
  And above each doubtful board
Be thy silent carpet spread;
  Let thy stillness hush our lord;
Auriel, round about his bed
Be thy great protection shed.
Let your vast quaternion,
  Earth and Water, Fire and Air,
Friend him as he goes upon
  His long journey, out to where,
Princes, round his final bed
Be your great protection shed.

957                                              A Dream

NO more in any house can I be at peace,
    Because of a house that waits, far off or near,
    To-morrow or (likelier) after many a year,
    Where a room and a door are that shall fulfil my fear.
For last night, dreaming, I stood in a house and saw
    Softly the room door open, and one came in,
    Its owner, and as round the edge his evil grin
    Peep’d ere he pass’d, I knew him for visible Sin.
Unwash’d, unshaven, frowsy, abominable,
    In a green greasy hat, a green greasy coat,
    Loose-mouth’d, with silent tread and the smell of the goat,
    He stole in, and helplessness stifled rage in my throat.
For this was he who came long since to my heart,
    This was he who enter’d the house of my soul long ago;
    Now he possesses imagination, and O
    I shall meet him yet in some brick-built house, I know.
He shall come, he shall turn from the long parch’d street he treads
    For ever, shuffling, hand rubb’d over hand unclean,
    Servile yet masterful, with satiate spleen
    Watching his houses, and muttering of things obscene.
He shall come to my flesh as he came last night to my dream;
    Eyes shall know him as soul and insight have known;
    Though all the world be there, I shall stand alone
    Watching him peer and enter and find out his own.
Noisier he shall not move, nor loudlier speak,
    Than the first sly motion of lewd delight in me
    Long since—which then I shall know none other than he,
    Now visible, aged, and filled with monstrous glee.

Therefore now in terror I enter all houses, all rooms
    Enter in dread, and move among them in fear,
    Watching all doors, saying softly ‘It draws more near
    Daily; and here shall it be in the end—or here?’


Table of Contents   Previous Chapter   Next Chapter