ONLY DREAMS

A maiden sat in the sunset glow
Of the shadowy, beautiful Long Ago,
    That we see through a mist of tears.
She sat and dreamed, with lips apart,
With thoughtful eyes and a beating heart,
    Of the mystical future years;
And brighter far than the sunset skies
Was the vision seen by the maiden's eyes.

There were castles built of the summer air,
And beautiful voices were singing there,
    In a soft and floating strain.
There were skies of azure and fields of green,
With never a cloud to come between,
    And never a thought of pain;
There was music, sweet as the silvery notes
That flow from a score of thrushes' throats.

There were hands to clasp with a loving hold;
There were lips to kiss, and eyes that told
    More than the lips could say.
And all the faces she loved were there,
With their snowy brows untouched by care,
    And locks that were never gray.
And Love was the melody each heart beat,
And the beautiful vision was all complete.

But the castles built of the summer wind
I have vainly sought. I only find
    Shadows, all grim and cold;--
For I was the maiden who thought to see
Into the future years,--Ah, me!
    And I am gray and old.
My dream of earth was as fair and bright
As my hope of heaven is to-night.

Dreams are but dreams at the very best,
And the friends I loved lay down to rest
    With their faces hid away.
They had furrowed brows and snowy hair,
And they willingly laid their burdens where
    Mine shall be laid one day.
A shadow came over my vision scene
As the clouds of sorrow came in between.

The hands that I thought to clasp are crossed,
The lips and the beautiful eyes are lost,
    And I seek them all in vain.
The gushes of melody, sweet and clear,
And the floating voices, I do not hear,
    But only a sob of pain;
And the beating hearts have paused to rest,
Ah! dreams are but dreams at the very best.

Poems of reflection. By Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
Chicago, M.A. Donohue & company [c1905].


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