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Poem by Elizabeth Barrett-Browning
The House of Clouds
I would build a cloudy House For my thoughts to live in; When for earth too fancy-loose And too low for Heaven! Hush! I talk my dream aloud--- I build it bright to see,--- I build it on the moonlit cloud, To which I looked with thee. Cloud-walls of the morning's grey, Faced with amber column,--- Crowned with crimson cupola From a sunset solemn! May mists, for the casements, fetch, Pale and glimmering; With a sunbeam hid in each, And a smell of spring. Build the entrance high and proud, Darkening and then brightening,--- If a riven thunder-cloud, Veined by the lightning. Use one with an iris-stain, For the door within; Turning to a sound like rain, As I enter in. Build a spacious hall thereby: Boldly, never fearing. Use the blue place of the sky, Which the wind is clearing; Branched with corridors sublime, Flecked with winding stairs--- Such as children wish to climb, Following their own prayers. In the mutest of the house, I will have my chamber: Silence at the door shall use Evening's light of amber, Solemnising every mood, Softemng in degree,--- Turning sadness into good, As I turn the key. Be my chamber tapestried With the showers of summer, Close, but soundless,---glorified When the sunbeams come here; Wandering harpers, harping on Waters stringed for such,--- Drawing colours, for a tune, With a vibrant touch. Bring a shadow green and still From the chestnut forest, Bring a purple from the hill, When the heat is sorest; Spread them out from wall to wall, Carpet-wove around,--- Whereupon the foot shall fall In light instead of sound. Bring the fantasque cloudlets home From the noontide zenith Ranged, for sculptures, round the room,--- Named as Fancy weeneth: Some be Junos, without eyes; Naiads, without sources Some be birds of paradise,--- Some, Olympian horses. Bring the dews the birds shake off, Waking in the hedges,--- Those too, perfumed for a proof, From the lilies' edges: From our England's field and moor, Bring them calm and white in; Whence to form a mirror pure, For Love's self-delighting. Bring a grey cloud from the east, Where the lark is singing; Something of the song at least, Unlost in the bringing: That shall be a morning chair, Poet-dream may sit in, When it leans out on the air, Unrhymed and unwritten. Bring the red cloud from the sun While he sinketh, catch it. That shall be a couch,---with one Sidelong star to watch it,--- Fit for poet's finest Thought, At the curfew-sounding,--- ; Things unseen being nearer brought Than the seen, around him. Poet's thought,----not poet's sigh! 'Las, they come together! Cloudy walls divide and fly, As in April weather! Cupola and column proud, Structure bright to see--- Gone---except that moonlit cloud, To which I looked with thee! Let them! Wipe such visionings From the Fancy's cartel--- Love secures some fairer things Dowered with his immortal. The sun may darken,---heaven be bowed--- But still, unchanged shall be,--- Here in my soul,---that moonlit cloud, To which I looked with THEE!
Elizabeth Barrett-Browning's other poems:
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