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!


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