[from Collected Works, T.E.Brown]
IT looks as if in dreams the soul was free,
No bodily limit checks its absolute play ;
Then why doth it not use its liberty,
And clear a certain way
To further truth beyond the actual sea ?
It is not so ; for when, with loosened grip,
The warder sense unlocks the visible hold,
Then will my soul from forth its chamber slip,
An idiot blithe and bold,
And into vacancy of folly skip ;
Or aimless wander on the poppied floor
Of gaudy fields, or, scarce upon the street,
Return unto the grim, familiar foor,
And, coward, crave retreat,
As who had never been outside before.
What boots it that I hold the chartered space,
If I but fill it with th' accustomed forms,
And load its breathless essence with the trace
Of casual-risen storms,
And drag my chain along the lovely place ?
O, but if God would make a deep suspense,
And draw me perfect from th' adhesive sheath ;
If all the veils and swathings of pretence,
Dropt from me, sunk beneath,
Then would I get me very far from hence.
I'd come to Him with one swift arrow-dart,
Aimed at the zenith of th' o'erbrooding blue ;
Straight to the centre of His awful heart
The flight long-winged and true
Should bear me rapt through all the spheres that part.
But as it is, it is a waste of rest.
God uses not the occasion : on the rock
Stands prone my soul, a diver lean undrest,
And looks, and fears the shock,
And turns and hides its shame with some poor sorry jest.