Charles Harpur

A Dream of the Orient

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With a resplendent Eastern bride,
Like a houri at my side,
And music round us swelling,
’Mid odours of so rare a steam
That like a breath of love they seem,
Dwell I through a radiant dream
In an orient dwelling.
Near a fair fountain flashing high
In the pleasure court we lie,
Each on a gorgeous pillow;
The columned water mounting breaks
In outward curves and falling flakes,
Till the whole a picture makes
Of a crystal willow.

Wide round us galleried walls extend,
Pierced with arcs and aisles that bend
On wreathen pillars slender;
While hung in every vista—lo!
Such clouds of blazoned banners glow
As in very semblance show
A constant sunset splendour.

And virgin faces, darkly bright
Like the countenance of night
Seen in its starry glory,
All ministrant, around us throng,
And breathe their pathos into song,
Or in tones as rich prolong
Some wild melodious story.

Till, hark! Through many voices, one
Like a gush of gold doth run—
“Why, why should kindred sever?
Our life is this perpetual feast
Of being, from all care released—
Sunny souls are for the East;
Then dwell with us for ever.”

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Charles Harpur