Edward Fitzgerald poems

Edward Fitzgerald(31 March 1809 - 14 June 1883 / Suffolk / England)
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The Dream Called Life

- by Edward Fitzgerald 52

From the Spanish of Pedro Calderon de la Barca

A dream it was in which I found myself.
And you that hail me now, then hailed me king,
In a brave palace that was all my own,
Within, and all without it, mine; until,
Drunk with excess of majesty and pride,
Methought I towered so big and swelled so wide
That of myself I burst the glittering bubble
Which my ambition had about me blown,
And all again was darkness. Such a dream
As this, in which I may be walking now,
Dispensing solemn justice to you shadows,
Who make believe to listen; but anon
Kings, princes, captains, warriors, plume and steel,
Aye, even with all your airy theatre,
May flit into the air you seem to rend
With acclamations, leaving me to wake
In the dark tower; or dreaming that I wake
From this that waking is; or this and that,
Both waking and both dreaming; such a doubt
Confounds and clouds our moral life about.
But whether wake or dreaming, this I know,
How dreamwise human glories come and go;
Whose momentary tenure not to break,
Walking as one who knows he soon may wake,
So fairly carry the full cup, so well
Disordered insolence and passion quell,
That there be nothing after to upbraid
Dreamer or doer in the part he played;
Whether tomorrow's dawn shall break the spell,
Or the last trumpet of the Eternal Day,
When dreaming, with the night, shall pass away.

On Anne Allen

- by Edward Fitzgerald 51

The wind blew keenly from the Western sea,
And drove the dead leaves slanting from the tree--
Vanity of vanities, the Preacher saith--
Heaping them up before her Father's door
When I saw her whom I shall see no more--
We cannot bribe thee, Death.

She went abroad the falling leaves among,
She saw the merry season fade, and sung--
Vanity of vanities the Preacher saith--
Freely she wandered in the leafless wood,
And said that all was fresh, and fair, and good--
She knew thee not, O Death.

She bound her shining hair across her brow,
She went into the garden fading now;
Vanity of vanities the Preacher saith--
And if one sighed to think that it was sere,
She smiled to think that it would bloom next year!
She feared thee not, O Death.

Blooming she came back to the cheerful room
With all the fairer flowers yet in bloom--
Vanity of vanities the Preacher saith--
A fragrant knot for each of us she tied,
And placed the fairest at her Father's side--
She cannot charm thee, Death.

Her pleasant smile spread sunshine upon all;
We heard her sweet clear laughter in the Hall--
Vanity of vanities the Preacher saith--
We heard her sometimes after evening prayer,
As she went singing softly up the stair--
No voice can charm thee, Death.

Where is the pleasant smile, the laughter kind,
That made sweet music of the winter wind?
Vanity of vanities the Preacher saith--
Idly they gaze upon her empty place,
Her kiss hath faded from her Father's face--
She is with thee, O Death.

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