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THE DREAM OF EUGENE ARAM.
'Twas in the prime of summer time,
An evening calm and cool,
Came bounding out of school :
Like troutlets in a pool.
And souls untouched by sin ;
They drave the wickets in :
Over the town of Lynn.
And shouted as they ran,
As only boyhood can :
A melancholy man!
To catch heaven's blessed breeze;
And his bosom ill at ease : So he leaned his head on his hands, and read
The book between his knees !
Nor ever glanced aside,
In the golden eventide :
And pale, and leaden-eyed.
At last he shut the ponderous tome,
With a fast and fervent grasp
And fixed the brazen hasp :
And clasp it with a clasp !”. Then leaping on his feet upright,
Some moody turns he took,Now up the mead, then down the mead,
And past a shady nook,And, lo! he saw a little boy
That pored upon a book ! “My gentle lad, what is’t you read
Romance or fairy fable ? Or is it some historic page,
Of kings and crowns unstable ?” The young boy gave an upward glance,
“ It is “The Death of Abel.'” The Usher took six hasty strides,
As smit with sudden pain,-
Then slowly back again ;
And talked with him of Cain ;
Whose deeds tradition saves ;
And hid in sudden graves ;
And murders done in caves ;
Shriek upward from the sod,
To show the burial clod ;
Are seen in dreams from God!
He told how murderers walk the earth
Beneath the curse of Cain,-
And flames about their brain :
Its everlasting stain ! “ And well,” quoth he, “I know, for truth,
Their pangs must be extreme, Woe, woe, unutterable woe
Who spill life's sacred stream ! For why ? Methought, last night, I wrought
A murder in a dream !
A feeble man, and old ;
The moon shone clear and cold :
And I will have his gold !
And one with a heavy stone,
And then the deed was done :
But lifeless flesh and bone !
That could not do me ill ;
For lying there so still :
That murder could not kill !
Seemed lit with ghastly flame ;-
Were looking down in blame :
And called upon his name !
“Oh God! it made me quake to see
Such sense within the slain ;
The blood gushed out amain !
Was scorching in my brain !
My heart as solid ice ;
Was at the Devil's price :
Had never groaned but twice !
From the Heaven's topmost height, I heard a voice—the awful voice
Of the blood-avenging Sprite :Thou guilty man! take up thy dead,
And hide it from my sight !' “ I took the dreary body up,
And cast it in a stream,-
The depth was so extreme :-
Is nothing but a dream ! “ Down went the corse with a hollow plunge,
And vanished in the pool ;
And washed my forehead cool,
That evening in the school. “Oh Heaven ! to think of their white souls,
And mine so black and grim !
Nor join in Evening Hymn :
'Mid holy Cherubim !
“ And peace went with them, one and all,
And each calm pillow spread ;
That lighted me to bed ;
With fingers bloody red ! “ All night I lay in agony,
In anguish dark and deep ;
But stared aghast at Sleep :
The keys of Hell to keep ! “ All night I lay in agony,
From weary chime to chime, With one besetting horrid hint, That racked me all the time
; A mighty yearning, like the first
Fierce impulse unto crime ! “One stern tyrannic thought, that made
All other thoughts its slave; Stronger and stronger every pulse
Did that temptation crave,Still urging me to go and see
The Dead Man in his grave ! “ Heavily I rose up, as soon
As light was in the sky,
With a wild misgiving eye ;
For the faithless stream was dry.
The dew-drop from its wing :
I never heard it sing :
Under the horrid thing.