Rêve Parisian

Clark Ashton Smith

The memory of this dread demesne
Unknown, unsought by mortal eyes,
That morning, like some glad surprise,
Returns insistent, dimly seen.

What marvels fill the gulf of sleep
By some bizarre caprice
From all my dream the grass, the trees,
Are banished in the oblivious deep!

And I, tho’ sculptor of a world
Of superbly tasteful monotone
Of metal, water, metal, flame, and stone
At mine enchanted will unfurled!

Babel of stairs and of arcades,
There stands a palace infinite,
Where fountains fall in chrysolite
On the dull gold of long estrades;

And from the ramparts far and high,
Enormous cataracts have sprung,
Like heavy crystal curtains hung
On the huge walls within the sky.

No blooms nor bower, but pools enchanted
Where lies the columns’ mirrored frieze—
By the titanic naiades
Of pale and marble haunted.

Blue waters endlessly are whirled
Between the quays of malachite,
And quays of rose that stretch for light
A thousand leagues athwart the world—

A world of magic mineral;
And magic billow! Shore and sea
In dazzling cold immensity,
Redoubling and reflecting all!

An architect of Faëry
I make, with runes softly murmured,
A cavern wrought of rubacelle
That passes neath the conquered sea.

And all things, pale or sable, shine
Like furbished armour; flaming spaces
Of land a flaming gulf enchases,
Immured in splendour crystalline.

No star has passed, no sun has flown
To climb the adamantine skies,
Illuming these prodigies
That burn with lazy beams all their own!

And on this form of grammerie
In even beat lies (O! dread demesne
Where naught is heard, and all is seen!)
The silence of eternity.

In silence frozen the vault beyond
Great rivers negligently turn
The treasure of teeming urn
Adown the gulfs of diamond,

With funereal slow, the pendulum
Brutally sounds the hour of noon,
And heaven pours the night too soon
On the sad world forlorn and numb,

Opening eyes replete with fire,
Once in my sunless room again,
And feel re-entering in my brain
The fang of cares accursed and dire.

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