Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Here you will find the Long Poem House Of Clouds, The of poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning

House Of Clouds, The

I would build a cloudy House
 For my thoughts to live in;
When for earth too fancy-loose
 And too low for Heaven!
Hush! I talk my dream aloud---
 I build it bright to see,---
I build it on the moonlit cloud,
 To which I looked with thee.

Cloud-walls of the morning's grey,
 Faced with amber column,---
Crowned with crimson cupola
 From a sunset solemn!
May mists, for the casements, fetch,
 Pale and glimmering;
With a sunbeam hid in each,
 And a smell of spring.

Build the entrance high and proud,
 Darkening and then brightening,---
If a riven thunder-cloud,
 Veined by the lightning.
Use one with an iris-stain,
 For the door within;
Turning to a sound like rain,
 As I enter in.

Build a spacious hall thereby:
 Boldly, never fearing.
Use the blue place of the sky,
 Which the wind is clearing;
Branched with corridors sublime,
 Flecked with winding stairs---
Such as children wish to climb,
 Following their own prayers.

In the mutest of the house,
 I will have my chamber:
Silence at the door shall use
 Evening's light of amber,
Solemnising every mood,
 Softemng in degree,---
Turning sadness into good,
 As I turn the key.

Be my chamber tapestried
 With the showers of summer,
Close, but soundless,---glorified
 When the sunbeams come here;
Wandering harpers, harping on
 Waters stringed for such,---
Drawing colours, for a tune,
 With a vibrant touch.

Bring a shadow green and still
 From the chestnut forest,
Bring a purple from the hill,
 When the heat is sorest;
Spread them out from wall to wall,
 Carpet-wove around,---
Whereupon the foot shall fall
 In light instead of sound.

Bring the fantasque cloudlets home
 From the noontide zenith
Ranged, for sculptures, round the room,---
 Named as Fancy weeneth:
Some be Junos, without eyes;
 Naiads, without sources
Some be birds of paradise,---
 Some, Olympian horses.

Bring the dews the birds shake off,
 Waking in the hedges,---
Those too, perfumed for a proof,
 From the lilies' edges:
From our England's field and moor,
 Bring them calm and white in;
Whence to form a mirror pure,
 For Love's self-delighting.

Bring a grey cloud from the east,
 Where the lark is singing;
Something of the song at least,
 Unlost in the bringing:
That shall be a morning chair,
 Poet-dream may sit in,
When it leans out on the air,
 Unrhymed and unwritten.

Bring the red cloud from the sun
 While he sinketh, catch it.
That shall be a couch,---with one
 Sidelong star to watch it,---
Fit for poet's finest Thought,
 At the curfew-sounding,--- ;
Things unseen being nearer brought
 Than the seen, around him.

Poet's thought,----not poet's sigh!
 'Las, they come together!
Cloudy walls divide and fly,
 As in April weather!
Cupola and column proud,
 Structure bright to see---
Gone---except that moonlit cloud,
 To which I looked with thee!

Let them! Wipe such visionings
 From the Fancy's cartel---
Love secures some fairer things
 Dowered with his immortal.
The sun may darken,---heaven be bowed---
 But still, unchanged shall be,---
Here in my soul,---that moonlit cloud,
 To which I looked with THEE!