Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Here you will find the Poem Slave's Dream, The of poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Slave's Dream, The

Beside the ungathered rice he lay,
 His sickle in his hand;
His breast was bare, his matted hair
 Was buried in the sand.
Again, in the mist and shadow of sleep,
 He saw his Native Land.

Wide through the landscape of his dreams
 The lordly Niger flowed;
Beneath the palm-trees on the plain
 Once more a king he strode;
And heard the tinkling caravans
 Descend the mountain-road.

He saw once more his dark-eyed queen
 Among her children stand;
They clasped his neck, they kissed his cheeks,
 They held him by the hand!--
A tear burst from the sleeper's lids
 And fell into the sand.

And then at furious speed he rode
 Along the Niger's bank;
His bridle-reins were golden chains,
 And, with a martial clank,
At each leap he could feel his scabbard of steel
 Smiting his stallion's flank.

Before him, like a blood-red flag,
 The bright flamingoes flew;
From morn till night he followed their flight,
 O'er plains where the tamarind grew,
Till he saw the roofs of Caffre huts,
 And the ocean rose to view.

At night he heard the lion roar,
 And the hyena scream,
And the river-horse, as he crushed the reeds
 Beside some hidden stream;
And it passed, like a glorious roll of drums,
 Through the triumph of his dream.

The forests, with their myriad tongues,
 Shouted of liberty;
And the Blast of the Desert cried aloud,
 With a voice so wild and free,
That he started in his sleep and smiled
 At their tempestuous glee.

He did not feel the driver's whip,
 Nor the burning heat of day;
For Death had illumined the Land of Sleep,
 And his lifeless body lay
A worn-out fetter, that the soul
 Had broken and thrown away!