Victor James Daley

Here you will find the Long Poem The Dream of Margaret of poet Victor James Daley

The Dream of Margaret

It fell upon a summer night
 The village folk were soundly sleeping,
Unconscious of the glamour white
 In which the moon all things was steeping;
One window only showed a light;
 Behind it, silent vigil keeping,
Sat Margaret, as one in trance?
The dark-eyed daughter of the Manse. 
A flood of strange, sweet thoughts was surging
 Her passionate heart and brain within.
At last, some secret impulse urging,
 She laid aside her garment thin,
And from its snowy folds emerging,
 Like Lamia from the serpent-skin,
She stood before her mirror bright
Naked, and lovely as the night. 

Her dark hair o?er her shoulders flowing
 Might well have been a silken pall
O?er Galatea?s image glowing
 To life and love: she was withal?
The lamplight o?er her radiance throwing?
 With her high bosom virginal,
A woman made to madden men,
A Cleopatra born again. 

Hers was the beauty dark and splendid,
 Whose spell upon the heart of man
Falls swiftly as, when day is ended,
 Night falls in lands Australian.
Her rich, ripe, scarlet lips, bow-bended,
 Smiled as such ripe lips only can;
Her eyes, wherein strange lightnings shone,
Were deeper than Oblivion. 

With round, white arms, whose warm caress
 No lover knew, raised towards the ceiling,
She looked like some young Pythoness
 The secrets dark of Fate revealing,
Or goddess in divine distress
 To higher powers for help appealing.
This invocation, standing so,
She sang in clear, sweet tones, but low: 

Soul, from this narrow,
 Mean life we know,
Speed as an arrow
 From bended bow! 
Seek, and discover,
 On land or sea,
My destined lover,
 Where?er he be. 

How shalt thou know him,
 My heart?s desire??
His mien will show him,
 His glance of fire. 

High is his bearing,
 His pride is high,
His spirit daring
 Burns in his eye. 

Birds have done mating;
 The Spring is past;
My arms are waiting,
 My heart beats fast. 

?Oh, why,? she sighed, ?has Fate awarded
 This lot to me whose heart is bold?
My days by trifles are recorded,
 My suitors men whose God is gold.
Oh for the Heroes helmed and sworded,
 The lovers of the days of old,
Who broke for ladies many a lance
In gallant days of old Romance! 

?Would I had lived in that great time when
 A lady?s love was knight?s best boon;
When sword with sword made ringing rhyme, when
 Mailed sea-kings fought from noon to moon,
And thought the slaughter grim no crime, when
 The prize was golden-haired Gudrun.
Then I might find swords, broad and bright
And keen as theirs, for me to fight. 

?But narrow bounds my life environ,
 And hold my eager spirit in.
The men I see no heart of fire in
 Their bodies bear. My love to win
A man must have a will of iron,
 A soul of flame. Then sweet were sin
Or Death for him!? With ardent glance
Thus spake the daughter of the Manse. 

Then, with a smile, she fell asleep in
 Her white and dainty maiden bed.
The chaste, cold moon alone could peep in,
 And view her tresses dark outspread
Upon an arm whose clasp might keep in
 The life of one given up for dead:
And, as she drifted down the stream
Of Slumber deep, she dreamt a dream. 

. . . . .
It was a banquet rich and rare,
 The wine of France was foaming madly;
The proud and great of earth were there,
 And all were slaves to serve her gladly,
And yet on them with haughty air
 She gazed, half-scornfully, half-sadly;
The Lady of the Feast was she?
So ran her strange dream-fantasy. 
A Prince was at her fair right hand,
 And at her left a famous leader
Of hosts, with look of high command,
 And?blacker than the tents of Kedar?
An Eastern King, barbaric, grand,
 Sat near?their Queen they had decreed her.
Below the proud, the brave, the wise,
Sat charmed by her mesmeric eyes. 

Then thus she spake: ?O Lords of Earth!
 Than you I know none nobler, braver;
And yet your fame, and rank, and birth,
 And wealth in my sight find small favour,
For all too well I know their worth?
 Long since for me they lost their savour.
The Spirit, fit to mate with mine,
Must be demoniac?or divine. 

?A toast!? she cried. The gallant throng
 Sprang up, their foaming glasses clinking.
?Satan! The Spirit proud and strong!
 The bravest lover to my thinking!
The Wine of Life I?ve drunk too long:
 The Wine of death I now am drinking!? . . .
?Our Queen she was a moment since?
Bear forth the body!? said the Prince. 

. . . . .
A ghostly wind arose, all wet
 With tears, and full of cries and wailing,
And wringing hands, and faces set
 In bitter anguish unavailing;
It bore the soul of Margaret
 To where a voice, in tones of railing,
Cried, ?Spirit proud, thou hast done well!<