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

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

Build the entrance high and proud,
Darkening and eke brightening,—
Of a riven thunder-cloud,
[20] Veined by the lightning!
Use one with an iris-stain,
For the door within;
Turning to a sound like rain,
As we enter in!

[25] Enter a broad hall thereby,
Walled with cloudy whiteness:
’Tis a blue place of the sky,
Wind-worked into brightness;
Whence such corridors sublime
[30] Stretch, with winding stairs—
Praying children wish to climb
After their own prayers.

In the mutest of the house,
I will have my chamber:
[35] Round its door I keep for use
Northern lights of amber.
Silence gave that rose and bee
For the lock, in meteness;
And the turning of the key
[40] Goes in humming sweetness.

Be my chamber tapestried
With the showers of summer,
Close but soundless,—glorified
When the sunbeams come here—
[45] Wandering harpers, harping on
Chorded drops, as such,—
Drawing colours, for a tune,
With a vibrant touch.

Bring a shadow green and still
[50] From the chesnut forest,—
Bring a purple from the hill,
When the heat is sorest,—
Spread them out from wall to wall,
Carpet-wove around,—
[55] 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,—
[60] Named as Fancy weeneth:
Some be Junos, without eyes—
Naiads, without sources—
Some be birds of paradise,—
Some, Olympian horses.

[65] 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,
[70] 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,—
[75] 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,
[80] 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,—
[85] 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!
[90] ’Las, they come together!
Cloudy walls divide and fly,
As in April weather!
Corridor and column proud,
Chamber bright to see—
[95] 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
[100] Dowered with his immortal!
Suns may darken,—heaven be bowed—
Still, unchanged shall be,—
Soul-deep,—here—that moonlit cloud,
To which I looked with THEE

Text: Poems (1844), vol. 2, pp. 223-8.