The Dream *
I slept, I dreamt,
Wouldst know my thought ? —
O, that such dreams
I had but sought!
Methought I stood by a river bright,
Which wandered far away,
And the sun beamed on with a golden light
Where a lovely island lay.
But suddenly behind a cloud
That sun’s bright orb was lost ;
And that fair island in a shroud
Of darkness dense was cast.
And then a small white speck appeared,
Relieved against that island dark,
Nearer and nearer still it came,
And seemed to be a little bark.
It drifted on, and touched the strand —
A small straight plank with awning o’er,
And in it lay a coffin old,
From which a fair girl sprang on shore.
Angelic beauty marked each line
Of that young lovely face ;
And small bright wings of a pearl-like hue
Showed her of heavenly race.
She took my hand, and sweetly smiled,
And looked into my face,
And said, “Thy rose has faded, come,
And share with me my Master’s grace.”
She led me then from place to place —
Explained my Maker’s love ;
She showed me every wond’rous thing,
The work of Him above.
I then awoke,
My dream took flight,
And on me shone
The moon’s fair light.
C. S. P.
*[These lines are the production of a young girl fifteen years of age, and are, we believe, a first effort. Though, as a composition, they are strongly marked by the faults of an immatured mind, they yet appear to us to evince originality and imaginative power not often found in first verses, and on this account we publish them, taking upon ourselves the responsibility, for it is due to the young authoress herself to say that she is wholly innocent of their meeting the public eye. — Ed. E]
The Empire (Sydney, NSW), Tuesday 19 June 1855, page 5
1) “C. S. P.” refers to Clarinda Sarah Parkes, daughter of Henry Parkes (who was editor of The Empire).
2) The newspaper printing of this poem was slightly misprinted, as it was missing the letter “I” from the first line (“slept, I dreamt”); that this line should have begin with “I” was indicated by the blank space at the start of that line, as well as by the book Poems by Menie Parkes (Clarinda Sarah Parkes) in which the line is given as “I slept, I dreamt !”
3) This poem was expanded and revised by Menie Parkes for her book, Poems, compiled in 1866.