HomeJean de La FontaineTHE DREAM OF AN INHABITANT OF MOGUL

THE DREAM OF AN INHABITANT OF MOGUL. Jean de La Fontaine

Once on a time, in slumber wrapt,
A certain peasant had a vision
Of a great Vizier, calmly lapt
In endless joys of fields Elysian;
Then straightway in a moment′s space
The dreamer sees another place,
Wherein a Hermit bathed in fire
Endures such torments as inspire
Even those who share his fate
With sympathy compassionate.
Unusual this; indeed, so curious,
It seemed as though the dreams were spurious,
And to the dreamer so surprising,
That straight he woke, and fell surmising
His dreams were ill, as some aver.
But soon a wise Interpreter,
Consulted, said, "Be not perplexed,
For if to me some skill is given
To understand a secret text,
These dreams are messages from heaven,
And mean, On earth, whene′er he could,
The Vizier sought sweet solitude;
Whereas the Hermit, day by day,
To courts of viziers made his way."

Now, if to this I dare to add,
I′d praise the pleasures to be had
Deep in the bosom of retreat;
Pleasures heavenly, pure, and sweet.
O Solitude! I know your charms!
O Night! I ever in your breast,
Far, far from all the world′s alarms,
By balmy air would still be blest;
Oh, who will bear me to your shades?
When shall the Nine, the heavenly maids,
Far from cities, far from towns,
Far from human smiles and frowns,
Wholly employ my tranquil hours,
And teach me how the mystic powers
Aloft, unseen by human eyes,
Mysterious, hold their mighty sway?
And how the planets, night and day,
Fashion and rule our destinies?
But if for such pursuits as these
I am not born, at least among
The groves I′ll wander, and in song
Describe the woods, the streams, the trees.
No golden threads shall weave my fate;
′Neath no rich silk I′ll lie in state;
And surely yet my eyes shall close
In no less deep and sweet repose.
To Solitude fresh vows I′ll pay;
And when, at length, the fatal day
Shall place me in the arms of death,
As calm I′ve lived, so calm I′ll yield my breath.

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