A Sheaf Gleaned in French Fields/Reveries (Sainte-Beuve)



'Tis eve; the garish day has past!
Upon their thrones mysterious rise
The silent moon and stars at last:
And like a placid lake and vast,
My soul reflects them and the skies.

Down, down beneath the waves of thought,
The fair lake spreads o'er sands of gold,
And there the vault is balanced, wrought
In colours softer, vainly sought
In the blue pall above unrolled.

Enamoured with the picture grand,
At first I gaze, and only gaze;
But soon desiring more, my hand
I stretch to touch the fairy land,
And back recoil in wild amaze.

Sudden departs the starry vault,
Departs the light that charmed the view.
O foolish poet, thine the fault!
That sight no more shall thee exalt:
Reflected moon and stars, adieu!

'Fair moon and stars no longer hide,'
My foolish hope renounced, I cry;
And by degrees the waves subside,
Once more the picture in the tide
Is mirrored—oh so gloriously!

Shall I again attempt, I think,
To seize the mirage as before?
Ah no! But leaning on the brink,
The calm that late I drank shall drink,
And dream, and dream for evermore.