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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 4.djvu/69

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39
THE DREAM.

That in the antique Oratory shook
His bosom in its solitude; and then—
As in that hour—a moment o'er his face
The tablet of unutterable thoughts
Was traced,—and then it faded as it came,
And he stood calm and quiet, and he spoke
The fitting vows, but heard not his own words,
And all things reeled around him; he could see
Not that which was, nor that which should have been—
But the old mansion, and the accustomed hall,160
And the remembered chambers, and the place,
The day, the hour, the sunshine, and the shade,
All things pertaining to that place and hour
And her who was his destiny, came back
And thrust themselves between him and the light:
What business had they there at such a time?


VII.

A change came o'er the spirit of my dream.
The Lady of his love;—Oh! she was changed
As by the sickness of the soul; her mind
Had wandered from its dwelling, and her eyes170
They had not their own lustre, but the look
Which is not of the earth; she was become
The Queen of a fantastic realm; her thoughts

Were combinations of disjointed things;

    wedding-suit spread out before him. In the same mood, he wandered about the grounds alone, till he was summoned for the ceremony, and joined, for the first time on that day, his bride and her family. He knelt down—he repeated the words after the clergyman; but a mist was before his eyes—his thoughts were elsewhere: and he was but awakened by the congratulations of the bystanders to find that he was—married."—Life, p. 272. Medwin, too, makes Byron say [Conversations, etc., 1824, p. 46) that he "trembled like a leaf, made the wrong responses, and after the ceremony called her (the bride) Miss Milbanke." All that can be said of Moore's recollection of the "memoranda," or Medwin's repetition of so-called conversations (reprinted almost verbatim in Life, Writings, Opinions, etc., 1825, ii. 297, seq., as "Recollections of the Lately Destroyed Manuscript," etc.), is that they tend to show that Byron meant The Dream to be taken literally as a record of actual events. He would not have forgotten by July, 1816, circumstances of great import which had taken place in December, 1815; and he is either lying of malice prepense or telling "an ower true tale."]