I dreamt and in my dream I saw
A garden fair behind a door,
The seat of rest from toil and war.
Within, the streams unending flow
And dryads make the bowers grow
As starry hosts above them glow.
By day th’eternal sunlight shines
And flowers bloom as mystic signs,
While water falls on eglantines.
The lark his morning song uplifts
While Philomel her faery gifts
By night unburthens, as the swifts
Their aerie dance for me perform.
This peaceful place no ghastly storm
Can mar, nor broil nor quake deform.
No fetter, bond nor cruel chain
There was to drag me hence again
For there delight and freedom reign,
While under shady eaves I lay.
At last – no more demands t’obey
No interruptions, just the play
Of wind and light in leafy green
No longer mankind’s tiresome spleen,
But free to be alone, unseen.
And in my dream I dreamt I sought
To see if here were missing aught
For as I ’gan to take some thought,
This place of peace, eternal rest
No longer seemed so perfect, blest
That slowly I grew worried lest
My garden should itself undo.
Then on its gates in ivory hue
I found engraved these letters true:
THE SELF-ENCLOSURE, then below,
Who first considers neighbours foes
Will banish friends and love also.
And though ’twas filled with fancies nice
My garden’s walls were deathly ice
To make a selfish paradise.