Dream-Pedlary

If there were dreams to sell,
     What would you buy?
Some cost a passing bell;
     Some a light sigh,
That shakes from Life’s fresh crown
Only a rose-leaf down.
If there were dreams to sell,
Merry and sad to tell,
And the carrier rang that bell,
     What would you buy?

A cottage lone and still,
     With bowers nigh,
Shadowy, my woes to still,
     Until I die.
Such pearls from Life’s fresh crown
Fain would I shake me down.
Were dreams to have at will,
This would best heal my ill,
     This would I buy.

But there were dreams to sell
     Ill didst thou buy;
Life is a dream, they tell,
     Waking, to die.
Dreaming a dream to prize,
Is wishing ghosts to rise;
And if I had the spell
To call the buried well,
     Which one would I?

If there are ghosts to raise,
     What shall I call,
Out of hell’s murky haze,
     Heaven’s blue pall?
Raise my loved long-lost boy,
To lead me to his joy.—
There are no ghosts to raise;
Out of death lead no ways;
     Vain is the call.

Know’st thou not ghosts to sue,
     No love thou hast.
Else lie, as I will do,
     And breathe thy last.
So out of Life’s fresh crown
Fall like a rose-leaf down.
Thus are the ghosts to woo;
Thus are all dreams made true,
     Ever to last!

Thomas Lovell Beddoes, sometime 1829-1844