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KUBLA KHAN: OR, A VISION IN A DREAM.
In the summer of the year 1797, the Author, then in ill health, had retired to a lonely farmhouse between Porlock and Linton, on the Exmoor confines of Somerset and Devonshire. In consequence of a slight indisposition, an anodyne had been prescribed, from the effect of which he fell asleep in his chair at the moment that he was reading the following sentence, or words of the same substance, in “Purchas's Pilgrimage:” “Here the Khan Kubla commanded a palace to be built, and a stately garden there. unto: and thus ten miles of fertile ground were enclosed with a wall.” The author continued for about three hours in a profound sleep, at least of the external senses, during which time he has the most vivid confidence, that he could not have composed less than from two to three hundred lines ; if that indeed can be called composition in which all the images rose up before him as things, with a parallel production of the correspondent expressions, without any sensation or consciousness of effort. On awakiug, he appeared to himself to have a distinct recollection of the whole, and taking his pen, ink, and paper, instantly and eagerly wrote down the lines that are here preserved. At this moment, he was unfortunately called out by a person on business from Porlock, and detained by him above an hour, and on his return to his room, found, to his no small surprise and mortification, that though he still retained sume vague and dim recollection of the general purport of the vision, yet, with the exception of some eight or ten scattered lines and images, all the rest had passed away like the images on the surface of a stream into which a stone had been cast, but, alas! without the after restoration of the latter :
Then all the charm
The stream will soon renew its smoothness, soon
Yet from the still surviving recollections in his mind, the Author has frequently purposed to finish for himself what had been originally, as it were, given to him. Aýprov živov ãow: but the to-morrow is yet to come.
As a contrast to this vision, I have annexed a fragment of a very different character, describing with equal fidelity the dream of pain and disease.
IN Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Down to a sunless sea.
But oh! that deep romantic chasm which slanted
Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,
The shadow of the dome of pleasure
From the fountain and the caves.
A damsel with a dulcimer
To such a deep delight 'twould win me,
dome! those caves of ice!
THE PAINS OF SLEEP.
ERE on my bed my limbs I lay,
It hath not been my use to pray With moving lips or bended knees; But silently, by slow degrees, My spirit I to Love compose, In humble trust mine eye-lids close, With reverential resignation, No wish conceived, no thought exprest, Only a sense of supplication ; A sense o'er all my soul imprest That I am weak, yet not unblest, Since in me, round me, everywhere Eternal strength and wisdom are.
But yester-night I prayed aloud
My own or others still the same
So two nights pass'd; the night's dismay
WHAT IS LIFE? RESEMBLES life what once was deemed of light,
Too ample in itself for human sight? An absolute self—an element ungrounded All that we see, all colors of all shade
By encroach of darkness made ?Is
very life by consciousness unbounded ? And all the thoughts, pains, joys of mortal breath, A war-embrace of wrestling life and death ?