Later Poems

by Bliss Carman


 

The Dreamers


 

CHARLEMAGNE with knight and lord,
In the hill at Ingelheim,
Slumbers at the council board,
Seated waiting for the time.

With their swords across their knees

5
In that chamber dimly lit,
Chin on breast like effigies
Of the dreaming gods, they sit.

Long ago they went to sleep,
While great wars above them hurled,

10
Taking counsel how to keep
Giant evil from the world.

Golden-armored, iron-crowned,
There in silence they await
The last war,—in war renowned,

15
Done with doubting and debate.

What is all our clamor for?
Petty virtue, puny crime,
Beat in vain against the door
Of the hill at Ingelheim.

20

When at last shall dawn the day
For the saving of the world,
They will forth in war array,
Iron-armored, golden-curled.

In the hill at Ingelheim,

25
Still, they say, the Emperor,
Like a warrior in his prime,
Waits the message at the door.

Shall the long enduring fight
Break above our heads in vain,

30
Plunged in lethargy and night,
Like the men of Charlemagne?

Comrades, through the Council Hall
Of the heart, inert and dumb,
Hear ye not the summoning call,

35
“Up, my lords, the hour is come!”