The Vagrant of Time

by Charles G.D. Roberts


 

THE UNKNOWN CITY


 

THERE lies a city inaccessible,
Where the dead dreamers dwell.
Abrupt and blue, with many a high ravine
And soaring bridge half seen,
With many an iris cloud that comes and goes
5
Over the ancient snows,
The imminent hills environ it, and hold
Its portals from of old,
That grief invade not, weariness, nor war,
Nor anguish evermore.
10

White-walled and jettied on the peacock tide,
With domes and towers enskied,
Its battlements and balconies one sheen
Of ever-living green,
It hears the happy dreamers turning home
15

Slow-oared across the foam.

Cool are its streets with waters musical
And fountains' shadowy fall.
With orange and anemone and rose,
And every flower that blows

20
Of magic scent or unimagined dye,
Its gardens shine and sigh.
Its chambers, memoried with old romance
And faëry circumstance,—
From any window love may lean some time
25

For love that dares to climb.

This is that city babe and seer divined
With pure, believing mind.
This is the home of unachieved emprize.
Here, here the visioned eyes

30
Of them that dream past any power to do,
Wake to the dream come true.
Here the high failure, not the level fame,
Attests the spirit's aim.
Here is fulfilled each hope that soared and sought
35
Beyond the bournes of thought.
The obdurate marble yields; the canvas glows;
Perfect the column grows;
The chorded cadence art could ne'er attain
Crowns the imperfect strain;
40
And the great song that seemed to die unsung
Triumphs upon the tongue.