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I would build a cloudy house
For my thoughts to live in,
When for earth too fancy-loose,
And too low for heaven.
[5] I sleep, and talk my dream aloud,
I build it fair to see—
I build it on the moonlit cloud,
To which I looked with thee.

Cloud-walls of the morning’s grey,
[10] Faced with amber column,
Crowned with crimson cupola
From a sunset solemn—
For casements, from the valley fetch
May-mists glimmering,—
[15] With a sunbeam hid in each,
And a smell of spring.

Build the entrance high and proud,
Darkening and eke brightening,
Of a riven thunder-cloud
[20] Veinëd with the lightning.
Use one with an iris-stain
For the door within,
Turning to a sound like rain
As we enter in.

[25] For the fair hall reached thereby
Walled with cloudy whiteness,
Take the blue place in the sky,
Wind-worked into brightness—
Whence corridores and long degrees
[30] Of cloud-stairs wind away—
Till children wish upon their knees,
They walkëd where they pray.

Be my chamber tapestried
With the showers of summer,
[35] Close and silent, glorified
When the sunbeams come there—
Sudden harpers, harping on
Every drop as such,—
Drawing colours like a tune,
[40] Measured to the touch.

Bring a shadow green and still
From the chesnut forest—
Bring a purple from the hill
When the heat is sorest,—
[45] Spread them out from wall to wall,
Carpet-wove around;
And thereupon the foot shall fall
In light instead of sound.

Bring a grey cloud from the east
[50] Where the lark was singing—
Something of the song at least
Lost not in the bringing,—
And that shall be a morning chair
For poet-dreams,—when with them
[55] No verse constraint—the floating air
Their only, lovely rhythm.

Bring the red cloud from the sun—
While he sinketh, catch it,—
Bring it for a couch, with one
[60] Side-long star to watch it—
Fit for a poet’s finest thought,  
At curfew time, to lean;
When things invisible are brought
More near him than the seen.

[65] Poet’s thought, not poet’s sigh!—
Alas! they come together!
Cloudy walls divide and fly
As if in April weather.
Hall, corridore, and column proud—
[70] My chamber fair to see—
All pass—except that moonlit cloud
To which I looked with thee.

Let them!– Wipe such visionings
From the fancy’s cartel;
[75] Love secures some frailest things,
Dowered with his immortal.
Suns, moons may darken—heaven be bowed,—
But here unchanged shall be,
Here in my soul—that moonlit cloud,
[80]To which I looked with thee.

Text: Athenaeum, 21 August 1841, p. 643.
By-Line: Elizabeth B. Barrett.