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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] Hush! I talk my dream aloud—
I build it bright 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!
May-mists, for the casements, fetch,
Pale and glimmering;
[15] With a sunbeam hid in each,
And a smell of spring.


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


[25] Build a spacious hall thereby:
Boldly, never fearing,  
Use the blue place of the sky,
Which the wind is clearing;
Branched with corridors sublime,
[30] Flecked with winding stairs—
Such as children wish to climb,
Following their own prayers.


In the mutest of the house,
I will have my chamber:
[35] Silence at the door shall use
Evening’s light of amber,
Solemnising every mood,
Softening in degree,—
Turning sadness into good,
[40] As I turn the key.


Be my chamber tapestried
With the showers of summer,
Close, but soundless,—glorified
When the sunbeams come here;
[45] Wandering harpers, harping on
Waters stringed for such,—
Drawing colours, for a tune,
With a vibrant touch.


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


Bring the fantasque cloudlets home,
From the noontide zenith;
Ranged, for sculptures, round the room,—
[60] Named as Fancy weeneth:
Some be Junos, without eyes;
Naiads, without sources;
Some be birds of paradise,—
Some, Olympian horses.


[65] Bring the dews the birds shake off,
Waking in the hedges,—
Those too, perfumed for a proof,
From the lilies’ edges:
From our England’s field and moor,
[70] Bring them calm and white in;
Whence to form a mirror pure,
For Love’s self-delighting.


Bring a grey cloud from the east,  
Where the lark is singing;
[75] Something of the song at least,
Unlost in the bringing:
That shall be a morning chair,
Poet-dream may sit in,
When it leans out on the air,
[80] Unrhymed and unwritten.


Bring the red cloud from the sun!
While he sinketh, catch it.
That shall be a couch,—with one
Sidelong star to watch it,—
[85] Fit for poet’s finest Thought,
At the curfew-sounding,—
Things unseen being nearer brought
Than the seen, around him.


Poet’s thought,—not poet’s sigh!
[90] ’Las, they come together!
Cloudy walls divide and fly,
As in April weather!
Cupola and column proud,
Structure bright to see—
[95] Gone! -- except that moonlit cloud, 
To which I looked with thee!


Let them! Wipe such visionings
From the Fancy’s cartel—
Love secures some fairer things
[100] Dowered with his immortal.
The sun may darken,—heaven be bowed—
But still, unchanged shall be,—
Here in my soul,—that moonlit cloud,
To which I looked with THEE! 

Text: Poems (1850), vol.  2, pp. 320-4.