The Haunted Palace

45

In the greenest of our valleys
⁠By good angels tenanted,
Once a fair and stately palace—
⁠Radiant palace—reared its head.
In the monarch Thought’s dominion—
⁠It stood there!
Never seraph spread a pinion
⁠Over fabric half so fair!

Banners yellow, glorious, golden,
⁠On its roof did float and flow,
(This—all this—was in the olden
⁠Time long ago,)
And every gentle air that dallied,
⁠In that sweet day,
Along the ramparts plumed and pallid,
⁠A wingéd odour went away.

Wanderers in that happy valley,
Through two luminous windows, saw
Spirits moving musically,
To a lute’s well-tunéd law,
Round about a throne where, sitting
(Porphyrogene!)
In state his glory well befitting,
The ruler of the realm was seen.

And all with pearl and ruby glowing
⁠Was the fair palace door,
Through which came flowing, flowing, flowing,
⁠And sparkling evermore,
A troop of Echoes, whose sweet duty
⁠Was but to sing,
In voices of surpassing beauty,
⁠The wit and wisdom of their king.

But evil things, in robes of sorrow,
⁠Assailed the monarch’s high estate.
(Ah, let us mourn!—for never morrow
⁠Shall dawn upon him desolate!)
And round about his home the glory
⁠That blushed and bloomed,
Is but a dim-remembered story
⁠Of the old time entombed.

And travellers, now, within that valley,
⁠Through the red-litten windows see
Vast forms, that move fantastically
⁠To a discordant melody,
While, like a ghastly rapid river,
⁠Through the pale door
A hideous throng rush out forever
⁠And laugh—but smile no more.

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