Ere I Went Mad

Ere I went mad —
O you may never guess what dreams I had!
Such hosts of happy things did come to me.
One time, it seemed, I knelt at some one's knee,
My wee lips threaded with a strand of prayer,
With kinks of kisses in it here and there
To stay and tangle it the while I knit
A mother's long-forgotten name in it.
Be sure, I dreamed it all, but I was glad
— Ere I went mad!

Ere I went mad,
I dreamed there came to me a fair-faced lad,
Who led me by the wrist where blossoms grew
In grassy lands, and where the skies were blue
As his own eyes. And he did lisp and sing,
And weave me wreaths where I sat marveling
What little prince it was that crowned me queen
And caught my face so cunningly between
His dimple-dinted hands, and kept me glad
— Ere I went mad!

Ere I went mad,
Not even winter weather made me sad.
I dreamed, indeed, the skies were ne'er so dull
That his smile might not make them beautiful.
And now, it seemed, he had grown O so fair
And straight and strong that, when he smoothed my hair,
I felt as any lily with drooped head
That leans, in fields of grain unharvested,
By some lithe stalk of barley — pure and glad
— Ere I went mad!

Ere I went mad,
The last of all the happy dreams I had
Was of a peerless king — a conqueror —
Who crowned me with a kiss, and throned me for
One hour! Ah, God of Mercy! what a dream
To tincture life with! Yet I made no scream
As I awakened — with these eyes you see,
That may not smile till love comes back to me,
And lulls me back to those old dreams I had
— Ere I went mad!
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