I dreamed a warning dream

I dreamed a warning dream
Of marvelous emprise
Yet neer was waking dream so true
Or tale so void of lies
I dreamed while roaming on
Through the pilgrimage of life
An old man like a pilgrim clad
Dealt round him bitter strife

& by his side a shadow went
Not like a common shade
But like himself it walked upright
& bitter work it made
He set his foot on pleasant spots
& they to deserts grew
He just looked into crowded halls
& they grew empty too

His hand enclosed a pilgrims staff
The other idly bore
A book on which was rudely drawn
A tomb belittered oer
With sculptured characters—some names
That noisey fames had won
Some citys but their names alone
Were left beneath the sun

They often seemed in deep discourse
& when the shadow fell
To work the old man laughed aloud
As if it pleased him well

For what are names & what are fames
Songs writ or battles won
Poor honesty & rich deciet
& all beneath the sun
Prides satire is its final fall
Lifes farce its final doom
All pomp kings princes what are all
But rubbish for the tomb
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