Rhymes On The Road: Extract V. Fancy And Reality..


Fancy and Reality.--Rain-drops and Lakes.--Plan of a Story.--Where to
place the Scene of it.--In some unknown Region.--Psalmanazar's Imposture
with respect to the Island of Formosa.

The more I've viewed this world the more I've found,
That, filled as 'tis with scenes and creatures rare.
Fancy commands within her own bright round
A world of scenes and creatures far more fair.
Nor is it that her power can call up there
A single charm, that's not from Nature won,
No more than rainbows in their pride can wear
A single hue unborrowed from the sun--
But 'tis the mental medium it shines thro'
That lends to Beauty all its charm and hue;
As the same light that o'er the level lake
One dull monotony of lustre flings,
Will, entering in the rounded raindrop, make
Colors as gay as those on Peris' wings!

And such, I deem, the difference between real,
Existing Beauty and that form ideal
Which she assumes when seen by poets' eyes,
Like sunshine in the drop--with all those dyes
Which Fancy's variegating prism supples.

I have a story of two lovers, filled
With all the pure romance, the blissful sadness,
And the sad, doubtful bliss that ever thrilled
Two young and longing hearts in that sweet madness.
But where to choose the region of my vision
In this wide, vulgar world--what real spot
Can be found out sufficiently Elysian
For two such perfect lovers I know not.
Oh for some fair FORMOSA, such as he,
The young Jew fabled of, in the Indian Sea,
By nothing but its name of Beauty known,
And which Queen Fancy might make all her own,
Her fairy kingdom--take its people, lands,
And tenements into her own bright hands,
And make at least one earthly corner fit
For Love to live in, pure and exquisite!
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