Dream-Pedlary

I.

If there were dreams to sell,
   What would you buy?
Some cost a passing bell;
   Some a light sigh,
That shakes from Life’s fresh crown
Only a rose-leaf down.
If there were dreams to sell,
Merry and sad to tell,
And the crier rung the bell,
   What would you buy?

II.

A cottage lone and still,
   With bowers nigh,
Shadowy, my woes to still,
   Until I die.
Such pearl from Life’s fresh crown
Fain would I shake me down.
Were dreams to have at will,
This would best heal my ill,
   This would I buy.

III.

But there were dreams to sell,
   Ill didst thou buy;
Life is a dream, they tell,
   Waking, to die.
Dreaming a dream to prize,
Is wishing ghosts to rise;
   And, if I had the spell
   To call the buried well,
      Which one would I?

IV.

If there are ghosts to raise,
   What shall I call,
Out of hell’s murky haze,
   Heaven’s blue pall?
Raise my loved long-lost boy
To lead me to his joy.—
   There are no ghosts to raise;
   Out of death lead no ways;
      Vain is the call.

V.

Know’st thou not ghosts to sue?
   No love thou hast.
Else lie, as I will do,
   And breathe thy last.
So out of Life’s fresh crown
Fall like a rose leaf down.
   Thus are the ghosts to wooe;
   Thus are all dreams made true,
      Ever to last!

[Kelsall, 1851]