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The Dream Called Life

by
 From the Spanish of Pedro Calderon de la Barca


A dream it was in which I found myself.
And you that hail me now, then hailed me king, In a brave palace that was all my own, Within, and all without it, mine; until, Drunk with excess of majesty and pride, Methought I towered so big and swelled so wide That of myself I burst the glittering bubble Which my ambition had about me blown, And all again was darkness.
Such a dream As this, in which I may be walking now, Dispensing solemn justice to you shadows, Who make believe to listen; but anon Kings, princes, captains, warriors, plume and steel, Aye, even with all your airy theatre, May flit into the air you seem to rend With acclamations, leaving me to wake In the dark tower; or dreaming that I wake From this that waking is; or this and that, Both waking and both dreaming; such a doubt Confounds and clouds our moral life about.
But whether wake or dreaming, this I know, How dreamwise human glories come and go; Whose momentary tenure not to break, Walking as one who knows he soon may wake, So fairly carry the full cup, so well Disordered insolence and passion quell, That there be nothing after to upbraid Dreamer or doer in the part he played; Whether tomorrow's dawn shall break the spell, Or the last trumpet of the Eternal Day, When dreaming, with the night, shall pass away.

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