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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Phantom or Fact?

By Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772–1834)

A LOVELY form there sate beside my bed,

And such a feeding calm its presence shed,

A tender love, so pure from earthly leaven

That I unnethe the fancy might control,

’Twas my own spirit newly come from heaven,

Wooing its gentle way into my soul!

But ah! the change—it had not stirred, and yet—

Alas! that change how fain would I forget!

That shrinking back like one that had mistook!

That weary, wandering, disavowing Look!

’Twas all another,—feature, look, and frame,—

And still, methought, I knew it was the same!

This riddling tale, to what does it belong?

Is’t history? vision? or an idle song?

Or rather say at once, within what space

Of time this wild disastrous change took place?

Call it a moment’s work (and such it seems);

This tale’s a fragment from the life of dreams;

But say that years matured the silent strife,

And ’tis a record from the dream of Life.