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

The Dream Called Life

By Pedro Calderón de la Barca (1600–1681)

From ‘Such Stuff as Dreams are Made Of.’ Segismund’s Speech Closing the ‘Vida Es Sueno’: Edward Fitzgerald’s Version

A DREAM it was in which I found myself,

And you that hailed 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 high 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,

With all your glittering arms and equipage,

Kings, princes, captains, warriors, plume and steel,

Ay, 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 or both dreaming;—such a doubt

Confounds and clouds our mortal 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 to-morrow’s dawn shall break the spell,

Or the last trumpet of the eternal Day,

When dreaming with the night shall pass away.