Melancholy: A Dream by Alankar Das Dalal
Alankar Das Dalal is an Assistant Professor, Department of English and Literary Studies, Brainware University. He was a U.G. and P.G. class topper from Maulana Azad College and Calcutta University respectively. He received his M. Phil in 2019 from the Department of English, Calcutta University on “The Voice of the Unconscious: A Psychosexual Reading of the Plays of Harold Pinter.” He is the recipient of the A. K. Saha Book Prize from Calcutta University and has also been honored by English Language Lovers’ Association, West Bengal, for academic excellence. He has presented papers in several national and international seminars and conference of repute.
Melancholy: A Dream
The darkest shroud doth guile the moon,
The evening stars in a hideous swoon,
In one sharp stride out comes the night,
Veiling all traces of celestial light.
The wind doth rage the midnight air,
That seizeth me with poesy fair,
In my silent nest, I lie awake,
And muse of the sun, of tree, of lake.
The iced gale doth quake my heart,
As if the heavens have fallen apart.
And thus I pray, in vain, for bliss,
That seems to've trodd’n the deep’st abyss.
The flint still burns with a golden flame,
When a tap was heard of the castle dame.
Thrice she knocked at my closed door,
And made my shadow dance on the floor.
I turned the chains of my abysmal lair,
To meet the eyes of the Lady Fair.
She looked ghastly in the yellow shade,
Pale like death, down her bosom fade.
Richly attired was the nightly maiden,
As though her breast was sans love-laden.
Her eyes shone steel like silvery white,
Though her hair unseen was bereft of light.
“I love thee true,” those cold lips spake,
“More true than ever an angel can make.”
Bewitched by that honey-sweeten’d voice,
Of unheard verse my soul rejoice.
Yet not a word there I could utter,
My mouth did choke; O! a drop o’ water.
“I love thee too,” I had yearn’d to say,
Still not a word could make its way.
“Why dost thou fear? Come close to me,”
With a stoney-chill’d ease quothed she.
The storm-drawn door shut behind me,
Not a beam did pass: in the dark were we.
I knew not when I did cross the bar,
Have I yet traversed the path too far?
Quavering, I quothed, “Where art thou?”
A kiss she sealed with an eternal vow.
The tempest still howled at the castle pane,
Singing the hymns of a woeful strain.
A sudden thunder, a fire of light,
A dagger did rise in front o’ my sight.
Oh Christ! Ere I could utter a prayer,
Like an arrow it came, with a whip in the air.
Straight through my skin it went like a dart,
The dagger in silence did pierce my heart.
As I lay lifeless, I could see the dame,
A passing shadow, Melancholy her name.
With a horrid start, from the sleep I wake,
Was it a dream? Was my life at stake?
The wind had died, the moon did shine,
The stars were out in a glittery line.
No more do I seek the benisons rare,
Though I dwell in a cave of dark despair.