I closed mine eyes and thought the rest was silence.
Yet here I stir and ope them—now awake,
A brave new world awaits me. Yet which is it?
The scent of sea-life richly fills the air
As waves crash o’er my feet—is this my fate?
Where am I? What dreams have found me
Now I lie in wait? It seems so real. It seems—
But semblance is unseemly. I must know
If this be heav’n or hell or yet some other
Place—will I find my father? Are these the slower
Fires that burn our sins away? Yet oh—
Could I not live inside these waves that lap my feet…
Where is my mother? Did she not come before?
She did not know mine uncle’s plans, so, guiltless,
Might have risen up while I embrace
This gentle burn a little while. Yet where’s my uncle?
Where is that King who slew his brother so?
The man I should have dueled. Is he around?
I glance about me, up the beach, but no—
I am alone in death as are we all,
Though I took so many with me. Him
And her and the nun who loved me and her father,
Her brother who slew me, and my friends from school—
This can’t be Purgatory. Though it smells so sweet,
I am in Hell. Heaven and Earth must I remember.
Then must my uncle be here, too. But where?
And why? He’s where I put him for my father,
As I swore—must I still meet him in our just rewards?
I stand and scan my destiny.
Rough winds do blow in from this briny Styx
Are these the winds of Hell? Where is the Devil?
Where is my tormentor, come to gloat?
What are these trees with leaves so wide, so green
And get so foreign to our Danish shores?
If this be Hell, why shines the sun so bright?
Where am I?
But soft! I hear a hustle and a bustle
‘Round the corner by the trees.
Is’t a man? That cannot be, oh, no—
Some shade that once was man, perhaps, but now?
Nay, there’s a figure—form’d of mist, I’ld say.
A woman, and one of such design to set
The heav’ns aflame if clouds could burn as men’s hearts do.
Yet why so dim? Were you not made of that
Same flesh as I? Are we not alike,
Whatever the likeness we may bear?
But stay! I’d speak with thee anon!
I’d have news of thee, whether I am right
To doubt the blessing of my fate, the beauty
That surrounds me in your fair country. Stay—
But the airy spirit has no replies for me.
Am I? Do I yet breathe? Does this, my flesh,
Too solid still, yet bear the weight of life?
Or has time come for me with slings and arrows
To make me naught? Am I a spirit, too?
What dreams have come? What visions now assail
My desp’rate mind to make it fester?
I must inland from the sea. The waves
Give me no answer. Go, then, spirit, hie thee,
Be thou rank or bonny, hie—I’ll follow thee
To th’ end of this brave new world and see
What Man or Nature has in mind for me.