Beside the ungathered rice he lay, His sickle in his hand; His breast was bare, his matted hair Was buried in the sand. Again, in the mist and shadow of sleep, He saw his Native Land. Wide through the landscape of his dreams The lordly Niger flowed; Beneath the palm-trees on the plain Once more a king he strode; And heard the tinkling caravans Descend the mountain-road. He saw once more his dark-eyed queen Among her children stand; They clasped his neck, they kissed his cheeks, They held him by the hand!-- A tear burst from the sleeper's lids And fell into the sand. And then at furious speed he rode Along the Niger's bank; His bridle-reins were golden chains, And, with a martial clank, At each leap he could feel his scabbard of steel Smiting his stallion's flank. Before him, like a blood-red flag, The bright flamingoes flew; From morn till night he followed their flight, O'er plains where the tamarind grew, Till he saw the roofs of Caffre huts, And the ocean rose to view. At night he heard the lion roar, And the hyena scream, And the river-horse, as he crushed the reeds Beside some hidden stream; And it passed, like a glorious roll of drums, Through the triumph of his dream. The forests, with their myriad tongues, Shouted of liberty; And the Blast of the Desert cried aloud, With a voice so wild and free, That he started in his sleep and smiled At their tempestuous glee. He did not feel the driver's whip, Nor the burning heat of day; For Death had illumined the Land of Sleep, And his lifeless body lay A worn-out fetter, that the soul Had broken and thrown away!
About the headline (FAQ)View text with footnotes
1: Coleridge-Taylor: "pace"
- by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807 - 1882), "The slave's dream", appears in Poems on Slavery, first published 1842 [author's text checked 1 time against a primary source]
Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)
- by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875 - 1912), "Beside the ungathered rice he lay", op. 54 no. 1 [ chorus and orchestra or piano ], from Three Choral Ballads, no. 1 [sung text checked 1 time]
Settings in other languages, adaptations, or excerpts:
- Also set in Swedish (Svenska), a translation by Anonymous/Unidentified Artist , "Slavens dröm" ; composed by Emil Sjögren.
Other available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):
- RUS Russian (Русский) (Mikhail Larionovich Mikhailov) , "Сон невольника", first published 1861
Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Andrew Schneider [Guest Editor]
This text was added to the website: 2010-04-12
Line count: 48
Word count: 288