[Editor: This poem by E.J. Dempsey was published in The Bulletin Reciter, 1901.]
Dreams And Deeds.
In dreams — I wield the lightning’s flash
And whip the wearying planet’s pace.
In deed — I tremble at the dash
Of cabman’s whip flicked near my face.
In dreams — with joyous gods I dine,
And nectar’s none too good for me.
In fact — I take another line :
A very mildish kind of tea.
In dreams— I lead an armed host
To victory through storm and stress.
In deed — my fiercest fight at most
Is but an ill-played game of chess.
In dreams — I own a business vast,
And in huge industries engage.
In deed — at risks I stand aghast
And tremble for my weekly wage.
In dreams — my well-kept garden knows
The harvest of my steady toil.
In deed — the weeds in serried rows
Possess my patch of city soil.
Good Sancho gave his thanks for Sleep,
But, when I see how sordid seems
This world of those who toil and weep,
I offer up my thanks for Dreams.
They come with cruel Fact to cope
And temper stern old Fate’s decrees ;
They dower day with art and hope
And night with varied fantasies.
And, if you add up Life’s account,
You ’ll find the dreams, though filmy-light,
Are far the best of the amount :
The things that make the balance right !
E. J. Dempsey.
A.G. Stephens (editor). The Bulletin Reciter: A Collection of Verses for Recitation from “The Bulletin” [1880-1901], The Bulletin Newspaper Company, Sydney, 1902 [first published 1901], pages 155-156