A pleasing land of drowsy-hed it was,
Of dreams that wave before the half-shut eye;
And of gay castles in the clouds that pass,
Forever flushing round a summer-sky.
You may recognize this verse from the first page of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving. I first saw it in one of my middle school text books. It was credited to “Unknown”… but we know who wrote it. Its a 4-line section from The Castle of Indolence, a poem written by James Thompson in 1748. The poem describes “a place in which the dwellers live amid luxurious delights, to the enervation of soul and body.” (Nuttall Encyclopedia)
This happens to be one of my most favorite poems. When I first ran into it, D&D had just came out, I had just read J.R.R Tolkien‘s The Hobbit, and the fantasy spark had been lit in my belly. This poem fit perfectly within my vision of fantasy and turned that spark into a roaring fire.
Now that I’m an adult++ I still run into situations where that verse comes instantly to mind. It happened today as I was on my morning walk. (No running today.) Beautiful blue sky with rolling clouds all over strikingly green foliage truly assisting in “the enervation of soul and body.”
It is a joy to share this poem to the universe. May it relax and enervate you for as many years as it has me.