Have fun with the poem by trying this...
When we are asleep and dreaming we can go to all kinds of places and experience many different sensations. We can also talk about dreams as things we hope for. The speaker of this poem dreams of a magical 'fairy land'.
Read the poem aloud to begin with. You might notice lots of colour words, as well as other words that make us think of colours. Can you find at least five?
In the first verse we see stones and boulders. In the second verse we're taken to clear streams and castles suspended in the air. Which colours are used in each verse? How do these different sets of colours create different moods? You could draw two pictures to help you think about this.
Now look at the third verse. What do 'they' tell the speaker is really beyond the mountains? It's not the beautiful fairy land the speaker imagines. What colour is this real world? How does this change the mood of the poem?
Now speak the poem out loud, using your voice to convey the different moods in the three verses. Pay attention to the last two lines - is the speaker convinced by what 'they' say?
Beyond, beyond the mountain line,
The grey-stone and the boulder,
Beyond the growth of dark green pine,
That crowns its western shoulder,
There lies that fairy land of mine,
Unseen of a beholder.
Its fruits are all like rubies rare,
Its streams are clear as glasses;
There golden castles hang in air,
And purple grapes in masses,
And noble knights and ladies fair
Come riding down the passes.
Ah me! they say if I could stand
Upon those mountain ledges,
I should but see on either hand
Plain fields and dusty hedges:
And yet I know my fairy land
Lies somewhere o’er their edges.