THE FAIRIES DANCING I heard along the early hills,Ere yet the lark was risen up,Ere yet the dawn with firelight fillsThe night-dew of the bramble-cup,—I heard the fairies in a ringSing as they tripped a lilting roundSoft as the moon on wavering wing.The starlight shook as if with sound,As if with echoing, and the starsPrankt their bright eyes with trembling gleamsWhile red with war the gusty MarsRained upon earth his ruddy beams.He shone alone, low down the West,While I, behind a hawthorn-bush,Watched on the fairies flaxen-tressedThe fires of the morning flush.Till, as a mist, their beauty died,Their singing shrill and fainter grew;And daylight tremulous and wideFlooded the moorland through and through;Till Urdon's copper weathercockWas reared in golden flame afar,And dim from moonlit dreams awokeThe towers and groves of Arroar.
DREAM-SONG Sunlight, moonlight,Twilight, starlight—Gloaming at the close of day,And an owl calling,Cool dews fallingIn a wood of oak and may. Lantern-light, taper-light,Torchlight, no-light:Darkness at the shut of day,And lions roaring,Their wrath pouringIn wild waste places far away. Elf-light, bat-light,Touchwood-light and toad-light,And the sea a shimmering gloom of grey,And a small face smilingIn a dream's beguilingIn a world of wonders far away.
A-TISHOO "Sneeze, Pretty, sneeze, Dainty,Else the Elves will have you sure,Sneeze, Light-of-Seven-Bright-Candles,See they're tippeting at the door;Their wee feet in measure falling,All their little voices calling,Calling, calling, calling, calling—Sneeze, or never come no more!""A-tishoo!"
THE DOUBLE I curtseyed to the dovecote.I curtseyed to the well.I twirled me round and round about,The morning sweets to smell.When out I came from spinning so,Lo, betwixt green and blueWas the ghost of me—a Fairy Child—A-dancing—dancing, too. Nought was of her wearingThat is the earth's array.Her thistledown feet beat airy fleetYet set no blade astray.The gossamer shining dews of JuneShowed grey against the green;Yet never so much as a bird-claw printOf footfall to be seen. Fading in the mounting sunThat image soon did pine.Fainter than moonlight thinned the locksThat shone as clear as mine.Vanished! Vanished! O, sad it isTo spin and spin—in vain;And never to see the ghost of meA-dancing there again.
THE UNFINISHED DREAM Rare-sweet the air in that unimagined country—My spirit had wandered farFrom its weary body close-enwrapt in slumberWhere its home and earth-friends are;A milk-like air—and of light all abundance;And there a river clearPainting the scene like a picture on its bosom,Green foliage drifting near. No sign of life I saw, as I pressed onward,Fish, nor beast, nor bird,Till I came to a hill clothed in flowers to its summit,Then shrill small voices I heard....