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Save the faint chip of early bird,
The stars are on the moving stream, Or bleat of flocks along the hill.
And fling, as its ripples gently flow,
A' burnished length of wavy beam
In an eel-like, spiral line below;
The bat in the shelvy rock is hid ;
But the cricket's chirp, and the answer shrill “Ah, happy valley stream !” I said,
Of the gauze-winged katydid; “Calm glides thy wave amid the flowers, And the plaint of the wailing whippoorwill, Whose fragrance round thy path is shed Who moans unseen, and ceaseless sings Through all the joyous summer hours. Ever a note of wail and woe,
Till morning spreads her rosy wings, 0, could my years, like thine, be passed
And earth and sky in her glances glow.
'Tis the hour of fairy ban and spell : Far from the bustling haunts of men !”
The wood-tick has kept the minutes well;
He has counted them all with click and stroke But what new echoes greet my ear ? The village school-boy's merry call ;
Deep in the heart of the mountain-oak,
And he has awakened the sentry elve And mid the village hum I hear
Who sleeps with him in the haunted tree, The murmur of the waterfall.
To bid him ring the hour of twelve, I looked ; the widening vale betrayed
And call the fays to their revelry; A pool that shone like burnished steel,
Twelve small strokes on his tinkling bell Where that bright valley stream was stayed
('T was made of the white snail's pearly shell) : To turn the miller's ponderous wheel.
Midnight comes, and all is well!
Hither, hither wing your way!
Sigh for a life of solitude,
They creep from the mullein's velvet screen ;
Some on the backs of beetles fly No longer let me shun my part
From the silver tops of moon-touched trees, Amid the busy scenes of life,
Where they swung in their cobweb hammocks But with a warm and generous heart
Some from the hum-bird's downy nest,
And, pillowed on plumes of his rainbow breast,
Had slumbered there till the charmed hour;
Some had lain in the scoop of the rock, 'Tis the middle watch of a summer's night, With glittering ising-stars inlaid ; The earth is dark, but the heavens are bright; And some had opened the four-o'-clock, Naught is seen in the vault on high
And stole within its purple shade. But the moon, and the stars, and the cloudless And now they throng the moonlight glade, sky,
Above, below, on every side, And the flood which rolls its milky hue,
Their little minim forms arrayed
In the tricksy pomp of fairy pride!
In freak and dance around the tree,
Or at the mushroom board to sup,
And drink the dew from the buttercup :
He has loved an earthly maid,
And sunned him in her eye of blue,
And catch a drop from his silver bow. Fanned her cheek with his wing of air,
The water-sprites will wield their arms Played in the ringlets of her hair,
And dash around, with roar and rave, And, nestling on her snowy breast,
And vain are the woodland spirits' charms; Forgot the lily-king's behest.
They are the imps that rule the wave. For this the shadowy tribes of air
Yet trust thee in thy single might : To the elfin court must haste away :
If thy heart be pure and thy spirit right, And now they stand expectant there,
Thou shalt win the warlock fight. To hear the doom of the culprit fay.
“If the spray-bead gem
be won, The throne was reared upon the
The stain of thy wing is washed away ; Of spice-wood and of sassafras ;
But another errand must be done On pillars of mottled tortoise-shell
Ere thy crime be lost for aye : Hung the burnished canopy,
Thy flame-wood lamp is quenched and dark, And o'er it gorgeous curtains fell
Thou must reillume its spark. Of the tulip's crimson drapery.
Mount thy steed, and spur him high
To the heaven's blue canopy ;
Follow it fast, and follow it far,
Shall light the elfin lamp again.
Thou hast heard our sentence, fay; His brow was grave and his eye severe,
Hence! to the water-side, away !” But his voice in a softened accent broke : “Fairy ! fairy ! list and mark :
The goblin marked his monarch well ;
He spake not, but he bowed him low, Thou hast broke thine elfin chain ;
Then plucked a crimson colen-bell, Thy flame-wood lamp is quenched and dark,
And turned him round in act to go. And thy wings are dyed with a deadly stain,
The way is long, he cannot fly, Thou hast sullied thine elfin purity
His soiléd wing has lost its power, In the glance of a mortal maiden's eye ;
And he winds adown the mountain high, Thou hast scorned our dread decree,
For many a sore and weary hour. And thou shouldst pay the forfeit high.
Through dreary beds of tangled fern, But well I know her sinless mind
Through groves of nightshade dark and dern, Is pure as the angel forms above,
Over the grass and through the brake, Gentle and meek, and chaste and kind,
Where toils the ant and sleeps the snake; Such as a spirit well might love.
Now o'er the violet's azure flush Fairy ! had she spot or taint,
He skips along in lightsome mood; Bitter had been thy punishment :
And now he thrids the bramble-bush, Tied to the hornet's shar rings ;
Till its points are dyed in fairy blood. Tossed on the pricks of nettles' stings ;
He has leaped the bog, he has pierced the brier, Or seven long ages doomed to dwell
He has swum the brook, and waded the mire, With the lazy worm in the walnut-shell ;
Till his spirits sank, and his limbs grew weak, Or every night to writhe and bleed
And the red waxed fainter in his cheek. Beneath the tread of the centipede ;
He had fallen to the ground outright, Or bound in a cobweb-dungeon dim,
For rugged and dim was his onward track, Your jailor a spider, huge and grim,
But there came a spotted toad in sight, Amid the carrion bodies to lie Of the worm, and the bug, and the murdered fly: He bridled her mouth with a silkweed twist,
And he laughed as he jumped upon her back; These it had been your lot to bear,
He lashed her sides with an osier thong ; Had a stain been found on the earthly fair.
And now, through evening's dewy mist, Now list, and mark our mild decree,
With leap and spring they bound along, Fairy, this your doom must be :
Till the mountain's magic verge is past, “Thou shalt seek the beach of sand
And the beach of sand is reached at last.
Soft and pale is the moony beam,
The wave is clear, the beach is bright
With snowy shells and sparkling stones ; | He turned him round, and fled amain, The shore-surge comes in ripples light, With hurry and dash, to the beach again;
In murmurings faint and distant moans; He twisted over from side to side, And ever afar in the silence deep
And laid his cheek to the cleaving tide ; Is heard the splash of the sturgeon's lear, The strokes of his plunging arms are fleet, And the bend of his graceful bow is seen, And with all his might he flings his feet, A glittering arch of silver sheen,
But the water-sprites are round him still, Spanning the wave of burnished blue,
To cross his path and work him ill. And dripping with gems of the river-dew. They bad: the wave before him rise ;
They flung the sea-fire in his eyes ; The elfin cast a glance around,
And they stunned his ears with the scallop-stroke, As he lighted down from his courser toad, With the porpoise heave and the drum-fish croak. Then round his breast his wings he wound, O, but a weary wight was he
And close to the river's brink he strode ; When he reached the foot of the dogwood-tree. He sprang on a rock, he breathed a prayer, Gashed and wounded, and stiff and sore, Above his head his arms he threw,
He laid him down on the sandy shore ; Then tossed a tiny curve in air,
He blessed the force of the charmed line, And headlong plunged in the waters blue. And he banned the water-goblins' spite,
For he saw around in the sweet moonshine Up sprung the spirits of the waves
Their little wee faces above the brine, From the sea-silk beds in their coral caves ; Giggling and laughing with all their might With snail-plate armor, snatched in haste, At the piteous hap of the fairy wight. They speed their way through the liquid waste ; Some are rapidly borne along
Soon he gathered the balsam dew On the mailed shrimp or the prickly prong;
From the sorrel-leaf and the henbane bud; Some on the blood-red leeches glide,
Over each wound the balm he drew, Some on the stony star-fish ride,
And with cobweb lint he stanched the blood. Some on the back of the lancing squab,
The mild west-wind was soft and low, Some on the sideling soldier-crab;
It cooled the heat of his burning brow; And some on the jellied quarl, that flings
And he felt new life in his sinews shoot, At once a thousand streamy stings ;
As he drank the juice of the calamus-root; They cut the wave with the living oar,
And now he treads the fatal shore And hurry on to the moonlight shore,
As fresh and vigorous as before. To guard their realins and chase away
Wrapped in musing stands the sprite ; The footsteps of the invading fay.
'T is the middle wane of night;
His task is hard, his way is far, Fearlessly he skims along,
But he must do his errand right His hope is high, and his limbs are strong ;
Ere dawning mounts her beamy car, He spreads his arms like the swallow's wing,
And rolls her chariot wheels of light; And throws his feet with a frog-like fling;
Ind vain are the spells of fairy-land,
He must work with a human hand.
And the wake-line foam behind him lies. But he felt new joy his bosom swell,
He saw a purple muscle-shell ; Their warriors come in swift career
Thither he ran, and he bent him low, And hem him round on every side;
He heaved at the stern and he heaved at the bow, On his thigh the leech has fixed his hold, And he pushed her over the yielding sand The quarl's long arms are round him rolled, Till he came to the verge of the haunted land. The prickly prong has pierced his skin, She was as lovely a pleasure-boat And the squab has thrown his javelin;
As ever fairy had paddled in,
For she glowed with purple paint without,
Then sprung to his seat with a lightsome leap, Fairy! naught is left but flight.
And launched asar on the calm, blue deep.
The imps of the river yell and rave.
Around, their limbs the sea-nymphs lave, They had no power above the wave;
With snowy arms half swelling out, But they heaved the billow before the prow, While on the glossed and gleamy wave
And they dashed the surge against her side, Their sea-green ringlets loosely float.
Till the gunwale bent to the rocking tide. They press the bark with pearly hand,
And, as he lightly leaped to land,
They bade adieu with nod and bow ; And the fluttering scallop behind would float, Then gayly kissed each little hand, And patter the water about the boat ;
And dropped in the crystal deep below. But he bailed her out with his colen-bell,
And he kept her trimmed with a wary tread, A moment stayed the fairy there ; While on every side, like lightning, fell
He kissed the beach and breathed a prayer ; The heavy strokes of his bootle-blade. Then spread his wings of gilded blue,
And on to the elfin court he flew.
As ever ye saw a bubble rise,
Till, lessening far, through ether driven,
As, at the glimpse of morning pale,
So rose from earth the lovely fay ;
So vanished, far in heaven away! To catch the drop in its crimson cup.
Up, fairy ! quit thy chickweed bower, With sweeping tail and quivering fin
The cricket has called the second hour; Through the wave the sturgeon flew,
Twice again, and the lark will rise And, like the heaven-shot javelin,
To kiss the streaking of the skies, He sprung above the waters blue.
Up! thy charmed armor don,
Thou 'lt need it ere the night be gone.
He put his acorn helmet on;
It was plumed of the silk of the thistle-down; It was a strange and lovely sight
The corselet plate that guarded his breast To see the puny goblin there ;
Was once the wild bee's golden vest ; He seemed an angel im light,
His cloak, of a thousand mingled dyes, With azure wing and sunny hair,
Was formed of the wings of butterflies ; Throned on a cloud of purple fair,
His shield was the shell of a lady-bug queen, Circled with blue and edged with white,
Studs of gold on a ground of green; And sitting, at the fall of even,
And the quivering lance which he brandished Beneath the bow of summer heaven.
Was the sting of a wasp he had slain in fight. A moment, and its lustre fell ;
Swift he bestrode his firefly steed; But ere it met the billow blue
He bared his blade of the bent-grass blue ; He caught within his crimson bell
He drove his spurs of the cockle-seed, A droplet of its sparkling dew,
And away like a glance of thought he flew Joy to thee, fay! thy task is done,
To skim the heavens, and follow far
The moth-fly, as he shot in air,
Crept under the leaf, and hid her there ; He turns, and, lo! on either side
The katydid forgot its lay, The ripples on his path divide ;
The prowling gnat fled fast away, And the track o'er which his boat must pass The fell mosquito checked his drone Is smooth as a sheet of polished glass.
And folded his wings till the fay was gone,
And the wily beetle dropped his head,
The sapphire sheet of eve is shot, And fell on the ground as if he were dead; The sphered moon is past, They crouched them close in the darksome shade, The earth but seems a tiny blot
They quaked all o'er with awe and fear, On a sheet of azure cast. For they had felt the blue-bent blade,
0, it was sweet, in the clear moonlight, And writhed at the prick of the elfin spear. To tread the starry plain of even ! Many a time, on a summer's night,
To meet the thousand eyes of night, When the sky was clear, and the moon was bright, And feel the cooling breath of heaven! They had been roused from the haunted ground But the elfin made no stop or stay By the yelp and bay of the fairy hound; Till he came to the bank of the Milky Way ; They had heard the tiny bugle-horn,
Then he checked his courser's foot, They had heard the twang of the maize-silk string, and watched for the glimpse of the planet-shoot. When the vine-twig bows were tightly drawn,
And the needle-shaft through air was borne, Sudden along the snowy tide Feathered with down of the hum-bird's wing. That swelled to meet their footsteps' fall, And now they deemed the courier ouphe The sylphs of heaven were seen to glide, Some hunter-sprite of the elfin ground,
Attired in sunset's crimson pall ; And they watched till they saw him mount the roof Around the fay they weave the dance, That canopies the world aronnd ;
They skip before him on the plain, Then glad they left their covert lair,
And one has taken his wasp-sting lance, And freaked about in the midnight air.
And one upholds his bridle-rein ;
With warblings wild they lead him on Up to the vaulted firmament
To where, through clouds of amber seen, His path the firefly courser bent,
Studded with stars, resplendent shone And at every gallop on the wind
The palace of the sylphid queen. He flung a glittering spark behind ;
Its spiral columns, gleaming bright, He flies like a feather in the blast
Were streamers of the northern light; Till the first light cloud in heaven is past. Its curtain's light and lovely flush
But the shapes of air have begun their work, Was of the morning's rosy blush ; And a drizzly mist is round him cast;
And the ceiling fair that rose aboon, He cannot see through the mantle murk; The white and feathery fleece of noon. He shivers with cold, but he urges fast;
Through storm and darkness, sleet and shade, But, o, how fair the shape that lay He lashes his steed, and spurs amain,
Beneath a rainbow bending bright! For shadowy hands have twitched the rein, She seemed to the entrancéd fay
And flame-shot tongues around him played, The loveliest of the forms of light; And near him many a fiendish eye
Her mantle was the purple rolled Glared with a fell malignity,
At twilight in the west afar ; And yells of rage, and shrieks of fear,
'T was tied with threads of dawning gold, Came screaming on his startled ear.
And buttoned with a sparkling star.
Her face was like the lily roon His wings are wet around his breast,
That veils the vestal planet's hue ;
He thrust before and he struck behind, Are the pure drops of dewy even
And gashed their shadowy limbs of wind :
She was lovely and fair to see, They rend the air with frightful cries ; And the elfin's heart beat fitfully ; For he has gained the welkin blue,
But lovelier far, and still more fair, And the land of clouds beneath him lies. The earthly form imprinted there ;
Naught he saw in the heavens above Up to the cope careering swift,
Was half so dear as his mortal love, In breathless motion fast,
For he thought upon her looks so meek, Fleet as the swallow cuts the drift,
And he thought of the light flush on her cheek. Or the sea-roc rides the blast,
Never again might he bask and lie