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SINCE 'tis so sweet, amid life's tossing tide,
To hear the voice that down the ages rings
With stories from the world's fresh morningtide,
Brought late to us in pleasant murmurings :
O! pour from out his everlasting springs,
Spirit of poesy, thy full-flowing stream,
While unused hands attempt the varied strings,
And strive to wake some echo of that theme,
Which “Fancy's child” once shaped in a short summer dream!
Our way will lead us where the world is fair,
And glad, and pleasant: far from woeful sight
Of grief, and misery, and sin, or where
Aught is at enmity with what is bright,
From all that pains the eye removed quite
'Mong watered vales, and o'er the moorland high,
In woods where summer pours her full delight,
Through all earth's happiest scenes our way will lie,
To see the fairies sport in mirth and revelry.
O! best-loved hour-when the last
Fade from the sun-track, and the day is gone
Ere yet beneath the scanty-sprinkled stars
Night trails her blackest clouds, and walks alone-
Forth comes ' Titania from her flowery throne;
Over the slumbering world she takes her way
All through the dewy darkness, wafted on
By many a fleet winged elf, and many a fay,
Each to his separate lot assigned of work or play.
For now the fairy herald's call is heard
Shrilly--yet voiceless but to those whose ears
Expect the sound : anon each flower is stirred
Within its tender lap; then forth appears-
Soon as the cry each ready inmate hears-
From bed of scarlet, blue, or snowy white,
Where every opening bud its head uprears,
A goodly band, in colours gaily dight,
And all go forth together to the cool sweet night.
Clad then with robes of many a various hue
Stol'n from the rainbow, bright and manifold,
Leads forth king Oberon his airy crew
To where in some sweet garden they may hold
Wise counsel, and in turn their deeds unfold:
What secrets they have heard from lovers' tongue,
What each intends and when the tale is told,
Perchance they bid some silvery tones, outrung
From ? valley-lilies' bells, make music to their song.
Or when the murmur of the world is sleeping,
What time the stars shine over heaven's floor,
Titania's crew are out their vigil keeping
Upon the brave broad downs, or hill-tops hoar;
At whose approach the tempest stays his roar;
And there far off, upon the green expanse,
Teaching the air soft music to outpour,
They love to link the whirling mazy dance, While weary Nature lies in one long blissful trance.
Perhaps some rustic, near the lonely place,
Where still he deems that spirits come and go,
With pious awe may mark the magic trace
Of fairy footsteps, and in wonder know
The mystic circle they have left below.
So frolics all night long the merry band;
But when the jealous king of day doth shew
The earliest glowing of his fiery hand,
Then will they swiftly all troop back to Fairyland.
Yet once again before that dusky light,-
Grey-veiled forerunner of the crimson morn-
Bid them depart until to-morrow night;
Once more again before the day be born,
Will Robin fright some traveller forlorn,
With whispering from some leaflet in the wind,
A solitary sere leaf on the thorn,
That Autumn has in pity left behind,
Or the wild laugh of waters through the copse unkind.
And oft on far off errands as they speed,
"Tis Puck outstrips the rapid light'nings fall ;
And when they play their pranks about the mead,
Puck is the maddest merriest of them all
Puck—that old goblin, ugly, quaint, and small,
Who though he knoweth no delight, unless
He work some mischief, or what men so call,
Yet only hateth to behold distress,
He, the chief source and spring of their light-heartedness.
And some there are who at the flitting dark
Begin their happy labour far and near,
First in the fields awake the morning lark,
And prompt his early carol loud and clear,
That all created things about may hear-
Rousing the linnet and the humming bee,
Stirring the music of the wold and mere,
'Tis their's to make each answering voice agree All through the livelong day in sweetest harmony.
There is a fairy maiden that attends
The glorious march of Spring in mantle green;
And there are those that under her she sends,
Who round about their princess and their Queen
Gather in myriads; yea, right well, I ween,
Each knows his part, ordained him long of yore,
To deck her in her robes of heavenly sheen,
And all about her loveliness to pour,
Fair as when Eden first her new-made beauty wore.