Dora Owen.

The book of fairy poetry online

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20 E?T 53 STREET

MEW YORK, w.y. 10019



^ And, sweetly singing round about thy bed
strew all their blessings on thy sleeping head.'











Fairy Stories


Thomas the Rhymer ...... 3

Tantieme ........ 5

Kilmeny ........ 10

Alice Brand 1 8

The Ferlie 22

The Fairies ....... 22

The Lupracaun, or Fairy Shoemaker ... 24

The Fairies of the Caldon-Low .... 27

The Fairy Well of Lagnanay .... 30

The Kelpie of Corrievreckan ..... 32

The Brownie of Bledt-cch. . . 35

Goblin Market . '. . ... 39

La Belle Dame Sans Merci


The Forsaken Merman .

From " The Coming of Arthur " .... 60

A Fairy Revel, before the coming of Guinevere . . 62

From " The Passing of Arthur" .... 63

Merlin and the Fay Vivian ..... 65

The Veairies ....... 67

What the Toys do at Night 69

Pixy Work 71

Berries ........ 73

Peak and Puke 75



The Honey-Robbers ...... 75

The Three Beggars ...... 76

The Love-Talker ...... 78

The Hills of Ruel 78

The Host of the Air . . . . . . 80

The Stolen Child . 81

Fairy Songs, Dances, and Talk

The Fairies' Dance ...... 85

The Elves' 1 Dance 85

The Urchins' Dance 85

Old Song . ,.86

Fairy Revels ....... 86

The Fairy Queen ...... 86

Robin Good-fellow . . . . . . 88

Ariel's Songs ."-: ' :L ": ' .\< ' ..: : . . . 91
Fairy Orders for the Night .* . . 92

The Enchanter . :' - .' . . . 93

Caliban plagued by Fairies -:': 94

Fairy Scenes from " Midsummer Night's Dream " . 95

The Eighth Nimphall 107

Song . . . . . . . .113

The Elfin Pedlar 113

Songs from " Prince Brightkin " . . 115

The Noon Call 117

Song from" The Culprit Fay" . . .118

Ozulspiegle and Cockledemoy . . . . 119

Fairy Song . . . . . . .120



Fairies on the Sea-shore . . . . .121

The Conceited Elf . . . . . .123

Song of Four Fairies . . . . . .123

Two Fairies in a Garden . . . . .126

The Mermaid . . . . . . .132

The Merman . . . . . . 1 3 3

The Sea-fairies . . . . . . 135

The Moon Child . . . -136

Miders Song . . . . . .137

Fairy Lullaby . . . . . . .138

The Fairies' Lullaby . . . . . .140

A Faery Song ....... 140

Fairyland and Fairy Lore

The Fairies' Farewell . . . . . .145

Nimphidia the Court of Fairy . . . .146

Lirope the Bright ...... 148

Christmas Tide . . . . . . .149

"O then, I see" 149

The Fairy Banquet . . . . . .151

The Fairy Musicians . . . . . .152

Oberon's Feast . . . . . . 153

The Fairy King . . . . . . .154

Queen Mob 156

The Fairies 158

The Beggar to Mab, the Fairy Queen . . . 158
From the Night-Piece to Julia . . . .159
" Good Luck befriend thee " 159



" Some say no evil thing" .... 160

" Sometimes, with secure delight'" . . '; 160

Damon the Mower ..... 161
" Benighted Travellers" ..... 161

The Elfin Gathering 161

Popular Rhymes of Scotland .... 164

Friday ...'.... 164

The Fountain of the Fairies .... 165

From " 77)^ P/*?# of the Midsummer Fairies " . . 165

Flower-Fairies . . . . . . .168

The Elf Toper . ... 169

Lob Lie by the Fire . . . . . .169

The Fairy Lough . . . . . 171

The Truants ....... 171

The Ruin ........ 172

From the Hills of Dream . . . . .173

Dreams within Dreams ... 173

The Lords of Shadow . . . . . .174

The Nightingale in Fairyland ... 174

From " A Fision of Mermaids " . . 1-75

The Fairy Boy ..... 175

" Children, children, don't forget " . 176

The Fairy Minister .... 177

Goblin Feet 177

The Last Fay . 178

The Horns of Elfiand . . .180




" And, sweetly singing round about thy bed,

Strew all their blessings on thy sleeping head." Frontispiece

[Seepage 159]

" The dun deer wooed with manner bland,

And cowered beneath her lily hand." 16

" Will ye gang wf me to the Elflyn Knowe" 22

" Down to the rocks where the serpents creep." 34

" Buy pom us with a golden curl" 42

" Three spirits mad with joy

Come dashing down on a tall wayside flower " 62

" Oh ! they do get away down under ground,

In hollow pleazen where they can't be vound." 68

" Instead oj crust a peacock pie" 76

" Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell :

Hark .' now I hear them, ding-dong, bell." 92

" Wake, when some vile thing is near." 100

" For the Nautilus is my boat

In which I over the waters float." 122


" Off, ye icy Spirits, fly ! " 1 26

" And I should look like ajountain of gold." 132

" Whatjorm she pleased each thing would take

That e'er she did behold." 148

" But Puck was seated on a spider's thread." 166

" And the padding jeet oj many gnomes a-coming ! " 178

Fairy Stories


COME up here, O dusty feet !

Here is fairy bread to eat,
Here in my retiring room,

Children, you may dine
On the golden smell of broom

And the shade of pine ;
And when you have eaten well,

Fairy stories hear and tell.


Thomas the Rhymer

TRUE Thomas lay on Huntlie bank ;

A ferlie spied he wi' his ee ;
There he saw a lady bright

Come riding down by the Eildon Tree.

Her skirt was o' the grass-green silk,

Her mantle o' the velvet fine ;
At ilka tett of her horse's mane

Hung fifty siller bells and nine.

True Thomas, he pu'd aff his cap,
And louted low down to his knee,

" Hail to thee, Mary, Queen of Heaven !
For thy peer on earth could never be."

" O no, O no, Thomas," she said,
" That name does not belong to me ;

I'm but the Queen o' fair Elfland,
That hither have come to visit thee.

" Harp and carp, Thomas," she said ;

" Harp and carp along wi' me ;
And if ye dare to kiss my lips,

Sure of your bodie I shall be."

" Betide me weal, betide me woe,
That weird shall never daunton me."

Syne he has kiss'd her on the lips,
All underneath the Eildon Tree.

" Now, ye maun go wi' me," she said ;

" Now, Thomas, ye maun go wi' me ;
And ye maun serve me seven years,

Through weal or woe as may chance to be.'


She's mounted on her milk-white steed ;

And she's ta'en Thomas up behind :
And aye, whene'er her bridle rang,

The steed gaed swifter than the wind.

O they rade on, and farther on ;

The steed gaed swifter than the wind ;
Until they reach'd a desert wide,

And living land was left behind.

" Now, Thomas, light doun, light doun," she said,
" And lean your head upon my knee ;

Abide ye there a little space,

And I will shew you ferlies three.

" O see ye not yon narrow road,

So thick beset wi' thorns and briars ?

That is the path of righteousness,
Though after it but few enquires.

" And see ye not yon braid braid road,

That lies across the lily leven ?
That is the path of wickedness,

Though some call it the road to heaven.

" And see not ye yon bonny road,
That winds about the ferny brae ?

That is the road to fair Elfland,

Where thou and I this night maun gae.

" But, Thomas, ye sail haud your tongue,

Whatever ye may hear or see ;
For, speak ye word in Elfin-land,

Ye'll ne'er win back to your ain countrie."

O they rade on, and further on,

And they waded rivers abune the knee ;

And they saw neither sun nor moon,
But they heard the roaring of a sea.


It was mirk, mirk night, there was nae starlight,
They waded through red blude to the knee ;

For a' the blude that's shed on the earth
Rins through the springs o' that countrie.

Syne they came to a garden green,

And she pu'd an apple frae a tree ;
" Take this for thy wages, Thomas," she said ;

" It will give thee the tongue that can never lee.'

" My tongue is my ain," then Thomas he said ;

" A gudely gift ye wad gie to me !
I neither dought to buy or sell

At fair or tryst where I might be.

" I dought neither speak to prince or peer,
Nor ask of grace from fair ladye ! "

" Now, haud thy peace, Thomas," she said,
" For as I say, so must it be."

He has gotten a coat of the even cloth,
And a pair o' shoon of the velvet green ;

And till seven years were come and gane,
True Thomas on earth was never seem


O, I forbid ye, maidens a',
Who are sae sweet and fair,

To come or gae by Carterhaugh,
For young Tamlane is there.

Fair Janet sat within her bower,
Sewing her silken seam,

And wished to be in Carterhaugh,
Amang the leaves sae green.


She let the seam fa' to her foot.

The needle to her tae,
And she's awa' to Carterhaugh,

As quickly as she may.

She hadna' pu'd a wild-flower,

A flower but barely three,
When up he started, young Tamlane,

Says " Lady, let a-be !

" What gars ye pu' the flowers, Janet ?

What gars ye break the tree ?
Or why come ye to Carterhaugh,

Without the leave o' me ? "

" O I will pu' the flowers," she says,
" And I will break the tree,

And I will come to Carterhaugh,
And ask nae leave o' thee."

But when she came to her father's ha',
She looked sae wan and pale

They thought the lady had gotten a fright
Or with sickness sair did ail.

" O gin my Love were an earthly knight,

As he is an elfin gay,
I wadna gie my ain true Love

For ony lord that we hae ! "

She prink'd hersell and preen'd hersell
By the ae light o' the moon,

And she's awa to Carterhaugh,
To speak wi' young Tamlane.

No sooner had she pu'd a leaf,

A leaf but only twae,
When up he started, young Tamlane,

Says, " Lady, thou pu's nae mae ! "


" O tell me truth, Tamlane ! " she says,

" A word ye mauna lee ;
Were ever ye in a holy chapel,

Or sain'd in Christentee ? "

" The truth I'll tell to thee, Janet,

A word I winna lee ;
I am a knight's and a lady's son,

And was sain'd as well as thee.

" But once it fell upon a day,

As hunting I did ride,
As I rade east and o'er yon hill,

Strange chance did me betide.

" There blew a drowsy, drowsy wind,

Dead sleep upon me fell,
The Queen of Fairies she was there

And took me to hersell.

" And never would I tire, Janet,

In fairy-land to dwell ;
But aye at every seven years

They pay the teind to hell ;
And though the Queen mak's much o' me,

I fear 'twill be mysell.

" To-morrow night it's Hallowe'en,

Our fairy court will ride,
Through England and through Scotland baith,

And through the world sae wide ;
And if that ye wad borrow me,

At Miles Cross ye maun bide.

" Ye'll gae into the Miles Moss

Atween twelve hours and one ;
Tak' holy water in your hand,

And cast a compass roun'."


" But how shall I ken thee, Tamlane,

Or how shall I thee knaw,
Amang sae mony unearthly knights,

The like I never saw ? "

" The first court that comes along

Ye'll let them a' pass by ;
The second court that comes along

Salute them reverently.

" The third court that comes along

Is clad in robes of green,
And it's the head court o' them a',

And in it rides the Queen ;

" And I upon a milk-white steed
Wi a bright star in my crown ;

Because I am a christened knight
They gave me that renown.

" My right hand will be gloved, Janet,

My left hand will be bare ;
And when ye see these tokens

Ye'll ken that I am there.

" Ye'll seize upon me at a spring,

And to the ground I'll fa',
And then ye'll hear a ruefu' cry

That Tamlane he's awa.

" They'll turn me cauld in your arms, Janet,

As ice on a frozen lake ;
But haud me fast, let me not pass,

Gin ye would be my maik.

" They'll turn me in your arms, Janet,

An adder and an aske ;
They'll turn me in your arms, Janet,

A bayle that burns fast ;


They'll shape me in your arms, Janet,

A dove, but and a swan ;
And at last they'll shape me in your arms

A mother-naked man :
Cast your green mantle over me,

And sae sail I be wan."

The very next night unto Miles Moss

Fair Janet she is gone,
And she stands beside the Miles Cross

Atween twelve hours and one.

There's holy water in her hand,

She casts a compass round ;
And soon she saw a fairy band

Come riding o'er the mound.

And first gaed by the black, black steed,

And then gaed by the brown ;
But fast she gript the milk-white steed

And pu'd the rider down.

She pu'd him frae the milk-white steed,

And loot the bridle fa' ;
And up there rase an eldritch cry,

" He's won amang us a' ! "

They turned him in fair Janet's arms

Like ice on frozen lake ;
They turned him into a burning fire,

An adder, and a snake.

They shaped him in her arms at last

A mother-naked man ;
She cuist her mantle over him,

And sae her true-love wan.

Up then and spak' the Queen o' Fairies,

Out o' a bush o' broom,
" She that has borrow'd young Tamlane,

Has gotten a stately groom ! "


Up then and spak' the Queen o' Fairies,

Out o' a bush o' rye,
" She's ta'en awa the bonniest knight

In a' my companie !

" But had I kenn'd, Tamlane," she says,
"A lady wad borrow'd thee,

I wad ta'en out thy twa grey e'en,
Put in twa e'en o' tree.

" Had I but kenn'd, Tamlane," she says,
" Before we cam' frae hame,

I wad ta'en out your heart o' flesh,
Put in a heart of stane.

" Had I but had the wit yestreen
That I have coft this day,

I'd paid my teind seven times to hell
Ere you'd been won away ! "


The Thirteenth Bard's Song

BONNY Kilmeny gaed up the glen ;
But it wasna to meet Duneira's men,
Nor the rosy monk of the isle to see,
For Kilmeny was pure as pure could be.
It was only to hear the yorlin sing,
And pu' the cress-flower round the spring ;
The scarlet hypp and the hind-berrye,
And the nut that hung frae the hazel tree ;
For Kilmeny was pure as pure could be.
But lang may her minny look o'er the wa' ;
And lang may she seek i' the greenwood shaw ;
Lang the laird o' Duneira blame,
And lang, lang greet or Kilmeny come hame !


When many a day had come and fled,
When grief grew calm, and hope was dead,
When mass for Kilmeny's soul had been sung,
When the bedesman had pray'd and the dead-bell rung,
Late, late in a gloaming, when all was still,
When the fringe was red on the westlin hill,
The wood was sere, the moon i' the wane,
The reek o' the cot hung o'er the plain,
Like a little wee cloud in the world its lane ;
When the ingle lowed wi' an eiry leme
Late, late in the gloaming Kilmeny came hame !

" Kilmeny, Kilmeny, where have you been ?
Lang hae we sought baith holt and dean ;
By linn, by ford, by greenwood tree,
Yet you are halesome and fair to see.
Where gat ye that joup o' the lily sheen ?
That bonnie snood o' the birk sae green ?
And those roses, the fairest that ever were seen ?
Kilmeny, Kilmeny, where have you been ? "

Kilmeny look'd up wi' a lovely grace,
But nae smile was seen on Kilmeny's face ;
As still was her look, and as still was her e'e,
As the stillness that lay on the emerant lea,
Or the mist that sleeps on a waveless sea.
For Kilmeny had been, she kenned not where,
And Kilmeny had seen what she could not declare ;
Kilmeny had been where the cock never crew,
Where the rain never fell, and the wind never blew.
But it seemed as the harp of the sky had rung,
And the airs of heaven played round her tongue,
When she spoke of the lovely forms she had seen,
And a land where sin had never been ;
A land of love and a land of light,
Withouten sun, or moon, or night ;
Where the river swa'd a living stream,
And the light a pure and cloudless beam ;
The land of vision, it would seem,
A still, an everlasting dream.


In yon green wood there is a walk,
And in that waik there is a wene,

And in that wene there is a maike ;
That neither has flesh, nor blood, nor bane ;
And down in yon greenwood he walks his lane.

In that green wene Kilmeny lay,
Her bosom hap'd wi' flowerets gay ;
But the air was soft, and the silence deep,
And bonny Kilmeny fell sound asleep.
She kenned nae mair, nor open'd her e'e,
Till wak'd by the hymns of a far countrye.

She woke on a couch of silk sae slim,
All striped wi' the bars of the rainbow's rim ;
And lovely beings round were rife,
Who erst had travelled mortal life ;
And aye they smiled and 'gan to speer,
" What spirit has brought this mortal here ? "

" Lang have I journeyed the world wide,"
A meek and reverend fere replied ;
" Baith night and day I have watched the fair.
Eident a thousand years and mair.
Yes, I have watched o'er ilk degree,
Wherever blooms feminitye ;
And sinless virgin, free of stain
In mind and body, found I nane.
Never since the banquet of time
Found I a virgin in her prime,
Till late this bonny maiden I saw,
As spotless as the morning snaw ;
Full twenty years she has lived as free
As the spirits that sojourn in this countrye :
I have brought her away from the snares of men,
That sin or death she never may ken."

They clasped her waist, and her hands sae fair,
They kissed her cheeks, and they kemmed her hair ;


And round came many a blooming fere,

Saying, " Bonny Kilmeny, ye're welcome here !

Women are freed of the littand scorn :

O blessed be the day Kilmeny was born !

Now shall the land of the spirits see,

Now shall it ken what a woman may be !

Many a lang year, in sorrow and pain,

Many a lang year through the world we've gane,

Commissioned to watch fair woman-kind,

For it's they who nurse the immortal mind.

We have watched their steps as the dawning shone,

And deep in the greenwood walks alone ;

By lily bower and silken bed,

The viewless tears have o'er them shed ;

Have soothed their ardent minds to sleep,

Or left the couch of love to weep.

We have seen ! we have seen ! but the time maun come,

And the angels will weep at the day of doom !

" O would the fairest of mortal kind
Aye keep these holy truths in mind,
That kindred spirits their motions see,
Who watch their ways with anxious e'e,
And grieve for the guilt of humanitye !
O, sweet to Heaven the maiden's prayer,
And the sigh that heaves a bosom sae fair !
And dear to Heaven the words of truth
And the praise of virtue frae beauty's mouth !
And dear to the viewless forms of air,
The mind that kythes as the body fair !

" O, bonny Kilmeny ! free frae stain,
If ever you seek the world again,
That world of sin, of sorrow, and fear,
O tell of the joys that are waiting here ;
And tell of the signs you shall shortly see ;
Of the times that are now, and the times that shall be."

They lifted Kilmeny, they led her away,
And she walked in the light of a sunless day ;


The sky was a dome of crystal bright,

The fountain of vision, and fountain of light ;

The emerant fields were of dazzling glow,

And the flowers of everlasting blow.

Then deep in the stream her body they laid,

That her youth and her beauty never might fade ;

And they smil'd on Heaven, when they saw her lie

In the stream of life that wandered by.

And she heard a song, she heard it sung,

She ken'd not where, but sae sweetly it rung,

It fell on the ear like a dream of the morn,

" O blest be the day Kilmeny was born !

Now shall the land of the spirits see,

Now shall it ken what a woman may be !

The sun that shines on the world sae bright,

A borrowed gleid frae the fountain of light ;

And the moon that sleeks the sky sae dun,

Like a gouden bow or a beamless sun,

Shall wear away and be seen nae mair,

And the angels shall miss them travelling the air.

But lang, lang after, baith nicht and day,

When the sun and the world have elyed away ;

When the sinner has gane to his waesome doom,

Kilmeny shall smile in eternal bloom ! "

They bore her away, she wist not how,
For she felt not arm nor rest below ;
But so swift they wained her through the light,
'Twas like the motion of sound or sight ;
They seemed to split the gales of air,
And yet nor gale nor breeze was there.
Unnumbered groves below them grew,
They came, they passed, and backward flew,
Like floods of blossoms gliding on,
A moment seen, in a moment gone.
O, never vales to mortal view
Appeared like those o'er which they flew,
That land to human spirits given,
The lowermost vales of the storied heaven ;
From thence they can view the world below,


And heaven's blue gates with sapphires glow.
More glory yet unmeet to know.

They bore her far to a mountain green,
To see what mortal never had seen,
And they seated her high on a purple sward,
And bade her heed what she saw and heard,
And note the changes the spirits wrought,
For now she lived in the land of thought.
She looked, and she saw nor sun nor skies,
But a crystal dome of a thousand dyes :
She looked, and she saw nae land aright,
But an endless whirl of glory and light,
And radiant beings went and came,
Far swifter than wind, or the linked flame.
She hid her e'en frae the dazzling view ;
She looked again, and the scene was new.

She saw a sun in a summer sky,
And clouds of amber sailing by ;
A lovely land beneath her lay,
And that land had glens and mountains grey ;
And that land had valleys and hoary piles,
And marled seas and a thousand isles.
Its fields were speckled, its forests green,
And its lakes were all of a dazzling sheen,
Like magic mirrors, where slumbering lay
The sun, and the sky, and the cloudlet grey ;
Which heaved and trembled and gently swung,
On every shore they seemed to be hung :
For there they were seen on their downward plain
A thousand times and a thousand again ;
In winding lake, and placid firth,
Little peaceful heavens in the bosom of earth.

Kilmeny sighed and seemed to grieve,
For she found her heart to that land did cleave ;
She saw the corn wave on the vale ;
She saw the deer run down the dale ;
She saw the plaid and the broad claymore,


And the brows that the badge of freedom bore,
And she thought she had seen the land before.

But to sing the sights Kilmeny saw,
So far surpassing nature's law,
The singer's voice wad sink away,
And the string of his harp wad cease to play.
But she saw till the sorrows of man were by,
And all was love and harmony ;
Till the stars of heaven fell calmly away,
Like flakes of snaw on a winter day.

Then Kilmeny begged again to see
The friends she had left 'in her ain countrie,
To tell of the place where she had been,
And the glories that lay in the land unseen ;
To warn the living maidens fair,
The loved of heaven, the spirits' care,
That all whose minds unmeled remain
Shall bloom in beauty when time is gane.

With distant music, soft and deep,
They lulled Kilmeny sound asleep ;
And when she awakened, she lay her lane,
All happed with flowers, in the greenwood wene.
When seven long years had come and fled,
When grief was calm, and hope was dead,
When scarce was remembered Kilmeny's name,
Late, late in a gloamin' Kilmeny came hame.
And O, her beauty was fair to see,
But still and steadfast was her ee !
Such beauty bard may never declare,
For there was no pride nor passion there ;
And the soft desire of maiden's een
In that mild face could never be seen.
Her seymar was the lily flower,
And her cheek the moss-rose in the shower ;
And her voice like the distant melodye,
That floats along the twilight sea.

<( The dun deer wooed with manner bland,
And cowered beneath her lily hand."


But she loved to raike the lanely glen,

And keep afar frae the haunts of men,

Her holy hymns unheard to sing,

To suck the flowers, and drink the spring ;

But wherever her peaceful form appeared,

The wild beasts of the hill were cheered ;

The wolf played blythely round the field,

The lordly bison lowed, and kneeled ;

The dun deer wooed with manner bland,

And cowered beneath her lily hand.

And when at eve the woodlands rung,

When hymns of other worlds she sung

In ecstasy of sweet devotion,

O, then the glen was all in motion !

The wild beasts of the forest came,

Broke from their bughts and faulds the tame,

And goved around, charmed and amazed ;

Even the dull cattle crooned and gazed,

And murmured, and looked with anxious pain

For something the mystery to explain.

The buzzard came with the throstle-cock ;

The corby left her houf in the rock ;

The blackbird alang wi' the eagle flew ;

The hind came tripping o'er the dew ;

The wolf and the kid their raike began,

And the tod and the lamb and the leveret ran ;

The hawk and the hern attour them hung,

And the merle and the mavis forhooyed their young ;

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