Dora Owen.

The book of fairy poetry online

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An' I watched till the death-star sank in the moon,

An' the moonmaid fled with her moonwhite shoon,

Then the Shadow that was on the moorside there

Rose up and shook its shadowy hair ;

And Duncan he laughed no more, but grey

As the rainy dust of a rainy day,

Went over the hills and far away."

" Over the hills and far away "
That is the tune I heard one day.
O that I too might hear the cruel
Honey-sweet folk of the Hills of Ruel.



The Host of the Air

O'DRISCOLL drove with a song
The wild duck and the drake
From the tall and tufted reeds
Of the drear Hart Lake.

And he saw how the reeds grew dark
At the coming of night tide,
And he dreamed of the long dim hair
Of Bridget his bride.

He heard while he sang and dreamed
A piper piping away,
And never was piping so sad,
And never was piping so gay.

And he saw young men and young girls
Who danced on a level place
And Bridget his bride among them,
With a sad and a gay face.

The dancers crowded about him,
And many a sweet thing said.
And a young man brought him red wine
And a young girl white bread.

But Bridget drew him by the sleeve,
Away from the merry bands,
To old men playing at cards
With a twinkling of ancient hands.

The bread and the wine had a doom,
For these were the host of the air ;
He sat and played in a dream
Of her long dim hair.


He played with the merry old men
And thought not of evil chance,
Until one bore Bridget his bride
Away from the merry dance.

He bore her away in his arms,
The handsomest young man there,
And his neck and his breast and his arms
Were drowned in her long dim hair.

O'Driscoll scattered the cards

And out of his dream awoke :

Old men and young men and young girls

Were gone like a drifting smoke.

But he heard high up in the air
A piper piping away,
And never was piping so sad,
And never was piping so gay.


The Stolen Child

WHERE dips the rocky highland

Of Sleuth Wood in the lake,

There lies a leafy island

Where flapping herons wake

The drowsy water-rats ;

There we've hid our faery vats

Full of berries,

And of reddest stolen cherries.

Come away, O human child !

To the waters and the wild

With a faery, hand in hand,

For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wave of moonlight glosses
The dim gray sands with light,
Far off by furthest Rosses
We foot it all the night,


Weaving olden dances,

Mingling hands and mingling glances

Till the moon has taken flight ;

To and fro we leap

And chase the frothy bubbles,

While the world is full of troubles

And is anxious in its sleep.

Come away, O human child !

To the waters and. the wild

With a faery, hand in hand,

For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wandering water gushes

From the hills above Glen-Car,

In pools among the rushes

That scarce could bathe a star,

We seek for slumbering trout

And whispering in their ears

Give them unquiet dreams ;

Leaning softly out

From ferns that drop their tears

Over the young streams,

Come away, O human child /

To the waters and the wild

With a faery, hand in hand,

For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

Away with us he's going,
The solemn-eyed :
He'll hear no more the lowing
Of the calves on the warm hillside ;
Or the kettle on the hob
Sing peace into his breast,
Or see the brown mice bob
Round and round the oatmeal-chest.
For he comes, the human child,
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,

From a world more full of weeping than he can understand.


Fairy Songs, Dances, and Talk

BE not afeard ; the isle is full of noises,

Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight, and hurt not.

Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments

Will hum about mine ears ; and sometimes voices,

That if I then had waked after long sleep,

Will make me sleep again : and then, in dreaming,

The clouds, methought, would open and show riches

Ready to drop upon me ; that, when I wak'd,

I cried to dream again.


Artel. Before you can say, Come, and go,
And breathe twice ; and cry, so, so ;
Each one, tripping on his toe,
Will be here with mop and mowe :
Do you love me, master ? no.

Prospero. Dearly, my delicate Ariel.


The Fairies' Dance

DARE you haunt our hallow'd green ?

None but fairies here are seen.

Down and sleep.

Wake and weep,

Pinch him black, and pinch him blue,

That seeks to steal a lover true !

When you come to hear us sing,

Or to tread our fairy ring,

Pinch him black, and pinch him blue !

O thus our nails shall handle you !

The Elves' Dance

ROUND about in a fair ring-a,
Thus we dance and thus we sing-a ;
Trip and go, to and fro,
Over this green-a ;
All about, in and out,
Over this green-a.

The Urchins' Dance

BY the moon we sport and play,
With the night begins our day :
As we frisk the dew doth fall ;
Trip it, little urchins all !
Lightly as the little bee,
Two by two, and three by three :
And about go we, and about go we !



Old Song

LET us in a lover's round
Circle all this hallowed ground ;
Softly, softly trip and go,
The light-foot Fairies jet it so.
Forward then, and back again,
Here and there and everywhere,
Winding to and fro,
Skipping high and louting low ;
And, like lovers, hand in hand,
March around and make a stand.

Fairy Revels

Omnes. Pinch him, pinch him, black and blue,
Saucy mortals must not view
What the queen of stars is doing,
Nor pry into our fairy wooing.

I Fairy. Pinch him blue

z Fairy. And pinch him black

3 Fairy. Let him not lack

Sharp nails to pinch him blue and red,
Till sleep has rocked his addlehead.

4 Fairy. For the trespass he hath done

Spots o'er all his flesh shall run.
Kiss Endymion, kiss his eyes,
Then to our midnight heidegyes.


The Fairy Queen

COME, follow, follow me,

You, fairy elves that be :

Which circle on the green,

Come follow Mab your queen.
Hand in hand let's dance around,
For this place is fairy ground.


When mortals are at rest,

And snoring in their nest ;

Unheard, and unespied,

Through key-holes we do glide ;
Over tables, stools, and shelves,
We trip it with our fairy elves.

And, if the house be foul

With platter, dish, or bowl,

Up stairs we nimbly creep,

And find the sluts asleep :
There we pinch their arms and thighs ;
None escapes, nor none espies.

But if the house be swept,

And from uncleanness kept,

We praise the household maid,

And duly she is paid :
For we use before we go
To drop a tester in her shoe.

Upon a mushroom's head

Our table-cloth we spread ;

A grain of rye, or wheat,

Is manchet, which we eat ;
Pearly drops of dew we drink
In acorn cups fill'd to the brink.

The brains of nightingales,

With unctuous fat of snails,

Between two cockles stew'd,

Is meat that's easily chew'd ;
Tails of worms, and marrow of mice,
Do make a dish that's wondrous nice.

The grasshopper, gnat and fly,

Serve for our minstrelsy ;

Grace said, we dance a while,

And so the time beguile :
And if the moon doth hide her head,
The glow-worm lights us home to bed.


On tops of dewy grass

So nimbly do we pass ;

The young and tender stalk

Ne'er bends when we do walk :
Yet in the morning may be seen,
Where we the night before have been.

Robin Good-fellow

FROM Oberon, in fairy land,

The king of ghosts and shadows there,
Mad Robin I, at his command,

Am sent to view the night-sports here.
What revel rout
Is kept about,
In every corner where I go,
I will o'ersee,
And merry be,
And make good sport, with ho, ho, ho !

More swift than lightning can I fly

About this aery welkin soon,
And, .n a minute's space, descry

Each thing that's done below the moon.
There's not a hag,
Or ghost shall wag,
Or cry, ware Goblins ! where I go ;
But Robin I
Their feats will spy,
And send them home, with ho, ho, ho !

Whene'er such wanderers I meet,

As from their night-sports they trudge home ;
With counterfeiting voice I greet
And call them on, with me to roam
Thro' woods, thro' lakes,
Thro' bogs, thro' brakes ;


Or else, unseen, with them I go,

All in the nick

To play some trick
And frolick it, with ho, ho, ho !

Sometimes I meet them like a man ;

Sometimes an ox, sometimes a hound ;
And to a horse I turn me can ;

To trip and trot about them round.

But if, to ride,

My back they stride,
More swift than wind away I go,

O'er hedge and lands,

Thro' pools and ponds
I whirry, laughing ho, ho, ho !

When lads and lassies merry be,

With possets and with juncates fine ;
Unseen of all the company,

I eat their cakes, and sip their wine ;

And, to make sport,

I puff and snort ;
And out the candles I do blow ;

The maids I kiss :

They shriek Who's this ?
I answer nought, but ho, ho, ho !

Yet now and then, the maids to please,

At midnight I card up their wool ;
And while they sleep, and take their ease,
With wheel to thread their flax I pull.

I grind at mill

Their malt up still ;
I dress their hemp, I spin their tow,

If any wake,

And would me take,
I wend me, laughing, ho, ho, ho !

When any need to borrow ought,

We lend them what they do require :
And for the use demand we nought ;

Our own is all we do desire.


If to repay,

They do delay,
Abroad amongst them then I go,

And night by night,

I them affright
With pinchings, dreams, and ho, ho, ho !

When lazy queans have nought to do,

But study how to cog and lie ;
To make debate and mischief too,
'Twixt one another secretly :

I mark their gloze,

And it disclose,
To them whom they have wronged so ;

When I have done,

I get me gone,
And leave them scolding, ho, ho, ho !

When men do traps and engines set

In loop-holes, where the vermin creep,
Who from their folds and houses get,

Their ducks, and geese, and lambs and sheep ;

I spy the gin,

And enter in,
And seem a vermin taken so ;

But when they there

Approach me near
I leap out laughing, ho, ho, ho !

By wells and rills, in meadows green,

We nightly dance our hey-day guise ;
And to our fairy king and queen

We chant our moon-light minstrelsies.

When larks 'gin sing,

Away we fling ;
And babes new born steal as we go,

And elves in bed

We leave instead,
And wend us laughing, ho, ho, ho !


From hag-bred Merlin's time have I
Thus nightly revell'd to and fro :
And for my pranks men call me by
The name of Robin Good-fellow.

Fiends, ghosts, and sprites,

Who haunt the nights,
The hags and goblins do me know ;

And beldames old

My feats have told ;
So Fale, Vale ; ho, ho, ho !

Ariel's Songs

WHERE the bee sucks, there suck I ;

In a cowslip's bell I lie :

There I couch when owls do cry,

On the bat's back I do fly

After summer merrily ;

Merrily, merrily, shall I live now,

Under the blossom that hangs on the bough.

* * *

Come unto these yellow sands

And then take hands :
Court'sied when you have, and kiss'd,

(The wild waves whist)
Foot it featly here and there ;
And, sweet sprites, the burden bear.

Hark, hark !

Bozvgh, wowgb.

The watch-dogs bark :
Bowgh, wowgh.

Hark, hark ! I hear
The strain of strutting chanticlere
Cry, cock-a-doodle-doo.

* * *

Full fathom five thy father lies ;
Of his bones are coral made ;


Those are pearls, that were his eyes ;

Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell :
Hark ! now I hear them, ding-dong, bell.

Ding-dong, bell.


Fairy Orders for the Night

FAIRIES, black, grey, green, and white, ^
You moon-shine revellers, and shades of night,
You orphan heirs of fixed destiny,

Attend your office, and your quality.

Crier Hobgoblin, make the fairy o-yes.

Elves, list your names ; silence, you airy toys.

Cricket, to Windsor chimnies shalt thou leap :

Where fires thou find'st unrak'd, and hearths unswept,

There pinch the maids as blue as bilberry :

Our radiant queen hates sluts and sluttery.

Where's Pede ? Go you, and where you find a maid,

That, ere she sleep, has thrice her prayers said,

Raise up the organs of her fantasy,

Sleep she as sound as careless infancy :

But those as sleep, and think not on their sins,

Pinch them, arms, legs, backs, shoulders, sides, and shins.

About, about ;

Search Windsor Castle, elves, within and out :

Strew good luck, ouphes, on every sacred room ;

That it may stand till the perpetual doom,

In state as wholesome, as in state 'tis fit ;

Worthy the owner, and the owner it.

The several chairs of order look you scour

With juice of balm, and every precious flower ;

Each fair instalment, coat, and several crest,

With royal blazon, evermore be blest !

And nightly, meadow-fairies, look you sing,

Like to the Garter's compass, in a ring :

" Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell :
Hark ! now I hear them, ding-dong,


The expressure that it bears, green let it be,
More fertile-fresh than all the field to see ;
And, Honi soit qui mal y pense, write,
In emerald tufts, flowers purple, blue, and white ;
Like sapphire, pearl, and rich embroidery,
Buckled below fair knighthood's bending knee :
Fairies use flowers for their charactery,
Away ; disperse : But, till 'tis one o'clock,
Our dance of custom, round about the oak
Of Herne the hunter, let us not forget.

Pray you, lock hand in hand ; yourselves in order set :
And twenty glow-worms shall our lanterns be,
To guide our measure round about the tree.


The Enchanter

Pro. Ye elves of hills, brooks, standing lakes, and groves ;
And ye, that on the sands with printless foot
Do chase the ebbing Neptune, and do fly him,
When he comes back ; you demy-puppets, that
By moon-shine do the green-sour ringlets make,
Whereof the ewe not bites ; and you, whose pastime
Is to make midnight-mushrooms ; that rejoice
To hear the solemn curfew ; by whose aid
(Weak masters though you be) I have be-dimm'd
The noon-tide sun, call'd forth the mutinous winds,
And 'twixt the green sea and the azur'd vault
Set roaring war : to the dread rattling thunder
Have I given fire, and rifted Jove's stout oak
With his own bolt : the strong-bas'd promontory
Have I made shake ; and by the spurs pluck'd up
The pine, and cedar : graves, at my command,
Have wak'd their sleepers ; oped, and led them forth
By my so potent art : But this rough magick
I here abjure : and, when I have requir'd
Some heavenly musick, (which even now I do,
To work mine end upon their senses, that


This airy charm is for, I'll break my staff,
Bury it certain fathoms in the earth,
And deeper than did ever plummet sound,
I'll drown my book.


Caliban plagued by Fairies

Enter CALIBAN, with a burden of wood.
A noise of thunder heard.

Cal. All the infections that the sun sucks up
From bogs, fens, flats, on Prosper fall, and make him

By inch-meal a disease ! His spirits hear me,
And yet I needs must curse. But they'll nor pinch,
Fright me with urchin shows, pitch me i' the mire,
Nor lead me, like a fire-brand, in the dark
Out of my way, unless he bid them ; but
For every trifle are they set upon me :
Sometime like apes, that moe and chatter at me,
And after, bite me ; then like hedge-hogs, which
Lie tumbling in my bare-foot way, and mount


Their bristles at my foot-fall ; sometime am I
All wound with adders, who, with cloven tongues,
Do hiss me into madness : Lo ! now ! lo !
Here comes a spirit of his ; and to torment me,
For bringing wood in slowly : I'll fall flat ;
Perchance he will not mind me.


Fairy Scenes from
"Midsummer Night's Dream"

A Wood near Athens.
Enter a Fairy at one door, and PUCK at another.

Puck. How now, spirit ! whither wander you ?
Fai. Over hill, over dale,

Thorough bush, thorough briar,
Over park, over pale,

Thorough flood, thorough fire,
I do wander every where,
Swifter than the moones sphere ;
And I serve the fairy queen,
To dew her orbs upon the green :
The cowslips tall her pensioners be ;
In their gold coats spots you see ;
Those be rubies, fairy favours,
In those freckles live their savours :
I must go seek some dew-drops here,
And hang a pearl in every cowslip's ear.
Farewell, thou lob of spirits, I'll be gone ;
Our queen and all her elves come here anon,

Puck. The king doth keep his revels here to-night ;
Take heed, the queen come not within his sight,
For Oberon is passing fell and wrath,
Because that she, as her attendant, hath


A lovely boy, stol'n from an Indian king ;
She never had so sweet a changeling :
And jealous Oberon would have the child
Knight of his train, to trace the forests wild :
But she, perforce, withholds the loved boy,
Crowns him with flowers, and makes him all her joy :
And now they never meet in grove, or green,
By fountain clear, or spangled star-light sheen,
But they do square ; that all their elves, for fear,
Creep into acorn cups, and hide them there.

Fai. Either I mistake your shape and making quite.
Or else you are that shrewd and knavish sprite,
Call'd Robin Goodfellow : are you not he,
That fright the maidens of the villagery ;
Skim milk ; and sometimes labour in the quern,
And bootless make the breathless housewife churn ;
And sometimes make the drink to bear no barm ;
Mislead night-wanderers, laughing at their harm ?
Those that Hobgoblin call you, and sweet Puck,
You do their work, and they shall have good luck
Are not you he ?

Puck. Thou speak'st aright ;

I am that merry wanderer of the night.
I jest to Oberon, and make him smile,
When I a fat and bean-fed horse beguile,
Neighing in likeness of a silly foal :
And sometime lurk I in a gossip's bowl,
In very likeness of a roasted crab ;
And, when she drinks, against her lips I bob,
And on her wither'd dew-lap pour the ale.
The wisest aunt, telling the saddest tale,
Sometime for three-foot stool mistaketh me ;
Then slip I from her, and down topples she,
And tailor cries, and falls into a cough ;
And then the whole quire hold their hips, and laugh ;
And waxen in their mirth, and neeze, and swear
A merrier hour was never wasted there.
But room, Fairy, here comes Oberon.

Fai. And here my mistress : 'Would that he were gone


Enter OBERON, at one door, with bis train, and
TITANIA, at another, with hers.

Obe. Ill met by moonlight, proud Titania.

Tita. What, jealous Oberon ? Fairy, skip hence ;
I have forsworn his bed and company.

Obe. Tarry, rash wanton : Am not I thy lord ?

Tita. Then I must be thy lady : But I know
When thou hast stol'n away from fairy land,
And in the shape of Corin sat all day,
Playing on pipes of corn, and versing love
To amorous Phillida. Why art thou here,
Come from the farthest steep of India ?
But that, forsooth, the bouncing Amazon,
Your buskin'd mistress, and your warrior love,
To Theseus must be wedded ; and you come
To give their bed joy and prosperity.

Obe. How canst thou thus, for shame, Titania,
Glance at my credit with Hippolyta,
Knowing I know thy love to Theseus ?
Didst thou not lead him through the glimmering night,
And make him with fair ^Egle break his faith,
With Ariadne, and Antiopa ?

Tita. These are the forgeries of jealousy :
And never since the middle summer's spring,
Met we on hill, in dale, forest, or mead,
By paved fountain, or by rushy brook,
Or on the beached margent of the sea,
To dance our ringlets to the whistling wind,
But with thy brawls thou hast disturb'd our sport.
Therefore the winds, piping to us in vain,
As in revenge, have suck'd up from the sea
Contagious fogs ; which falling in the land,
Have every pelting river made so proud,
That they have overborne their continents :
The ox hath therefore stretch'd his yoke in vain,
The ploughman lost his sweat ; and the green corn
Hath rotted ere his youth attain'd a beard :
The fold stands empty in the drowned field,


And crows are fatted with the murrain flock ;
The nine men's morris is fill'd up with mud ;
And the quaint mazes in the wanton green,
For lack of tread, are undistinguishable :
The human mortals want their winter here ;
No night is now with hymn or carol blest :
Therefore the moon, the governess of floods,
Pale in her anger, washes all the air,
That rheumatick diseases do abound :
And thorough this distemperature, we see
The seasons alter : hoary-headed frosts
Fall in the fresh lap of the crimson rose ;
And on old Hyem's chin, and icy crown,
An odorous chaplet of sweet summer buds
Is, as in mockery, set : The spring, the summer,
The childing autumn, angry winter, change
Their wonted liveries ; and the 'mazed world,
By their increase, now knows not which is which :
And this same progeny of evils comes
From our debate, from our dissension ;
We are their parents and original.

Obe. Do you amend it then ; it lies in you :
Why should Titania cross her Oberon ?
I do but beg a little changeling boy,
To be my henchman.

Tita. Set your heart at rest,

The fairy land buys not the child of me.
His mother was a vot'ress of my order :
And, in the spiced Indian air, by night,
Full often hath she gossip'd by my side ;
And sat with me on Neptune's yellow sands,
Marking the embarked traders on the flood ;
But she, being mortal, of that boy did die ;
And, for her sake, I do rear up her boy ;
And, for her sake, I will not part with him.

Obe. How long within this wood intend you stay ?

Tita. Perchance, till after Theseus' wedding-day.
If you will patiently dance in our round,
And see our moonlight revels, go with us ;
If not, shun me, and I will spare your haunts.


Obe. Give me that boy, and I will go with thee.

Tita. Not for thy kingdom. Fairies, away :
We shall chide downright, if I longer stay.

[Exeunt TITANIA and her train.

Obe. Well, go thy way : thou shalt not from this grove,
Till I torment thee for this injury.
My gentle Puck, come hither : Thou remember'st
Since once I sat upon a promontory,
And heard a mermaid on a dolphin's back,
Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath,
That the rude sea grew civil at her song ;
And certain stars shot madly from their spheres,
To hear the sea-maid's musick.

Puck. I remember.

Obe. That very time I saw, but thou could'st not,
Flying between the cold moon and the earth,
Cupid all arm'd : A certain aim he took
At a fair vestal, throned by the west ;
And loos'd his love-shaft smartly from his bow,
As it should pierce a hundred thousand hearts :
But I might see young Cupid's fiery shaft
Quench'd in the chaste beams of the wat'ry moon ;
And the imperial vot'ress passed on,
In maiden meditation, fancy-free.
Yet mark'd I where the bolt of Cupid fell :
It fell upon a little western flower,
Before, milk-white ; now purple with love's wound
And maidens call it love-in-idleness.
Fetch me that flower ; the herb I show'd thee once :
The juice of it on sleeping eye-lids laid,
Will make or man or woman madly dote
Upon the next live creature that it sees.
Fetch me this herb : and be thou here again,
Ere the Leviathan can swim a league.

Puck. I'll put a girdle round about the earth
In forty minutes. [Exit PUCK.

Obe. Having once this juice,

I'll watch Titania when she is asleep,
And drop the liquor of it in her eyes :
The next thing then she waking looks upon,


(Be it on lion, bear, or wolf, or bull,
On meddling monkey, or on busy ape,)
She shall pursue it with the soul of love.
And ere I take this charm off from her sight,
(As I can take it with another herb,)
I'll make her render up her page to me.

[Re-enter PUCK.
Hast thou the flower there ? Welcome, wanderer.

Puck. Ay, there it is.

Obe. I pray thee, give it me.

I know a bank whereon the wild thyme blows,
Where ox-lips and the nodding violet grows ;
Quite over-canopied with lush woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses, and with eglantine :
There sleeps Titania, some time of the night,
Lull'd in these flowers with dances and delight ;
And there the snake throws her enamell'd skin,
Weed wide enough to wrap a fairy in :
And with the juice of this I'll streak her eyes,
And make her full of hateful fantasies.


Another part of the Wood.
Enter TITANIA, with her train.

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