“The Fairy Rade”

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  Ai me! why stood I on the bent
  When Summer wept o'er dying June!
  I saw the Fairy Folk ride faint
  Aneath the moon.


  The haw-trees hedged the russet lea
  Where cuckoo-buds waxed rich with gold;
  The wealthy corn rose yellowly
  Endlong the wold.


  Betwixt the haw-trees and the mead
  "The Fairy Rade" came glimmering on;
  A creamy cavalcade did speed
  O'er the green lawn.


  The night was ringing with their reins;
  Loud laughed they till the cricket hushed;
  The whistles on their coursers' manes
  Shrill music gushed.


  The whistles tagged their horses' manes
  All crystal clear; on these a wind
  Forever played, and waked the plains
  Before, behind.


  These flute-notes and the Fairy song
  Took the dim holts with many a qualm,
  And eke their silver bridles rung
  A far-off psalm.


  All rid upon pale ouphen steeds
  With flying tails, uncouthly seen;
  Each wore a scarf athwart his weeds
  Of freshest green.


  And aye a beam of silver light
  Fairer than moonshine danced aboon,
  And shook their locks--a glimmering white
  Not of the moon.


  Small were they that the hare-bell's blue
  Had helmeted each tiny head;
  Save one damsel, who, tall as two,
  The Faeries led.


  Long tresses floated from a tire
  Of diamond sparks, which cast a light,
  And o'er her white sark shook, in fire
  Rippling the night.


  I would have thrown me 'neath her feet,
  And told her all my dole and pain,
  There while her rein was jingling sweet
  O'er all the plain.


  Alas! a black and thwarting cock
  Crew from the thatch with long-necked cry--
  The Elfin queen and her wee flock
  In the night did die.

© Madison Julius Cawein