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
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.