[Illustration: The Departure of the Fairies]
you a Fairy Tale that’s new:
How the merry Elves o’er the ocean flew
From the Emerald isle to this far-off shore,
As they were wont in the days of yore;
And played their pranks one moonlit night,
Where the zephyrs alone could see the sight.
Ere the Old world
yet had found the New,
The fairies oft in their frolics flew
To the fragrant isles of the Caribbee—
Bright bosom-gems of a golden sea.
Too dark was the film of the Indian’s eye,
These gossamer sprites to suspect or spy,—
So they danced ’mid the spicy groves unseen,
And mad were their merry pranks, I ween;
For the fairies, like other discreet little elves,
Are freest and fondest when all by themselves.
No thought had they that in after time,
The Muse would echo their deeds in rhyme;
So gayly doffing light stocking and shoe,
They tripped o’er the meadow all dappled in dew.
I could tell,
if I would, some right merry tales,
Of unslippered fairies that danced in the vales—
But the lovers of scandal I leave in the lurch—
And, beside, these elves don’t belong to the church.
If they danced—be it known—’twas not in the clime
Of your Mathers and Hookers, where laughter was crime;
Where sentinel virtue kept guard o’er the lip,
Though witchcraft stole into the heart by a slip!
Oh no! ’twas the land of the fruit and the flower—
Where Summer and Spring both dwelt in one bower—
Where one hung the citron, all ripe from the bough,
And the other with blossoms encircled her brow;
Where the mountains embosomed rich tissues of gold,
And the rivers o’er rubies and emeralds rolled.
It was there, where the seasons came only to bless,
And the fashions of Eden still lingered, in dress,
That these gay little fairies were wont, as I say,
To steal in their merriest gambols away.
But dropping the curtain o’er frolic and fun,
Too good to be told, or too bad to be done,
I give you a legend from Fancy’s own sketch,
Though I warn you he’s given to fibbing—the wretch!
Yet I learn by the legends of breezes and brooks,
’Tis as true as the fairy tales told in the books.
One night, when
the moon shone fair on the main,
Choice spirits were gathered from meadow and plain—
And lightly embarking from Erin’s bold cliffs,
They slid o’er the wave in their moonbeam skiffs.
A ray for a rudder—a thought for a sail—
Swift, swift was each bark as the wing of the gale.