[Illustration: Voyage of the Fairies]
Yet long were the tale,
Should I linger to say
What gambol and frolic
Enlivened the way;
How they flirted with bubbles
That danced on the wave,
Or listened to mermaids
That sang from the cave;
Or slid with the moonbeams
Down deep to the grove
Of coral, where mullet
And goldfish rove:
How there, in long vistas
Of silence and sleep,
They waltzed, as if mocking
The death of the deep:
How, oft, where the wreck
Lay scattered and torn,
They peeped in the skull,
All ghastly and lorn;
Or deep, ’mid wild rocks,
Quizzed the goggling shark,
And mouthed at the sea-wolf,
So solemn and stark;
Each seeming to think
That the earth and the sea
Were made but for fairies,
For gambol and glee!
Enough, that at
last they came to the Isle,
Where moonlight and fragrance were rivals the while.
Not yet had those vessels from Palos been here,
To turn the bright gem to the blood-mingled tear.
Oh no! still blissful and peaceful the land,
And the merry elves flew from the sea to the strand.
Right happy and joyous seemed now the fond crew,
As they tripped ’mid the orange groves flashing in dew,
For they were to hold a revel that night,
A gay fancy ball, and each to be dight
In the gem or the flower that fancy might choose,
From mountain or vale, for its fragrance or hues.
Away sped the
maskers like arrows of light
To gather their gear for the revel bright.
To the dazzling peaks of far-off Peru,
In emulous speed some sportively flew,
And deep in the mine, or ’mid glaciers on high,
For ruby and sapphire searched heedful and sly.
For diamonds rare that gleam in the bed
Of Brazilian streams, some merrily sped,
While others for topaz and emerald stray,
’Mid the cradle cliffs of the Paraguay.
[Illustration: The Fairies’ Search]
As these are gathering
the rarest of gems,
Others are plucking the rarest of stems.
They range wild dells where the zephyr alone,
To the blushing blossoms before was known;
Through forests they fly, whose branches are hung
By creeping plants, with fair flowerets strung,
Where temples of nature with arches of bloom,
Are lit by the moonlight, and faint with perfume.
They stray where the mangrove and clematis twine,
Where azalia and laurel in rivalry shine;
Where, tall as the oak, the