On the rising wind the Banshee cries—
“O-hoho, O hoho-o-o!”
I kiss your hair. I kiss your eyes—
The kettle is dumb; the red flame dies!
“Ochone! Ochone! Ochone!”
Her hair was gold and warm it lay
Upon the pallor of her brow;
Her eyes were deep, aye, deep and gray—
And in their depths he drowned his vow.
She wandered where the sands were wet,
Weaving the sea-weed for a crown,
And there at eve a monk she met—
A holy monk in cowl and gown.
She held him with her witch’s stare
(A sweet, child-look—it witched him well!)
Upon his lip she froze the prayer,
And in his ear she breathed a spell.
He babbled ever of her name
And of her brow that gleamed like dawn,
And of her lips—a lovely shame
No holy man should think upon.
They hunted her along the sea,
“Witch, Witch!” they cried and hissed their hate—
Her hair unbound fell to her knee
And made a glory where she sate.
Her song she hushed and, wonder-eyed,
She gazed upon their bell and book;
The zealous priests were fain to hide
Lest they be holden by her look.
Most innocent she seemed to be
("The Devil’s sly!” the fathers say)
Her eyes were dreaming eyes that see
Things strange and fair and far away.
They stood her in the judgment hall.
“Confess,” they cried, “the blasting spell
That holds yon crazed monk in thrall?”
“Good sirs,” she said, “he loved me well.”
They haled her to a witch’s doom,
They matched her shining hair with flame—
But ever through the cloister’s gloom
The mad monk babbles of her name!
And, when the red sun droppeth down
And wet sand gleameth ghostily,
Men see her weave a sea-weed crown
Between the twilight and the sea.
She was my love and the pulse of my heart;
Lovely she was as the flowers that start
Straight to the sun from the earth’s tender breast,
Sweet as the wind blowing out of the west—
Elana, Elana, my strong one, my white one,
Soft be the wind blowing over your rest!
She crept to my side
In the cold mist of morning.
“O wirra” she cried,
“’Tis farewell now, mavourneen!
When the crescent moon hung
Like a scythe in the sky,
I heard in the silence
The Little Folks cry.
“’Twas like a low sighing,
A sobbing, a singing;
It came from the west,
Where the low moon was swinging:
Was all of their crying.
Mavrone! I must go—
To refuse them, I dare not.
Alone I must go;
They have called and they care not—
Naught do they care that they call me apart
From the warmth and the light and the love of your heart.
Hark! How their singing
Comes winging, comes winging,
Through your close arms, beloved,
Straight to my heart!”