The crickets falter and strive
To the dragon-fly of the crystal well;
And love is a forgotten jest,
Where the Kelpie riders take their rest,
And blossoming grasses hour
Burn in the bud and freeze in the flower.
But never again shall their
On the shifting hills of the tumbling sea,
With the salt, and the rain,
and the glad desire
Strong as the wind and pure as fire.
One doomful night in the April
With riot of brooks on the mountain side,
The goblin maidens of the
Went forth to the revel-call of the rills.
Many as leaves of the falling
To the swing of a ballad wild and clear
They held the plain and the
And the merry-dancers held the sky.
The Kelpie riders abroad on
Caught sound of that call of eerie glee,
Over their prairie waste and
And the goblin maidens tolled them on.
The yellow eyes and the raven
And the tawny arms blown fresh and bare,
Were more than a mortal might
And live with the saints for a crown of gold.
The Kelpie riders were stricken
They wavered, and wheeled, and rode for the shore.
“Kelpie, Kelpie, treble
Never again on the sea we ride.
“Kelpie, Kelpie, out
of the storm;
On, for the fields of earth are warm!”
Knee to knee they are riding
“Brother, brother,—the goblin kin!”
The meadows rocked as they
clomb the scaur;
The pines re-echo for evermore
The sound of the host of Kelpie
But the windflowers died on Bareau Fen.
Over the marshes all night
The stars went round to a riding song:
“Kelpie, Kelpie, carry
And the goblin maidens danced thereto.
the revel died with a shout,
For the ocean riders were wearied out.
They looked, and the grass
was warm and soft;
The dreamy clouds went over aloft;
A gloom of pines on the weather
Had the lulling sound of their own white surge;
A whip-poor-will, far from
Was saying his litanies therein.
Then voices neither loud nor
“Tired, so tired; sleep! ah, sleep!
“The stars are calm,
and the earth is warm,
But the sea for an earldom is given to storm.
“Come now, inherit the
houses of doom;
Your fields of the sun shall be harried of gloom.”
They laid them down; but over
They rest,—for the goblin maids are strong.