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The Fairy Thorn
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"Get up, our Anna dear,
From the weary spinning wheel;
For your father's on the hill,
And your mother is asleep;
Come up above the crags,
And we'll dance a highland reel
Around the Fairy Thorn on the steep."

At Anna Grace's door
'twas thus the maidens cried,
Three merry maidens fair
In kirtles of the green;
And Anna laid the rock
And the weary wheel aside,
The fairest of the four, I ween.

They're glancing through
The glimmer of the quiet eve,
Away in milky wavings
Of neck and ankle bare;
The heavy-sliding stream
In its sleepy song they leave,
And the crags in the ghostly air.

And linking hand in hand,
And singing as they go,
The maids along the hillside
Have ta'en their fearless way,
Till they come to where the rowan trees
In lonely beauty grow
Beside the Fairy Hawthorn grey.

The Hawthorn stands
Between the ashes tall and slim,
Like a matron with her
Twin grand-daughters at her knee;
The rowan berries cluster
O'er her low head grey and dim
In ruddy kisses sweet to see.

The merry maidens four
Have ranged them in a row,
Between each lovely couple
A stately rowan stem,
And away in mazes wavy,
Like skimming birds they go,
Oh, never carolled birds like them!

But solemn is the silence
On the silvery haze
That drinks away their voices
In echoless repose,
And dreamily the evening
Has stilled the haunted braes,
And dreamier the gloaming grows.

And sinking one by one,
Like lark-notes from the sky,
When the falcon's shadow
Saileth across the open shaw,
Are hushed the maiden's voices,
As cowering down they lie
In the flutter of their sudden awe.

For, from the air above
And the grassy ground beneath,
And from the mountain-ashes
And the old white-thorn between,
A power of faint enchantment
Doth through their beings breathe,
And they sink down together on the green.

They sink together silent,
And stealing side to side,
They fling their lovely arms
O'er their drooping necks so fair,
Then vainly strive again
Their naked arms to hide,
For their shrinking necks again are bare.

Thus clasped and prostrate all,
With their heads together bowed,
Soft o'er their bosoms beating..
The only human sound..
They hear the silky footsteps
Of the silent fairy crowd
Like a river in the air gliding round.

Nor scream can any raise,
Nor prayer can any say,
But wild, wild the terror
Of the speechless three..
For they feel fair Anna Grace
Drawn silently away,
By whom they dare not look to see.

They feel their tresses twine
With her parting locks of gold,
And the curls elastic falling,
As her head withdraws.
They feel her sliding arms
From their tranced arms unfold,
But they dare not look to see the cause.

For heavy on their senses
The faint enchantment lies
Through all that night
Of anquish and perilous amaze
And neither fear nor wonder
Can ope their quivering eyes,
Or their limbs from the cold ground raise.

Till out of night the earth
Has rolled her dewy side,
With every haunted mountain
And streamy vale below;
When, as the mist dissolves
In the yellow morning tide,
The maiden's trance dissolveth so.

Then fly the ghastly three
As swiftly as they may,
And tell their tale of sorrow
To anxious friends in vain..
They pined away and died
Within the year and day,
And ne'er was Anna Grace seen again.

(Samuel Ferguson)



** ** **
Posted in alt discuss faery**

by Oisin July 2000

(**a.d.faery is a WebTv users only news group.)




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