"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 reelAround the Fairy Thorn on the steep."
At Anna Grace's door'Twas thus the maidens cried,Three merry maidens fairIn kirtles of the green;And Anna laid the rockAnd the weary wheel aside,The fairest of the four, I ween
They're glancing throughThe glimmer of a quiet eve,Away in milky wavingsOf neck and ankle bare;The heavy-sliding streamIn 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 hillsideHave ta'en their fearless way,Till they come to where the rowan treesIn lonely beauty growBeside the Fairy Hawthorn grey.
The Hawthorn standsBetween the ashes tall and slimLike a matron with herTwin grandaughters at her knee;The rowan berries clusterO'er her low head grey and dimIn ruddy kisses sweet to see.
The merry maidens fourHave ranged them in a row,Between each lovely coupleA stately rowan stem,And away in mazes wavy,Like skimming birds they go,Oh, never carolled birds like them!
But solemn is the silenceOn the silvery hazeThat drinks away their voicesIn echoless repose,And dreamily the eveningHas stilled the haunted braes,And dreamier the gloaming grows.
And sinking one by one,Like lark-notes from the sky,When the falcon's shadowSaileth across the open shaw,Are hushed the maiden's voices,As cowering down they lieIn the flutter of their sudden awe.
For, from the air aboveAnd the grassy ground beneath,And from the mountain-ashesAnd the old white-thorn between,A power of faint enchantmentDoth through their beings breathe,As they sink down together on the green.
They sink together silent,And stealing side by side,They fling their lovely armsO'er their drooping necks so fair,Then vainly strive againTheir 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 footstepsOf the silent fairy crowdLike a river in the air gliding round.
Nor scream can any raise,Nor prayer can any say,But wild, wild the terrorOf the speechless three..For they feel fair Anna GraceDrawn silently away,By whom they dare not look to see.
They feel their tresses twineWith her parting locks of gold,And the curls elastic falling,As her head withdraws.They feel her sliding armsFrom their tranced arms unfold,But they dare not look to see the cause.
For heavy on their sensesThe faint enchantment liesThrough all that nightOf anquish and perilous amazeAnd neither fear nor wonderCan ope their quivering eyes,Or their limbs from the cold ground raise.
Till out of night the earthHas rolled her dewy side,With every haunted mountainAnd streamy vale below,When as the mist dissolvesIn the yellow morning tide,The maidens trance dissolveth so.
They fly, the ghastly threeAs swiftly as they may, And tell their tale of sorrowTo anxious friends in vain..They pined away and diedWithin the year and day,And nee'er was Anna Grace seen again.