Down by the sun-dry harvest road,
Through quiet evening hours,
She paces with her scented load
Of late-year moss and flowers.
Blooms from the wood of every hue,
Moon pale, purple, jet, and blue;
Woven in bunches, and lightly press'd
Upon her simple, snowy breast,
And through the brown locks wildly tressed
Nodding in crownlets o'er her.
And lo! as the cloud on ocean's brim
With moonlight has enriched its rim,
A quaint wild shape, with kindly eyes,
And a smile like a star of the distant skies,
Goes tripping along the path before her.
Now by her pillow, small and white.
'Mid faded leaflets lying,
An eager star, like a taper light,
O'er the curtain's edge is spying.
The scent of broom-buds fills the room;
The window is full of the bare blue gloom,
And by the low hearth ashily sinking,
Half asleep is the faery winking.
Out in the air there comes a sound
Of music eddying round and round
The ivied chimneys -- swooning near
The glassy pane, and streaming clear
As moonlight into the little ear,
Like shell in brown weed gleaming;
And, just as the first bird, mounted high
On the sycamore's tinkling canopy,
Sings to the first red streak of day,
Her soul with the faeries speeds away,
O'er field and stream, and hamlet grey,
Where the weary folk are dreaming.
- Thomas Caulfield Irwin -