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The Birtwhistles of Craven and Galloway






Appendix 4


European Magazine June 1820


Vol. 77 p.536






“I DRINK the dew from the cup of the flow’r,

I sport in the sunbeam that follows the show’r;

My soft couch is purple with violets spread,

A harebell the canopy over my head.

When sweet-breathing zephyr awakens our spring,

I ride over garlands and fields on the wing:

At noon, ere the tulip or sunflower blows,

My shelter I seek in the breast of the rose.

This eve when curfew-bells have rung,

And sober shadows round are flung,

While the humming-beetle flies,

And its wing the owlet tries,

Hush!- I haunt the whispering grove,

Hearing tales of mortal love,

There I find the crafty youth

(Well we know with how much truth!)

Telling Dorcas how her eyes

Vies with stars of summer skies,

That she’s fair as yonder moon,

That she breathes like flowers in June-

O what pity men deceive!-

O how mortal maids believe!


So sang the best of Fairy-race,

Then on a Moth’s back took her place,

That all in down and gold array’d

About the table-taper play’d

But in the chimney’s highest nook,

Hid in the cobweb of a book,

The Fire-side Fairy sat and smil’d

To see the frolic moth debuil’d;

Then blithely answered – “Every year

On this sweet eve I frolick’d here,

Bringing a gift; but not like thine,

Full of strange vows and wit malign.

For I with ancient couples rest,

That years have join’d, and sill are blest,

I have no sport in lovers’ freaks ,





For such a merry goblin seeks;

But I have found a sweet fire-side,

Jocund and warm, where I might hide

My head among green tufts, and hear

Tales that might fairy revels cheer;

And rhymes of mariners, and spells

Of witches wild and Christobelles.

And there was one that in sweet mirth

Was call’d Titania- None on earth

So well could act our queen, for she

Had charter of kind sovereignty,

And lov’d our wiles and jests and sports

And revels in our grass-green courts

And antic holidays, and all

We fairies love in bower and hall.

The she had sisters three, that bore

Names such as fairies had of yore;

I laugh’d to hear them, and in spring,

Whene’er those sisters walk’d, my wing

Wasted the blossom’d peas’ sweet breathings,

And swept the cobweb from its wreathings:

But chiefly on this eve I came

To watch their hearth and candle’s flame

In likeness of a moth, while he

Who ruled their home, with gamesome glee

Lit up rich hour’s revelry;

While giant Science stooped to strew

Light flowers and gem; as Phidias threw,

While on the form of Jove he toiled,

His shreds of gold around, and smil’d.

To-night I come- but there is none

On that glad hearth; - the day is done!

Yet we will love it still, and ever

(When all the lovers’ bonds shall sever

Tied on this day) we yet will greet,

Holy fresh, the Fireside seat,

And deck the hearth, till they who sigh

For one they lov’d , shall wonder why

So soon in grief becomes a joy;

A sweet and tender joy, that stays

Mix’d with the dearest dreams of other days.”


*   *     *     *    *


The Fireside Fairies ceas’d – together

Upon the light down of a feather

Pluck’d from the red-breat’s wing they rode,

And vanish’d far from sleeping man’s above.









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