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"I looked up from my Bible—and lo! before me stood, In her green, graceful garments, the Lady of the Wood; Silent she was and motionless, but when her eyes met mine I knew she came to do me good, her smile was so divine.
"She laid her hand as soft as light upon your daughter's
And up that white arm flowed my heart into her bosom
And all at once I loved her well, as she my mate had been, Though she had come from Fairy Land, and was the Fairy Queen.
Then started Mhairi's mother at that wild word with fear, For a daughter had been lost to her for many a hopeless
The child had gone at sunrise among the hills to roam, But many a sunset since had been, and none had brought her home.
Some thought that Fhaum, the savage shape, that on the mountain dwells,
Had somewhere left her lying dead among the heather bells;
And others said the river red had caught her in her glee, And her fair body swept unseen into the unseen sea.
But thoughts come to a mother's breast a mother only knows,
And grief, although it never dies, in fancy finds repose; By day she feels the solemn truth that death has ta'en her
At night she hears. her singing still and dancing o'er the
And then her country's legends lend all their lovely
Till sleep reveals a silent land, but not a land of
Where, happy in her innocence, her living child doth
With those fair elves that wafted her from her own land away.
"Look not so mournful, mother! 'tis not a tale of
The Fairy Queen stooped down and left a kiss upon my brow,
And, faster than mine own two doves e'er stooped unto my hand,
Our flight was through the ether, then we dropt on Fairy Land.
"Along a river-side, that ran wide-winding through a
We walked, the Fairy Queen and I, in loving solitude; And there, serenely on the trees, in all their rich attire, Sat crested birds, whose plumage seemed to burn with harmless fire.
"No sound was in our steps,- as on the ether mute,— For the velvet moss lay greenly deep beneath the gli
Till we came to a waterfall, and,'mid the rainbows there, The mermaids and the fairies played in water and in air.
"And sure there was sweet singing, for it at once did breathe
From all the woods and waters, and from the caves beneath;
But when those happy creatures beheld their lovely
The music died away at once, as if it ne'er had been.
"And hovering in the rainbow, and floating on the wave, Each little head, so beautiful, some show of homage
And bending down bright lengths of hair that glistened in its dew,
Seemed as the sun ten thousand rays against the water
"Soft the music rose again,- but we left it far behind, Though strains o'ertook us now and then on some small breath of wind;
Our guide into that brightening bliss was aye that brightening stream,
Till, lo a palace silently unfolded like a dream.
"Then thought I of the lovely tales, and music lovelier
That my dead sister used to sing at evening on the hill, When I was but a little child, too young to watch the
And on her kind knees laid my head in very joy to sleep.
"Tales of the silent people, and their green silent land! - But the gates of that bright palace did suddenly
And, filled with green-robed fairies, was seen an ample hall,
Where she, who held my hand in hers, was the loveliest of them all.
"Round her in happy heavings flowed that bright and glistening crowd,
Yet, though a thousand voices hailed, the murmur was not loud;
And o'er their plumed and flowery heads there sang a whispering breeze,
When, as before their Queen, all sank down slowly on their knees.
"Then said the queen, 'Seven years to-day since mine own infant's birth,—
And we must send her nourice this evening back to
Though sweet her home beneath the sun,-far other home than this ;
So I have brought her sister small to see her in her
"Luhana! bind thy frontlet upon my Mhairi's brow, That she on earth may show the flowers that in our gardens grow.'
And from the heavenly odors, breathed o'er my head, I knew
How delicate must be their shape, how beautiful their
"Then near, and nearer still, I heard small peals of laughter sweet,
And the infant fay came dancing in with her white twinkling feet,
While, in green rows, the smiling elves fell back on. either side,
And up that avenue the fay did like a sunbeam glide.
"But who came then into the hall? One, long since mourned as dead!
O, never had the mould been strewn o'er such a starlike head!
On me alone she poured her voice, on me alone her eyes, And, as she gazed, I thought upon the deep-blue cloud
"Well knew I my fair sister! and her unforgotten face! Strange, meeting one so beautiful in that bewildering
And, like two solitary rills, that by themselves flowed on, And had been long divided, we melted into one.
"When that the shower was all wept out of our delightful tears,
And love rose in our hearts that had been buried there for years,
You well may think another shower began straightway to fall,
Each for our mother and our home, to leave that heavenly hall.
"I may not tell the sobbing and weeping that was there, And how the mortal nourice left that fairy in despair; But promised, duly every year, to visit the sad child, As soon as by our forest-side the first pale primrose smiled.
"While they two were embracing, the palace it was
And I and my sweet sister stood by the great burial
While both of us our river saw in twilight glimmering
And knew at once the dark Cairngorm, in his own
The child hath long been speaking to one who may not hear,
For a deadly joy came suddenly upon a deadly fear; And though the mother fell not down, she lay on
And her face was white as that of one whose soul hath gone to rest.