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"'Mid lonely hills, on Sabbath, all by myself, to hear
That voice, unto my beating heart did bring a joyful
For well I knew the wild song that waver'd o'er my
Must be from some celestial thing, or from the happy dead.
"I look'd up from my Bible, and lo! before me
In her green graceful garments, the Lady of the
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 hair,
up that white arm flowed my heart into her bosom fair;
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 of
For a daughter had been lost to her for many a hopeless year;
The child had gone at sunrise among the hills to
But many a sunset since had been, and none bath 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
But thoughts come to a mother's breast a mother only knows,
And grief, although it never dies, in fancy finds
By day she feels the dismal truth that death has ta'en her child,
At night she hears her singing still, and dancing o'er the wild.
And then her country's legends lend all their lovely faith,
Till sleep reveals a silent land, but not a land of
Where, happy in her innocence, her living child doth play
With those fair elves that wafted her from her own world away.
"Look not so mournful, mother; 'tis not a tale of
The Fairy Queen stoop'd down, and left a kiss upon my brow,
And faster than mine own two doves e'er stoop'd 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 wood,
We walked, the Fairy Queen and I, in loving solitude;
And there serenely on the trees, in all their rich
Sat crested birds, whose plumage seem'd to burn with harmless fire.
"No sound was in our steps,-as on the ether
For the velvet moss lay greenly deep beneath the gliding foot,
Till we came to a waterfall, and 'mid the rainbows
The mermaids and the fairies played in water and
"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 Queen,
The music died away at once, as if it ne'er had
"And hovering in the rainbow, and floating on the
Each little head so beautiful, some show of homage
And bending down bright lengths of hair that glisten'd in its dew,
Seem'd as the sun ten thousand rays against the water threw.
"Soft the music rose again-but we left it far
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 still,
My elder sister used to sing at evening on the
When I was but a little child too young to watch the sheep,
And on her kind knees laid my head in very joy to sleep.
Tales of the silent people, and their green silent
But the gates of that bright palace did suddenly
And fill'd with green-rob'd fairies was seen an ample
Where she who held my hand in hers was the loveliest of them all.
"Round her in happy heavings flow'd that bright and glistering 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 earth;
Though sweet her home beneath the sun, far other home than this,
So I have brought her sister small to see her in her bliss.
"Quhana, bind thy frontlet upon my Mhairi's
That she on earth may show the flowers that in our gardens grow.'
And from the heavenly odours breathed around my head I knew
How delicate must be their shape, how beautiful their hue!
"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
"But who came there into the hall ?-one long since mourn'd as dead!
Oh! never had the mould been strewn o'er such a star-like head!
On me alone she pour'd her voice, on me alone her
And, as she gazed, I thought upon the deep blue cloudless skies.