Sunday Poem: William Allingham – The Fairies

William Allingham. 1824–1889
  
The Fairies
  
UP the airy mountain,  
  Down the rushy glen,  
We daren’t go a-hunting  
  For fear of little men;  
Wee folk, good folk,          5
  Trooping all together;  
Green jacket, red cap,  
  And white owl’s feather!  
 
Down along the rocky shore  
  Some make their home,   10
They live on crispy pancakes  
  Of yellow tide-foam;  
Some in the reeds  
  Of the black mountain lake,  
With frogs for their watch-dogs,   15
  All night awake.  
 
High on the hill-top  
  The old King sits;  
He is now so old and gray  
  He ‘s nigh lost his wits.   20
With a bridge of white mist  
  Columbkill he crosses,  
On his stately journeys  
  From Slieveleague to Rosses;  
Or going up with music   25
  On cold starry nights  
To sup with the Queen  
  Of the gay Northern Lights.  
 
They stole little Bridget  
  For seven years long;   30
When she came down again  
  Her friends were all gone.  
They took her lightly back,  
  Between the night and morrow,  
They thought that she was fast asleep,   35
  But she was dead with sorrow.  
They have kept her ever since  
  Deep within the lake,  
On a bed of flag-leaves,  
  Watching till she wake.   40
 
By the craggy hill-side,  
  Through the mosses bare,  
They have planted thorn-trees  
  For pleasure here and there.  
If any man so daring   45
  As dig them up in spite,  
He shall find their sharpest thorns  
  In his bed at night.  
 
Up the airy mountain,  
  Down the rushy glen,   50
We daren’t go a-hunting  
  For fear of little men;  
Wee folk, good folk,  
  Trooping all together;  
Green jacket, red cap,   55
  And white owl’s feather!
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