Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

Full of a nature

Nothing can tame, Changed every moment

Ever the same;

Ceaseless aspiring,

Ceaseless content, Darkness or sunshine,

Thy element;

Glorious fountain !

Let my heart be
Fresh, changeful, constant

Upward, like thee!

J. R. LOWELL.

Fairies.

"THEY inhabit the interior of green hills, chiefly those of light, impressing upon the surface the marks of circles, which sometimes appear yellow and blasted, sometimes of a deepgreen hue, and within which it is dangerous to sleep or to be found after sunset.

" They are heard sedulously hammering in linns, precipices, and rocky or cavernous situations, where, like the dwarfs of the mines, mentioned by Georg. Agricola, they busy themselves in imitating the actions and the various employments of men. The brook of Beaumont, for example, which passes in its course by numerous linns and caverns, is notorious for being haunted by the Fairies; and the perforated and rounded stones, which are formed by trituration in its channel, are termed, by the vulgar, fairy-cups and dishes. A beautiful reason is assigned by Fletcher for the fays frequenting streams and fountains. He tells us of

* A virtuous well, about whose flowery banks
The nimble-footed Fairies dance their rounds
By the pale moonshine, dipping oftentimes
Their stolen children, so to make them free
From dying flesh and dull mortality.'

Faithful Shepherdese.

There is upon the top of Minchmuir, a mountain in Peebleshire, a spring called the Cheese Well, because, anciently, those who passed that way were wont to throw into it a piece of cheese as an offering to the Fairies, to whom it was consecrated.

“ The usual dress of the Fairies is green, though, on the moors, they have been sometimes observed in heath brown, or in weeds dyed with the stoneran, or lichen. They often ride in invisible procession, when their presence is discovered by the shrill ringing of their bridles.”—Minstrelsy of Scottish Border.

The seed of the fern, from its singular manner of growth, was supposed to be under the especial protection of the Queen of the Fairies. It was believed to have the quality of rendering whoever carried it about him invisible, and to be also of great use in charms and incantations. But the difficulties of gathering this mysterious seed were very great indeed; it was supposed to be only visible on St. John's Eve, and at the very moment when the Baptist was born. How the rustic population accounted for the fact that it might, in reality, be found on the fronds both before and after that day, one can not say; but they probably held this to be a delusion of the Fairies. It is certain, at least, that they supposed the important magic seed itself only to be attainable on that one evening in

But even at the right hour to collect this seed was no easy task, the Fairies resorting to all kinds of devices to prevent human hands from gathering it. A certain individual who flattered himself that he had succeeded in his errand, and supposed that “ he had gotten a quantity of it, and

the year.

secured it in papers, and in a box besides, when he came home, found all empty." This fancy connected with the fern appears to have been very general. Shakspeare alludes to it:

"We have the receipt of fern-seed; we walk invisible."
Henry IV., Act 1, Sc. 3.

ELVES.

Ye elves of hills, brooks, standing lakes, and groves;
And ye that on the sand, with printless feet,
Do chase the ebbing Neptune, and do fly him
When he comes back; you demi-puppets that
By moonshine do the green, sour ringlets make,
Whereof the ewe bites not; and you whose pastime
Is to make midnight-mushrooms; that rejoice
To hear the solemn curfew,

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

And says, “ To wrong ye, Hynde Etin,

I wad be unco laith."

But he has taen her by the yellow locks,

And tied her till a tree,
And said, “ For slichting my commands,

An ill death ye sall die!"

He pou'd a tree out o' the wood,

The biggest that was there;
And he howkit a cave many fathoms deep,

And put May Margaret there.

“ Now rest ye there, ye saucy May,

My woods are free for thee; And gif I take ye to my cell,

The better ye'll like me.”

Nae rest, nae rest May Margaret took;

Sleep she gat never nane;
Her back lay on the cauld, cauld floor,

Her head upon the stane.

“( tak me out,” May Margaret cried,

“O tak me hame to thee; And I sall be your bounden page,

Until the day I dee."

He took her out the dungeon deep,

And awa wi' him she's gane; But sad was the day when a king's daughter

Gaed hame wi' Hynde Etin.

O they hae lived in Elmond wood

For six lang years and one;
Till six pretty sons to him she bore,

And the seventh she's brought home.

These seven bairns, sae fair and fine,

That she to him did bring;
They never were in good church door,

Nor ever gat good kirking.

And aye at nicht, wi’ harp in hand,

As they lay still asleep,
She sat hersell by their bedside,

And bitterly did weep.

« ZurückWeiter »