Fairy Lore.

Glad were the children when their glowing faces1
Gathered about us in the winter night,2
And now, with gleesome hearts in verdant places,3
We see them leaping in the summer light ;4
For they remember yet the tales we told them5
Around the hearth, of fairies long ago,6
When they could only look out to behold them,7
Quick dancing, earthward, in the feathery snow.8
But now the young and fresh imagination9
Finds traces of their presence everywhere,10
And peoples with a new and bright creation11
The clear blue chambers of the sunny air.12
For them the gate of many a fairy palace13
Opes to the ringing bugle of the bee,14
And every flower-cup is a golden chalice,15
Wine-tilled, in some grand elfin revelry.16
Quaint little eyes from grassy nooks are peering ;17
Each dewy leaf is rich in magic lore ;18
The foam-bells, down the merry brooklet steering,19
Are fairy-freighted to some happier shore.20
Stern theorists, with wisdom overreaching21
The aim of wisdom, in your precepts cold,22
And with a painful stress of callous teaching,23
That withers the young heart into the old,24
What is the gain if all their flowers were perished,25
Their vision-fields for ever shorn and bare,26
The mirror shattered that their young faith cherished,27
Showing the face of things so very fair ?28
Time hath enough of ills to undeceive them,29
And cares will crowd where dreams have dwelt
before ;
Oh, therefore, while the heart is trusting, leave them31
Their happy childhood and their fairy lore !32