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And now they throng the moonlight glade, Above-below-on every side,

Their little minim forms arrayed In the tricksy pomp of fairy pride!

V.

They come not now to print the lea, In freak and dance around the tree, Or at the mushroom board to sup, And drink the dew from the buttercup ;A scene of sorrow waits them now, For an Ouphe has broken his vestal vow; He has loved an earthly maid, And left for her his woodland shade ; He has lain upon her lip of dew, And sunned him in her eye of blue, Fanned her cheek with his wing of air, Played in the ringlets of her hair, And, nestling on her snowy breast, Forgot the lily-king's behest. For this the shadowy tribes of air

To the elfin court must haste away :And now they stand expectant there,

To hear the doom of the Culprit Fay.

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The throne was reared upon the grass
Of spice-wood and of sassafras;
On pillars of mottled tortoise-shell

Hung the burnished canopy-
And o'er it gorgeous curtains fell

Of the tulip's crimson drapery.
The monarch sat on his judgment-seat,

On his brow the crown imperial shone,
The prisoner Fay was at his feet,

And his peers were ranged around the throne. He waved his sceptre in the air,

He looked around and calmly spoke ; His brow was grave and his eye severe,

But his voice in a softened accent broke :

VII.

“Fairy! Fairy! list and mark,

Thou hast broke thine elfin chain,
Thy flame-wood lamp is quenched and dark,

And thy wings are died with a deadly stain -
Thou hast sullied thine elfin purity

In the glance of a mortal maiden's eye ;
Thou hast scorned our dread decree,
And thou shouldst pay the forfeit high,
But well I know her sinless mind

Is pure as the angel forms above,
Gentle and meek, and chaste and kind.
Such as a spirit well might love;
Fairy! had she spot or taint,
Bitter had been thy punishment.
Tied to the hornet's shardy wings;
Tossed on the pricks of nettles' stings;
Or seven long ages doomed to dwell
With the lazy worm in the walnut-shell ;
Or every night to writhe and bleed
Beneath the tread of the centipede ;
Or bound in a cobweb dungeon dim,
Your jailer a spider huge and grim,
Amid the carrion bodies to lie,
Of the worm, and the bug, and the murdered fly:
These it had been your lot to bear,
Had a stain been found on the earthly fair.
Now list, and mark our mild decree-
Fairy, this your doom must be :-

VIII.

“ Thou shalt seek the beach of sand
Where the water bounds the elfin land,
Thou shalt watch the oozy brine
Till the sturgeon leaps in the bright moonshine,
Then dart the glistening arch below,
And catch a drop from his silver bow,

THE CULPRIT FAY.

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The water-sprites will wield their arms,

And dash around, with roar and rave,
And vain are the woodland spirits' charms,

They are the imps that rule the wave.
Yet trust thee in thy single might,
If thy heart be pure and thy spirit right,
Thou shalt win the warlock fight.

IX.

“If the spray-bead gem be won,

The stain of thy wing is washed away,
But another errand must be done

Ere thy crime be lost for aye;
Thy flame-wood lamp is quenched and dark,
Thou must reillume its spark.
Mount thy steed and spur him high
To the heaven's blue canopy;
And when thou seest a shooting star,
Follow it fast, and follow it far-
The last faint spark of its burning train
Shall light the elfin lamp again.
Thou hast heard our sentence, Fay;
Hence! to the water-side, away!”

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The goblin marked his monarch well ;

He spake not, but he bowed him low, Then plucked a crimson colen-bell,

And turned him round in act to go. The way is long, he cannot fly,

His soiled wing has lost its power, And he winds adown the mountain high,

For many a sore and weary hour. Through dreary beds of tangled fern, Through groves of nightshade dark and dern, Over the grass and through the brake, Where toils the ant and sleeps the snake ;

Now o'er the violet's azure flush He skips along in lightsome mood;

And now he thrids the bramble-bush, Till its points are died in fairy blood. He has leaped the bog, he has pierced the briar, He has swum the brook, and waded the mire, Till his spirits sank, and his limbs grew weak, And the red waxed fainter in his cheek. He had fallen to the ground outright,

For rugged and dim was his onward track, But there came a spotted toad in sight,

And he laughed as he jumped upon her back; He bridled her mouth with a silkweed twist,

He lashed her sides with an osier thong;

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