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THE CULPRIT FAY.

And now through evening's dewy mist,

With leap and spring they bound along, Till the mountain's magic verge is past, And the beach of sand is reached at last.

XI.

Soft and pale is the moony beam,
Moveless still the glassy stream,
The wave is clear, the beach is bright

With snowy shells and sparkling stones; The shore-surge comes in ripples light,

In murmurings faint and distant moans ; And ever afar in the silence deep Is heard the splash of the sturgeon's leap And the bend of his graceful bow is seen A glittering arch of silver sheen, Spanning the wave of burnished blue, And dripping with gems of the river dew.

XII.

The elfin cast a glance around,

As he lighted down from his courser toad, Then round his breast his wings he wound,

And close to the river's brink he strode; He sprang on a rock, he breathed a prayer,

Above his head his arms he threw,

Then tossed a tiny curve in air,

And headlong plunged in the waters blue.

XIII.

Up sprung the spirits of the waves,
From sea-silk beds in their coral caves,
With snail-plate armour snatched in haste,
They speed their way through the liquid waste;
Some are rapidly borne along
On the mailed shrimp or the prickly prong,
Some on the blood-red leeches glide,
Some on the stony star-fish ride,
Some on the back of the lancing squab,
Some on the sideling soldier-crab;
And some on the jellied quarl, that flings
At once a thousand streamy stings;
They cut the wave with the living oar,
And hurry on to the moonlight shore,
To guard their realms and chase away
The footsteps of the invading Fay.

XIV.

Fearlessly he skims along,
His hope is high, and his limbs are strong,
He spreads his arms like the swallow's wing,
And throws his feet with a frog-like fling;

THE CULPRIT FAY.

His locks of gold on the waters shine,

At his breast the tiny foam-beads rise, His back gleams bright above the brine,

And the wake-line foam behind him lies. But the water-sprites are gathering near

To check his course along the tide ; Their warriors come in swift career

And hem him round on every side ; On his thigh the leech has fixed his hold, The quarl's long arms are round him rolled, The prickly prong has pierced his skin, And the squab has thrown his javelin, The gritty star has rubbed him raw, And the crab has struck with his giant claw; He howls with rage, and he shrieks with pain, He strikes around, but his blows are vain; Hopeless is the unequal fight, Fairy! nought is left but flight.

XV.
He turned him round and fled amain
With hurry and dash to the beach again,
He twisted over from side to side,
And laid his cheek to the cleaving tide.
The strokes of his plunging arms are fleet,
And with all his might he flings his feet,
But the water-sprites are round him still,
To cross his path and work him ill.

They bade the wave before him rise ;
They flung the sea-fire in his eyes,
And they stunned his ears with the scallop stroke,
With the porpoise heave and the drum-fish croak.
Oh! but a weary wight was he
When he reached the foot of the dogwood tree

-Gashed and wounded, and stiff and sore,
He laid him down on the sandy shore ;
He blessed the force of the charmed line,

And he banned the water-goblins' spite, For he saw around in the sweet moonshine, Their little wee faces above the brine, Giggling and laughing with all their might At the piteous hap of the Fairy wight.

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THE CULPRIT FAY.

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XVI.

Soon he gathered the balsam dew

From the sorrel-leaf and the henbane bud;
Over each wound the balm he drew,

And with cobweb lint he stanched the blood.
The mild west wind was soft and low,
It cooled the heat of his burning brow,
And he felt new life in his sinews shoot,
As he drank the juice of the cal’mus root;
And now he treads the fatal shore,
As fresh and vigorous as before.

XVII.

Wrapped in musing stands the sprite : 'Tis the middle wane of night,

His task is hard, his way is far, But he must do his errand right

Ere dawning mounts her beamy car, And rolls her chariot wheels of light; And vain are the spells of fairy-land, He must work with a human hand.

XVIII.

He cast a saddened look around,

But he felt new joy his bosom swell,

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