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T H E CUL PRIT FA Y. 45

And pressed his hand as she bade him fly
Far to the verge of the northern sky,
For by its wane and wavering light
There was a star would fall to-night.

XXXV.

Borne afar on the wings of the blast,
Northward away, he speeds him fast,
And his courser follows the cloudy wain
Till the hoof-strokes fall like pattering rain.
The clouds roll backward as he flies,
Each flickering star behind him lies,
And he has reached the northern plain,
And backed his firefly steed again,
Ready to follow in its flight
The streaming of the rocket-light.

XXXVI.

The star is yet in the vault of heaven,
But it rocks in the summer gale;
And now ’tis fitful and uneven,
And now ’tis deadly pale;
And now ’tis wrapped in sulphur smoke,
And quenched is its rayless beam,
And now with a rattling thunder-stroke
It bursts in flash and flame.

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As swift as the glance of the arrowy lance
That the storm-spirit flings from high,
The star-shot flew o'er the welkin blue,
As it fell from the sheeted sky
As swift as the wind in its trail behind
The elfin gallops along,
The fiends of the clouds are bellowing loud,
But the sylphid charm is strong;
He gallops unhurt in the shower of fire,
While the cloud-fiends fly from the blaze;
He watches each flake till its sparks expire,
And rides in the light of its rays.
But he drove his steed to the lightning's speed,
And caught a głimmering spark;
And sped through the midnight dark.
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Ouphe and goblin' imp and sprite
Elf of eve and starry Fay
Ye that love the moon's soft light,
Hither—hither wend your way;
Twine ye in a jocund ring,
Sing and trip it merrily,
Hand to hand, and wing to wing,
Round the wild witch-hazel tree.

Hail the wanderer again,
With dance and song, and lute and lyre,

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Pure his wing and strong his chain,
And doubly bright his fairy fire.

Twine ye in an airy round,
Brush the dew and print the lea:

Skip and gambol, hop and bound,
Round the wild witch-hazel tree.

The beetle guards our holy ground,
He flies about the haunted place,
And if mortal there be found,
He hums in his ears and flaps his face:
The leaf-harp sounds our roundelay,
The owlet's eyes our lanterns be;
Thus we sing, and dance, and play,
Round the wild witch-hazel tree.

But hark' from tower on tree-top high,
The sentry elf his call has made,
A streak is in the eastern sky,
Shapes of moonlight! flit and fade 1
The hill-tops gleam in morning's spring,
The sky-lark shakes his dappled wing,
The day-glimpse glimmers on the lawn,
The cock has crowed, and the Fays are gone.

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WHEN FREEDOM from her mountain height
Unfurled her standard to the air,
She tore the azure robe of night,
And set the stars of glory there.
She mingled with its gorgeous dies
The milky baldric of the skies,
And striped its pure celestial white,
With streakings of the morning light;
--- Then from his mansion in the sun
*> to She called her eagle bearer down,
And gave into his mighty hand,
The symbol of her chosen land.

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