THEY WOULD NOT GIVE YOU FAIRY TALES
They would not give you fairy tales to read
In tender years, lest rays of old romance
Should cast upon your mind their idle trance-
A glamour of knights, and captive maidens free.
You were untaught how virtue's gentle deed
Might overcome hate, fear, and circumstance;
Or how the prince, disguised, with magic lance,
Is always riding nigh at beaty's need.
None taught this lore, and yet you learned it all!
From dawn to dark, sweet fancies filled your head
Of woodland hut, and high enchanted hall,
The giant featly slain, the maiden wed.
Non taught, and yet I think that round your bed
The fairies nightly held their festival.
On stormy midnights, when black windy wings
Frightened the shuddering raindrops, wail on wail,
Your sleep would moan, your parted lips grow pale,
While round the room flapped hideous grinning things.
But what gay laughter, what sweet caperings
On moonlit nights! All night with song and tale
and elfin wit, the fairies would regale
Your dreams, and pluck all night the tinkling strings.
Whence else that glance with teasing mischief fraught?
That quaint soft way of talk with bees and flowers?
That love of solitude, the seldom-sought,
And sudden shrinking from the unseen powers?
That gift of still sea-gazing, hours and hours?
You had no book, yet you were fairy-taught.