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W. H. Davenport Adams

The Last Voyage of the Fairies

Down the bright stream the Fairies float,—

A water-lily is their boat.

Long rushes they for paddles take,

Their mainsail of a bat's wing make;

The tackle is of cobwebs neat,—

With glow-worm lantern all's complete.

So down the broad'ning stream they float,

With Puck as pilot of the boat.

The Queen on speckled moth-wings lies,

And lifts at times her languid eyes

To mark the green and mossy spots

Where bloom the blue forget-me-nots:

Oberon, on his rose-bud throne,

Claims the fair valley as his own:

And elves and fairies, with a shout

Which may be heard a yard about,

Hail him as Elfland's mighty King;

And hazel-nuts in homage bring,

And bend the unreluctant knee,

And wave their wands in loyalty.

Down the broad stream the Fairies float,

An unseen power impels their boat;

The banks fly past—each wooded scene—

The elder copse—the poplars green—

And soon they feel the briny breeze

With salt and savour of the seas—

Still down the stream the Fairies float,

An unseen power impels their boat;

Until they mark the rushing tide

Within the estuary wide.

And now they're tossing on the sea,

Where waves roll high, and winds blow free,—

Ah, mortal vision nevermore

Shall see the Fairies on the shore,

Or watch upon a summer night

Their mazy dances of delight!

Far, far away upon the sea,

The waves roll high, the breeze blows free!

The Queen on speckled moth-wings lies,

Slow gazing with a strange surprise

Where swim the sea-nymphs on the tide

Or on the backs of dolphins ride:

The King, upon his rose-bud throne,

Pales as he hears the waters moan;

The elves have ceased their sportive play,

Hushed by the slowly sinking day:

And still afar, afar they float,

The Fairies in their fragile boat,—

Further and further from the shore,

And lost to mortals evermore!