The Fairy Oak Of Corriewater

By Anonymous

The small bird’s head is under its wing,
The deep sleeps on the grass;
The moon comes out, and the stars shine down,
The dew gleams like the glass:
There is no sound in the world so wide,
Save the sound of the smitten brass,
With the merry cittern and the pipe
Of the fairies as they pass.
But oh! the fir maun burn and burn,
And the hour is gone, and will never return.

The green hill cleaves, and forth, with a bound,
Comes elf and elfin steed;
The moon dives down in a golden cloud,
The stars grow dim with dread;
But a light is running along the earth,
So of heaven’s they have no need:
O’er moor and moss with a shout they pass,
And the word is spur and speed–
But the fire maun burn, and I maun quake,
And the hour is gone that will never come back.

And when they came to Craigyburnwood,
The Queen of the Fairies spoke:
“Come, bind your steeds to the rushes so green,
And dance by the haunted oak:
I found the acorn on Heshbon Hill,
In the nook of a palmer’s poke,
A thousand years since; here it grows!”
And they danced till the greenwood shook:
But oh! the fire, the burning fire,
The longer it burns, it but blazes the higher.

“I have won me a youth,” the Elf Queen said,
“The fairest that earth may see;
This night I have won young Elph Irving
My cupbearer to be.
His service lasts but for seven sweet years,
And his wage is a kiss of me.”
And merrily, merrily, laughed the wild elves
Round Corrie’s greenwood tree.
But oh! the fire it glows in my brain,
And the hour is gone, and comes not again.

The Queen she has whispered a secret word,
“Come hither, my Elphin sweet,
And bring that cup of the charmed wine,
Thy lips and mine to weet.”
But a brown elf shouted a loud, loud shout,
“Come, leap on your courses fleet,
For here comes the smell of some baptised flesh,
And the sounding of baptised feet.”
But oh! the fire that burns, and maun burn;
For the time that is gone will never return.

On a steed as white as the new-milked milk,
The Elf Queen leaped with a bound,
And young Elphin a steed like December snow
‘Neath him at the word he found.
But a maiden came, and her christened arms
She linked her brother around,
And called on God, and the steed with a snort
Sank into the gaping ground.
But the fire maun burn, and I maun quake,
And the time that is gone will no more come back.

And she held her brother, and lo! he grow
A wild bull waked in ire;
And she held her brother, and lo! he changed
To a river roaring higher;
And she held her brother, and he became
A flood of the raging fire;
She shrieked and sank, and the wild elves laughed
Till the mountain rang and mire.
But oh! the fire yet burns in my brain,
And the hour is gone, and comes not again.

“O maiden, why waxed thy faith so faint,
Thy spirit so slack and slaw?
Thy courage kept good till the flame waxed wud,
Then thy might began to thaw;
Had ye kissed him frae ‘mang us a’.
New bless the fire, the elfin fire,
That made thee faint and fa’;
Now bless the fire, the elfin fire,
The longer it burns it blazes the higher.”

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