Verse > Anthologies > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of English Verse
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Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. 1919. The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250–1900.
  
William Allingham. 1824–1889
  
769. The Fairies
  
UP the airy mountain, 
  Down the rushy glen, 
We daren't go a-hunting 
  For fear of little men; 
Wee folk, good folk,         5
  Trooping all together; 
Green jacket, red cap, 
  And white owl's feather! 
 
Down along the rocky shore 
  Some make their home,  10
They live on crispy pancakes 
  Of yellow tide-foam; 
Some in the reeds 
  Of the black mountain lake, 
With frogs for their watch-dogs,  15
  All night awake. 
 
High on the hill-top 
  The old King sits; 
He is now so old and gray 
  He 's nigh lost his wits.  20
With a bridge of white mist 
  Columbkill he crosses, 
On his stately journeys 
  From Slieveleague to Rosses; 
Or going up with music  25
  On cold starry nights 
To sup with the Queen 
  Of the gay Northern Lights. 
 
They stole little Bridget 
  For seven years long;  30
When she came down again 
  Her friends were all gone. 
They took her lightly back, 
  Between the night and morrow, 
They thought that she was fast asleep,  35
  But she was dead with sorrow. 
They have kept her ever since 
  Deep within the lake, 
On a bed of flag-leaves, 
  Watching till she wake.  40
 
By the craggy hill-side, 
  Through the mosses bare, 
They have planted thorn-trees 
  For pleasure here and there. 
If any man so daring  45
  As dig them up in spite, 
He shall find their sharpest thorns 
  In his bed at night. 
 
Up the airy mountain, 
  Down the rushy glen,  50
We daren't go a-hunting 
  For fear of little men; 
Wee folk, good folk, 
  Trooping all together; 
Green jacket, red cap,  55
  And white owl's feather! 
 
 
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