Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895.  1895.
 
A Spinning-Wheel Song
 
John Francis Waller (1810–94)
 
 
MELLOW the moonlight to shine is beginning;
Close by the window young Eileen is spinning;
Bent o’er the fire, her blind grandmother, sitting,
Is croaning, and moaning, and drowsily knitting:
“Eileen, achora, I hear some one tapping.”        5
“’T is the ivy, dear mother, against the glass flapping.”
“Eileen, I surely hear somebody sighing.”
“’T is the sound, mother dear, of the summer wind dying.”
Merrily, cheerily, noisily whirring,
Swings the wheel, spins the reel, while the foot’s stirring;        10
Sprightly, and lightly, and airily ringing,
Thrills the sweet voice of the young maiden singing.
 
“What ’s that noise that I hear at the window, I wonder?”
“’T is the little birds chirping the holly-bush under.”
“What makes you be shoving and moving your stool on,        15
And singing all wrong, that old song of ‘The Coolun?’”
There ’s a form at the casement—the form of her true-love—
And he whispers, with face bent, “I’ m waiting for you, love;
Get up on the stool, through the lattice step lightly,
We ’ll rove in the grove while the moon’s shining brightly.”        20
Merrily, cheerily, noisily whirring,
Swings the wheel, spins the reel, while the foot’s stirring;
Sprightly, and lightly, and airily ringing,
Thrills the sweet voice of the young maiden singing.
 
The maid shakes her had, on her lip lays her fingers,        25
Steals up from her seat—longs to go, and yet lingers;
A frighten’d glance turns to her drowsy grandmother,
Puts one foot on the stool, spins the wheel with other.
Lazily, easily, swings now the wheel round;
Slowly and slowly is heard now the reel’s sound’        30
Noiseless and light to the lattice above her
The maid steps—then leaps to the arms of her lover.
Slower—and slower—the wheel swings;
Lower—and lower—and lower the reel rings;
Ere the reel and the wheel stopp’d their ringing and moving,        35
Through the grove the young lovers by moonlight are roving.
 

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