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Anna Jane Vardill

The Fairies’ Nursery

An April Dream

Merrily the Fairies three
Sing the young Love’s lullaby!
Pease-blossom, with arms outspread,
Gives her ’tendance to the bed,
Of a sleeping urchin, roll’d
In a tawny rose-leaf’s fold.
He is but in embryo, yet
Those who round his cradle sit,
Pleas’d to rock it with the threads
Cobweb’s patient Fairy spreads,
Know the elf will riot soon
In the glittering pomp of June;
Proud, and fickle, and despising
Even the rose, whose lap he lies in.

Mustard-seed a healthful brood
Rears of Cupids bold and shrewd;—
Under the three-curtain’d tent,
By a spreading shamrock lent,
Her green-coated urchins dance,
While the merry moon-beams glance,
Blythesomely their jocund round
To their emerald elf-harp’s sound.
These are careless Loves that sport
With the laughing hours, and court
Only thus, in antic glee,
Song and dance and revelry:
Of the shamrock’s leaf, is seen
That unfading amaranth, found
By a youth on haunted ground,
When for his dear Erin’s sake
Fairy-gold he scorned to take.

Moth, in yonder crevice dark,
Watches a young glow-worm’s spark,
Hidden like a secret gem
Under the rough thistle’s stem:—
This is Love, that issues forth
From the cold damps of the north;
In its covert it abides
Night and tempests—but it guides
Those, who on the wild heath roam,
Safely to a joyful home.

Gently in my dreaming ear
Spoke the Fairy Moth—“We rear
Thus with mirth and banquet bland,
Happy Loves in Fairy Land!
Not in silken cradles spun
With the webs from earth-worm’s won,
Lit by tapers such as shine
In the dreary diamond-mine,
But with sweets from lilly-bells,
Found in dim sequester’d cells;
Like the soft and mystic screen
Beauty’s cunning weaves unseen,
See, our cobweb holds the race
Captive in their resting-place,
Keeping safe the wayward guests
While their cages seem their nests.”

More she whisper’d, but a boy
Wing’d and wanton, with a toy
Edged with her own burnish’d gold,
Pierc’d the sheltering cobweb’s fold.
Forth in frolic haste they leap—
Some through rent and crevice creep,
Tangled in the cobweb, one
Breaks his wings but strives to run;—
To the rose-leaves some are clinging,
One his Fairy nurse is stinging;
All escape at last—but though
They may rob the rose-tree’s bough,
Praise the shamrock’s emerald crown,
And ruffle the grey thistle’s down;
Still the cobweb clings to all,
Like woman’s friendship, tho’ they fall,
When those gay loves have vanish’d quite,
And are but the dream of an April night.


The European Magazine, Vol. 81, April 1822, pp. 325-326