From the Wood of the Old Wives’ Fables
They glittered out of the grey,
And with all the Armies of Elf-land
I strove like a beast at bay;
With only a right arm wearied,
Only a red sword worn,
And the pride of the House of Adam
That holdeth the stars in scorn.
For they came with chains of flowers
And lilies lances free,
There in the quiet greenwood
To take my grief from me.
And I said, “Now all is shaken
When heavily hangs the brow,
When the hope of the years is taken
The last star sunken. Now—
“Hear, you chattering cricket,
Hear, you spawn of the sod,
The strange strong cry in the darkness
Of one man praising God,
“That out of the night and nothing
With travail of birth he came
To stand one hour in the sunlight
Only to say her name.
“Falls through her hair the sunshine
In showers; it touches, see,
Her high bright cheeks in turning;
Ah, Elfin Company,
“The world is hot and cruel,
We are weary of heart and hand.
But the world is more full of glory
Than you can understand.”