The Fairies’ Cave.
Lane Cove River, New South Wales.
The little waves have dropped to sleep,
There is no wind to wake them,
The sands are buried far and deep
In tides that will forsake them,
And thro’ long, limpid seas of light
The star-eyes glimmer, large and bright.
Across the emerald floors of moss
That cling about the ledges,
And with their velvet touch emboss
The rock’s wave-fretted edges,
There flit and flutter fairy feet
That dance in measures strange and sweet.
A little chamber hollowed deep
Within a wind-wracked boulder —
This is the haunt the fairies keep
When summer nights grow colder,
And ferny dells, deep drenched with dew,
Would soak their silken slippers through.
But in this cave, whose carven walls
Wear tints of tender yellow,
The starlight, softly filtered, falls
In floods of radiance mellow,
And through embrasured windows pass
Soft airs from leagues of flowering grass.
The floor is swept, and up and down
With silver sand is sifted,
And sweet Titania’s amber gown
Needs scarcely to be lifted,
Her footsteps leave no deeper trace
Than kisses on an infant’s face.
And through the portals, when a bell
In some far, fairy steeple
Rings out in liquid notes to tell
The hour to elfin people,
Then do they come in happy troops
And gather gaily into groups.
And one has woven a diadem
Of dewdrops strung together,
She sits a-swinging on a stem
Of purple-petalled heather,
And one has stolen a cobweb thread
Wherewith to veil her dainty head.
And here Euterpe, wondrous fair,
With some strange glamour gleaming
Amid the lilies in her hair,
Doth often loiter, dreaming,
And through the starlight, soft and mute,
Lets loose the music of her lute;
For well she loves to leave the high,
Proud courts of Jove’s dominions,
And float through azure depths of sky
On undulating pinions,
To weave, with her white, goddess hand,
Sweet melodies for fairy-land;
For, in the blue fire of her eyes,
A shadow groweth deeper
As she doth slowly realise
That mortals cannot keep her,
In these cold modern days that come
Her voice and lute grow surely dumb.
For who of us can learn her ways.
Here in the world’s loud clamour,
When we would fain repeat her lays,
We fail with feeble stammer,
And sweet Euterpe’s eyes are wet
That we can thus her voice forget.
But ah! the little fairy folk
Are gay and glad for ever,
They never feel the crushing yoke
Of life and life’s endeavour.
Their little feet are light for aye
To dance beneath the moon’s white ray.
Where sweet epacris blushes red,
’Mid wild clematis tangles,
They dance, and dance, with airy tread
Among the starlight spangles;
The songs they sing are never sung,
They love, and are for ever young.
And here Euterpe comes, and pours
The pent flood of her singing
Till all the dreamy, drowsy shores
With melody are ringing,
And here in flower-decked elfin throngs
She finds an echo for her songs.
Agnes L. Storrie. Poems, J. W. Kettlewell, Sydney, 1909, pages 103-107