[From Manxiana, 1870]


" Clear, clear the room, ye women all,
Out to your homes — ye crowd her so
That health itself in such bad air
Would swoon, and from exhaustion die."
These were my words as in I went
To see my patient — fairy-struck.
There on the bed the poor girl lay,
Still as a corpse — pale as in death.
Small trace of breathing damp'd the mirror glass,
And the heart's motion feebly told of life,
Flickering as yet; and o'er the features stole
The sad expression of some spectre sprite,
That, lifting up the eyelids, frightened me.
She's fairy-struck," the mother, anxious said,
" Dropped as she entered on the threshold door,
And ne'er will speak again." "Not so," I said;
And, ministering medicines suited to the case,
Found, ere I left, the damaged mind return.
Damaged it was — and she who late was called
The beauty of the village where she lived,
Now stares abstractedly,on vacancy;
And wanders wildly, wofully along,
As foolish Mary — jabbering as she goes.
" See! See! the fairies, lit up by the moon,
Dancing down Primrose Hill, all dressed in green,
Hymning forth minstrelsy of fairy sound.
Ah ! me, they near me — Save me, mother save."
She hastens home, and falls in mother's arms.
Poor Mary! teach your island sisters all
The foolish fancy of such sad belief
Is but the marsh's phosphorescent light,
The Will-o'-the-wisp of the old English song.


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