Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, FAIRY DAYS, by WILLIAM MAKEPEACE THACKERAY



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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

FAIRY DAYS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Beside the old hall-fire - upon my nurse's knee
Last Line: Knee!
Subject(s): Children; Fairies; Childhood; Elves


BESIDE the old hall-fire -- upon my nurse's knee,
Of happy fairy days -- what tales were told to me!
I thought the world was once -- all peopled with
princesses,
And my heart would beat to hear -- their loves and
their distresses;
And many a quiet night -- in slumber sweet and
deep,
The pretty fairy people -- would visit me in sleep.
I saw them in my dreams -- come flying east and
west,
With wondrous fairy gifts -- the new-born babe
they blessed;
One has brought a jewel -- and one a crown of gold,
And one has brought a curse -- but she is wrinkled
and old.
The gentle queen turns pale -- to hear those words
of sin,
But the king he only laughs -- and bids the dance
begin.
The babe has grown to be the fairest of the land,
And rides the forest green -- a hawk upon her
hand,
An ambling palfrey white -- a golden robe and
crown;
I've seen her in my dreams -- riding up and down;
And heard the ogre laugh -- as she fell into his
snare,
At the little tender creature -- who wept and tore
her hair!
But ever when it seemed -- her need was at the
sorest,
A prince in shining mail -- comes prancing through
the forest,
A waving ostrich-plume -- a buckler burnished
bright;
I've seen him in my dreams -- good sooth! a gallant
knight.
His lips are coral-red -- beneath a dark mustache;
See how he waves his hand -- and how his blue eyes
flash!
"Come forth, thou Paynim knight!" -- he shouts
in accents clear.
The giant and the maid -- both tremble his voice
to hear.
Saint Mary guard him well! -- he draws his falchion
keen,
The giant and the knight -- are fighting on the
green.
I see them in my dreams -- his blade gives stroke
on stroke,
The giant pants and reels -- and tumbles like an
oak!
With what a blushing grace -- he falls upon his
knee
And takes the lady's hand -- and whispers, "You
are free!"
Ah! happy childish tales of knight and faerie!
I waken from my dreams -- but there's ne'er a
knight for me!
I waken from my dreams -- and wish that I could
be
A child by the old hall-fire -- upon my nurse's
knee!




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