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THE FAIRY HOST, by                    
First Line: Pure white the shields their arms upbear
Last Line: At chess-craft they excel the gael

[From the Irish tale, "Lacgaire mac Crimthainn's Visit to
the Fairy Realm of Mag Mell."]

Pure white the shields their arms upbear,
With silver emblems rare o'ercast;
Amid blue glittering blades they go,
The borns they blow are loud of blast.

In well-instructed ranks of war
Before their Chief they proudly pace;
Caerulean spears o'er every crest--
A curly-tressed, pale-visaged race.

Beneath the flame of their attack,
Bare and black turns every coast;
With such a terror to the fight
Flashes that mighty vengeful host.

Small wonder that their strength is great,
Since royal in estate are all,
Each hero's head a lion's fell--
A golden yellow mane lets fall.

Comely and smooth their bodies are,
Their eyes the starry blue eclipse,
The pure white crystal of their teeth
Laughs out beneath their thin red lips.

Good are they at man-slaying feats,
Melodious over meats and ale;
Of woven verse they wield the spell,
At chess-craft they excel the Gael.

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