A Spell for a Fairy by Alfred Noyes



Gather, first, in your left hand
(This must be at fall of day)
Forty grains of yellow sand
Where you think a mermaid lay.
I have heard a wizard hint
It is best to gather it sweet
Out of the warm and fluttered dint
Where you see her heart has beat.

Out of the dint in that sweet sand
Gather forty grains, I say;
Yet—if it fail you—understand
I can show you a better way.

Out of that sand you melt your glass
While the veils of night are drawn,
Whispering, till the shadows pass,
Nixie—pixie—leprechaun

Then you blow your magic vial,
Shape it like a crescent moon,
Set it up and make your trial,
Singing, "Fairies, ah, come soon!"

Round the cloudy crescent go,
On the hill-top, in the dawn,
Singing softly, on tip-toe,
"Elaby Gathon! Elaby Gathon!
Nixie—pixie—leprechaun.
"

Bring the blood of a white hen,
Killed about the break of day,
While the cock in the echoing glen
Thrusts his gold neck every way,
Over the brambles, peering, calling,
Under the ferns, with a sudden fear,
Far and wide, while the dews are falling,
Clamouring, calling, everywhere.


Round the crimson vial go
On the hill-top, in the dawn,
Singing softly, on tip-toe,
"Nixie—pixie—leprechaun!"
And, if once will not suffice,
Do it thrice.
If this fail, at break of day,
I can show you a better way.


Bring the buds of the hazel-copse
Where two lovers kissed at noon:
Bring the crushed red wild thyme tops
Where they walked beneath the moon;

Bring the four-leaved clover also,
One of the white, and one of the red,
Mixed with the flakes of the may that fall so
Lightly over the sky-lark's bed.

Round the fragrant vial go,
On the hill-top, in the dawn,
Singing softly, on tip-toe,
"Nixie—pixie—leprechaun!"
If this fail, at break of day,
I can show you a better way.


Bring an old and wizened child
Ah, tread softly and speak low
Tattered, tearless, wonder-wild.
From that under-world below;
Bring a withered child of seven
Reeking from the City slime,
Out of hell into your heaven,
Set her knee-deep in the thyme.

Bring her from the smoky City,
Set her on a fairy-throne.
Clothe her, feed her, of your pity.
Leave her for an hour alone.


You shall need no spells or charms
On that hill-top, in that dawn.
When she lifts her wasted arms
You shall see a veil withdrawn.
There shall be no veil between them,
Though her head be old and wise.
You shall know that she has seen them,
By the glory in her eyes.

Round her irons, on the hill,
Earth shall toss a fairy fire.
Watch and listen and be still,
Lest you baulk your own desire.


When she sees four azure wings
Light upon her claw-like hand;
When she lifts her head and sings,
You shall hear and understand.
You shall hear a bugle calling,
Wildly over the dew-dashed down,
And a sound as of the falling
Ramparts of a conquered town.

You shall hear a sound like thunder,
And a veil shall be withdrawn,
When her eyes grow wide with wonder,
On that hill-top, in that dawn.