Flower Fairies

Flower fairies-have you found them,
When the summer's dusk is falling,
With the glow-worms watching round them;
Have you heard them softly calling?

Silent stand they through the noonlight,
In their flower shapes, fair and quiet;
But they hie them forth by moonlight
Ready then to sing and riot.

I have heard them; I have seen them-
Light from their bright petals raying;
And the trees bent down to screen them,
Great, wise trees, too old for playing.

Hundreds of them, all together,
Flashing flocks of flying fairies,
Crowding through the summer weather,
Seeking where the coolest air is.

And they tell the trees that know them,
As upon their boughs they hover,
Of the things that chance below them,
How the rose has a new lover.

And the gay Rose laughs, protesting,
"Neighbour Lily is as fickle."
Then they search where birds are nesting,
And their feathers softly tickle.

Then awav they all dance, sweeping,
Having drunk their fill of gladness.
But the trees, their night-watch keeping,
"Thrill with tender, pitying sadness;

For they know of bleak December,
When each bough left cold and bare
When they only shall remembe
The bright visits of the fairies, -

When the roses and the lilies
Shall be gone, to come back never
From the land where all so still is
That they sleep and sleep for ever.

Philip Bourke Marston