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About this Poem 

From Ballads and Songs (London: Cassell and Company, 1896).

 

FAIRY DAYS.

  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 newborn babe they bless'd;
  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 moustache;
  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 farie!
  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!

This poem is in the public domain. 

This poem is in the public domain. 

William Makepeace Thackeray

William Makepeace Thackeray, born July 18, 1811, was an English writer best known for his novels, particularly The History of Henry Esmond, Esq. (The Mershon Company Publishers, 1852) and Vanity Fair (Bradbury and Evans, 1848). While in school, Thackeray began writing poems, which he published in a number of magazines, chiefly Fraser and Punch. He died on December 24, 1863.

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  When the moonlight's on the mountain
    And the gloom is on the glen,
  At the cross beside the fountain
    There is one will meet thee then.
  At the cross beside the fountain;
    Yes, the cross beside the fountain,
  There is one will meet thee then!

  I have braved, since first we met, love,
    Many a
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  Beneath the gold acacia buds
  My gentle Nora sits and broods,
  Far, far away in Boston woods
                  My gentle Nora!

  I see the tear-drop in her e'e,
  Her bosom's heaving tenderly;
  I know—I know she thinks of me,
                  My Darling Nora!

  And where am I?  My love, whilst thou
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  OR, THE CAGED HAWK.

 No more, thou lithe and long-winged hawk, of desert-life for thee;
  No more across the sultry sands shalt thou go swooping free:
  Blunt idle talons, idle beak, with spurning of thy chain,
  Shatter against thy cage the wing thou ne'er may'st spread again.

  Long, sitting by their