Yeats' FAIRY AND FOLK TALES OF THE IRISH PEASANTRY

THE STOLEN CHILD

W. B. Yeats

Where dips the rocky highland
  Of Sleuth Wood in the lake,
There lies a leafy island
  Where flapping herons wake
The drowsy water-rats.
There we've hid our fairy vats
Full of berries,
And of reddest stolen cherries.
Come away, O, human child!
To the woods and waters wild
With a fairy hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than
           you can understand.

Where the wave of moonlight glosses
  The dim grey sands with light,
Far off by farthest Rosses
  We foot it all the night,
Weaving olden dances,
Mingling hands, and mingling glances,
  Till the moon has taken flight;
To and fro we leap,
  And chase the frothy bubbles,
  While the world is full of troubles
And is anxious in its sleep.
Come away! O, human child!
To the woods and waters wild,
With a fairy hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than
           you can understand.

Where the wandering water gushes
  From the hills above Glen-Car,
In pools among the rushes,
  That scarce could bathe a star,
We seek for slumbering trout,
  And whispering in their ears;
    We give them evil dreams,
Leaning softly out
  From ferns that drop their tears
    Of dew on the young streams.
Come! O, human child!
To the woods and waters wild,
With a fairy hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping then
           you can understand.

Away with us, he's going,
  The solemn-eyed;
He'll hear no more the lowing
  Of the calves on the warm hill-side.
Or the kettle on the hob
  Sing peace into his breast;
Or see the brown mice bob
  Round and round the oatmeal chest.
For he comes, the human child,
To the woods and waters wild,
With a fairy hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than
           he can understand.

 

Notes:

The places mentioned are round about Sligo. Further Rosses is a very noted fairy locality. There is here a little point of rocks where, if anyone falls asleep, there is danger of their waking silly, the fairies having carried off their souls.

Aran Islanders, J. Synge [1898] (public domain photograph)