Friday, June 02, 2017

Centuries-old Vision

A Vision of a Queen of Fairyland
My soul to ravish came to me last night, :
And never lady at my side did stand
To my undoing so unearthly bright.

Last night she came, a bright and lovely ghost,
And rose before me, while I seemed to sleep,
And of that slumber where my soul was lost
My tongue shall tell while I my memory keep. 

Fair was as her face, her cheeks outblushed the rose;
There might you see the floods of crimson rise,
And dark unfaltering brows above disclose
The hyacinthine petals of her eyes. 

Her pretty mouth more sweet than honeycomb
Would with red lips the budding rose excel,
And each soft whisper that from thence did come
Would charm the sick and make the dying well. 

Between her lips like fallen rain of pearl
On scarlet cushions twain her teeth reposed;
How bright they shone, how sweetly spoke the girl;
Each languid word new loveliness disclosed.

Between her arms that taper to the hand
Are set twin glories, beautiful to see.
Two snowy mountains in her bosom stand,
Mid golden thickets of embroidery.

Gold-bordered slippers on her gentle feet
Do guard her steps wherever she may move;
You'd swear that maid so radiantly sweet
Had them a present from the God of Love.

Her purple mantle fringed with satin round,
Her golden shift with scarlet borders gay,
Her gilded bodice o'er her bosom bound
Did all her fairy loveliness display ...

'I came to seek you: come away with me!'
Thus spake the lady, and her voice was low,
And in my ear she murmured secretly,
As softest notes from sweetest organs flow.

'I will not go.' I answered like a fool,
For love had brought me to distraction,
And as I spake that vision beautiful
Had vanished in the darkness and was gone.

And now my soul and body part in pain.
The queen with blushing check and brown-lashed eyes
Leaves me to pine and cometh not again,
Tho' she was kind and beautiful and wise ...

The mound of Midhir with its rampart fair,
The fort of Sanbh, Abhartach's magic hill,
No lady in their castles can compare
With this sweet maid for whom I languish still.

Not in Emania of the apple-trees,
Nor halls of Aonghus of the golden sword,
The fairy dwells that hath such charms as these,
So soft a beauty or so kind a word.

But she is gone, and I would follow fast'
To lands unknown, who languish in despair.
Would it were possible to find at last
That country and to dwell for ever there!

A little hour I loved her rosy cheek –
The ebb must follow ever on the flow –
The vision fled, the joy of love grew weak,
My spirit sank and I was left to woe.
Tadhg Dall O'Huiginn (d. 1591).

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