Mary Eliza Tucker Lambert


On a verdant summer islet
I beheld a wondrous scene,
In a trance of dreamy waking-
Burial of a Fairy Queen!
First I heard some small pipes playing,
Like faint night-winds on the breeze,
Or the sound of distant rain-drops,
As they fall among the trees.
Floating softly o'er the waters,
And from every bell of foam,
The fairy anthem echoed sweetly,
Sad as thoughts of distant home.
Next the sound, as if of footsteps,
O'er the grass plot mov'd along;
And distinctly came the accents
Of the solemn funeral song.
Like the melting of the dew-drops,
Without words of grief or death,
Was the soul-enthralling music,
Scarcely louder than a breath.
Then my dreaming eyes were opened,
And in wonder I espied
Thousands of the fairy creatures
In a circle, side by side.
Scarcely taller than the leaflets
Of the herbage on the plain,
While their heads were bowed with anguish,
And their tear-drops fell like rain.
In the middle of the circle,
On a plat of grass most green,
Stood a bier of unknown flowers,
Whereon lay the Fairy Queen.
Ah, she was pale as any lily,
Cold and motionless as snow!
Fainter grew their solemn dirges,
And still deeper grew their wo!
Two sisters of the queenly fairy,
Stood at her feet and head,
And sang heart-broken measures,
Their requiems o'er the dead.
Scarcely louder than the twittering
Of the wood-lark's dewy breath-
But too full of desolation,
And the dark despair of death!
Then the flower-bier sank gently,
At the spot whereon it lay;
And the magic turf clos'd o'er it-
Thus the dead queen pass'd away!
Bright dew-drops glittered on the sward-
One fleet moment more, and then
The mystic troop sailed duskily,
And far from mortal ken.
The silence of the still midnight
The murmuring waters broke;
The moon, emerging from a cloud,
Shone on me, and I woke.