(William Makepeace Thackeray)

Fairy Days

Beside the old hall-fireupon my nurse's knee,
Of happy fairy dayswhat tales were told to me!
I thought the world was onceall peopled with princesses,
And my heart would beat to heartheir loves and their distresses:
And many a quiet night,in slumber sweet and deep,
The pretty fairy peoplewould visit me in sleep.

I saw them in my dreamscome flying east and west,
With wondrous fairy giftsthe newborn babe they bless'd;
One has brought a jeweland one a crown of gold,
And one has brought a cursebut she is wrinkled and old.
The gentle queen turns paleto hear those words of sin,
But the king he only laughsand bids the dance begin.

The babe has grown to bethe fairest of the land,
And rides the forest greena hawk upon her hand,
An ambling palfrey whitea golden robe and crown:
I've seen her in my dreamsriding up and down:
And heard the ogre laughas she fell into his snare,
At the little tender creaturewho wept and tore her hair!

But ever when it seemedher need was at the sorest,
A prince in shining mailcomes prancing through the forest,
A waving ostrich-plumea buckler burnished bright;
I've seen him in my dreamsgood sooth! a gallant knight.
His lips are coral redbeneath a dark moustache;
See how he waves his handand how his blue eyes flash!

'Come forth, thou Paynim knight!'he shouts in accents clear.
The giant and the maidboth tremble his voice to hear.
Saint Mary guard him well!he draws his falchion keen,
The giant and the knightare fighting on the green.
I see them in my dreamshis blade gives stroke on stroke,
The giant pants and reelsand tumbles like an oak!

With what a blushing gracehe falls upon his knee
And takes the lady's handand whispers, 'You are free!'
Ah! happy childish talesof knight and faerie!
I waken from my dreamsbut there's ne'er a knight for me;
I waken from my dreamsand wish that I could be
A child by the old hall-fireupon my nurse's knee! 

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