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For they had not their queen obeyed)
To where a mortal sleeping lay; A form he had of noble mien,
A youth but twenty summers old, So strange a sight they ne'er had seen,
For Peries may not man behold, Except, as 'twas these Peries' fate, When banished from the fairy state.
The youth had left his native town
And glad of any place of rest, Where he could sit and hide his shame.
Far from the road the traveller prest; And so, beside the cooling stream He lay him down to sleep and dream. And when the Peries found him there His brow had not a trace of care, For blessed sleep oblivion brings, And peace and healing on her wings; And ever as the eyelids close She fans them into sweet repose, Or hovers lightly round and round, And he her healing influence found; But when he woke to light and air And saw that radiant vision there, He deemed that he was sleeping still,
So fair to him the Peries seemed, Those lovely ladies of the hill,
Fairer than all he'd ever dreamed.
The Peries knew the Deeves were near,
And they were frightened to depart, Else had they not in mortal ear
Pour'd their lament to touch his heart; But well they knew no Deeves would come So near the paths where mortals roam, And him they asked by them to stay 'Till night should warn their foes away, Or they could glide unheard, unseen, To seek some far-off fairy green. The youth replied, with silvery tongue, “Oh! maidens bright and fair and young, Let me your wandering steps attend, Your knight, your guardian, and your friend; I have no home, alone I stray A cruel father to obey, My birth-right to myself belongs, But you shall teach me fairy songs, And all of earth I'll freely yield So that by you to me revealed The spell of Earth to set me free, That I may live and die with thee, That I may dwell with forms so fair, May soar with thee the upper air, And all your dear enchantments know, For this I would the world forego.”
Then said the fairest of the three,
Then said the youth, whom passion fired,
When lo! they came off in his hand,
He sees a mortal near him stand : The Peri, beauteous as before, But not with the same smile she wore. The radiant glow had left no trace, The strain of earth was on her face. “Oh! give me, give me back my wings,
Or I shall pine and I shall die, For even yet my spirit clings
To my dear sisters of the sky; I long to join them in the halls Where they will meet when twilight falls, But of my Peri wings bereft On earth I am for ever left.”. Then said the youth, “I'd have it so, You to my father's house shall go, And I will say how did betide The chance that gave to me a brideA bride more beauteous, bright, and fair Than mortal ever home did bear; And I'll to thee be kind and true, And never thou this day shalt rue. I'll keep thy wings, and should'st thou say In time, you wish to fly away, Then freely will I them restore." The trembling Peri said no more; But loudly wailed her sisters two, When they her fate and future knew ; In vain the stranger they implored Her wings might be to her restored. He answered but “Adieu-adieu," As from him, weeping, then they flew.
The merchant's son took home his bride,
Thus time passed on, the merchant's son,
Whose banners proudly were unfurled Where'er the red sun set or rose :
The merchant princes of the world. But scarce ten years had passed away
A cloud came o'er the merchant's brow, Some creditors had failed to pay,
And he must be long absent now;
Affairs of import bade him go
Must he entrust his beauteous wife.
And bade her guard her as her life;
And long her absent lord she mourned, And well to keep her heart up strived;
And still to make complaint she scorned, Though many a weary, weary day Passed o'er, her husband still away. The nurse, as oft will nurses old, Full many a tale and legend told To keep her mistress dear amused, Though never she her trust abused, 'Till one day—'twas to soothe her careShe told her “ She was passing fair, And that she'd often wonder'd how She kept the wrinkles from her brow, And held her seeming youth so long, And still appeared so fair and strong, More like a girl of tender years Than one beset with doubt and fears." The Peri-wife she blushed deep red; Then, whispering to the nurse, she said, “ Fetch me that pair of fragile wings, Locked up with Selim's choicest things; I know he left with you the keyJust for a minute, you shall see How I those fairy things could wear, For oft I've longed for such a pair, And then you'll see how I shall look.” The curious nurse her way she took And found, suspecting nothing wrong,
The pair of wings, as she'd been told. The wings that had been hidden long,