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37 Soft o’er their bosom’s beating - the only human sound – They hear the silky footsteps of the silent fairy crowd. Like a river in the air, gliding round. No scream can any raise, no prayer can any say, But wild, wild, the terror of the speechless three- For they feel fair Anna Grace drawn silently away, By whom they dare not look to see. They feel their tresses twine with her parting locks of gold, And the curls elastic falling as her head withdraws; They feel her sliding arms from their tranced arms unfold. But they may not look to see the cause: For heavy of their senses the faint enchantment lies Through all that night of anguish and perilous amaze; And neither fear nor wonder can ope their quivering eyes Or their limbs from the cold ground raise, Till out of night the earth has roll’d her dewy side, With every haunted mountain and streamy vale below; When, as the mist dissolves in the yellow morning tide, The maiden’s trance dissolveth so. Then fly the ghastly three as swiftly as they may, And tell their tale of sorrow to anxious friends in vain- The pinned away and died within the year and day, And ne’er was Anna Grace seen again.’ Fairy changelings [Back to Contents] William Allingham, ‘The Fairies’ (Taken from Poems, 1850). William Allingham (1824-89) was born at Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal. While he was one of the most celebrated and well-known Irish poets in the Victorian era; his work was relatively

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