Sat a damsel on the hillside
In the fading afternoon,
When the Summer flung her roses
In the grassy lap of June;
Came three elves and danced around her,
Blithesome, sprightly creatures they,
Like the birds that soar above us,
Or glad children at their play.
Said the first one: "Damsel, follow!
With us to the forest hie;
Lisping streams will bid thee welcome,
As they mirror back the sky.
Sad-eyed doves will coo a greeting
As they flutter "mid the leaves."
Said the damsel: "Nay, I cannot,
For my tender mother grieves."
Said the second: "Damsel, hear me!
We have there a home for thee,
139Where we've built fair jess'mine bowers
Through the sunny greenery.
We will dance at early morning,
And sing quiet lays at eve."
Said the damsel: "Nay, entreat not,
For my mother much would grieve."
Said the third one: "Damsel, Damsel!
Love is waiting for thee there,
With a wreath of shining moonbeams
Twined about his flowing hair.
He has taught soft flutes to quiver
With the music of his heart.
Little Damsel, charming Damsel,
Wilt not come and do thy part?
Then the damsel rose and followed
To the dreamy forest glade,
And a tranquil, rippling cadence
Was the only sound she made.
Had the lisping streams enticed her?
Were the jess'mine bowers so fair?
Or was it a mystic heart-call
That is potent everywhere?