The Elf-King's Daughter

The Kingdom of Elfland, proud and free,
With only the Law of Delight to bind it,
Where is it truly famed to be?
'Tis wheresoever we list to find it.

O'erwatched by all its peaks of gold,
There dwelt beside the Magic Water,
In forests drowsy with silence old,
That wild white Bliss, the Elf-King's Daughter.

And the elfin world was all she knew,
Till at last, on rash and luckless pinions,
Out of her father's realm she flew,
And sped across Night to Man's dominions.

She flew through calms, she flew through storms,
She alighted here and mocked at danger;
But soon she beheld two darksome forms —
Pain the Unknown, and Death the Stranger.

Aghast she gazed upon both these twain:
She had seen no shapes that theirs resembled.
No word had she heard of Death or Pain,
And they looked in her face and she quailed and trembled.

She strove to flee, upon mistlike wings,
But the mistlike wings, with foiled endeavour,
Drooped aTher sides as useless things,
Palsied in this our air for ever.

So here she remains, a wandering sprite,
And guards her secret and veils her story;
And sometimes, far in the heart of night,
She hath a glimpse of her vanished glory.

For then this region in dreams she spurns,
Revisits the verge of the Magic Water,
In dreams to her father's court returns,
And is — till the dawn — the Elf-King's Daughter.
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