by Unknown

All-hallow Eve! All-hallow Eve! busy and brisk blows thy wintry wind;
Softly whisper the fallen leaves, with which the moss-grown roads are lin'd.
'Neath the moon's light, eve looks like morn, coldly waiting the rising sun;
Coming to kiss with crimson lips night's dewy globules one by one.
    Oh, 'tis the night for maids to prove,
    Whether be true or false their love.
And many a heart will quickly beat, as Savain's magic spells are wove.

Three brave, young, merry maidens, now, as merry as maids can be,
And carefully shrouded in dark blue cloaks, cry out all breathlessly:
"We'll by the road, to the old ruined church, and visit St. Kiernan's well,
No fear tonight, for the moon's light, will guide us sare by brake and dell.
    And there be sure, we will divine,
    Perhaps by sound, perhaps by sign,
When and where, or e'en if ever, our bridal wreaths we may entwine."

These gay and innocent maidens were all most purely fair and young,
Their hearts wild mirth welled up to-night, and rippled upon their tongue;
Like music swell'd their joyous tones, as of miracles now to pass,
They lightly talk, whilst their naked feet press the cold November grass.
    Courageous Eveline who dares
    All things, a mystic mirror bears,
In which the moon will truly tell in shadows her virginal years.

Sweet Bridget had some rhyme to say, and magic seeds to sow,
Which in a loved initial would ere morning take root and grow;
But Kathleen, modest maiden, only meant to look on when she pray'd
At the northern cross by St. Kiernan's church, to implore the good saint's aid
    For one away, beloved, and true.
    Alas! the maiden little knew,
From o'er the sea where cold he lay, how Savain's wind to-night his dead dust blew!

They near the church, and the northern cross; for a while young Kathleen kneels,
Then one by one with holy awe round the old church each softly steals;
How quick and strong their young hearts beat, as down the slope's steep side they dash.
Whose verdure leads to the sainted spring, 'neath the shade of an hoary ash,
    The noblest grown or ever seen,
    In size surpassing all, I ween;
A canopy fitting a pilgrim's shrine, when it spreads its branches green.

The young girls now close crouch together, and silently move along,
Lest they might start the bespeckled trout, which ever these waters throng.
Then from the brink of St. Kiernan's well they move the moist weeds away,
While many a secret wish they breathe, and many a love rhyme say.
    And 'tis said from the murm'ring spring,
    There up-bubbled a mourning ring,
On which was written, mid strange device, these words, "To the grave I bring!"

Though all mirth lies hush'd within their hearts, the maids have courage still
To try for whose finger tapering fair, came this omen of ill;
Too large for Nell, for Bridget too small, poor Kathleen tries it last,
When lo! the fatal ring slips on, fitting her wedding finger fast.
    Now faintly breathed, and broken,
    Are the words of anguish spoken,
As they wend their way to their cottage homes, bearing the awful token.

All-hallow Eve! All-hallow Eve! drearily blows thy wintry wind,
Ghost-like rustle the skeleton leaves, with which the mossy roads are lin'd ;
The harvest moon looks pale and cold, half-wise hiding behind a cloud;
Her shadow covers each trembling tree, with a grey and misty shroud.
    Breaks an ominous, warning sound,
    The woods re-echo all around—
A raven's croak, as on he flies, 'mid air over the humid ground.

Sweet Kathleen pin'd, sweet Kathleen died; to the old cross where she made her tryst,
Bridget and Nell, with grief-stricken hearts, bore her to her chilly rest.
Old matrons tell the legend now, with solemn shaking of the head;
Well they knew on that fatal night, Kathleen cross'd the dust of the dead.
    They heard far off a low deep knell,
    Slowly toll'd from the churchyard bell,
When by ivied arch and ruin'd church, she walk'd that night to St. Kiernan's Well.

No comments: