A HALLOW-EVE CHANT
by: William Allingham (1824-1889)
POEMS BY WILLIAM ALLINGHAM
- he Autumn's elfin gold turns pale,
- And twilight closes fast and chill,
- And dirge-like winds with lengthening wail
- Moan low, or rise with whistle shrill.
- In winter's night the year declines,
- A night that gaily we receive,
- For thick with happy stars it shines--
- Its Hesper, Hallow-eve!
- Fresh-dawning Hallow-eve!
- Sweet new-old Hallow-eve!
- For what thou wert, for what thou art,
- Twice-welcome, Hallow-eve!
- It freezes, but no frost on earth
- The seasons of the soul can blight;
- Here bloom at once a Spring of mirth,
- A Summer-tide of joy tonight.
- Though days grow short, this Fire's a sun
- That will not set without our leave;
- Our hearts are flowering every one
- In the beams of Hallow-eve!
- Warm-glowing Hallow-eve!
- Far sweeter flowers than April's dowers
- Are these of Hallow-eve!
- 'Tis Autumn too; who can may snatch
- The golden fruit from bough or pail;
- But Fire and Water closely watch
- The treasure, as in fairy tale.
- And sure this is a fairy hour,
- That lets the spirit-world retrieve
- A little while its ancient power,
- In right of Hallow-eve!
- Mysterious Hallow-eve!
- Fantastic Hallow-eve!
- To hall and hob our childhood's throb
- Returns with Hallow-eve!
- Heav'n's stars were used for lamps of old
- The future's mantling mist to clear;
- By earth-stars are our fortunes told,
- The Nuts in constellation here.
- Glimpse of the patterns, gay or dull,
- From which the Fatal Spinsters weave
- Our life-threads for their Berlin-wool,
- Is caught from Hallow-eve!
- Love-sibyl, Hallow-eve!
- Heart-prophet, Hallow-eve!
- A nut can hold the story told
- All through by Hallow-eve!
- Now love in cabbage-stalk can read
- Papyrus-wealth of hidden lore;
- Or raise a crop from garden-seed,
- Like that from dragons' teeth of yore.
- Tonight before the wasted fire
- A phantom turns the drying sleeve--
- The treasured thought, the heart's desire,
- Takes shape from Hallow-eve!
- Fair-shadowing Hallow-eve!
- Gay-threatening Hallow-eve!
- A guardian sprite, a witch in white,
- Is gentle Hallow-eve!
- Here are no eyes to frown us grave,
- No tongues to creak in rusty talk;
- And cares take flight before our stave,
- Like goblins from the crow of cock.
- What grim and shadowy spectre hosts
- Do men as substances receive?
- Tonight we supersede such ghosts
- By those of Hallow-eve!
- Our laughing Hallow-eve!
- Our loving Hallow-eve!
- Till love and mirth have fled from earth,
- Our thrice-dear Hallow-eve!
|"A Hallow-Eve Chant" is reprinted from Poems. William Allingham. London: Chapman and Hall, 1850.