by: William Allingham (1824-1889)

      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.




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