A Spirit in the Glens


A spirit fascinating, ageless dwells

Besides the glinting streams where rocks abound,

Where young and vigorous cataracts swift dash

Homing towards the sea from higher ground

In many a dancing swirl and rainbow flash

In Mannin’s leafy dells;

A spirit that, with all pervading sense

Haunts the green aisles and cloistered twilit glades,

And fills with unseen life the silent shades;

There is a spirit in the lovely glens !


And trav’llers through these woods have felt its power,

And giv’n into its presence many names,

‘Yn Tarroo-Ushtey’ and ‘Phynnoderee’;

And cottagers have dared to lay their claims

Of having seen this faery entity.

And in some magic hour

They have constrained the supernatural

To aid them in their work by day and night;

And yet I feel that not to human sight

Vouchsafed can be forms so ethereal.


As he who in a vast cathedral feels

The nearness of a Mind beyond his ken,

So that instinctively he bares his head

And knows he is upborne from earth and men

To mingle with the concourse of the dead,

So that there subtly steals

A balm not ministered by human kind,

That by some consummate mysterious art

Exalts his soul and soothes his anxious heart;

So in the glens this cleansing grace I find.


Not sprite, nor elf, nor any faery clan,

Not any denizen of unplumbed pool

Nor monster from a yawning mountain cave,

Not any imp, nor some poor half-crazed fool,

Nor any ghost from dark unhallowed grave

Give of this unction can;

But one that breathes with Nature’s living breath,

Whose face with flowers and grass and trees is fair;

Free as the stars, pervasive as the air,

Untouched by time or change, unstilled by death !


Courier     22.1.60