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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Ireland: Vol. V. 1876–79.


The Enchanted Island

By Anonymous

TO Rathlin’s Isle I chanced to sail,

When summer breezes softly blew,

And there I heard so sweet a tale,

That oft I wished it could be true.

They said, at eve, when rude winds sleep,

And hushed is every turbid swell,

A mermaid rises from the deep,

And sweetly tunes her magic shell.

And while she plays, rock, dell, and cave

In dying falls the sound retain,

As if some choral spirits gave

Their aid to swell her witching strain.

Then summoned by that dulcet note,

Uprising to the admiring view,

A fairy island seems to float

With tints of many a gorgeous hue.

And glittering fanes and lofty towers

All on this fairy isle are seen;

And waving trees and shady bowers,

With more than mortal verdure green.

And as it moves, the western sky

Glows with a thousand varying rays;

And the calm sea, tinged with each dye,

Seems like a golden flood of blaze.

They also say, if earth or stone

From verdant Erin’s hallowed land

Were on this magic island thrown,

Forever fixed it then would stand.

But when for this some little boat

In silence ventures from the shore,

The mermaid sinks, hushed is the note,

The fairy isle is seen no more!