The Stolen Child
Where dips the rocky highlandOf Sleuth Wood in the lake,There lies a leafy islandWhere flapping herons wakeThe drowsy water-rats;There we've hid our faery vats,Full of berriesAnd of reddest stolen cherries.Come away, O human child!To the waters and the wildWith a faery, hand in hand,For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.Where the wave of moonlight glossesThe dim grey sands with light,Far off by furthest RossesWe foot it all the night,Weaving olden dances,Mingling hands and mingling glancesTill the moon has taken flight;To and fro we leapAnd chase the frothy bubbles,While the world is full of troublesAnd is anxious in its sleep.Come away, etc.Where the wandering water gushesFrom the hills above Glen-Car,In pools among the rushesThat scarce could bathe a star,We seek for slumbering troutAnd whispering in their earsGive them unquiet dreams;Leaning softly outFrom ferns that drop their tearsOver the young streams.Come away, etc.Away with us he's going,The solemn-eyed:He'll hear no more the lowingOf the calves on the warm hillsideOr the kettle on the hobSing peace into his breast,Or see the brown mice bobRound and round the oatmeal-chest.For he comes, the human child,To the waters and the wildWith a faery, hand in hand,From a world more full of weeping than he can understand.
-W. B. Yeats
Wilson discussed the poem in Axel's Castle as representative of Yeats' early verse. (Yeats wrote it in 1886.) It's been a bit of an ear-worm for me since then, especially the chorus.
It's been set to music several times. I know the Waterboys' version pretty well (from Fishermen's Blues), but in looking for it, I came across this lovely version by Loreena McKennitt: