And passing bands go by them softly;
Weary eyes grow moist and glad,
As, touching sleeves, the soldiers whisper,
"The little one has found her lad."
ST. JOHN'S WORT.
IN the valleys of the Tyrol,
When the twilight waxes dim,
And the elves are all exorcised
By the tender vesper-hymn;
When the grim Walpurgis witches,
Balder's host, are lying dead,—
Then they whisper tale and legend,
Half in earnest, half in dread,
Of the dim St. John's wort shining
Through one mystic summer night—
Of its branch across the doorway,
Barring elfin curse and blight;
Whisper, too, a pleasant story,
That its leaves within the shoe
Thus can make a journey tireless,
Though its leagues be not a few.
If I gather from the meadow
Slippers full to keep and wear,
Shall I never more be weary,
Though I wander here and there?