English Literature

Pixies’ Plot by Eden Phillpotts

Pixies' Plot by Eden Phillpotts.jpg


(A pleasant maxim of old time directed the gardener to leave one corner as nature planned it, for the little people. Thus welcomed, they might be trusted to show their human hosts goodwill, friendship, and service.)

You have it, or you have it not:
The cantle of the Pixies’ plot,
Where never spade nor hoe shall ply
To break that treasured sanctity.
Touch no bloom there; uproot no weed;
Let what will blow.
Suffer the thistle, briar and thorn to grow,
The dandelion to seed.
Though full the garden of your mind,
Well planted on a soil that’s kind;
Your hedges gay, your borders clean,
Your seasons fair, your clime serene,
Yet trammel not the Pixies’ mite,
For well-coming
Chance little, wandering, weary, fairy thing
Lost in the dim owl-light.
Still virgin, free and set apart,
Ordain one dingle of your heart,
Where visions home and wing to you
The golden dreams that might come true.
Herein a gentler dawn than day
Shall often break
For foot-sore spirits, tired of reason’s ache,
And children come to play.


When chafers drone their litany
And pray, “Oh, Father, grant that we
From airy-mouse delivered be,”
Go seek the charm.
Under the sky, when a star shoots,
Beneath an oak, when the owl hoots,
Gather ye simples, dig ye roots
For the rare charm.
That glassy ghost upon a thorn–
The raiment of a snake outworn–
Must backward through the dark be borne
To feed the charm.
A glow-worm–she whose gentle light
Glimmers green-gold through a blue night
Beside the churchyard aconite–
Shall help the charm.
One willow from the cradle take
Where a boy baby lies awake,
And splinters off a coffin break
To build the charm.
A tarnished silver chalice bring,
Dead gossips gave at christening,
And dip the moonlight from a spring
To crown the charm.
This much, God wot, a child might do,
Yet all must fail if haply you
Lack a child’s faith, so trusting, true,
To bless the charm.
Many the spells of high degree
And fruitful happiness I see
All lost, for faith to set them free
And work the charm.


The harp of night had silver strings,
The moon was low, the stars burned dim,
When from a wood, with roaring wings,
Joe flushed a brace of cherubim.
His eye did bulge at sign so brave
To see the shining angels pass;
Then, happening beside her grave,
He met his dead and buried ass!
She’d broke a leg and so was slain
And buried here a week ago;
Now, all alive and sound again,
She brayed with joy to welcome Joe!
A holy cross that donkeys bear,
Since Jesus Christ did deign to ride,
The cherubs tempted to repair
That ancient beast in bone and hide.
The harp of morn had golden strings
Ere home they came–Joe’s ass and he;
And when their neighbours heard these things
They praised the Lord right heartily.

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