Yea, she hath passed hereby, and blessed the sheaves, And the great garths, and stacks, and quiet farms, And all the tawny, and the crimson leaves. Yea, she hath passed with poppies in her arms, Under the star of dusk, through stealing mist, And blessed the earth, and gone, while no man wist. With slow, reluctant feet, and weary eyes, And eye-lids heavy with the coming sleep, With small breasts lifted up in stress of sighs, She passed, as shadows pass, among the sheep; While the earth dreamed, and only I was wareOf that faint fragrance blown from her soft hair. The land lay steeped in peace of silent dreams; There was no sound amid the sacred boughs. Nor any mournful music in her streams: Only I saw the shadow on her brows, Only I knew her for the yearly slain, And wept, and weep until she come again.
I should add, however, that, particularly on the occasion of Samhain, bonfires were lit with the express intention of scaring away the demonic forces of winter, and we know that, at Bealltainn in Scotland, offerings of baked custard were made within the last hundred and seventy years to the eponymous spirits of wild animals which were particularly prone to prey upon the flocks - the eagle, the crow, and the fox, among others. Indeed, at these seasons all supernatural beings were held in peculiar dread. It seems by no means improbable that these circumstances reveal conditions arising out of a later solar pagan worship in respect of which the cult of fairy was relatively greatly more ancient, and perhaps held to be somewhat inimical.