Verse > Anthologies > > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse
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Arthur Quiller-Couch, comp.  The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse.  1922.
 
The Death of Puck
By Eugene Lee-Hamilton (1845–1907)
 
I
I FEAR that Puck is dead,—it is so long
  Since men last saw him;—dead with all the rest
  Of that sweet elfin crew that made their nest
In hollow nuts, where hazels sing their song;
Dead and for ever, like the antique throng        5
  The elves replaced: the Dryad that you guess’d
  Behind the leaves; the Naiad weed-bedress’d;
The leaf-ear’d Faun that loved to lead you wrong.
 
Tell me, thou hopping Robin, hast thou met
  A little man, no bigger than thyself,        10
Whom they call Puck, where woodland bells are wet?
  Tell me, thou Wood-Mouse, hast thou seen an elf
Whom they call Puck, and is he seated yet,
  Capp’d with a snail-shell, on his mushroom shelf?
 
II
THE ROBIN gave three hops, and chirp’d, and said:
        15
  ‘Yes, I knew Puck, and loved him; though I trow
  He mimick’d oft my whistle, chuckling low;
Yes, I knew cousin Puck; but he is dead.
We found him lying on his mushroom bed—
  The Wren and I,—half cover’d up with snow,        20
  As we were hopping where the berries grow.
We think he died of cold. Ay, Puck is fled.’
 
And then the Wood-Mouse said: ‘We made the Mole
  Dig him a little grave beneath the moss,
And four big Dormice placed him in the hole.        25
  The Squirrel made with sticks a little cross;
Puck was a Christian elf, and had a soul;
  And all we velvet jackets mourn his loss.’
 
 
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