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The Isle of Lone

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The Isle of Lone
written by Walter de la Mare
Songs of Childhood (1902) Link to further information




    Three dwarfs there were which lived on an isle,
      And the name of the isle was Lone,
    And the names of the dwarfs were Alliolyle,
      Lallerie, Muziomone.

    Alliolyle was green of een,
      Lallerie light of locks,
    Muziomone was mild of mien,
      As ewes in April flocks.

    Their house was small and sweet of the sea,
      And pale as the Malmsey wine;
    Their bowls were three, and their beds were three,
      And their nightcaps white were nine.

    Their beds were of the holly-wood,
      Their combs of the tortoiseshell,
    Their mirrors clear as wintry flood,
      Frozen dark and snell.

    So each would lie on his plumpy pillow,
      The moon for company,
    And hear the parrot scream to the billow,
      And the billow roar reply.--

    Sulphur parrots, and parrots red,
      Scarlet, and flame, and green;
    And five-foot apes that jargon├Ęd
      In feathery-tufted treen.

    And oh, or ever the dawning shed
      On dreams a narrow flame,
    Three gaping dwarfs gat out of bed
      And gazed upon the same.

    At dawn they fished, at noon they snared
      Young foxes in the dells,
    At even on dew-berries they fared,
      And blew in their twisted shells.

    Dark was the sea they gambolled in,
      And thick with silver fish,
    Dark as green glass blown clear and thin
      To be a monarch's dish.

    They sate to sup in a jasmine bower,
      Lit pale with flies of fire,
    Their bowls the hue of the iris-flower,
      And lemon their attire.

    Sweet wine in little cups they sipped,
      And golden honeycomb
    Into their bowls of cream they dipped,
      Whipt light and white as foam.

    Alliolyle, where the salt sea flows,
      Taught three old apes to sing,
    And there to the moon, like a full-blown rose,
      They capered in a ring.

    But down to the shore skipped Lallerie,
      His parrot on his thumb,
    And the twain they scritched in mockery,
      While the dancers go and come.

    So, alas! in the evening, rosy and still,
      Light-haired Lallerie
    Bitterly quarrelled with Alliolyle
      By the yellow-sanded sea.

    The rising moon swam sweet and large
      Before their furious eyes,
    And they rolled and rolled to the coral marge
      Where the surf for ever cries.

    Too late, too late, comes Muziomone:
      Clear in the clear green sea
    Alliolyle lies not alone,
      But clasped with Lallerie.

    He blows on his shell plaintive notes;
      Ape, parraquito, bee
    Flock where a shoe on the salt wave floats,--
      The shoe of Lallerie.

    He fetches nightcaps, one and nine,
      Grey apes he dowers three,
    His house as fair as the Malmsey wine
      Seems sad as cypress-tree.

    Three bowls he brims with honeycomb
      To feast the bumble bees,
    Saying, 'O bees, be this your home,
      For grief is on the seas!'

    He sate him lone in a coral grot,
      At the flowing of the tide;
    When ebbed the billow, there was not,
      Save coral, aught beside.

    So hairy apes in three white beds,
      And nightcaps, one and nine,
    On moonlit pillows lay three heads
      Bemused with dwarfish wine.

    A tomb of coral, the dirge of bee,
      The grey apes' guttural groan
    For Alliolyle, for Lallerie,
      For thee, O Muziomone!

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