Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
 
874. The Willis
 
By David Law Proudfit
 
 
THE WILLIS are out to-night,
In the ghostly pale moonlight,
With robes and faces white.
 
Swiftly they circle round,
And make not any sound,        5
Nor footprint on the ground.
 
The forest is asleep;
All things that fly or creep
A death-like silence keep.
 
A fear is over all;        10
From spectral trees and tall
The gathering night-dews fall.
 
Moveless are leaf and limb,
While through the forest dim
Slow glides a figure slim.        15
 
A figure slim and fair,
With loosened, streaming hair,
Watching the Willis there!
 
“These are the ghosts,” she said,
“Of hapless ones unwed,        20
Who loved and now are dead.”
 
Her hair was drenched with dew;
The moonlight shimmered through,
And showed its raven hue.
 
“Each one of these,” she cried,        25
“Or ever she was a bride,
For love’s sake sinned and died.”
 
“I come,” she said, “I too;
Ye are by one too few,”
And joined the phantom crew.        30
 
Swiftly they circled round,
Nor was there any sound,
Nor footprint on the ground.
 

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