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THE GREEN ISLES OF OCEAN.1[1]

Where are they, those green fairy islands, reposing
In sunlight and beauty on ocean's calm breast!
What spirit, the things which are hidden disclosing,
Shall point the bright way to their dwellings of rest?

Oh! lovely they rose on the dreams of past ages,
The mighty have sought them, undaunted in faith;
But the land hath been sad for her warriors and sages,
For the guide to those realms of the blessèd is death.

Where are they, the high-minded children of glory,
Who steer'd for those distant green spots on the wave?
To the winds of the ocean they left their wild story,
In the fields of their country they found not a grave.

Perchance they repose where the summer-breeze gathers
From the flowers of each vale immortality's breath;
But their steps shall be ne'er on the hills of their fathers—
For the guide to those realms of the blessèd is death.



  1. 1The "Green Islands of Ocean," or "Green Spots of the Floods," called in the Triads "Gwerddonan Llion," (respecting which some remarkable superstitions have been preserved in Wales,) were supposed to be the abode of the Fair Family, or souls of the virtuous Druids, who could not enter the Christian heaven, but were permitted to enjoy this paradise of their own. Gafran, a distinguished British chieftain of the fifth century, went on a voyage with his family to discover these islands; but they were never heard of afterwards. This event, the voyage of Merddin Emrys with his twelve bards, and the expedition of Madoc, were called the three losses by disappearance of the island of Britain.—See W. O. Pughe's Cambrian Biography; also Cambro-Briton, I. 124.