HumanitiesWeb.org - Editor's Selection of Poems (The Honey Robbers) by Walter de la Mare
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Editor's Selection of Poems
The Honey Robbers

by Walter de la Mare

There were two Fairies, Gimmul and Mel,
Loved Earth Man's honey passing well;
Oft at the hives of his tame bees
They would their sugary thirst appease.


When even began to darken to night,
They would hie along in the fading light.
With elf-locked hair and scarlet lips,
And small stone knives to slit the skeps,
So softly not a bee inside
Should hear the woven straw divide
And then with sly and greedy thumbs
Would rifle the sweet honeycombs.
And drowsily drone to drone would say,
'A cold, cold wind blows in this way';
And the great Queen would turn her head
From face to face, astonished,
And, though her maids with comb and brush
Would comb and soothe and whisper, 'Hush!'
About the hive would shrilly go
A keening--keening, to and fro;
At which those robbers 'neath the trees
Would taunt and mock the honey-bees,
And through their sticky teeth would buzz
Just as an angry hornet does.
And when this Gimmul and this Mel
Had munched and sucked and swilled their fill,
Or ever Man's first cock should grow
Back to their Faerie Mounds they'd go.
Edging across the twilight air,
Thieves of a guise remotely fair.
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