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Poem from The Beauty and The Beast film

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The recent Disney remake of The Beauty and the Beast has an interesting scene where Belle and the Beast are walking in the woods, and Belle quotes a beautiful poem, one that is not too familiar to me at all:


A Crystal Forest

The air is blue and keen and cold,
With snow the roads and fields are white
But here the forest's clothed with light
And in a shining sheath enrolled.
Each branch, each twig, each blade of grass,
Seems clad miraculously with glass:
Above the ice-bound streamlet bends
Each frozen fern with crystal ends.


(William Sharp)


Then the script writers add their own lines:


"For in that solemn silence is heard in the whisper of every sleeping thing:

Look, look at me, Come wake me up for still here I'll be."


I have never heard of the poet, William Sharp. Apparently he was a friend and admirer of Dante Gabriel Rossetti - his first published work was a memoir of Rossetti. One interesting feature of Sharp's life is that it seems that he developed an obsession for a writer called Edith Rinder. For some reason, this caused him to start writing novels and poems under the pseudonym, Fiona MacLeod. He managed to keep this completely secret, and the true identity of MacLeod was not known until it was revealed by Sharp's wife, Elizabeth after his death.




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  • 4 months later...
On 4/10/2017 at 22:55, megustaleer said:

I like the poem you quote, so will try to find some more of his work.

Prompted by a re-reading of Christina's poem Goblin Market I have been looking at other poems about various kinds of Faerie Folk, and came across this one by William Sharp:


The Hills of Ruel

"Over the hills and far away" —
That is the tune I heard one day
When heather-drowsy I lay and listened
And watched where the stealthy sea-tide glistened.

Beside me there on the Hills of Ruel
An old man stooped and gathered fuel —
And I asked him this: if his son were dead,
As the folk in Glendaruel all said,
How could he still believe that never
Duncan had crossed the shadowy river.

Forth from his breast the old man drew
A lute that once on a rowan-tree grew:
And, speaking no words, began to play
"Over the hills and far away."
"But how do you know," I said, thereafter,
"That Duncan has heard the fairy laughter?
How do you know he has followed the cruel
Honey-sweet folk of the Hills of Ruel?"
"How do I know?" the old man said,
"Sure I know well my boy's not dead:
For late on the morrow they hid him, there
Where the black earth moistens his yellow hair,
I saw him alow on the moor close by,
I watched him low on the hillside lie,
An' I heard him laughin' wild up there,
An' talk, talk, talkin' beneath his hair —
For down o'er his face his long hair lay
But I saw it was cold and ashy grey.
Ay, laughin' and talkin' wild he was,
An' that to a Shadow out on the grass,
A Shadow that made my blood go chill,
For never its like have I seen on the hill.
An' the moon came up, and the stars grew white,
An' the hills grew black in the bloom o' the night,
An' I watched till the death-star sank in the moon
And the moonmaid fled with her flittermice shoon,
Then the Shadow that lay on the moorside there
Rose up and shook its wildmoss hair,
And Duncan he laughed no more, but grey
As the rainy dust of a rainy day,
Went over the hills and far away."

"Over the hills and far away" —
That is the tune I heard one day.
O that I too might hear the cruel
Honey-sweet folk of the Hills of Ruel. 

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  • 2 years later...
1 hour ago, woofwoof said:

 a little bit too 'rumpty rumpty tum' for my tastes! 

There is a bit of that about it, especially trying to read it aloud.

My instinctive pronunciation of "Ruel" is Roo-el, which makes rhyming "fuel" and "cruel" with it a bit nonsensical, and adds to the rumpty tumpty feel.

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Here is another fairy poem, called 'Mider's Song', by William Sharp, publishing as Fiona MacLeod:


How beautiful they are,
The lordly ones
Who dwell in the hills,
In the hollow hills.


They have faces like flowers
And their breath is wind
That blows over grass
Filled with dewy clover.


Their limbs are more white
Than shafts of moonshine:
They are more fleet
Than the March wind.


They laugh and are glad
And are terrible:
When their lances shake
Every green reed quivers.


How beautiful they are,
How beautiful,
The lordly ones
In the hollow hills.


I would go back
To the Country of the Young,
And see again
The lances of the Shee,


As they keep their hosting
With laughing cries
In pale places
Under the moon.


There is a beautiful setting of the first five verses by Rutland Boughton.

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