WHEN the darkness of night has fallen, 

And the birds are fast asleep, 

An army of silent searchers 

From the dusky shadows creep; 

And over the quiet meadows, 

Or amid the waving trees, 

They wander about with their tiny lamps 

That flash in the evening breeze. 

And this army of silent searchers, 

Each with his flickering light, 

Wanders about till the morning 

Has driven away the night. 

What treasures they may be seeking 

No man upon earth can know; 

Perhaps 'tis the home of the fairies, 

Who lived in the long ago. 

For an ancient legend tells us 

That once, when the fairy king 

Had summoned his merry minstrels 

At the royal feast to sing, 

The moon, high over the tree-tops, 

With the stars, refused to shine, 

And an army with tiny torches 

Was called from the oak and pine. 

And when, by the imps of darkness, 

The fairies were chased away, 

The army began its searching 

At the close of a dreary day; 

Through all the years that have followed, 

The seekers have searched the night, 

Piercing the gloom of the hours 

With the flash of their magic light. 

Would you see the magical army? 

Then come to the porch with me! 

Yonder among the hedges, 

And near to the maple tree, 

Over the fields of clover, 

And down in the river-damp, 

The fireflies search till the morning, 

Each with his flickering lamp. 

—Henry Ripley Dorr.