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First, a note: Lois McMaster Bujold's newest fantasy book, The Sharing Knife: Beguilement, comes out on Tuesday. I had the good fortune of receiving an advance reader's copy from Ms. Bujold, and I can say that both this new story, and the new universe in which it is set, are simply wonderful. Now you can see for yourself, because HarperCollins has posted sample chapters here to whet readers' appetites. Enjoy!

dannyboy8406 is also making Halloween-related posts this month, so check out his LJ for more spooky goodness.

Now, on the countdown! According to the Edmonton Journal, the fourth scariest poem is "Lady Button-Eyes" by Eugene Field (1894). (Shades of Neil Gaiman's Coraline, anyone?) Here is the poem:

When the busy day is done,
And my weary little one
Rocketh gently to and fro;
When the night winds softly blow,
And the crickets in the glen
Chirp and chirp and chirp again;
When upon the haunted green
Fairies dance around their queen—
Then from yonder misty skies
Cometh Lady Button-Eyes.

Through the murk and mist and gloam
To our quiet, cozy home,
Where to singing, sweet and low,
Rocks a cradle to and fro;
Where the clock’s dull monotone
Telleth of the day that’s done;
Where the moonbeams hover o’er
Playthings sleeping on the floor—
Where my weary wee one lies
Cometh Lady Button-Eyes.


Cometh like a fleeting ghost
From some distant eerie coast;
Never footfall can you hear
As that spirit fareth near—
Never whisper, never word
From that shadow-queen is heard.
In ethereal raiment dight,
From the realm of fay and sprite
In the depth of yonder skies
Cometh Lady Button-Eyes.

Layeth she her hands upon
My dear weary little one,
And those white hands overspread
Like a veil the curly head,
Seem to fondle and caress
Every little silken tress;
Then she smooths the eyelids down
Over those two eyes of brown—
In such soothing, tender wise
Cometh Lady Button-Eyes.

Dearest, feel upon your brow
That caressing magic now;
For the crickets in the glen
Chirp and chirp and chirp again,
While upon the haunted green
Fairies dance around their queen,
And the moonbeams hover o’er
Playthings sleeping on the floor—
Hush, my sweet! from yonder skies
Cometh Lady Button-Eyes!


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Comments

( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
lin4gondor
Oct. 7th, 2006 01:35 pm (UTC)
This is an amazing poem, it makes me feel quite relaxed... ;-)

I've been lurking here of late, so thought I would stop lurking and friend you instead, if that's okay. I'm Linaewen from the LOTR Fanclub, in case you weren't sure.
lin4gondor
Oct. 7th, 2006 02:10 pm (UTC)
Wonder why I didn't think it was scary....?
eldritchhobbit
Oct. 8th, 2006 12:30 am (UTC)
To me, it's deceptively lulling and soothing on first read. Then I think about it - a lady with buttons for eyes drawing one into sleep - and it gets a surreal feel to it. Not shriek-worthy, but a wee bit unsettling.
eldritchhobbit
Oct. 7th, 2006 09:55 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much! I've friended you back. I'm so glad you've joined my flist! If you'd like to be added to the filter for music mixes, just let me know.

I know what you mean about the poem. There's a soothing, bewitching feel to it. I'm glad you like it!
maidoforange
Oct. 7th, 2006 02:29 pm (UTC)
Oooooh. It IS spooky and definitely reminiscent of Coraline, a book I adore. Thanks, EH!
eldritchhobbit
Oct. 7th, 2006 09:55 pm (UTC)
You're most welcome! I'm so glad you liked it. :)
rosamundeb
Oct. 7th, 2006 06:20 pm (UTC)
? And why is this scary? I mean, other than the strange name!
eldritchhobbit
Oct. 8th, 2006 12:35 am (UTC)
I can see how it's a bit unsettling - a creature with buttons for eyes, seducing one into helpless sleep - but I can also see how it could be considered soothing (maybe without the faeries dancing on haunted greens part, at least). It's deceptively mild, though, definitely not scream-inducing like Poe or some of the others. :)

It's the choice I found most surprising on these lists, I must admit. Though it's bound up now with Coraline in my mind, and that is a wonderfully morbid and chilling book, I think.
rosamundeb
Oct. 8th, 2006 01:33 am (UTC)
I imagine it's a poem that parents used to lull their children to sleep, and the people responding on the poll were the ones who, as children, found it somewhat less than soothing - *L*!

Then again,

"When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall,
and down will come baby, cradle and all"

never seemed particularly reassuring either...!
eldritchhobbit
Oct. 8th, 2006 02:01 pm (UTC)
and the people responding on the poll were the ones who, as children, found it somewhat less than soothing

Ha! Very good point.

Then again,
"When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall,
and down will come baby, cradle and all"
never seemed particularly reassuring either...!


Good grief, you're right! It's a wonder we're not all under our beds, whimpering to this day. Yikes!

witchcat07
Oct. 8th, 2006 01:20 am (UTC)
You're right, it does make one think of Coraline, the creepiest children's book I have ever read, and that filled me with foreboding till the end. And the idea of any unknown spirit hovering over one's child should give any parent pause.
eldritchhobbit
Oct. 8th, 2006 01:52 pm (UTC)
Ooooh, Coraline is wonderful. I'm glad this reminded you of it, too.

And the idea of any unknown spirit hovering over one's child should give any parent pause.

Excellent point!
green_key
Oct. 8th, 2006 05:55 am (UTC)
I love that poem. ::adds to mems::
eldritchhobbit
Oct. 8th, 2006 01:52 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad! :)
thehornedgod
Oct. 8th, 2006 01:06 pm (UTC)
Very cool. To me it does seem sinister as well as lulling.
eldritchhobbit
Oct. 8th, 2006 01:53 pm (UTC)
Oh good - it's not just me, then. I'm so glad you liked it!
arymetore
Oct. 8th, 2006 04:33 pm (UTC)
Hmm... my only thought as to why it would be particularly unsettling (in addition to some of the previous comments) would be that Lady Button-Eyes might be an allusion to the spectre of death... In a similar vein to the children's rhyme Ring Around the Rosie is about the precautions and signs of the Black Death...
eldritchhobbit
Oct. 8th, 2006 08:37 pm (UTC)
Good point!
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )

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