A Witch’s Chant for Halloween

Happy Halloween from me and the poet James Hogg (whom Google decided is my twin, in an odd coincidence, which I remembered only after selecting this poem).

James evokes better than I can this night, when the border between this world and the next is blurred, and, even if we are too old to wander the world in costume, we dress up our imaginations in unusual images and wander the strange border country between daydream and nightmare.

From Hogg’s “A Witch’s Chant:”

All is not well: by dint of spell
Somewhere between the heaven and hell
There is this night a wild deray;
The spirits have wander'd from their way.

The purple drops shall tinge the moon,
As she wanders the midnight noon;
And the dawning heaven shall all be red
With blood by guilty angels shed.


Sleep'st thou, wakest thou, lord of the wind?
Mount thy steeds and gallop them blind;
And the long-tailed fiery dragon outfly,
The rocket of heaven, the bomb of the sky.

Over the dog-star, over the wain,
Over the cloud, and the rainbow's mane,
Over the mountain, and over the sea,
Haste - haste - haste to me!


  1. Thomas Hogg—Percy’s friend and biographer—does not include a history past 1815. In any case, Mary was frequently left alone while Shelley visited his wife or engaged in outings with Claire.

    February of 1815 proved devastating for Mary, as her daughter was born two months premature and died two weeks later. Percy’s apathy towards the loss of their child compelled Mary to search elsewhere for comfort and she turned to Thomas Jefferson Hogg for companionship. It is often thought that Percy encouraged a relationship between Mary and Hogg, especially after his own alleged affair with Claire. Mary had no interest in a romantic relationship beyond Percy, however. This is what came up when I googled James Hogg. Strange.

  2. Read the article:
    “Shelley’s friend and biographer, Thomas Jefferson Hogg”
    ( not named after the president)
    Is he a distance relative?

    -A Enchanting poem “A Witch’s Chant”

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