Puslapio vaizdai

This were a medley! we should have him back

Who told the · Winter's tale' to do it for us.

No matter: we will


whatever comes.

And let the ladies sing us, if they will,
From time to time, some ballad or a song

To give us breathing-space.'

So I began,

And the rest follow'd: and the women sang

Between the rougher voices of the men,
Like linnets in the pauses of the wind:
And here I give the story and the songs.


A PRINCE I was, blue-eyed, and fair in face,
Of temper amorous, as the first of May,
With lengths of yellow ringlet, like a girl,

For on my cradle shone the Northern star.


There lived an ancient legend in our house. Some sorcerer, whom a far-off grandsire burnt Because he cast no shadow, had foretold, Dying, that none of all our blood should know

The shadow from the substance, and that one

Should come to fight with shadows and to fall.
For so, my mother said, the story ran.
And, truly, waking dreams were, more or less,
An old and strange affection of the house.
Myself too had weird seizures, Heaven knows what :

On a sudden in the midst of men and day,

And while I walk'd and talk'd as heretofore,


I seem’d to move among a world of ghosts,
And feel myself the shadow of a dream.
Our great court-Galen poised his gilt-head cane,
And paw'd his beard, and call'd it catalepsy.
My mother pitying made a thousand prayers ;
My mother was as mild as any saint,
Half-canonized by all that look'd on her,
So gracious was her tact and tenderness :
But my good father thought a king a king;
He cared not for the affection of the house ;
He held his sceptre like a pedant's wand
To lash offence, and with long arms and hands
Reach'd out, and pick'd offenders from the mass
For judgment.

Now it chanced that I had been,

While life was yet in bud and blade, betroth'd
To one, a neighbouring Princess: she to me
Was proxy-wedded with a bootless calf
At eight years old; and still from time to time


Came murmurs of her beauty from the South,
And of her brethren, youths of puissance;
And still I wore her picture by my heart,

And one dark tress; and all around them both
Sweet thoughts would swarm as bees about their


But when the days drew nigh that I should wed, My father sent ambassadors with furs And jewels, gifts, to fetch her: these brought back A present, a great labour of the loom ; And therewithal an answer vague as wind: Besides, they saw the king; he took the gifts; He said there was a compact; that was true: But then she had a will; was he to blame? And maiden fancies; loved to live alone Among her women; certain, would not wed.

That morning in the presence room I stood With Cyril and with Florian, my two friends :

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The first, a gentleman of broken means
(His father's fault) but given to starts and bursts
Of revel ; and the last, my other heart,
And almost my half-self, for still we moved
Together, twinn'd as horse's ear and eye.

Now, while they spake, I saw my father's face Grow long and troubled like a rising moon, Inflamed with wrath: he started on his feet, Tore the king's letter, snow'd it down, and rent The wonder of the loom thro' warp and woof

From skirt to skirt; and at the last he sware

That he would send a hundred thousand men,

And bring her in a whirlwind: then he chew'd


The thrice-turn'd cud of wrath, and cook'd his spleen,

Communing with his captains of the war.

At last I spoke. "My father, let me go.

‘ It cannot be but some gross error lies

In this report, this answer of a king,


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