Puslapio vaizdai

Half-legend, half-historic, counts and kings
Who laid about them at their wills and died;
And mixt with these, a lady, one that arm'd
Her own fair head, and sallying thro' the gate,
Had beat her foes with slaughter from her walls.

And, I all rapt in this, 'Come out,' he said, 'To the Abbey: there is Aunt Elizabeth And sister Lilia with the rest.' We went

(I kept the book and had my finger in it)

Down thro' the park: strange was the sight to me;
For all the sloping pasture murmur'd sown

With happy faces and with holiday.

There moved the multitude, a thousand heads :

The patient leaders of their Institute

Taught them with facts. One rear'd a font of stone

And drew, from butts of water on the slope,

The fountain of the moment, playing now

A twisted snake, and now a rain of pearls,

Or steep-up spout whereon the gilded ball


Danced like a wisp: and somewhat lower down

A man with knobs and wires and vials fired

A cannon Echo answer'd in her sleep

From hollow fields: and here were telescopes

For azure views; and there a group of girls

In circle waited, whom the electric shock
Dislink'd with shrieks and laughter: round the lake
A little clock-work steamer paddling plied

And shook the lilies: perch'd about the knolls

A dozen angry models jetted steam :
A petty railway ran: a fire-balloon

Rose gem-like up before the dusky groves
And dropt a fairy parachute and past:
And there thro' twenty posts of telegraph
They flash'd a saucy message to and fro
Between the mimic stations; so that sport
With Science hand in hand went; otherwhere
Pure sport: a herd of boys with clamour bowl'd
And stump'd the wicket; babies roll'd about

Like tumbled fruit in grass; and men and maids

Arranged a country dance, and flew thro' light

And shadow, while the twangling violin

Struck up with Soldier-laddie, and overhead

The broad ambrosial aisles of lofty lime

Made noise with bees and breeze from end to end.

Strange was the sight and smacking of the time;

And long we gazed, but satiated at length
Came to the ruins. High-arch'd and ivy-claspt,
Of finest Gothic lighter than a fire,

Thro' one wide chasm of time and frost they gave

The park, the crowd, the house; but all within

The sward was trim as any garden lawn:

And here we lit on Aunt Elizabeth,

And Lilia with the rest, and lady friends

From neighbour seats: and there was Ralph himself,

A broken statue propt against the wall,

As gay as any. Lilia, wild with sport,

Half child half woman as she was, had wound

A scarf of orange round the stony helm,

And robed the shoulders in a rosy silk,

That made the old warrior from his ivied nook

Glow like a sunbeam: near his tomb a feast

Shone, silver-set; about it lay the guests,

And there we join'd them: then the maiden Aunt
Took this fair day for text, and from it preach'd
An universal culture for the crowd,

And all things great; but we, unworthier, told
Of college: he had climb'd across the spikes,
And he had squeezed himself betwixt the bars,
And he had breathed the Proctor's dogs; and one
Discuss'd his tutor, rough to common men

But honeying at the whisper of a lord ;

And one the Master, as a rogue in grain

Veneer'd with sanctimonious theory.

But while they talk'd, above their heads I saw The feudal warrior lady-clad; which brought My book to mind: and opening this I read Of old Sir Ralph a page or two that rang

With tilt and tourney; then the tale of her

That drove her foes with slaughter from her walls,
And much I praised her nobleness, and Where,'
Ask'd Walter, patting Lilia's head (she lay
Beside him) 'lives there such a woman now?'

Quick answer'd Lilia 'There are thousands now
Such women, but convention beats them down:
It is but bringing up; no more than that:
You men have done it: how I hate you all!
Ah, were I something great! I wish I were
Some mighty poetess, I would shame you then,
That love to keep us children! OI wish

That I were some great Princess, I would build
Far off from men a college like a man's,

And I would teach them all that men are taught;
We are twice as quick!' And here she shook aside
The hand that play'd the patron with her curls.

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