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'Sdeath! I would sooner fight thrice o'er than see

it."

But Ida spoke not, gazing on the ground; And reddening in the furrows of his chin, And moved beyond his custom, Gama said:

"I've heard that there is iron in the blood, And I believe it. Not one word? Not one? Whence drew you this steel temper ? not from me, Not from your mother, now a saint with saints. She said you had a heart-I heard her say it— 'Our Ida has a heart,'-just ere she died'But see that some one with authority Be near her still,' and I—I sought for one— All people said she had authority

The Lady Blanche: much profit! Not one word;
No! though your father sues: see how you stand
Stiff as Lot's wife, and all the good knights maimed,
I trust that there is no one hurt to death,
For your wild whim: and was it, then, for this,
Was it for this we gave our palace up,
Where we withdrew from summer heats and state,
And had our wine and chess beneath the planes,
And many a pleasant hour with her that's gone,
Ere you were born to vex us? Is it kind?
Speak to her, I say: is this not she of whom,
When first she came, all flushed you said to me,
Now had you got a friend of your own age,
Now could you share your thought; now should

men see

Two women faster welded in one love

Than pairs of wedlock; she you walked with, she You talked with, whole nights long, up in the tower, Of sine and arc, spheroid and azimuth,

And right ascension, Heaven knows what; and now
A word, but one, one little kindly word,
Not one to spare her: out upon you, flint!
You love nor her, nor me, nor any; nay,

You shame your mother's judgment too. Not one?
You will not? well-no heart have you, or such
As fancies, like the vermin in a nut,
Have fretted all to dust and bitterness!"
So said the small king, moved beyond his wont.

But Ida stood nor spoke, drained of her force By many a varying influence and so long: Down through her limbs a drooping languor wept : Her head a little bent; and on her mouth

A doubtful smile dwelt like a clouded moon
In a still water: then brake out my sire,
Lifting his grim head from my wounds: "O you,
Woman, whom we thought woman even now,
And were half-fooled to let you tend our son,
Because he might have wished it--but we see
The accomplice of your madness unforgiven,
And think that you might mix his draught with

death,

When your skies change again: the rougher hand Is safer: on to the tents: take up the Prince."

He rose, and while each ear was pricked to attend A tempest, through the cloud that dimmed her broke

A genial warmth and light once more, and shone Through glittering drops on her sad friend.

"Come hither,

O Psyche," she cried out, "embrace me, come,
Quick, while I melt; make reconcilement sure
With one that cannot keep her mind an hour:
Come to the hollow heart they slander so!
Kiss and be friends like children being chid !
I seem no more: I want forgiveness too:
I should have had to do with none but maids,
That have no links with men. Ah false but dear,
Dear traitor too much loved, why ?-why ?--Yet

see

Before these kings we embrace you yet once inore
With all forgiveness, all oblivion,
And trust not love you less.

And now, O Sire, Grant me your son to nurse, to wait upon him, Like mine own brother. For my debt to him, This nightmare weight of gratitude, I know it; Taunt me no more: yourself and yours shall have Free adit; we will scatter all our maids Till happier times, each to her proper hearth; What use to keep them here, now? grant my

prayer.

Help, father, brother, help; speak to the king:
Thaw this male nature to some touch of that
Which kills me with myself, and drags me down
From my fixt height to mob me up with all
The soft and milky rabble of womankind,
Poor weakling even as they are."

:

66

Passionate tears Followed the king replied not: Cyril said: "Your brother, Lady,-Florian,—ask for him Of your great head-for he is wounded tooThat you may tend upon him with the Prince." Ay so," said Ida, with a bitter smile, "Our laws are broken: let him enter too." Then Violet, she that sang the mournful song And had a cousin tumbled on the plain, Petitioned too for him. "Ay so," she said, I stagger in the stream: I cannot keep My heart an eddy from the brawling hour: We break our laws with ease, but let it be.'

66

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Ay so?" said Blanche: "amazed am I to hear Your Highness: but your Highness breaks with

ease

The law your Highness did not make: 'twas I.
I had been wedded wife, I knew mankind,

And blocked them out; but these men came to woo
Your Highness-verily I think to win."

So she, and turned askance a wintry eye:
But Ida, with a voice that like a bell
Tolled by an earthquake in a trembling tower
Rang ruin, answered full of grief and scorn:

66 Fling our doors wide! all, all, not one, but all, Not only he, but, by my mother's soul, Whatever man lies wounded, friend or foe, Shall enter, if he will. Let our girls flit Till the storm die! but had you stood by us, The roar that breaks the Pharos from his base Had left us rock. She fain would sting us too, But shall not. Pass, and mingle with your likes. We brook no further insult, but are gone."

She turned; the very nape of her white neck Was rosed with indignation: but the Prince Her brother cane; the king her father charmed Her wounded soul with words; nor did mine own Refuse her proffer, lastly gave his hand.

Then us they lifted up, dead weights, and bare
Straight to the doors: to them the doors gave way
Groaning, and in the vestal entry shrieked
The virgin marble under iron heels:

And on they moved and gained the hall, and there
Rested: but great the crush was, and each base,
To left and right, of those tall columns drowned
In silken fluctuation and the swarm
Of female whisperers: at the further end
Was Ida by the throne, the two great cats
Close by her like supporters on a shield
Bow-backed with fear: but in the centre stood
The common men with rolling eyes; amazed
They glared upon the women, and aghast
The women stared at these, all silent, save
When armor clashed or jingled, while the day,
Descending, struck athwart the hall, and shot
A flying splendor out of brass and steel,

That o'er the statues leaped from head to head,
Now fired an angry Pallas on the helm,
Now set a wrathful Dian's moon on flame,
And now and then an echo started up,
And shuddering fled from room to room, and died
Of fright in far apartments.

Then the voice

Of Ida sounded, issuing ordinance :
And me they bore up the broad stairs and through
The long-laid galleries past a hundred doors
To one deep chamber shut from sound, and due
To languid limbs and sickness; left me in it;
And others otherwhere they laid; and all
That afternoon a sound arose of hoof
And chariot, many a maiden passing home
Till happier times; but some were left of those
Held sagest, and the great lords out and in,
From those two hosts that lay beside the walls,
Walked at their will, and every thing was changed.

Ask me no more: the moon may draw the sea;
The cloud may stoop from heaven and take the
shape,

With fold to fold, of mountain or of cape;
But, O too fond, when have I answered thee?
Ask me no more.

Ask me no more: what answer should I give?
I love not hollow check or faded eye:
Yet, O my friend, I will not have thee die!
Ask me no more, lest I should bid thee live;
Ask me no more.

Ask me no more: thy fate and mine are sealed:
I strove against the stream and all in vain:
Let the great river take me to the main:
No more, dear love, for at a touch I yield;
Ask me no more.

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