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They flashed a saucy message to and fro
Between the mimic stations; so that sport
Went hand in hand with Science; otherwhere
Pure sport: a herd of boys with clamor bowled
And stumped the wicket; babies rolled about
Like tumbled fruit in grass; and men and maids
Arranged a country dance, and flew through 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-arched and ivy-claspt, Of finest Gothic, lighter than a fire, Through one wide chasm of time and frost they


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 neighbor 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 joined them: then the maiden Aunt
Took this fair day for text, and from it preached
An universal culture for the crowd,

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

But honeying at the whisper of a lord;
And one the Master, as a rogue in grain
Veneered with sanctimonious theory.

But while they talked, 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," Asked Walter, patting Lilia's head, (she lay Beside him,) "lives there such a woman now?”

Quick answered 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! O, I 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 played the patron with her curls.

And one said, smiling, "Pretty were the sight If our old halls could change their sex, and flaunt With prudes for proctors, dowagers for deans, And sweet girl-graduates in their golden-hair. I think they should not wear our rusty gowns, But move as rich as Emperor-moths, or Ralph Who shines so in the corner; yet I fear, If there were many Lilias in the brood, However deep you might embower the nest, Some boy would spy it."

At this upon the sward

She tapt her tiny silken-sandaled foot: "That's your light way; but I would make it death For any male thing but to peep at us."

Petulant she spoke, and at herself she laughed; A rosebud set with little wilful thorns, And sweet as English air could make her, she : But Walter hailed a score of names upon her, And "petty Ogress," and "ungrateful Puss," And swore he longed at college, only longed, All else was well, for she-society.

They boated and they cricketed; they talked
At wine, in clubs, of art, of politics;

They lost their weeks; they vext the souls of deans;
They rode; they betted; made a hundred friends,
And caught the blossom of the flying terms,
But missed the mignonette of Vivian-place,
The little hearth-flower Lilia. Thus he spoke,
Part banter, part affection.

"True," she said,

"We doubt not that. O yes, you missed us much. I'll stake my ruby ring upon it you did."

She held it out; and as a parrot turns Up through gilt wires a crafty loving eye, And takes a lady's finger with all care, And bites it for true heart, and not for harm, So he with Lilia's. Daintily she shrieked And wrung it. "Doubt my word again!” he said. "Come, listen! here is proof that you were missed: We seven stayed at Christmas up to read; And there we took one tutor as to read: The hard-grained Muses of the cube and square Were out of season: never man, I think, So mouldered in a sinecure as he:

For while our cloisters echoed frosty feet,
And our long walks were stript as bare as brooms,
We did but talk you over, pledge you all
In wassail: often, like as many girls-

Sick for the hollies and the yews of home-
As many little trifling Lilias-played
Charades and riddles as at Christmas here,
And what's my thought and when and where and how,
And often told a tale from mouth to mouth
As here at Christmas."

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She remembered that: A pleasant game, she thought: she liked it more Than magic music, forfeits, all the rest. But these what kind of tales did men tell men, She wondered, by themselves?

A half-disdain Perched on the pouted blossom of her lips: And Walter nodded at me: "He began, The rest would follow, each in turn; and so We forged a seven-fold story. Kind? what kind? Chimeras, crotchets, Christmas solecisms, Seven-headed monsters only made to kill Time by the fire in winter."

"Kill him now,

The tyrant! kill him in the summer too,"
Said Lilia; “Why not now," the maiden Aunt.
"Why not a summer's as a winter's tale?
A tale for summer, as befits the time;
And something it should be to suit the place,
Heroic, for a hero lies beneath,
Grave, solemn!”

Walter warped his mouth at this
To something so mock-solemn, that I laughed,
And Lilia woke with sudden-shrilling mirth
An echo, like a ghostly woodpecker,
Hid in the ruins; till the maiden Aunt
(A little sense of wrong had touched her face
With color) turned to me with " As you will-
Heroic if you will, or what you will,

Or be yourself your hero if you will.”
"Take Lilia, then, for heroine," clamored he,
"And make her some great Princess, six feet high,

Grand, epic, homicidal; and be you
The Prince to win her!


"Then follow me, the Prince," I answered; " each be hero in his turn! Seven and yet one, like shadows in a dream.— Heroic seems our Princess as required.

But something made to suit with time and place, A Gothic ruin, and a Grecian house,

A talk of college and of ladies' rights,

A feudal knight in silken masquerade,
And, yonder, shrieks and strange experiments,
For which the good Sir Ralph had burnt them


This were a medley! we should have him back
Who told the Winter's tale,' to do it for us.
No matter: we will say 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 followed; 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.

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