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Only such cups as left us friendly-warm,
Affirming each his own philosophy-
Nothing to mar the sober majesties
Of settled, sweet, Epicurean life.
But now it seems some unseen monster lays
His vast and filthy hands upon my will,
Wrenching it backward into his; and

spoils My bliss in being; and it was not great; For save when shutting reasons up in

rhythm, Or Heliconian honey in living words, To make a truth less harsh, I often grew Tired of so much within our little life, Or of so little in our little life Poor little life that toddles half an hour Crown'd with a flower or two, and there

an end And since the nobler pleasure seems to

fade, Why should I, beastlike as I find myself, Not manlike end myself?—our privilege-What beast has heart to do it? And what

man, What Roman would be dragg’d in triumph

thus? Not I; not he, who bears one name with

her Whose death-blow struck the dateless

doom of kings, When, brooking not the Tarquin in her

veins, She made her blood in sight of Collatine And all his peers, flushing the guiltless air, Spout from the maiden fountain in her

heart. And from it sprang the Commonwealth,

which breaks As I am breaking now!

“And therefore now Let her, that is the womb and tomb of all, Great Nature, take, and forcing far apart Those blind beginnings that have made

me man, Dash them anew together at her will Thro' all her cycles-into man once more, Or beast or bird or fish, or opulent flower : But till this cosmic order everywhere Shatter'd into one earthquake in one day Cracks all to pieces, -and that hour

perhaps Is not so far when momentary man Shall seem no more a something to himself, But he, his hopes and hates, his homes

and fanes, And even his bones long laid within the

grave, The very sides of the grave itself shall

pass, Vanishing, atom and void, atom and void, Into the unseen for ever,-till that hour, My golden work in which I told a truth That stays the rolling Ixionian wheel, And numbs the Fury's ringlet-snake, and

plucks The mortal soul from out immortal hell, Shall stand : ay, surely: then it fails at

last And perishes as I must; for 0 Thou, Passionless bride, divine Tranquillity, Yearn'd after by the wisest of the wise, Who fail to find thee, being as thou art Without one pleasure and without one

pain, Howbeit I know thou surely must be

mine Or soon or late, yet out of season, thus I woo thee roughly, for thou carest not How roughly men may woo thee so they

win Thus—thus: the soul flies out and dies in

the air.'

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Her own fair head, and sallying thro' the

gate, Had beat her foes with slaughter from her


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


"O miracle of women,' said the book, O noble heart who, being strait-besieged By this wild king to force her to his wish, Nor bent, nor broke, nor shunn'd a soldier's

death, But now when all was lost or seem'd as

lostHer stature more than mortal in the burst Of sunrise, her arm lifted, eyes on fireBrake with a blast of trumpets from the

gate, And, falling on them like a thunderbolt, She trampled some beneath her horses'

heels, And some were whelm'd with missiles of

the wall, And some were push'd with lances from

the rock, And part were drown'd within the whirl

ing brook : O miracle of noble womanhood !'

A man with knobs and wires and vials

fired A cannon : Echo answer'd in her sleep From hollow fields : and here were tele

scopes 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 Went hand in hand with Science ; other.

where Pure sport : a herd of boys with clamour

bowl'd And stump'd the wicket; babies rollid


So sang the gallant glorious chronicle; 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

hearls : The patient leaders of their Institute Taught them with facts. One reard a

font of stone

Like tumbled fruit in grass ; and men and

maids Arranged a country dance, and few thro'

light And shadow, while the twangling violin Struck up with Soldier-laddie, and over

head The broad ambrosial aisles of lofty lime Made noise with bees and breeze from

end to end.

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


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 breath'd 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.

Quick answer'd Lilia • There are thou

sands 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 play'd the patron with her


And one said smiling • Pretty were the

sight If our old halls could change their sex, With prudes for proctors, dowagers for

and flaunt


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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-sandal'd 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

laugh'd ; A rosebud set with little wilful thorns, And sweet as English air could make her,

she : But Walter hail'd a score of names upon

her, And “petty Ogress,' and 'ungrateful

Puss,' And swore he long'd at college, only

Jong'd, All else was well, for she-society. They boated and they cricketed; they

talk'd 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 miss'd the mignonette of Vivian-place, The little hearth-flower Lilia. Thus he

spoke, Part banter, part affection.

She held it out; and as a parrot turns Up thro' 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 shriek’d And wrung it. “Doubt my word again!'

he said. "Come, listen ! here is proof that you were

miss'd : We seven stay'd at Christmas up to read; And there we took one tutor as to read : The hard-grain’d Muses of the cube and

square Were out of season : never man, I think, So moulder'd in a sinecure as he : For while our cloisters echo'd 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 homeAs many little trifling Lilias-play'd 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.'

She remember'd 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 wonder'd, by themselves ?

A half-disdain Perch'd on the pouted blossom of her lips : And Walter nodded at me; 'He began,

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