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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

B2

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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

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Some mighty poetess, I would shame you then,
That love to keep us children! 0 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 curls.

And one said smiling 'Pretty were the sight

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