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And steel was measured by the ell,
And trousers lined with leather ;
And knights a cap and feather.
And married ones might sever;
But Doctors Commons never;
Fair cousin, for thy glances,
THE ROMANCE OF THE SWAN'S NEST.
LITTLE Ellie sits alone
By a stream-side on the grass,
And the trees are showering down
On her shining hair and face.
She has thrown her bonnet by,
In the shallow water's flow :
Now she holds them nakedly
While she rocketh to and fro.
Little Ellie sits alone,
Fills the silence like a speech,
While she thinks what shall be done,
For her future within reach.
Little Ellie in her smile
Riding on a steed of steeds :
He shall love me without guile,
The swan's nest among the reeds.
" And the steed shall be red-roan, And the lover shall be noble,
With an eye that takes the breath :
And the lute he plays upon Shall strike ladies into trouble,
As his sword strikes men to death.
“And the steed it shall be shod All in silver, housed in azure,
And the mane shall swim the wind;
And the hoofs along the sod
Till the shepherds look behind.
“But my lover will not prize All the glory that he rides in,
When he gazes in my face:
He will say, “O Love, thine eyes Build the shrine my soul abides in, And I kneel here for thy grace !
“Then, ay, then he shall kneel low, With the red-roan steed anear him,
Which shall seem to understand,
Till I answer, ‘Rise and go!
Whom I gift with heart and hand.'
" Then he will arise so pale, I shall feel my own lips tremble
With a yes I must not say,
Nathless maiden-brave, “Farewell,' I will utter, and dissemble
‘Light to-morrow with to-day!'
“ Then he'll ride among the hills To the wide world past the river,
There to put away all wrong;
To make straight distorted wills, And to empty the broad quiver
Which the wicked bear along.
“ Three times shall a young foot-page Swim the stream and climb the mountain, And kneel down beside my feet
'Lo, my master sends this gage, Lady, for thy pity's counting !
What wilt thou exchange for it?'
“ And the first time, I will send A little rose-bud for a guerdon,
And the second time, a glove;
But the third time-I may bend From my pride, and answer-Pardon, If he comes to take
love.' “Then the young foot-page will run, Then my lover will ride faster,
Till he kneeleth at my knee:
'I am a duke's eldest son, Thousand serfs do call me master,
But, O Love, I love but thee!'
“He will kiss me on the mouth Then, and lead me as a lover
Through the crowds that praise his deeds:
And, when soul-tied by one troth, Unto him I will discover
That swan's nest among the reeds.”
Little Ellie, with her smile Not yet ended, rose up gaily,
Tied the bonnet, donn'd the shoe,
And went homeward round a mile, Just to see, as she did daily,
What more eggs were with the two.
Pushing thro’ the elm-tree copse, Winding up the stream, light-hearted,
Where the osier pathway leads,
Past the boughs she stoops—and stops. Lo, the white swan had deserted !
And a rat had gnaw'd the reeds !
Ellie went home sad and slow. If she found the lover ever,
With his red-roan steed of steeds,
Sooth I know not ; but I know She could never show him-never, That swan's nest among the reeds.
Elizabeth B. Browning.
That out of sight is out of mind
Arthur H. Clough.
INDEX OF WRITERS,
WITH DATES OF THEIR BIRTH AND DEATH.
ALDRICH, Dean (1647-1710)
Reasons for drinking-CCL.
The friend of humanity-CXCV
Song of Rogero-CCCLXXIV,
I do confess thou'rt smooth and fair-XVI.
The lay of the Levite-CCCLXXX.
BAILLIE, Joanna (1762—1851)
To a kitten-CCCXXXII.
Life! I know not what thou art-CCLXXXIII.
Lines left at Theodore Hook's House--CCCXXIII
On mending his faults-CLI.
I'd be a butterfly-CCCLXV
A fashionable novel-CCCLXIX.
When I'm dead, on my tomb-stone I hope they will
The lover's choice-CXXXII
To his wife, with a knife-cxvi