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Man is the hunter ; woman is his game ;

The sleek and shining creatures of the chase,
We hunt them for the beauty of their skins ;

They love us for it, and we ride them down :

Wheedling and siding with them! Out! for shame!

Boy, there's no rose that's half so dear to them

As he that does the thing they dare not do,
Breathing and sounding beauteous battle, comes
With the air of the trumpet round him, and leaps in

Among the women, snares them by the score

Flatter'd and fluster’d, wins, tho' dash'd with death

He reddens what he kisses : thus I won

Your mother, a good mother, a good wife,
Worth winning ; but this firebrand-gentleness

To such as her ! if Cyril spake her true,

To catch a dragon in a cherry net,
To trip a tigress with a gossamer,

Were wisdom to it.'

• Yea but Sire,' I cried,

· Wild natures need wise curbs,

The soldier? No:

What dares not Ida do that she should prize

The soldier ? I beheld her, when she rose

The yesternight, and storming in extremes

Stood for her cause, and flung defiance down Gagelike to man, and had not shunn’d the death,

No, not the soldier's : yet I hold her, king,

True woman: but you clash them all in one,

That have as many differences as we.
The violet varies from the lily as far

As oak from elm : one loves the soldier, one

The silken priest of peace, one this, one that,
And some unworthily; their sinless faith,
A maiden moon that sparkles on a sty,
Glorifying clown and satyr ; whence they need
More breadth of culture : is not Ida right?

They worth it? truer to the law within ?

Severer in the logic of a life?
Twice as magnetic to sweet influences
Of Earth and Heaven? and she of whom you speak,

My mother, looks as whole as some serene

Creation minted in the golden moods

Of sovereign artists ; not a thought, a touch,
But pure as lines of green that streak the white
Of the first snowdrop's inner leaves ; I say,
Not like the piebald miscellany, man,
Bursts of great heart and slips in sensual mire,
But whole and one: and take them all-in-all,
Were we ourselves but half as good, as kind,
As truthful, much that Ida claims as right
Had ne'er been mooted, but as frankly theirs
As dues of Nature. To our point : not war :

Lest I lose all.'

• Nay, nay, you spake but sense'

Said Gama.

"We remember love ourselves

In our sweet youth ; we did not rate him then

This red-hot iron to be shaped with blows.

You talk almost like Ida : she can talk ;

And there is something in it as you say:

you talk kindlier : we esteem you for it.

He seems a gracious and a gallant Prince,
I would he had our daughter : for the rest

Our own detention, why the causes weigh’d,
Fatherly fears—you used us courteously-
We would do much to gratify your Prince-
We pardon it ; and for your ingress here
Upon the skirt and fringe of our fair land,

You did but come as goblins in the night,
Nor in the furrow broke the plowman's head,
Nor burnt the grange, nor buss'd the milking-maid,
Nor robbed the farmer of his bowl of cream :

But let your Prince (our royal word upon it,

He comes back safe) ride with us to our lines,

And speak with Arac : Arac's word is thrice

As ours with Ida : something may be done
I know not what—and ours shall see us friends.

You, likewise, our late guests, if so you will,
Follow us : who knows? we four may build some plan

Foursquare to opposition.'

Here he reach'd

White hands of farewell to my sire, who growld

An answer which, half-muffled in his beard,

Let so much out as gave us leave to go.

Then rode we with the old king across the lawns
Beneath huge trees, a thousand rings of Spring
In every bole, a song on every spray
Of birds that piped their Valentines, and woke
Desire in me to infuse my tale of love
In the old king's ears, who promised help, and oozed
All o'er with honey'd answer as we rode ;
And blossom-fragrant slipt the heavy dews
Gather'd by night and peace, with each light air
On our mail'd heads : but other thoughts than Peace

Burnt in us, when we saw the embattled


And squadrons of the Prince, trampling the flowers

1 1

With clamour : for among them rose a cry

As if to greet the king ; they made a halt ;
The horses yell’d ; they clash'd their arms ; the drum
Beat ; merrily-blowing shrill'd the martial fife ;

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