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The torrents, dash'd to the vale : and yet her will
Bred will in me to overcome it or fall.
But when I told the king that I was pledged
To fight in tourney for my bride, he clash'd
His iron palms together with a cry;
Himself would tilt it out among the lads :
But overborne by all his bearded lords
And many a bold knight started up in heat,
All on this side the palace ran the field Flat to the garden-wall : and likewise here,
Above the garden's glowing blossom-belts,
A column's entry shone and marbled stairs,
All that long morn the lists were hammer'd up,
And all that morn the heralds to and fro,
and defiance went and came ;
Last, Ida's answer, in a royal hand,
Oration-like. I kiss'd it and I read.
• O brother, you have known the pangs we felt, What heats of indignation when we heard Of those that iron-cramp'd their women's feet ;
Of lands in which at the altar the
Gives her harsh groom for bridal-gift a scourge ;
Of living hearts that crack within the fire
Where smoulder their dead despots ; and of those,-
The vulture, beak and talon, at the heart
Made for all noble motion : and I saw
That equal baseness lived in sleeker times
With smoother men : the old leaven leaven'd all :
Millions of throats would bawl for civil rights,
No woman named : therefore I set my face
Far off from men I built a fold for them :
I stored it full of rich memorial :
I fenced it round with gallant institutes,
And biting laws to scare the beasts of prey,
And prosper'd ; till a rout of saucy boys
Mask'd like our maids, blustering I know not what
I tamed my leopards : shall I not tame these?
think me touch'd
In honour-what, I would not aught of false
Is not our cause pure ? and whereas I know
You draw from, fight ; you failing, I abide
What end soever : but you will not. Still
Take not his life : he risk'd it for my own;
His mother lives : yet whatsoe'er you do,
Fight and fight well ; strike and strike home.
Brothers, the woman's Angel guards you, you
The sole men we shall prize in the after-time,
Rear’d, sung to, when this gad-fly brush'd aside,
And mould a generation strong to move
n-phantom, she that seem'd no more Than the man's shadow in a glass, her name Yoked in his mouth with children's) know herself,
And knowledge in our own land make her free,
Commerce and conquest, shower the fiery grain
Of Freedom broadcast over all that orbs
Between the Northern and the Southern morn.'
Then came a postscript dash'd across the rest.
• See that there be no traitors in your camp :
We seem a nest of traitors-none to trust
Since our arms fail'd—this Egypt-plague of men ! Almost our maids were better at their homes,
Than thus man-girdled here: indeed I think
Our chiefest comfort is the little child
Of one unworthy mother ; which she left :
She shall not have it back : the child shall grow
To prize the authentic mother of her mind.
I took it for an hour in mine own bed
This morning : there the tender orphan hands
Felt at my heart, and seem'd to charm from thence
The wrath I nursed against the world : farewell.'
I ceased; he said : Stubborn, but she
sit Upon a king's right hand in thunder-storms
See now, tho' yourself
Be dazzled by the wildfire Love to sloughs
This Gama swamp'd in lazy tolerance.