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Give me it ; I will give it her.'

He said :

At first her eye with slow dilation rollid
Dry flame, she listening ; after sank and sank

And, into mournful twilight mellowing, dwelt
Full on the child ; she took it : * Pretty bud !
Lily of the vale ! half open'd bell of the woods !
Sole comfort of my dark hour, when a world
Of traitorous friend and broken system made
No purple in the distance, mystery,
Pledge of a love not to be mine, farewell ;
These men are hard upon us as of old,
We two must part : and yet how fain was I
To dream thy cause embraced in mine, to think
I might be something to thee, when I felt
Thy waxen warmth about


milkless breast In the dead prime : but


may thy mother

As true to thee as false, false, false to me!

And, if thou needs must bear the yoke, I wish it Gentle as freedom '—here she kiss'd it : then

* All good go with thee! take it Sir' and so

Laid the soft babe in his hard-mailed hands

Who turn’d half-round to Psyche as she sprang
To meet it, with an eye

that swum in thanks


Then felt it sound and whole from head to foot,

And hugg’d and never hugg'd it close enough,
And in her hunger mouth'd and mumbled it,

And hid her bosom with it; after that

Put on more calm and added suppliantly ;

• We two were friends : I go to mine own land

For ever : find some other : as for me

I scarce am fit for your great plans : yet speak to me, Say one soft word and let me part forgiven.'

But Ida spoke not, rapt upon the child. Then Arac. Soul and life ! you blame the man ;

You wrong yourselves—the woman is so hard

Upon the woman. Come, a grace to me !
I am your warrior ; I and mine have fought

Your battle : kiss her ; take her band, she weeps ;

Life! I would sooner fight thrice o'er than see it.'

But Ida spoke not, gazing on the ground,

And reddening in the furrows of his chin,

And moved beyond his custom, Gama said :

• I've heard that there is iron in the blood,

And I believe it. Not one word ? not one ?

Whence drew


this steel temper? not from me, Not from your mother now a saint with saints.

She said you had a heart—I heard her say it“Our Ida has a heart”—just ere she died

“ But see that some one with authority

Be near her still ” and I-I sought for one-
All people said she had authority,
The Lady Blanche : much profit! Not one word ;
No! tho’ your father sues : see how you

stand Stiff as Lot's wife, and all the good knights maim'd,

I trust that there is no one hurt to death,

For your

wild whim: and was it then for this,

Was it for this we gave our palace up

Where we withdrew from summer heats and state,

And had our wine and chess beneath the planes,

And many a pleasant hour with her that 's gone,
Ere you were born to vex us ? Is it kind ?
Speak to her I say: is this not she of whom,

When first she came, all-flush'd you said to me

Now had you got a friend of your own age,
Now could share your thought ; now should men see


Two women faster welded in one love

Than pairs of wedlock ; she you walk'd with, she
You talk'd with, whole nights long, up in the tower,
Of sine and arc, spheroïd and azimuth,

And right ascension, Heaven knows what; and now

A word but one, one little kindly word,
Not one to spare her: out upon you,

You love nor her, nor me, nor any ; nay,
You shame
your mother's judgment too.

Not one? You will not ? well— no heart have you, or such

As fancies like the vermin in a nut

Have fretted all to dust and bitterness.'

So said the small king moved beyond his wont.

But Ida stood nor spoke, drain'd of her force By many a varying influence and so long.

Down thro' her limbs a drooping languor wept :

Her head a little bent; and on her mouth

A doubtful smile dwelt like a clouded moon

In a still water : then brake out



Lifting his grim head from my wounds. you,
Woman, whom we thought woman even now,

And were half fool'd to let


tend our son,

Because he might have wish'd it—but we see

The accomplice of your madness unforgiven,
And think that you might mix his draught with death,
When your skies change again: the rougher hand

Is safer : on to the tents : take up the Prince.'

He rose, and while each ear was prick'd to attend

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