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Melts mist-like into this bright hour, and this
I waste my heart in signs: let be. My bride,
And so thro' those dark gates across the wild
Lay thy sweet hands in mine and trust to me.'
So closed our tale, of which I give you all
The words are mostly mine; for when we ceased
So pray'd the men, the women: I gave assent: Yet how to bind the scatter'd scheme of seven Together in one sheaf? What style could suit? The men required that I should give throughout The sort of mock-heroic gigantesque,
With which we banter'd little Lilia first:
The women—and perhaps they felt their power, For something in the ballads which they sang,
Or in their silent influence as they sat,
Had ever seem'd to wrestle with burlesque,
Not make her true-heroic, true-sublime?
Or all, they said, as earnest as the close?
Betwixt the mockers and the realists:
And I, betwixt them both, to please them both,
I moved as in a strange diagonal,
And maybe neither pleased myself nor them.
But Lilia pleased me, for she took no part
In our dispute the sequel of the tale
Had touch'd her; and she sat, she pluck'd the grass,
For she was cramm'd with theories out of books,
So I and some went out to these: we climb'd The slope to Vivian-place, and turning saw The happy vallies half in light and half Far-shadowing from the west, a land of peace: Gray halls alone among their massive groves; Trim hamlets; here and there a rustic tower Half-lost in belts of hop and breadths of wheat; The shimmering glimpses of a stream; the seas; A red sail, or a white; and far beyond, Imagined more than seen, the skirts of France.
'Look there, a garden!' said my college friend The Tory member's elder son' and there! God bless the narrow sea which keeps her off, And keeps our Britain, whole within herself,
A nation yet, the rulers and the ruled
Some sense of duty, something of a faith,
Some reverence for the laws ourselves have made,
A kingdom topples over with a shriek
Like an old woman, and down rolls the world
'Have patience,' I replied, ourselves are full