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At those high words, we, conscious of ourselves, Perused the matting ; then an officer

Rose

up, and read the statutes, such as these :

Not for three years to correspond with home ;
Not for three years to cross the liberties ;

Not for three years to speak with any men ;

And many more, which hastily subscribed,

We enter'd on the boards : and Now' she cried

Ye are green wood, see ye warp not. Look, our hall !

Our statues !--not of those that men desire,

Sleek Odalisques, or oracles of mode,

Nor stunted squaws of West or East ; but she
That taught the Sabine how to rule, and she
The foundress of the Babylonian wall,

The Carian Artemisia strong in war,

The Rhodope that built the pyramid,

Clelia, Cornelia, with the Palmyrene

That fought Aurelian, and the Roman brows

Of Agrippina. Dwell with these, and lose

Convention, since to look on noble forms

Makes noble thro' the sensuous organism

That which is higher. Leave us: you may go :

To-day the Lady Psyche will harangue

The fresh arrivals of the week before ;

For they press in from all the provinces,

And fill the hive.'

She spoke, and bowing waved

Dismissal : back again we crost the court

To Lady Psyche's : as we enter'd in,
There sat along the forms, like morning doves
That sun their milky bosoms on the thatch,

A patient range of pupils ; she herself

Erect behind a desk of satin-wood,

A quick brunette, well-moulded, falcon-eyed,

And on the hither side, or so she look'd,

Of twenty summers.

At her left, a child,

In shining draperies, headed like a star,

Her maiden babe, a double April old,

Aglaïa slept. We sat : the Lady glanced :

Then Florian, but no livelier than the dame
That whisper'd · Asses' ears' among the sedge,
• My sister.' Comely too by all that 's fair'
Said Cyril. O hush, hush !' and she began.

6

This world was once a fluid haze of light, Till toward the centre set the starry tides, And eddied into suns, that wheeling cast

The planets : then the monster, then the man ;
Tattoo'd or woaded, winter-clad in skins,
Raw from the prime, and crushing down his mate;
As yet we find in barbarous isles, and here

Among the lowest.'

Thereupon she took

A bird's-eye-view of all the ungracious past;

Glanced at the legendary Amazon
As emblematic of a nobler age ;
Appraised the Lycian custom, spoke of those

That lay at wine with Lar and Lucumo ;

Ran down the Persian, Grecian, Roman lines

Of empire, and the woman's state in each,
How far from just; till warming with her theme

She fulmined out her scorn of laws Salique

And little-footed China, touch'd on Mahomet

With much contempt, and came to chivalry :
When some respect, however slight, was paid
To woman, superstition all awry :

However then commenced the dawn: a beam

Had slanted forward, falling in a land

Of promise ; fruit would follow. Deep, indeed,

Their debt of thanks to her who first had dared

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Let them not fear : some said their heads were less :

Some men's were small; not they the least of men ; For often fineness compensated size :

D

Besides the brain was like the hand, and grew

With using ; thence the man's, if more was more ;
He took advantage of his strength to be
First in the field : some ages had been lost ;

But woman ripen'd earlier, and her life

Was longer ; and albeit their glorious names
Were fewer, scatter'd stars, yet since in truth
The highest is the measure of the man,
And not the Kaffir, Hottentot, Malay,
Nor those horn-handed breakers of the glebe,

But Homer, Plato, Verulam ; even so

With woman : and in arts of government

Elizabeth and others ; arts of war

The peasant Joan and others ; arts of grace
Sappho and others vied with any man:
And, last not least, she who had left her place,
And bow'd her state to them, that they might grow

To use and power on this Oasis, lapt
In the arms of leisure, sacred from the blight

Of ancient influence and scorn.'

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