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Arranged a country dance, and flew thro' light

And shadow, while the twangling violin

Struck up with Soldier-laddie, and overhead

The broad ambrosial aisles of lofty lime

Made noise with bees and breeze from end to end.

Strange was the sight and smacking of the time ;

And long we gazed, but satiated at length

Came to the ruins. High-arch'd and ivy-claspt,
Of finest Gothic lighter than a fire,
Thro' one wide chasm of time and frost they gave

The park, the crowd, the house ; but all within

The sward was trim as any garden lawn :

And here we lit on Aunt Elizabeth,

And Lilia with the rest, and lady friends

From neighbour seats : and there was Ralph himself,
A broken statue propt against the wall,
As gay as any. Lilia, wild with sport,

Half child half woman as she was, had wound

A scarf of orange round the stony helm,

And robed the shoulders in a rosy silk,

That made the old warrior from his ivied nook

Glow like a sunbeam : near his tomb a feast

a

Shone, silver-set ; about it lay the guests,

And there we join'd them : then the maiden Aunt

Took this fair day for text, and from it preach'd

An universal culture for the crowd,

And all things great ; but we, unworthier, told
Of college: he had climb'd across the spikes,
And he had squeez'd himself betwixt the bars,
And he had breathed the Proctor's dogs ; and one

Discuss'd his tutor, rough to common men

a

But honeying at the whisper of a lord ;
And one the Master, as a rogue in grain
Veneer'd with sanctimonious theory.

But while they talk’d, above their heads I saw The feudal warrior lady-clad ; which brought My book to mind : and opening this I read Of old Sir Ralph a page or two that rang

With tilt and tourney ; then the tale of her
That drove her foes with slaughter from her walls,
And much I praised her nobleness, and · Where,'
Ask'd Walter, patting Lilia's head (she lay

Beside him) • lives there such a woman now ?'

6

Quick answer'd Lilia • There are thousands now

Such women, but convention beats them down :

It is but bringing up ; no more than that :

You men have done it : how I hate

you

all !

Ah, were I something great! I wish I were
Some mighty poetess, I would shame you then,
That love to keep us children! 0 I wish

That I were some great Princess, I would build

Far off from men a college like a man's,
And I would teach them all that men are taught ;

We are twice as quick!' And here she shook aside The hand that play'd the patron with her curls.

And one said smiling Pretty were the sight

6

If our old halls could change their sex, and flaunt

With prudes for proctors, dowagers for deans,
And sweet girl-graduates in their golden hair.
I think they should not wear our rusty gowns,
But move as rich as Emperor-moths, or Ralph

Who shines so in the corner ; yet I fear,

If there were many Lilias in the brood,

However deep you might embower the nest,
Some boy would spy

it.'

At this upon the sward She tapt her tiny silken-sandal'd foot :

• That 's your light way ; but I would make it death

For

any male thing but to peep at us.'

Petulant she spoke, and at herself she laugh’d;

A rosebud set with little wilful thorns,

And sweet as English air could make her, she :

But Walter hail'd a score of names upon her,

6

And petty Ogress,' and 'ungrateful Puss,'

And swore he long'd at College, only long'd,
All else was well, for she-society.

They boated and they cricketed ; they talk'd
At wine, in clubs, of art, of politics ;

They lost their weeks; they vext the souls of deans ; They rode ; they betted ; made a hundred friends,

a

And caught the blossom of the flying terms,
But miss'd the mignonette of Vivian-place,
The little hearth-flower Lilia. Thus he spoke,

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* We doubt not that. O yes, you miss'd us much. I'll stake my ruby ring upon it

you

did.'

She held it out ; and as a parrot turns

Up thro' gilt wires a crafty loving eye,

And takes a lady's finger with all care,

And bites it for true heart and not for harm,

So he with Lilia's.

Daintily she shriek'd

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