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We gazed upon her came a little stir

About the doors, and on a sudden rush'd

Among us, out of breath, as one pursued,

A woman-post in flying raiment. Fear

Stared in her eyes, and chalk'd her face, and wing'd Her transit to the throne, whereby she fell

Delivering seal'd dispatches which the Head

Took half-amazed and in her lion's mood

Tore open, silent we with blind surmise
Regarding, while she read, till over brow

And cheek and bosom brake the wrathful bloom

As of some fire against a stormy cloud,
When the wild peasant rights himself, the rick

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Flames, and his anger reddens in the heavens ;
For anger most it seem'd, while now her breast,
Beaten with some great passion at her heart,
Palpitated, her hand shook, and we heard

In the dead hush the papers that she held

Rustle : at once the lost lamb at her feet

Sent out a bitter bleating for its dam ;

The plaintive cry jarr'd on her ire ; she crush'd


The scrolls together, made a sudden turn
As if to speak, but, utterance failing her,

She whirl'd them on to me, as who should say

• Read' and I read-two letters-one her sire's.

• Fair daughter, when we sent the Prince your way We knew not your ungracious laws, which learnt, We, conscious of what temper you are built, Came all in haste to hinder wrong, but fell Into his father's hands, who has this night,

You lying close upon his territory,
Slipt round and in the dark invested you,
And here he keeps me hostage for his son.'

The second was my father's running thus :

* You have our son: touch not a hair of his head :

Render him up unscathed : give him your hand :

Cleave to your contract : tho' indeed we hear

You hold the woman is the better man ;

A rampant heresy, such as if it spread

Would make all women kick against their Lords

Thro' all the world, and which might well deserve
That we this night should pluck your palace down ;

And we will do it, unless you send us back

Our son, on the instant, whole.'

So far I read ;

And then stood up and spoke impetuously.

• O not to pry and peer on your reserve But led by golden wishes and a hope

The child of regal compact, did I break

Your precinct ; not a scorner of your sex

But venerator, zealous it should be

All that it might be : hear me, for I bear,
Tho'man, yet human, whatsoe'er your wrongs,

From the flaxen curl to the


lock a life

Less mine than yours : my nurse would tell me of you ;
I babbled for you, as babies for the moon,
Vague brightness ; when a boy, you stoop'd to me

From all high places, lived in all fair lights,
Came in long breezes rapt from inmost south

And blown to inmost north ; at eve and dawn

With Ida, Ida, Ida, rang the woods ;

The leader wildswan in among the stars

Would clang it and lapt in wreaths of glowworm light

The mellow breaker murmur'd Ida. Now,

Because I would have reach'd you,



Sphered up with Cassiopëia, or the enthroned
Persephone in Hades, now at length,

Those winters of abeyance all worn out,

A man I came to see you : but, indeed,

Not in this frequence can I lend full tongue,

O noble Ida, to those thoughts that wait

their centre : let me say but this,
That many a famous man and woman, town
And landskip, have I heard of, after seen
The dwarfs of presage ; tho' when known, there grew
Another kind of beauty in detail
Made them worth knowing ; but in you I found

My boyish dream involved and dazzled down

And master'd, while that after-beauty makes
Such head from act to act, from hour to hour,

Within me, that except you slay me here,
According to your bitter statute-book,
I cannot cease to follow you, as they say

The seal does music ; who desire

you more

Than growing boys their manhood ; dying lips,

With many

thousand matters left to do,

The breath of life ; 0 more than poor men wealth,

Than sick men health-yours, yours, not mine--but half



whole ; and of those halves

You worthiest ; and howe'er you block and bar
Your heart with system out from mine, I hold
That it becomes no man to nurse despair,
But in the teeth of clench'd antagonisms
To follow up the worthiest till he die :

Yet that I came not all unauthorized



father's letter.'

On one knee

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