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Kneeling, I gave it, which she caught, and dash'd
As waits a river level with the dam
Ready to burst and flood the world with foam :
A hubbub in the court of half the maids
Gather'd together; from the illumin'd hall
shoulders, thick as herded ewes,
And gold and golden heads; they to and fro
grew As of a new-world Babel, woman-built,
And worse-confounded : high above them stood
she look’d, the Head : but rising up Robed in the long night of her deep hair, so
To the open window moved, remaining there
Fixt like a beacon-tower above the waves
Of tempest, when the crimson-rolling eye
Dash themselves dead. She stretch'd her arms and call'd
Across the tumult and the tumult fell.
• What fear
On me, me, me, the storm first breaks : I dare
All these male thunderbolts : what is it
Peace! there are those to avenge us and they come :
And clad in iron burst the ranks of war,
Or, falling, protomartyr of our cause,
that From which I would redeem ye : but for those
That stir this hubbub-you and you—I know
Your faces there in the crowd-to-morrow morn
We hold a great convention : then shall they
With whom they deal, dismiss'd in shame to live
No wiser than their mothers, household stuff,
Live chattels, mincers of each other's fame,
Full of weak poison, turnspits for the clown,
Whose brains are in their hands and in their heels,
But fit to flaunt, to dress, to dance, to thrum,
To tramp, to scream, to burnish, and to scour,
For ever slaves at home and fools abroad.'
She, ending, waved her hands : thereat the crowd Muttering, dissolved : then with a smile, that look'd
A stroke of cruel sunshine on the cliff
When all the glens are drown'd in azure gloom
• You have done well and like a gentleman,
And like a prince : you have our thanks for all :
you look well too in your woman's dress :
Then men had said but now - What hinders me
To take such bloody vengeance on you both ?
Yet since our father-Wasps in our good hive,
You would-be quenchers of the light to be,
Barbarians, grosser than your
O would I had his sceptre for one hour !
Our servants, wrong'd and lied and thwarted us—
I wed with thee! I bound by precontract
Your bride, your bondslave ! not tho' all the gold
And every spoken tongue should lord you. Sir,
I trample on your offers and on you :
Here, push them out at gates.'
In wrath she spake.
Then those eight mighty daughters of the plough
Bent their broad faces toward us and address'd
Their motion : twice I sought to plead my cause,
But on my shoulder hung their heavy hands,
They push'd us, down the steps, and thro' the court,
And with grim laughter thrust us out at gates.
We cross'd the street and gain'd a petty mound Beyond it, whence we saw the lights and heard The voices murmuring ; till upon my spirits Settled a gentle cloud of melancholy,
Which I shook off, for I was ever one
To whom the shadow of all mischance but came
As night to him that sitting on a hill
Sees the midsummer, midnight, Norway sun,
Set into sunrise : then we moved away.