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Alone 'I said from earlier than I know,

Immersed in rich foreshadowings of the world
I loved the woman : he, that doth not, lives

A drowning life, besotted in sweet self,
Or pines in sad experience worse than death,

Or keeps his wing'd affections clipt with crime :

Yet was there one thro’ whom I loved her, one

Not learned, save in gracious household ways,

Not perfect, nay, but full of tender wants,
No Angel, but a dearer being, all dipt
In Angel instincts, breathing Paradise,
Interpreter between the Gods and men,
Who look'd all native to her place, and yet
On tiptoe seem'd to touch upon a sphere
Too gross to tread, and all male minds perforce
Sway'd to her from their orbits as they moved
And girdled her with music. Happy he

With such a mother! faith in womankind

Beats with his blood, and trust in all things high

Comes easy to him, and tho' he trip and fall

He shall not blind his soul with clay.'

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Ere seen I loved, and loved thee seen, and saw

Thee woman thro' the crust of iron moods

That mask'd thee from men’s reverence up, and forced Sweet love on pranks of saucy boyhood : now

Giv'n back to life, to life indeed, thro' thee

Indeed I love: the new day comes,

the light

Dearer for night, as dearer thou for faults
Lived over : lift thine eyes ; doubt me no more ;

up and let thy nature strike on mine
Like yonder morning on the blind half-world ;
Approach and fear not; breathe upon my brows ;
In that fine air I tremble, all the past

Melts mist-like into this bright hour, and this
I scarce believe, and all the rich to come

Reels, as the golden Autumn woodland reels

Athwart the smoke of burning leaves. Forgive me,

I waste my heart in signs: let be. My bride,
My wife, my life. O we will walk this world,

Yoked in all exercise of noble end,

And so thro' those dark gates across the wild

That no man knows. Indeed I love thee : come,

Yield thyself up : my hopes and thine are one :
Accomplish thou my manhood and thyself

Lay thy sweet hands in mine and trust to me.'


So closed our tale, of which I give you


The random scheme as wildly as it rose:

The words are mostly mine ; for when we ceased There came a minute's pause, and Walter said, • I wish she had not yielded !' then to me, • What, if you drest it up poetically!'

So pray'd the men,

the women :


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,
And drove us, last, to quite a solemn close-
They hated banter, wish'd for something real,
A gallant fight, a noble princess—why

Not make her true-heroic, true-sublime ?

Or all, they said, as earnest as the close ?

Which yet with such a framework scarce could be. Then rose a little feud betwixt the two,

Betwixt the mockers and the realists :

And I, betwixt them both, to please them both,

And yet to give the story as it rose,
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, She flung it from her, thinking : last, she fixt

A showery glance upon her aunt and said

• You—tell us what we are 'who might have told,

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