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THE PRINCESS: A MEDLEY.
| A good knight he! we keep a chronicle
With all about him" -- which he brought Sir WALTER VIVIAN all a summer's day! and I Gave his broad lawns until the set of sun Dived in a hoard of tales that dealt with Up to the people : thither flock'd at noon knights His tenants, wife and child, and thither Half-legend, half-historic, counts and
kings The neighboring borough with their In- Who laid about them at their wills and stitute
I died ; Of which he was the patron. I was there | And mixt with these, a lady, one that From college, visiting the son, -- the son arm'd A Walter too, -- with others of our set, Her own fair head, and sallying thro' the Five others : we were seven at Vivian
Had beat her foes with slaughter from
her walls. And me that morning Walter show'd the house,
"O miracle of women," said the book, Greek, set with busts : from vases in the “O noble heart who, being strait-besieged hall
By this wild king to force her to his wish, Flowers of all heavens, and lovelier than Nor bent, nor broke, nor shunnid a sol. their names,
dier's death, Grew side by side ; and on the pavement But now when all was lost or seem'd as
lost — Carved stones of the Abbey-ruin in the Her stature more than mortal in the burst park,
Of sunrise, her arm lifted, eyes on fireHuge Ammonites, and the first bones of Brake with a blast of trumpets from the Time :
gate, And on the tables every clime and age . And, falling on them like a thunderbolt, Jumbled together ; celts and calumets, She trampled some beneath her horses' Claymore and snowshoe, toys in lava, fans heels, Of sandal, amber, ancient rosaries, Anu some were whelm'd with missiles of Laborious orient ivory sphere in sphere, the wall, The cursed Malayan crease, and battle. And some were push'd with lances from clubs
the rock, From the isles of palm : and higher on And part were drown'd within the whirlthe walls,
*ing brook : Betwixt the monstrous horns of elk and O miracle of noble womanhood !"
deer, His own forefathers’armsand armorhung. So sang the gallant glorious chronicle;
And, I all rapt in this, “Come out," he And “this” he said “was Hugh's at said, Agincourt ;
"To the Abbey: there is Aunt Elizabeth And that was old Sir Ralph's at Ascalon : And sister Lilia with the rest." We went
(I kept the book and had my finger in it) Came to the ruins. High-arch'd and ivy. Down thro' the park : strange was the claspt, sight to me;
Of finest Gothic lighter than a fire, For all the sloping pasture murmur'd, Thro' one wide chasm of time and frost sown
they gave With happy faces and with holiday. The park, the crowd, the house ; but all There moved the multitude, a thousand within heads :
The sward was trim as any garden lawn: The patient leaders of their Institute And here we lit on Aunt Elizabeth, Taught them with facts. One rear'd a And Lilia with the rest, and lady frionds font of stone
From neighbor seats : and there was And drew, from butts of wateron the slope,
Ralph himself, The fountain of the moment, playing now A broken statue propt against the wall, A twisted snake, and now a rain of pearls, As gay as any. Lilia, wild with sport, Or steep-up spout whereon the gilded ball Half child half woman as she was, had Danced like a wisp : and somewhat low. I wound er down
A scarf of orange round the stony helm, A man with knobs and wires and vials And robed the shoulders in a rosy silk, fired
That made the old warrior from his ivied A cannon : Echo answer'd in her sleep
nook From hollow fields : and here were tele- Glow like a sunbeam: near his tomb a
scopes For azure views; and there a group of Shone, silver-set; about it lay the guests, girls
And there we join'd them : then the In circle waited, whom the electric shock Dislink'd with shrieks and laughter : Took this fair day for text, and from it round the lake
| preach'd A little clock-work steamer paddling plied | An universal culture for the crowd, And shook the lilies : perch'd about the And all things great ; but we, unworknolls
thier, told A dozen angry models jetted steam : Of college : he had climb'd across the A petty railway ran : a fire-balloon
spikes, Rose gem-like up before the dusky groves And he had squeezed himself betwixt And dropt a fairy parachute and past :
the bars, And there thro' twenty posts of telegraph And he had breath'd the Proctor's dogs ; They flash'd a saucy message to and fro
L and one Between the mimic stations; so that sport Discuss'd his tutor, rough to common Went hand in hand with Science; other
But honeying at the whisper of a lord ; Pure sport : a herd of boys with clamor And one the Master, as a rogue in grain bowl'd
Veneer'd with sanctimonious theory. And stump'd the wicket ; babies rollid about
But while they talk'd, above their Like tumbled fruit in grass ; and men heads I saw and maids
The feudal warrior lady-clad; which Arranged a country dance, and flew thro' I brought
My book to mind : and opening this I And shadow, while the twangling violin Struck up with Soldier-laddie, and over Of old Sir Ralph a page or two that rang head
With tiltand tourney; then the tale of her The broad ambrosial aisles of lofty lime That drove her foes with slaughter from Made noise with bees and breeze from
her walls, end to end.
And much I praised her nobleness, and
“Where," Strange was the sight and smacking of Ask'd Walter, patting Lilia's head (she lay the time;
Beside him) lives there such a woman And long we gazed, but satiated at length
Quick answer'd Lilia “ There are thou- | At wine, in clubs, of art, of politics ; sands now
They lost their weeks; they vext the souls Such women, but convention beats them of deans ; down :
They rode ; they betted ; made a hunIt is but bringing up; no more than that: dred friends, You men have done it: how I hate you all! And caught the blossom of the flying Ah, were I something great! I wish I were terms, Some mighty poetess, I would shame you But miss'd the mignonette of Vivianthen,
place, That love to keep us children ! 0 I wish The little hearth-flower Lilia. Thus he That I were some great princess, I would build
Part banter, part affection. Far off from men a college like a man's,
“True," she said, And I would teach them all that men are “We doubt not that. O yes, you miss'd taught;
us much. Wo are twice as quick !" And here she I'll stake my ruby ring upon it you shook aside
did.” The hand that play'd the patron with her curls.
She held it out; and as a parrot turns
Up thro' gilt wires a crafty loving eye, And one said smiling “Pretty were the And takes a lady's finger with all care, sight
And bites it for true heart and not for If our old halls could change their sex, harm, and flaunt
So he with Lilia's. Daintily she shriek'd With prudes for proctors, dowagers for And wrung it. “Doubt my word again!" deans,
he said. And sweet girl-graduates in their golden “Come, listen ! here is proof that you hair.
were miss'd : I think they should not wear our rusty We seven stay'd at Christmas up to read; gowns,
And there we took one tutor as to read : But move as rich as Emperor-moths, or The hard-grain'd Muses of the cube and Ralph
square Who shines so in the corner ; yet I fear, Were out of season : never man, I think, If there were many Lilias in the brood, So moulder'd in a sinecure as he : However deep you might embower the For while our cloisters echo'd frosty feet, nest,
| And our long walks were stript as bare Some boy would spy it.”
as brooms, At this upon the sward We did but talk you over, pledge you She tapt her tiny silken-sandal'd foot :
all “That's your light way; but I would In wassail ; often, like as many girls – make it death
Sick for the hollies and the yews of home For any male thing but to peep at us." As many little trifling Lilias — play'd
Charades and riddles as at Christmas here, Petulant she spoke, and at herself she And what's my thought and when and laugh'd ;
where and how, A rosebud set with little wilful thorns, And often told a tale from mouth to mouth And sweet as English air could make As here at Christmas." her, she :
She remember'd that: But Walter hail'd a score of names upon A pleasant game, she thought : she liked
it more And “petty Ogress," and “ungrateful Than magic music, forfeits, all the rest. Puss,"
But these -- what kind of tales did men And swore he long'd at college, only tell men, long'd,
She wonder'd, by themselves ? All else was well, for she-society.
A half-disdain They boated and they cricketed; they Perch'don the pouted blossom of her lips : talk'd
| And Walter nodded at me ; “He began,
The rest would follow, each in turn; and , From time to time, some ballad or a song so
To give us breathing-space." We forged a sevenfold story. Kind ?
So I began, what kind ?
And the rest follow'd: and the women sang Chimeras, crotchets, Christmas solecisms, Between the rougher voices of the men, Seven-headed monsters only made to kill Like linnets in the pauses of the wind : Time by the fire in winter.”
And here I give the story and the songs.
“Kill him now, The tyrant! kill him in the summer
Said Lilia; “Why not now," the maiden
| A PRINCE I was, blue-eyed, and fair in “Why not a summer's as a winter's tale ? face, A tale for summer as befits the time, Of temper amorous, as the first of May, And something it should be to suit the With lengths of yellow ringlets, likea girl, place
For on my cradle shone the Northern star. Heroic, for a hero lies beneath, Grave, solemn!”
There lived an ancient legend in our Walter warp'd his mouth at this To something so mock-solemn, that I Some sorcerer, whom a far-off grandsire laugh'd
burnt And Lilia woke with sudden-shrilling Because he cast no shadow, had foretold, mirth
Dying, that none of all our blood should An echo like a ghostly woodpecker,
know Hid in the ruins; till the maiden Aunt The shadow from the substance, and that (A little sense of wrong had touch'd her one face
Should come to fight with shadows and With color) turn'd to me with “As you to fall. will ;
For so, my mother said, the story ran. Heroic if you will, or what you will, And, truly, waking dreams were, more or Or be yourself your hero if you will."
less, “Take Lilia, then, for heroine" clam- An old and strange affection of the house. or'd he,
Myself too had weird seizures, Heaven “And make her some great Princess, six knows what : feet high,
On a sudden in the midst of men and day. Grand, epic, homicidal ; and be you And while I walk'd and talk'd as hereThe Prince to win her!"
tofore, “Then follow me, the Prince,” | I seem'd to move among a world of ghosts, I answer'd, “each be hero in his turn! And feel myself the shadow of a dream. Seven and yet one, like shadows in a Our great court-Galen poised his gilt-head dream.
cane, Heroic seems our Princess as required — And paw'd his beard, and mutter'd But something made to suit with Time "catalepsy." and place,
My mother pitying made a thousand A Gothic ruin and a Grecian house,
prayers; A talk of college and of ladies' rights, My mother was as mild as any saint, A feudal knight in silken masquerade, Half-canonized by all that look'd on her, And, yonder, shrieks and strange exper So gracious was her tact and tenderness : iments
But my good father thought a king a For which the good Sir Ralph had burnt king ; them all
He cared not for the affection of the house ; This were a medley ! we should have him He held his sceptre like a pedant's wand
To lash offence, and with long arms and Who told the “Winter's tale' to do it
hands for us.
Reach'd out, and pick'd offenders from No matter : we will say whatever comes. the mass And let the ladies sing us, if they will, ! For judgment.
Now it chanced that I had been, , And bring her in a whirlwind . then ho While life was yet in bud and blade, be
The thrice-turn'd cud of wrath, and To one, a neighboring Princess : she to me cook'd his spleen, Was proxy-wedded with a bootless calf Communing with his captains of the war. At eight years old ; and still from time to time
At last I spoke. “My father, let me Came murmurs of her beauty from the
It cannot be but some gross error lies And of her brethren, youths of puissance; In this report, this answer of a king, And still I wore her picture by my heart, Whom all men rate as kind and hospiAnd one dark tress ; and all around them
table : both
Or, maybe, I myself, my bride once seen, Sweet thoughts would swarm as bees about Whate'er my grief to find her less than their queen.
May rue the bargain made." And FloBut when the days drew nigh that I rian said: should wed,
“I have a sister at the foreign court, My father sent ambassadors with furs Who moves about the Princess ; she, And jewels, gifts, to fetch her : these you know, brought back
Who wedded with a nobleman from A present, a great labor of the loom ;
thence : And therewithal an answer vague as He, dying lately, left her, as I hear, wind :
The lady of three castles in that land : Besides, they saw the king; he took the Thro' her this matter might be sifted gifts;
clean." He said there was a compact ; that was And Cyril whisper'd : “Take me with
you too." But then she had a will ; was he to blame? Then laughing “what, if these weird And maiden fancies ; loved to live alone seizures come Among her women; certain, would not Upon you in those lands, and no one near wed.
To point you out the shadow from the
truth! That morning in the presence room I Take me : I'll serve you better in a strait; stood
I grate on rusty hinges here": but With Cyril and with Florian, my two “No!” friends :
Roar'd the rough king, "you shall not ; The first, a gentleman of broken means we ourself (His father's fault) but given to starts will crush her pretty maiden fancies dead and bursts
In iron gauntlets : break the council up." Of revel; and the last, my other heart, Andalmost my half-self, forstill we moved But when the council broke, I rose and Together, twinn'd as horse's ear and eye.
Thro' the wild woods that hung about the Now, while they spake, I saw my town ; father's face
Found a still place, and pluck'd her likeGrow long and troubled like a risingmoon, ness out; Inflamed with wrath ; he started on his Laid it on flowers, and watch'd it lying feet,
bathed Tore the king's letter, snow'd it down, In the green gleam of dewy-tassellid trees : and rent
What were those fancies? wherefore break The wonder of the loom thro' warp and her troth ? i woof
Proud look'd the lips : but while I mediFrom skirt to skirt ; and at the last he tated sware
A wind arose and rush'd upon the South, That he would send a hundred thousand! And shook the songs, the whispers, and men,