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Danced like a wisp: and somewhat lower down

A man with knobs and wires and vials fired

A cannon: Echo answer'd in her sleep
From hollow fields : and here were telescopes

For azure views; and there a group

of girls

In circle waited, whom the electric shock

Dislink'd with shrieks and laughter: round the lake A little clock-work steamer paddling plied


And shook the lilies : perch'd about the knolls
A dozen angry models jetted steam:
A petty railway ran: a fire-balloon
Rose gem-like up before the dusky groves
And dropt a fairy parachute and past :
And there thro' twenty posts of telegraph
They flash'd a saucy message to and fro

Between the mimic stations; so that sport

With Science hand in hand went; otherwhere

Pure sport: a herd of boys with clamour bowl'd
And stump'd the wicket; babies roll'd about

Like tumbled fruit in grass; and men and maids

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


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 squeezed himself betwixt the bars,
And he had breathed the Proctor's dogs; and one
Discuss'd his tutor, rough to common men
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,

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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 ?'

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



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.

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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


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 :

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

And 'petty Ogress,' and 'ungrateful Puss,'
And swore he long'd at College, only long'd,

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