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Brake with a blast of trumpets from the gate,
sang the gallant glorious chronicle ; And, I all rapt in this, " Come out,” he said, “ To the Abbey : there is Aunt Elizabeth And sister Lilia with the rest.” We went (I kept the book and had my finger in it) Down through the park : strange was the sight to me; For all the sloping pasture murmured, sown With happy faces and with holiday. There moved the multitude, a thousand heads : The patient leaders of their Institute Taught them with facts. One reared a font of
They flashed a saucy message to and fro
Strange was the sight and smacking of the time; And long we gazed, but satiated at length Came to the ruins. High-arched and ivy-claspt, Of finest Gothic, lighter than a fire, Through 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 neighbor 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 joined them : then the maiden Aunt Took this fair day for text, and from it preached An universal culture for the crowd, And all things great; but we, unworthier, told Of college : he had climbed across the spikes, And he had squeezed himself betwixt the bars, And he had breathed the Proctor's dogs; and one Discussed his tutor, rough to common men
But honeying at the whisper of a lord;
But while they talked, above their heads I saw
Quick answered 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 you all! Ah, were I something great! I wish I were Some mighty poetess, I would shame you then, That love to keep us children! O, 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 played the patron with her curls.
And one said, smiling, “Pretty were the sight 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 upon the sward
She tapt her tiny silken-sandaled 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 laughed; A rosebud set with little wilful thorns, And sweet as English air could make her, she : But Walter hailed a score of names upon her, And " petty Ogress," and " ungrateful Puss," And swore he longed at college, only longed, All else was well, for she-society. They boated and they cricketed; they talked At wine, in clubs, of art, of politics; They lost their weeks; they vext the souls of deans; They rode; they betted; made a hundred friends, And caught the blossom of the flying terms, But missed the mignonette of Vivian-place, The little hearth-flower Lilia. Thus he spoke, Part banter, part affection.
" True,” she said, “We doubt not that. O yes, you missed us much. I'll stake my ruby ring upon it
did.” She held it out; and as a parrot turns Up through gilt wires a crafty loving eye, And takes a lady's finger with all care, And bites it for true heart, and not for harm, So he with Lilia's. Daintily she shrieked And wrung it. “Doubt my word again !” he said.
Come, listen ! here is proof that you were missed : We seven stayed at Christmas up to read; And there we took one tutor as to read : The hard-grained Muses of the cube and square Were out of season : never man, I think, So mouldered in a sinecure as he: For while our cloisters echoed frosty feet, And our long walks were stript as bare as brooms, We did but talk you over, pledge you all In wassail : often, like as many girls
Sick for the hollies and the yews of home-
She remembered that:
6. Kill him now,
Walter warped his mouth at this To something so mock-solemn, that I laughed, And Lilia woke with sudden-shrilling mirth An echo, like a ghostly woodpecker, Hid in the ruins; till the maiden Aunt (A little sense of wrong had touched her face With color) turned to me with “ As you will Heroic if you will, or what you will, Or be yourself your hero if you will.” “ Take Lilia, then, for heroine," clamored he, “And make her some great Princess, six feet high,