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THE PRINCESS:

A MEDLEY.

PROLOGUE.

SIR WALTER Vivian all a summer's day

Gave his broad lawns until the set of sun

Up to the people : thither flock’d at noon

His tenants, wife and child, and thither half

The neighbouring borough with their Institute

Of which he was the patron. I was there
From college, visiting the son,—the son

A Walter too,—with others of our set,

Five others : we were seven at Vivian-place.

And me that morning Walter show'd the house,

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:

Greek, set with busts : from vases in the hall
Flowers of all heavens, and lovelier than their names,
Grew side by side ; and on the pavement lay
Carved stones of the Abbey-ruin in the park,

Huge Ammonites, and the first bones of Time ;
And on the tables every clime and age
Jumbled together; celts and calumets,
Claymore and snowshoe, toys in lava, fans
Of sandal, amber, ancient rosaries,

Laborious orient ivory sphere in sphere,

The cursed Malayan crease, and battle-clubs
From the isles of palm : and higher on the walls,
Betwixt the monstrous horns of elk and deer,

His own forefathers' arms and armour hung.

And this' he said 'was Hugh's at Agincourt;

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And that was old Sir Ralph's at Ascalon :

A good knight he! we keep a chronicle

With all about him’—which he brought, and I

Dived in a hoard of tales that dealt with knights

Half-legend, half-historic, counts and kings

Who laid about them at their wills and died ;

And mixt with these, a lady, one that arm’d
Her own fair head, and sallying thro' the gate,

Had beat her foes with slaughter from her walls.

"O miracle of women,' said the book,

O noble heart who, being strait-besieged

By this wild king to force her to his wish,
Nor bent, nor broke, nor shunn'd a soldier's death,

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But now when all was lost or seem'd as lost

Her stature more than mortal in the burst

Of sunrise, her arm lifted, eyes on fire

Brake with a blast of trumpets from the gate,

And, falling on them like a thunderbolt,

She trampled some beneath her horses' heels,
And some were whelm’d with missiles of the wall,

And some were push'd with lances from the rock, And part were drown'd within the whirling brook :

O miracle of noble womanhood!'

So sang the gallant glorious chronicle ; And, I all rapt in this,'Come out,' he said, * To the Abbey : there is Aunt Elizabeth

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And sister Lilia with the rest.' We went

(I kept the book and had my finger in it)
Down thro' the park : strange was the sight to me;
For all the sloping pasture murmur'd, 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 rear'd a font of stone

And drew, from butts of water on the slope,

The fountain of the moment, playing now

A twisted snake, and now a rain of pearls,

Or steep-up spout whereon the gilded ball

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

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