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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,

6

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,

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,

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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 ;

6

And, I all wrapt 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 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,

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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

Went hand in hand with Science; 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.

7

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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

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