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VII.

So was their sanctuary violated, | So their fair college turn'd to hospital; At first with all confusion: by and bye Sweet order lived again with other laws: A kindlier influence reign'd; and everywhere Low voices with the ministering hand Hung round the sick: the maidens came, they talk'd, They sang, they read: till she not fair, began To gather light, and she that was, became Her former beauty treble; and to and fro With books, with flowers, with Angel offices, Like creatures native unto gracious act,

And in their own clear element, they moved.

But sadness on the soul of Ida fell,

And hatred of her weakness, blent with shame.
Old studies fail'd: seldom she spoke; but oft
Clomb to the roofs, and gazed alone for hours
On that disastrous leaguer, swarms of men
Darkening her female field: void was her use;
And she as one that climbs a peak to gaze
O'er land and main, and sees a great black cloud
Drag inward from the deeps, a wall of night,
Blot out the slope of sea from verge to shore,
And suck the blinding splendour from the sand,
And quenching lake by lake and tarn by tarn
Expunge the world: so fared she gazing there;
So blacken'd all her world in secret, blank
And waste it seem'd and vain; till down she came

And found fair peace once more among the sick.

And twilight dawn'd; and morn by morn the lark Shot up and shrill'd in flickering gyres, but I Lay silent in the muffled cage of life:

And twilight gloom'd; and broader grown the bowers

Drew the great night into themselves, and Heaven
Star after star arose and fell, but I
Lay sunder'd from the moving Universe, .
Nor knew what eye was on me nor the hand

That nursed me, more than infants in their sleep.

But Psyche tended Florian: with her oft Melissa came; for Blanche had gone, but left Her child among us, willing she should keep Court-favour (here and there the small bright head, A light of healing, glanced about the couch, Or thro' the parted silks the tender face Peep'd, shining in upon the wounded man With blush and smile, a medicine in themselves To wile the length from languorous hours and draw The sting from pain nor seem’d it strange that soon He rose up whole, and those fair charities Join’d at her side: nor stranger seem'd that hearts So gentle, so employ'd, should close in love,

Than when two dewdrops on the petal shake

To the same sweet air and tremble deeper down,

And slip at once all-fragrant into one.

Less prosperously the second suit obtain'd At first with Psyche. Not tho' Blanche had sworn That after that dark night among the fields, She needs must wed him for her own good name; Not though he built on what she said of the child; Nor tho' she liked him, would she yield, but fear'd To incense the Head once more; till on a day When Cyril pleaded, Ida came behind Seen but of Psyche. On her foot she hung A moment and she heard, at which her face A little flush'd and she past on ; but each Assumed from thence a half-consent involved

In stillness, plighted troth, and were at peace.

Nor only these: Love in the sacred halls Held carnival at will, and flying struck

With showers of random sweet on maid and man.

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Nor did her father cease to press my claim,
Nor did mine own now reconciled; nor yet
Did those twin brothers, risen again and whole;

Nor Arac, satiate with his victory.

But I lay still, and with me oft she sat: Then came a change; for sometimes I would catch Her hand in wild delirium, gripe it hard, And fling it like a viper off, and shriek

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clasp it once again And call her Ida, tho' I knew her not, And call her sweet, as if in irony, And call her hard and cold which seem’d a truth: And still she fear'd that I should lose my mind, And often she believed that I should die: Till out of long frustration of her care, And pensive tendance in the all-weary noons, And watches in the dead, the dark, when clocks

Throbb'd thunder thro' the palace floors, or call’d

On flying Time from all their silver tongues— )

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