Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

In the green gleam of dewy-tassell'd trees:
What were those fancies? wherefore break her troth -
Proud look'd the lips: but while I meditated,
A wind arose and rush’d upon the South,
And shook the songs, the whispers, and the shrieks
Of the wild woods together; and a Voice

Went with it, “Follow, follow, thou shalt win.”

(Then, ere the silver sickle of that month
Became her golden shield, I stole from court
With Cyril and with Florian, unperceived.
Down from the bastion'd walls we dropt by night,
And flying reach'd the frontier: then we crost
To a livelier land; and so, by town and thorpe,
And tilth, and blowing bosks of wilderness,
We gain'd the mother-city thick with towers,
And in the imperial palace found the king.
His name was Gama; crack'd and small his voice;
A little dry old man, without a star,

Not like a king : three days he feasted us,

And on the fourth I spake of why we came, And my betroth'd, ‘You do us, Prince, he said, Airing a snowy hand and signet gem, “All honour. We remember love ourselves In our sweet youth : there did a compact pass Long summers back, a kind of ceremony— I think the year in which our olives fail’d. I would you had her, Prince, with all my heart, With my full heart: but there were widows here, | Two widows, Lady Psyche, Lady Blanche; They fed her theories, in and out of place, Maintaining that with equal husbandry The woman were an equal to the man. They harp'd on this; with this our banquets rang; Our dances broke and buzz'd in knots of talk; Nothing but this: my very ears were hot To hear them. Last, my daughter begg’d a boon, A certain summer-place which I have Hard by your father's frontier: I said no,

Yet being an easy man, gave it; and there,

All wild to found an University &-
For maidens, on the spur she fled; and more
We know not, — have not been ; they see no men,
Not ev'n her brother Arac, nor the twins
Her brethren, tho' they love her, look upon her
As on a kind of paragon; and I
(Pardon me saying it) were much loth to breed
Dispute betwixt myself and mine : but since
(And I confess with right) you think me bound
In some sort, I can give you letters to her;
And yet, to speak the truth, I rate your chance

Almost at naked nothing.’

Thus the king;
And I, tho’ nettled that he seem'd to slur
With garrulous ease and oily courtesies
Our formal compact, yet not less all frets
But chafing me on fire to find my bride,
Set out once more with those two gallant boys;

Then pushing onward under sun and stars

Many a long league back to the North, we came,
When the first fern-owl whirr'd about the copse,
Upon a little town within a wood
Close at the boundary of the liberties;
There entering in an hostel call'd mine host
To council, plied him with his richest wines,

And show'd the late-writ letters of the king.

He, with a long low sibilation, stared As blank as death in marble; then exclaim'd Averring it was clear against all rules For any man to go: but as his brain Began to mellow, “If the king,” he said, “Had given us letters, was he bound to speak 1 The king would bear him out;" and at the last – The summer of the vine in all his veins — “No doubt that we might make it worth his while. For him, he reverenced his liege-lady there; He always made a point to post with mares;

His daughter and the housemaid were the boys.

The land he understood for miles about

Was till'd by women; all the swine were sows,

And all the dogs'—

But while he jested thus, A thought flash'd thro’ me which I clothed in act, Remembering how we three presented Maid Or Nymph, or Goddess, at high tide of feast, In masque or pageant at my father's court. We sent mine host to purchase female gear; Which brought and clapt upon us, we tweezer'd out What slender blossom lived on lip or cheek Of manhood, gave mine host a costly bribe To guerdon silence, mounted our good steeds,

And boldly ventured on the liberties.

We rode till midnight, when the college lights
Began to glitter firefly-like in copse
And linden alley; and then we past an arch

Inscribed too dark for legible, and gain'd

« PoprzedniaDalej »