Obrazy na stronie

The creature laid his muzzle on your lap, And sobb'd, and you sobb'd with it, and the blood Was sprinkled on your kirtle, and you wept. That was fawn’s blood, not brother's, yet you wept. O by the bright head of my little niece, You were that Psyche, and what are you now !’ ‘You are that Psyche, Cyril said again, (‘The mother of the sweetest little maid,

That ever crow'd for kisses.')

‘Out upon it!” She answer'd, ‘peace and why should I not play The Spartan Mother with emotion, be The Lucius Junius Brutus of my kind 7 Him you call great : he for the common weal, The fading politics of mortal Rome, As I might slay this child, if good need were, Slew both his sons: and I, shall I, on whom The secular emancipation turns

Of half this world, be swerved from right to save

A prince, a brother ? a little will I yield.
Best so, perchance, for us, and well for you.
O hard, when love and duty clash I fear
My conscience will not count me fleckless; yet—
Hear my conditions: promise (otherwise
You perish) as you came to slip away,
To-day, to-morrow, soon : it shall be said,
These women were too barbarous, would not learn;

They fled, who might have shamed us: promise, all.’

What could we else, we promised each; and slie, Like some wild creature newly-caged, commenced A to-and-fro, so pacing till she paused By Florian; holding out her lily arms Took both his hands, and smiling faintly said:

‘You are grown, and yet I knew you at the first. I am very glad, and I am very vext To see you, Florian. I give thee to death,

My brother it was duty spoke, not I.

My needful seeming harshness, pardon it.
Our mother, is she well ?”
With that she kiss'd

His forehead, and a moment after clung
About him, and betwist them blossom'd up
From out a common vein of memory
Sweet household talk, and phrases of the hearth,
And far allusion, till the gracious dews
Began to gisten and to fill and while
They stood, so rapt, we * came a voice,
“I brought a message here from Lady Blanche.'
Back started she, and turning round we saw
The Lady Blanche's daughter where she stood,
Melissa, with her hand upon the lock,
A rosy blonde, and in a college gown

(That clad her like an April daffodilly |
(Her mother's colour) with her lips apart,
And all her thoughts as fair within her eyes,
As bottom agates seem to wave and float

In crystal currents of clear morning seas.

So stood that same fair creature at the door. Then Lady Psyche, ‘Ah — Melissa — you ! You heard us?” and Melissa, “O pardon me ! I heard, I could not help it, did not mean: But, dearest Lady, I pray you fear me not, Nor think I bear that heart within my breast, To give three gallant gentlemen to death.’ “I trust you,' said the other, ‘for we two Were always friends, none closer, elm and vine: But yet your mother's jealous temperament— Let not your prudence, dearest, drowse, or prove The Danaid of a leaky vase, for fear This whole foundation ruin, and I lose My honour, these their lives.” “Ah, fear me not,’ Replied Melissa, “no — I would not tell, No, not for all Aspasia's cleverness, No, not to answer, Madam, all those hard things That Sheba came to ask of Solomon.’ “Be it so, the other, ‘that we may live to lead

The new light up, and culminate in peace,

For Solomon may come to Sheba yet.'
Said Cyril, ‘Madam, he the wisest man,
Feasted the woman wisest then, in halls
Of Lebanonian cedar: nor should you
(Tho' madam you should answer, we would ask)
Less welcome find among us, if e'er you came
Among us, debtors for our lives to you,
Myself for something more.’ He said not what,
But ‘Thanks, she answered, ‘go: we have been too long
Together: keep your hoods about the face;
They do so that affect abstraction here.

Speak little; mix not with the rest; and hold

Your promise: all, I trust, may yet be well.'

We turn'd to go, but Cyril took the child,
And held her round the knees against his waist,
And blew the swolin cheek of a trumpeter,
While Psyche watch'd them, smiling, and the child
Push'd her flat hand against his face and laugh'd;

And thus our conference closed.

« PoprzedniaDalej »