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Greek, set with busts: from vases in the hall
His own forefathers' arms and armour hung.
And ‘this,” he said, ‘was Hugh's at Agincourt; 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
Had beat her foes with slaughter from her walls.
And, I all rapt 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,
Or steep-up spout whereon the gilded ball
Danced like a wisp : and somewhat lower down
Like tumbled fruit in grass; and men and maids
Arranged a country dance, and flew thro' light
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 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
Veneer'd with sanctimonious theory.
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 Of old Sir Ralph a page or two that rang
With tilt and tourney; then the tale of her