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That surely she will tell you; if not, then I.
Did she these monsters blazon'd what they were
According to the coarseness of their kind,
For thus I hear; and known at last (my work)
And full of cowardice and guilty shame,
I grant in her the merit of shame, she flies;
And I remain on whom to wreak your rage,
I, that have lent my life to build up yours,
I, that have wasted here health, wealth and time
And talents, I — you know it — I will not boast:
Dismiss me, and I prophesy your plan,
Divorced from my experience, will be chaff
For every gust of chance, and men will say
We did not know the real light, but chased

The wisp that flickers where no foot can tread.”)

She ceased: the Princess answer'd coldly, ‘Good: Your oath is broken : we dismiss you : go. For this lost lamb (she pointed to the child)

Our mind is changed : we assume it to ourselves.”

Thereat the Lady stretch'd a vulture throat, And shot from crooked lips a haggard smile. ‘The plan was mine. I built the nest,” she said, ‘To hatch the cuckoo. Rise!” and stoop'd to updrag Melissa: she, half on her mother propt, Half-drooping from her, turn'd her face, and cast A liquid look on Ida, full of prayer, Which melted Florian's fancy as she hung, A Niobéan daughter, one arm out, Appealing to the bolts of Heaven; and while We gazed upon her came a little stir About the doors, and on a sudden ran in Among us, all out of breath, as pursued, A woman-post in flying raiment. Fear Stared in her eyes, and chalk'd her face, and wing'd Her transit to the throne, whereby she fell Delivering seal’d dispatches, which the Head Took half-amaz'd and in her lion's mood Tore open, silent we with blind surmise

Regarding, while she read, till over brow

And cheek and bosom brake the wrathful bloom
As of some fire against a stormy cloud,
When the wild peasant rights himself, and the rick
Flames, and his anger reddens in the heavens;
For anger most it seem’d, while now her breast,
Beaten with some great passion at her heart,
Palpitated, her hand shook, and we heard
In the dead hush the papers that she held
Rustle : at once the lost lamb at her feet
Sent out a bitter bleating for its dam;
The plaintive cry jarr'd on her ire; she crush'd
The scrolls together, made a sudden turn
As if to speak, but, utterance failing her,
She whirl'd them on to me, as who should say

“Read,” and I read — two letters — one her sire's.

‘Fair daughter, when we sent the Prince your way We knew not your ungracious laws, which learnt, We, conscious of what temper you are built,

Came all in haste to hinder wrong, but fell

Into his father's hands, who has this night,
You lying close upon his territory,
Slipt round and in the dark invested you,

And here he keeps me hostage for his son.”

The second was my father's, running thus: ‘You have our son : touch not a hair of his head : Deliver him up unscathed: give him your hand : Cleave to your contract: tho' indeed we hear You hold the woman is the better man; A rampant heresy, such as if it spread Would make all women kick against their Lords Thro' all the world, and which might well deserve That we this night should pluck your palace down; And we will do it, unless you send us back Our son, on the instant, whole.’

So far I read ;

And then stood up and spoke impetuously :

“O not to pry and peer on your reserve,

But led by golden wishes and a hope The child of legal compact, did I break Your precinct; not a scorner of your sex But venerator, and willing it should be All that it might be : hear me, for I bear, Tho' man, yet human, whatsoe'er your wrongs, From the flaxen curl to the gray lock a life Less mine than yours: my nurse would tell me of you; - (I babbled for you, as babies for the moon, Vague brightness; when a boy, you stoop'd to me From all high places, lived in all fair lights, Came in long breezes rapt from the inmost south, And blown to the inmost north ; at eve and dawn With Ida, Ida, Ida, rang the woods; The leader wildswan in among the stars Would clang it, and lapt in wreaths of glowworm light The mellow breaker murmur'd Ida.) Now, Because I would have reach'd you, tho' you had been Sphered up with Cassiopeia, or the enthroned

Persephone in Hades, now at length,

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