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Chimeras, crotchets, Christmas solecisms,
“ Kill him now, The tyrant! kill him in the summer too,” Said Lilia; “Why not now," the maiden Aunt. “Why not a summer's as a winter's tale ? A tale for summer as befits the time, And something it should be to suit the place Heroic, for a hero lies beneath,
Walter warp'd his mouth at this To something so mock-solemn, that I laugh'd And Lilia woke with sudden-shrilling mirth An echo like a ghostly woodpecker, Hid in the ruins; till the maiden Aunt (A little sense of wrong had touch'd her face With colour) turn'd to me with “ As you will ; Heroic if you will, or what you will, Or be yourself your hero if you will."
“ Take Lilia, then, for heroine" clamour'd he,
“And make her some great Princess, six feet high,
Grand, epic, homicidal; and be you
“Then follow me, the Prince,”
I answer'd, "each be hero in his turn!
Seven and yet one, like shadows in a dream.-
No matter: we will say whatever comes.
So I began,
PRINCE I was, blue-eyed, and fair
Of temper amorous, as the first of May, With lengths of yellow ringlets, like a girl, For on my cradle shone the Northern star.
There lived an ancient legend in our house. Some sorcerer, whom a far-off grandsire burnt Because he cast no shadow, had foretold, Dying, that none of all our blood should know The shadow from the substance, and that one Should come to fight with shadows and to fall. For so, my mother said, the story ran. And, truly, waking dreams were, more or less, An old and strange affection of the house.
Myself too had weird seizures, Heaven knows
On a sudden in the midst of men and day,
Now it chanced that I had been,
While life was yet in bud and blade, betroth'd
Came murmurs of her beauty from the South,
But when the days drew nigh that I should wed, My father sent ambassadors with furs And jewels, gifts, to fetch her : these brought back A present, a great labour of the loom ; And therewithal an answer vague as wind : Besides, they saw the king; he took the gifts; He said there was a compact ; that was true : But then she had a will; was he to blame? And maiden fancies; loved to live alone
Among her women; certain, would not wed.
That morning in the presence room I stood With Cyril and with Florian, my two friends : The first, a gentleman of broken means (His father's fault) but given to starts and bursts Of revel; and the last, my other heart,