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“I invite you, Mister Bertram, to no scene for worldly

speechesSir, I scarce should dare—but only where God asked the

thrushes first : And if you will sing beside them, in the covert of my

beeches, I will thank you for the woodlands,- for the human

world, at worst.”

Then she smiled around right childly, then she gazed

around right queenly, And I bowed—I could not answer ; alternated light and

gloomWhile as one who quells the lions, with a steady eye

serenely, She, with level fronting eyelids, passed out stately from

the room.

Oh, the blessed woods of Sussex! I can hear them still

around me,

With their leafy tide of greenery still rippling up the

wind. Oh, the cursed woods of Sussex! where the hunter's

arrow found me, When a fair face and a tender voice had made me mad

and blind !

In that ancient hall of Wycombe thronged the numerous

guests invited, And the lovely London ladies trod the floors with gliding


And their voices low with fashion, not with feeling, softly

freighted All the air about the windows with elastic laughters For at eve the open windows fung their light out on the


terrace Which the floating orbs of curtains did with gradual

shadow sweep, While the swans upon thc river, fed at morning by the

heiress, Trembled downward through their snowy wings at music

in their sleep.

And there evermore was music, both of instrument and

singing, Till the finches of the shrubberies grew restless in the

dark; But the cedars stood up motionless, each in a moonlight

ringing And the deer, half in the glimmer, strewed the hollows of

the park.

And though sometimes she would bind me with her

silver-corded speeches To commix my words and laughter with the converse and

the jest, Oft I sat apart and, gazing on the river through the

beeches, Heard, as pure the swans swam down it, her pure voice

o'erfloat the rest.

In the morning, horn of huntsman, hoof of steed and

laugh of rider, Spread out cheery from the court-yard till we lost them

in the hills, While herself and other ladies, and her suitors left beside

her, Went a-wandering up the gardens through the laurels. Thus, her foot upon the new-mown grass, bareheaded,

and abeles.

with the flowing Of the virginal white vesture gathered closely to her

throat, And the golden ringlets in her neck just quickened by

her going, And appearing to breathe sun for air, and doubting if to


With a branch of dewy maple, which her right hand held

above her, And which trembled a green shadow in betwixt her and

the skies, As she turned her face in going, thus, she drew me on to

love her, And to worship the divineness of the smile hid in her


For her eyes alone smile constantly; her lips have

serious sweetness, And her front is calm, the dimple rarely ripples on the

cheek; But her deep blue eyes smile constantly, as if they in

discreetness Kept the secret of a happy dream she did not care to


Thus she drew me the first morning, out across into the

garden, And I walked among her noble friends and could not

keep behind. Spake she unto all and unto me—.“ Behold, I am the

warden Of the song-birds in these lindens, which are cages to

their mind.

“But within this swarded circle into which the lime-walk

brings us, Whence the beeches, rounded greenly, stand away in

reverent fear, I will let no music enter, saving what the fountain sings us Which the lilies round the basin may seem pure enough

to hear.

“The live air that waves the lilies waves the slender jet

of water Like a holy thought sent feebly up from soul of fasting

saint : Whereby lies a marble Silence, sleeping, (Lough the

sculptor wrought her) So asleep she is forgetting to say Hush !-a fancy quaint.

“Mark how heavy white her eyelids ! not a dream be

tween them lingers ; And the left hand's index droppeth from the lips upon

the cheek : While the right hand,—with the symbol-rose held slack

within the fingers,Has fallen backward in the basin-yet this Silence will

not speak!

“ That the essential meaning growing may exceed the

special symbol, Is the thought as I conceive it: it applies more high

and low. Our true noblemen will often through right nobleness

grow humble, And assert an inward honour by denying outward show.”

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« Nay, your Silence,” said I, “truly, holds her symbol

rose but slackly, Yet she holds it, or would scarcely be a Silence to our

ken: And your nobles wear their ermine on the outside, or

walk blackly In the presence of the social law as mere ignoble men.

“Let the poets dream such dreaming ! madam, in these

British islands. 'Tis the substance that wanes ever, 't is the symbol that

exceeds. Soon we shall have nought but symbol : and, for statues

like this Silence, Shall accept the rose's image—in another case, the


“Not so quickly," she retorted,—“I confess, where'er

you go, you Find for things, names-shows for actions, and pure

gold for honour clear : But when all is run to symbol in the Social, I will throw

you The world's book which now reads drily, and sit down

with Silence here."

Half in playfulness she spoke, I thought, and half in

indignation ; Friends who listened, laughed her words off, while her

lovers deemed her fair : A fair woman, flushed with feeling, in her noble-lighted

station Near the statue's white reposing, and both bathed in

sunny air !

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