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You men have done it: how I hate you all!
Ah, were I something great! I wish I were
Some mighty poetess, I would shame you then,
That love to keep us children! O I wish
That I were some great Princess, I would build
Far off from men a college like a man's,

And I would teach them all that men are taught;
We are twice as quick!" And here she shook aside
The hand that play'd the patron with her curls.

And one said smiling "Pretty were the sight
If our old halls could change their sex, and flaunt
With prudes for proctors, dowagers for deans,
And sweet girl-graduates in their golden hair.
I think they should not wear our rusty gowns,
But move as rich as Emperor-moths, or Ralph
Who shines so in the corner; yet I fear,
If there were many Lilias in the brood,
However deep you might embower the nest,
Some boy would spy it."

At this upon the sward
She tapt her tiny silken-sandal'd foot :



“That's your light way; but I would make it death 150 For any male thing but to peep at us.'


Petulant she spoke, and at herself she laugh'd;

A rusebud set with little wilful thorns,

And sweet as English air could make her, she :

141. Dowagers, wealthy widows of rank.

Deans. The Dean, is an officer at the head of the discipline, with other dignified duties.


143. Gowns, the black college gowns worn by English collegians. 144. Emperor-moths, one of several large butterflies of the family Nymphalidæ ; as, the purple Emperor, the popular name in Great Britain of Apatura Iris, also called the purple High-Flier." Century Dictionary.

153, 154. The two lines are a favorable example of Tennyson's "prettiness," and also of the playful condescension to girlhood which pervades the lighter parts of the poem.

But Walter hail'd a score of names upon her,
And "petty Ogress," and "ungrateful Puss,"
And swore he long'd at college, only long'd,
All else was well, for she-society.

They boated and they cricketed; they talk'd
At wine, in clubs, of art, of politics;


They lost their weeks; they vext the souls of deans;

They rode; they betted; made a hundred friends,
And caught the blossom of the flying terms,
But miss'd the mignonette of Vivian-place,
The little hearth-flower Lilia. Thus he spoke,
Part banter, part affection.

"True," she said,
"We doubt not that. O yes, you miss'd us much.
I'll stake my ruby ring upon it you did."

She held it out; and as a parrot turns
Up thro' gilt wires a crafty loving eye,
And takes a lady's finger with all care,
And bites it for true heart and not for harm,
So he with Lilia's. Daintily she shriek'd
And wrung it. "Doubt my word again!" he said.
"Come, listen! here is proof that you were miss'd:
We seven stay'd at Christmas up to read;
And there we took one tutor as to read :
The hard-grain'd Muses of the cube and square
Were out of season: never man, I think,


161. Lost their weeks. An English undergraduate must be in actual residence at his college a certain number of terms as a condition of receiving a degree. Residence for a term is determined by his presence at dinner in the college during a certain number of weeks. By absence, beyond a certain limit, "they lose their weeks;" that is, they cannot count the term in which such absences occur as a part of their residence.

176. Read, the English college term for study.

178. Mathematics.

So moulder'd in a sinecure as he :

For while our cloisters echo'd frosty feet,

And our long walks were stript as bare as brooms,
We did but talk you over, pledge you all

In wassail; often, like as many girls-
Sick for the hollies and the yews of home-
As many little trifling Lilias-play'd

Charades and riddles as at Christmas here,

And what's my thought and when and where and how,
And often told a tale from mouth to mouth

As here at Christmas."

She remember'd that :

A pleasant game, she thought she liked it more
Than magic music, forfeits, all the rest.

But these

what kind of tales did men tell men,

She wonder'd, by themselves?

A half-disdain.

Perch'd on the pouted blossom of her lips:
And Walter nodded at me; "He began,
The rest would follow, each in turn; and so
We forged a sevenfold story. Kind? what kind?
Chimeras, crotchets, Christmas solecisms,



180. Sinecure, a place yielding income without labor, such as many posts in state, church, and college have traditionally been.

181. Cloisters, covered walks adjoining the walls of a college, generally about the inner quadrangle.

182. Walks, avenues of trees such as that at Magdalen, known as "Addison's Walk."

184. Wassail, the old English word for pledging healths, meaning “be well,” and hence a term for a party at which healths are drunk. 185. Hollies and the yews, the usual Christmas trimmings of an English home.

199. Chimeras, here a general name for fabulous monsters. The Chimera of mythology was a monster, lion in the front, goat in the middle, dragon behind; he was represented as breathing fire, and also as having three heads, the lion's, the goat's, and the dragon's. [Hawthorne's Wonder-Book.]

Christmas solecisms, extravagances; a solecism, in this sense, is anything out of the usual.

Seven-headed monsters only made to kill


Time by the fire in winter."

66 '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,

Grave, solemn !"

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

The Prince to win her!"

"Then follow me, the Prince,"

I answer'd, "each be hero in his turn!

Seven and yet one, like shadows in a dream.

Heroic seems our Princess as required—

But something made to suit with Time and place,
A Gothic ruin and a Grecian house,

A talk of college and of ladies' rights,

A feudal knight in silken masquerade,

And, yonder, shrieks and strange experiments



204. A winter's tale. She alludes to Shakspere's play of that name; cf. 231 below.

208. Warp'd his mouth, presumably at the unintended pun, just such a one as the college boy only could observe.

For which the good Sir Ralph had burnt them all—

This were a medley! we should have him back

Who told the 'Winter's tale' to do it for us.

No matter we will say whatever comes.
And let the ladies sing us, if they will,
From time to time, some ballad or a song
To give us breathing-space."

So I began,

And the rest follow'd: and the women sang
Between the rougher voices of the men,
Like linnets in the pauses of the wind:
And here I give the story and the songs.

229. Burnt, for witchcraft.


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