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Laborious Orient ivory sphere in sphere,

The cursed Malayan crease, and battle-clubs
From the isles of palm: and higher on the walls,
Betwixt the monstrous horns of elk and deer,
His own forefather's 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
Who laid about them at their wills and died;
And mixt with these, a lady, one that arm'd
Her own fair head, and sallying thro' the gate,
Had beat her foes with slaughter from her walls.

"O miracle of women," said the book, "O noble heart who, being strait-besieged



20: Sphere, Chinese ivory balls, carved out of the solid, one inside another. This line is one of the most admired in Tennyson, both for its melody and for the sense that the sound conveys of the preciousness of the little spheres and of their sliding movement one on another as they diminish in size within.

21. Crease, a heavy dagger called "cursed" because of the terrible gashed wound it makes, owing to its form; it has a waved blade set in the handle obliquely.

22. Isles of palm, South-Sea islands.

25. Agincourt, a famous battle (1415) of the time of chivalry, in which the English overthrew the French.

26. Ascalon, a famous battle-ground (1099-1192) of the Crusades. The special reference may be to the last date, that of Richard Cœur de Lion's victory.

27. Chronicle, the older word for a history. Froissart's Chronicle is a good example, and is still interesting reading for boys of spirit. 31. Spent their whole lives in unrestrained warfare.

35. Miracle, a stronger word for marvel. The exact meaning is a woman so surpassing in character as to seem above the reach of nature to produce, but only admiration is expressed by the phrase.

36. Strait, closely and hard.

By this wild king to force her to his wish,

Nor bent, nor broke, nor shunn'd a soldier's death, |

But now when all was lost or seem'd as lost-
Her stature more than mortal in the burst
Of sunrise, her arm lifted, eyes on fire-
Brake with a blast of trumpets from the gate,
And, falling on them like a thunderbolt,
She trampled some beneath her horses' heels,
And some were whelm'd with missiles of the wall,
And some were push'd with lances from the rock,
And part were drown'd within the whirling brook :
O miracle of noble womanhood!"

So sang the gallant glorious chronicle;
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




40. More than mortal, a phrase from the classics, equivalent to like a god.

42. Brake, broke.

57. The characteristic motion in a dense crowd is that of the heads. Notice throughout the following passage the attempt to heighten the prosaic detail of mechanical terms by the loveliness and color of the inserted adjectives and phrases.

63. Steep-up, perpendicular, a Shaksperian word; the ball is kept in the air, supported by the stream.

Danced like a wisp and somewhat lower down
A man with knobs and wires and vials fired
A cannon Echo answer'd in her sleep
From hollow fields: and here were telescopes
For azure views; and there a group of girls

In circle waited, whom the electric shock

Dislink'd with shrieks and laughter: round the lake
A little clock-work steamer paddling plied

And shook the lilies: perch'd about the knolls
A dozen angry models jetted steam :
A pretty railway ran: a fire-balloon
Rose gem-like up before the dusky groves
And dropt a fairy parachute and past:
And there thro' twenty posts of telegraph
They flash'd a saucy message to and fro
Between the mimic stations; so that sport
Went hand in hand with Science; otherwhere
Pure sport a herd of boys with clamour bowl'd
And stump'd the wicket; babies roll'd about
Like tumbled fruit in grass; and men and maids
Arranged a country dance, and flew thro' light
And shadow, while the twangling violin
Struck up with Soldier-laddie, and overhead



64. Wisp, will-o'-the-wisp, the light seen in marshy places; the metaphor is suggested by the motion and color of the ball.

66. Echo, personified as a nymph.

70. Dislinked. Dis-an alternative form for un-is common in poetry.

74. Fire-balloon, one inflated with heated air by means of a burning ball attached to it underneath.

86. Soldier-laddie,

"My soger laddie is over the sea,

And he will bring gold and siller to me," etc.

A favorite Scotch song, printed in Allan Cunningham's Songs of Scotland, 1825, vol. ii., p. 297. Words (under the title of the Soldier Laddie) and music seem to have appeared first in Thompson's Orpheus Caledonius, 1725. Burns is responsible for the statement that the first stanza is old, known before Thompson's time, and

The broad ambrosial aisles of lofty lime

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 lady friends

From neighbour seats: and there was 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
Glow like a sunbeam: near his tomb a feast
Shone, silver-set; about it lay the guests,



that the rest is by Ramsay. See Stenhouse, Illustrations of the Lyric Poetry and Music of Scotland, 1853, p. 310.

87. Ambrosial, fragrant.

89. The time, the contemporary age. The best poetic expression of the time that then was is in Tennyson's Locksley Hall, which is fully inspired with the larger excitement of "this march of mind."

92. Gothic, of Gothic architecture; contrasted with the Greek as a perpendicular with a horizontal line, or as a cone with a cube; the Gothic carries the eye up toward heaven, the Greek detains it within the limits of the building offered to its view; the mood of the one is endless aspiration, that of the other is completely realized beauty and majesty.

93. Through the rent in the Abbey walls made by time and frost they disclosed. Notice the way in which the poet presents the outer landscape as framed in the ruined wall, and contrasts it with the small-scale picture within, though both are wrought out with equally careful detail.

98. Seats, country seats.

And there we join'd them: then the maiden Aunt
Took this fair day for text, and from it preach'd
An universal culture for the crowd,

And all things great; but we, unworthier, told
Of college he had climb'd across the spikes,
And he had squeezed himself betwixt the bars,
And he had breathed the Proctor's dogs; and one
Discuss'd his tutor, rough to common men,
But honeying at the whisper of a lord;
And one the Master, as a rogue in grain.
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
That drove her foes with slaughter from her walls,
And much I praised her nobleness, and "Where,"
Ask'd Walter, patting Lilia's head (she lay
Beside him) "lives there such a woman now ?"

Quick answer'd Lilia "There are thousands now
Such women, but convention beats them down :
It is but bringing up; no more than that :

108. This fair day, the holiday of the people.



111, 112. He . . . he, this one and that. The "spikes" are on the walls of the college garden; the "bars" on the windows of students' rooms. [These and the following collegiate notes follow Wallace.]

113. Breathed the Proctor's dogs, tired out in the chase the Proctor's assistants who pursue students to arrest them, and are called in college slang "bull-dogs." The Proctor is a subordinate officer of college discipline.

114. Tutor, an officer in charge of both education and discipline, and adviser of students under him.

116. Master, head of a college.

128. Convention, the need of conforming to social rules and usages, of doing the conventional, that which all do, not because it is reasonable, but because it is usual.

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