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Down she stepped to a pallet where lay a face like a girl's
Young, and pathetic with dying, a deep black hole in the curls.
“Art thou from Tuscany, brother? and seest thou, dreaming in pain,
Thy mother stand in the piazza, searching the List of the slain?”
Kind as a mother herself, she touched his cheeks with her hands:
“Blessed is she who has borne thee, although she should weep as she stands.”
On she passed to a Frenchman, his arm carried off by a ball:
Kneeling, . . . “O more than my brother! how shall I thank thee for all?
“Each of the heroes around us has fought for his land and line,
But thou hast fought for a stranger, in hate of a wrong not thine.
“Happy are all free peoples, too strong to be dispossessed:
But blessed are those among nations, who dare to be strong for the rest!”
Ever she passed on her way, and came to a couch where pined
One with a face from Venetia, white with a hope out of mind.
Long she stood and gazed, and twice she tried at the name,
But two great crystal tears were all that faltered and came.
Only a tear for Venice?—she turned as in passion and loss, e
And stooped to his forehead and kissed it, as if she were kissing the cross.
Faint with that strain of heart she moved on then to another,
Stern and strong in his death. “And dost thou suffer, my brother?”
Holding his hands in hers:–“Out of the Piedmont lion
Cometh the sweetness of freedom! sweetest to live or to die on.”
Holding his cold rough hands, “Well, oh, well have ye done
In noble, noble Piedmont, who would not be noble alone.”
Back he fell while she spoke. She rose to her feet with a spring,
“That was a Piedmontese! and this is the Court of the King.”
LoRD WALTER’s WIFE.
“But why do you go?” said the lady, while both sate under the yew,
And her eyes were alive in their depth, as the kraken beneath the sea-blue.
“Because I fear you,” he answered;—because you are far too fair,
And able to strangle my soul in a mesh of your gold-colored hair.”
“O that,” she said, “is no reason! Such knots are . quickly undone,
And too much beauty, I reckon, is nothing but too much sun.”
“Yet farewell so,” he answered;—“the sunstroke's fatal at times.
I value your husband, Lord Walter, whose gallop rings still from the limes.”
“O that,” she said, “is no reason. You smell a rose through a fence:
If two should smell it, what matter? who grumbles, and where's the pretence?”
“But, I,” he replied, “have promised another, when love was free,
To love her alone, alone, who alone and afar loves me.”
“Why, that,” she said, “is no reason. Love's always free, I am told.
Will you vow to be safe from the headache on Tuesday, and think it will hold?”
“But you,” he replied, “have a daughter, a young little child, who was laid
In your lap to be pure; so I leave you: the angels would make me afraid.”
“O that,” she said, “is no reason. The angels keep out of the way;
And Dora, the child, observes nothing, although you should please me and stay.”
At which he rose up in his anger, “Why, now, you no longer are fair!
Why, now, you no longer are fatal, but ugly and hateful, I swear.”
At which she laughed out in her scorn,-‘These men! O, these men overnice,
Who are shocked if a color not virtuous is frankly put on by a vice.”
Her eyes blazed upon him—“And you! You bring us your vices so near
That we smell them! You think in our presence a thought 'twould defame us to hear!
“What reason had you, and what right, I appeal to your soul from my life, L
To find me too fair a woman? Why, sir, I am pure, and a wife.
“Is the day-star too fair up above you? It burns you not. Dare you imply
I brushed you more close than the star does, when Walter had set me as high?
“If a man finds a woman too fair, he means simply adapted too much
To uses unlawful and fatal. The praise!—shall I thank you for such?
“Too fair?—not unless you misuse us! and surely if, once in a while,
You attain to it, straightway you call us no longer too fair, but too vile.