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Tell him, for that he hath such royal power
'Twere hard for him to think how small a thing,
How slight a sign, would make a wealthy dower
For one like me, the bride of that pale king
Whose bed is mine at some swift-nearing hour.
Go to my lord, and to his memory bring
That happy birthday of my sorrowing
When his large glance made meaner gazers glad,
Entering the bannered lists: 'twas then I had
The wound that laid me in the arms of Death.

Tell him, O Love, I am a lowly maid,
No more than any little knot of thyme
That he with careless foot may often tread;
Yet lowest fragrance oft will mount sublime
And cleave to things most high and hallowed,
As doth the fragrance of my life's springtime,
My lowly love, that soaring seeks to climb
Within his thought, and make a gentle bliss,
More blissful than if mine, in being his :
So shall I live in him and rest in Death.

The strain was new. It seemed a pleading cry,
And yet a rounded perfect melody,
Making grief beauteous as the tear-filled eyes
Of a little child at little miseries.
Trembling at first, then swelling as it rose,
Like rising light that broad and broader grows,
It filled the hall, and so possessed the air
That not one living breathing soul was there,
Though dullest, slowest, but was quivering
In music's grasp, and forced to hear her sing.
But most such sweet compulsion took the mood
Of Pedro (tired of doing what he would).
Whether the words which that strange meaning
bore

66

Were but the poet's feigning or aught more,
Was bounden question, since their aim must be
At some imagined or true royalty.
He called Minuccio and bade him tell
What poet of the day had writ so well;
For though they came behind all former rhymes,
The verses were not bad for these poor times.
'Monsignor, they are only three days old,"
Minuccio said; "but it must not be told
How this song grew save to your royal ear."
Eager, the king withdrew where none was near,
And gave close audience to Minuccio,
Who meekly told that love-tale meet to know.
The king had features pliant to confess
The presence of a manly tenderness
Son, father, brother, lover, blent in one,
In fine harmonic exultatiön-

The spirit of religious chivalry.

He listened, and Minuccio could see
The tender, generous admiration spread
O'er all his face, and glorify his head
With royalty that would have kept its rank,
Though his brocaded robes to tatters shrank.
He answered without pause, " So sweet a maid,
In nature's own insignia arrayed,
Though she were come of unmixed trading blood
That sold and bartered ever since the flood,
Would have the self-contained and single worth
Of radiant jewels born in darksome earth.
Raona were a shame to Sicily,
Letting such love and tears unhonoured be:

Hasten, Minuccio, tell her that the king
To-day will surely visit her when vespers ring."

Joyful, Minuccio bore the joyous word,
And told at full, while none but Lisa heard,
How each thing had befallen, sang the song,
And like a patient nurse who would prolong
All means of soothing, dweit upon each tone,
Each look, with which the mighty Aragon
Marked the high worth his royal heart assigned
To that dear place he held in Lisa's mind.
She listened till the draughts of pure content
Through all her limbs like some new being

went-

Life, not recovered, but untried before, From out the growing world's unmeasured store Of fuller, better, more divinely mixed. 'Twas glad reverse: she had so firmly fixed To die, already seemed to fall a veil Shrouding the inner glow from light of senses pale.

Her parents wondering see her half arise-
Wondering, rejoicing, see her long dark eyes
Brimful with clearness, not of 'scaping tears,
But of some light ethereal that enspheres
Their orbs with calm, some vision newly learnt
Where strangest fires erewhile had blindly burnt.
She asked to have her soft white robe and band
And coral ornaments, and with her hand
She gave her long dark locks a backward fall,
Then looked intently in a mirror small,
And feared her face might perhaps displease the
king;

"In truth," she said, "I am a tiny thing;
I was too bold to tell what could such visit
bring."

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Up to the chamber where she pillowed sits
Watching the door that opening admits
A presence as much better than her dreams,
As happiness than any longing seems.
The king advanced, and, with a reverent kiss
Upon her hand, said, "Lady, what is this?
You, whose sweet youth should others' solace be,
Pierce all our hearts, languishing piteously.
We pray you, for the love of us, be cheered,
Nor be too reckless of that life, endeared
To us who know your passing worthiness,
And count your blooming life as part of our
life's bliss."

Those words, that touch upon her hand from him
Whom her soul worshipped, as far seraphim
Worship the distant glory, brought some shame
Quivering upon her cheek, yet thrilled her frame
With such deep joy she seemed in paradise,
In wondering gladness, and in dumb surprise.
That bliss could be so blissful: then she spoke
"Signor, I was too weak to bear the yoke,
The golden yoke of thoughts too great for me;
That was the ground of my infirmity.
But now, I pray your grace to have belief
That I shall soon be well, nor any more cause
grief."

The king alone perceived the covert sense
Of all her words, which made one evidence
With her pure voice and candid loveliness,
That he had lost much honour, honoring less
That message of her passionate distress.
He stayed beside her for a little while
With gentle looks and speech, until a smile
As placid as a ray of early morn
On opening flower-cups o'er her lips was borne.
When he had left her, and the tidings spread
Through all the town how he had visited
The Tuscan trader's daughter, who was sick,
Men said, it was a royal deed and catholic.

And Lisa? she no longer wished for death;
But as a poet, who sweet verses saith
Within his soul, and joys in music there,
Nor seeks another heaven, nor can bear
Disturbing pleasures, so was she content,
Breathing the life of grateful sentiment.
She thought no maid betrothed could be more
blest;

For treasure must be valued by the test
Of highest excellence and rarity,

And her dear joy was best as best could be;
There seemed no other crown to her delight
Now the high loved one saw her love aright.
Thus her soul thriving on that exquisite mood,
Spread like the May-time all its beauteous good
O'er the soft bloom of neck, and arms, and
cheek,

And strengthened the sweet body, once so weak,
Until she rose and walked, and, like a bird
With sweetly rippling throat, she made her
spring joys heard.

Honour this maiden's love, which, like the prayer
Of loyal hermits, never thought to share
In what it gave. The queen had that chief grace
Of womanhood, a heart that can embrace
All goodness in another woman's form;
And that same day, ere the sun lay too warm
On southern terraces, a messenger
Informed Bernardo that the royal pair
Would straightway visit him, and celebrate
Their gladness at his daughter's happier state,
Which they were fain to see. Soon came the
king

On horseback, with his barons, heralding
The advent of the queen in courtly state;
And all, descending at the garden gate,
Streamed with their feathers, velvet, and bro-
cade,

Through the pleached alleys, till they, pausing,

made

The king, when he the happy change had seen,
Trusted the ear of Constance, his fair queen,
With Lisa's innocent secret, and conferred
How they should jointly, by their deed and word,

A lake of splendour 'mid the aloes grey -
When, meekly facing all their proud array,
The white-robed Lisa with her parents stood,
As some white dove before the gorgeous brood
Of dapple-breasted birds born by the Colchian
flood.

The king and queen, by gracious looks and speech,

Encourage her, and thus their courtiers teach
How this fair morning they may courtliest be,
By making Lisa pass it happily.
And soon the ladies and the barons all
Draw her by turns, as at a festival
Made for her sake, to easy, gay discourse,
And compliment with looks and smiles enforce;
A joyous hum is heard the gardens round;
Soon there is Spanish dancing and the sound
Of minstrel's song, and autumn fruits are pluckt;
Till mindfully the king and queen conduct
Lisa apart to where a trellised shade

Made pleasant resting. Then King Pedro said-
"Excellent maiden, that rich gift. of love
Your heart hath made us, hath a worth above
All royal treasures, nor is fitly met

Save when the grateful memory of deep debt
Lies still behind the outward honours done :
And as a sign that no oblivion
Shall overflood that faithful memory,
We while we live your cavalier will be,
Nor will we ever arm ourselves for fight,
Whether for struggle dire or brief delight
Of warlike feigning, but we first will take
The colours you ordain, and for your sake
Charge the more bravely where your emblem is;
Nor will we claim from you an added bliss
To our sweet thoughts of you save one sole kiss.
But there still rests the outward honour meet
To mark your worthiness, and we entreat
That you will turn your ear to proffered vows
Of one who loves you, and would be your spouse.
We must not wrong yourself and Sicily
By letting all your blooming years pass by
Unmated you will give the world its due
From beauteous maiden and become a matron
true."

Then Lisa, wrapt in virgin wonderment At her ambitious love's complete content,

Which left no further good for her to seek
Than love's obedience, said with accent meek
"Monsignor, I know well that were it known
To all the world how high my love had flown,
There would be few who would not deem me mad,
Or say my mind the falsest image had

At last he said to Lisa, with an air
Gallant yet noble: "Now we claim our share

Of my condition and your loftiness.

But heaven has seen that for no moment's space From your sweet love, a share which is not
Have I forgotten you to be the king,
Or me myself to be a lowly thing -

small;

A little lark, enamoured of the sky,
That soared to sing, to break its breast, and die.
But, as you better know than I, the heart
In choosing chooseth not its own desert,
But that great merit which attracteth it;
'Tis law, I struggled, but I must submit,
And having seen a worth all worth above,
I loved you, love you, and shall always love.
But that doth mean, my will is ever yours,
Not only when your will my good ensures,
But if it wrought me what the world calls
harm-

Fire, wounds, would wear from your dear will a charm.

That you will be my knight is full content,
And for that kiss I pray, first for the queen's
consent."

Her answer, given with such firm gentleness, Pleased the queen well, and made her hold no less

Of Lisa's merit than the king had held.
And so, all cloudy threats of grief dispelled,
There was betrothal made that very morn
'Twixt Perdicone, youthful, brave, well-born,
And Lisa, whom he loved; she loving well
The lot that from obedience befell.
The queen a rare betrothal ring on each
Bestowed, and other gems, with gracious speech.

And that no joy might lack, the king, who knew
The youth was poor, gave him rich Ceffalu
And Cataletta, large and fruitful lands-
Adding much promise when he joined their
hands.

For in the sacrament one crumb is all.”
Then taking her small face his hands between,
He kissed her on the brow with kiss serene,
Fit seal to that pure vision her young soul had

seen.

And many witnessed that King Pedro kept
His royal promise: Perdicone stept
To many honours honourably won,
Living with Lisa in true union.
Throughout his life the king still took delight
To call himself fair Lisa's faithful knight;
And never wore in field or tournament
A scarf or emblem save by Lisa sent.
Such deeds made subjects loyal in that land:
They joyed that one so worthy to command,
So chivalrous and gentle, had become
The king of Sicily, and filled the room
Of Frenchmen, who abused the Church's trust,
Till, in a righteous vengeance on their lust,
Messina rose, with God, and with the dagger's
thrust.

L'ENVOI.

Reader, this story pleased me long ago
In the bright pages of Boccaccio,
And where the author of a good we know,
Let us not fail to pay the grateful thanks we
GEORGE ELIOT.

owe.

The House of Commons. By Reginald F. was too serious. There is something very amusD. Palgrave. (Macmillan.)—Mr. Palgrave pub-ing, too, in the House ordering a sermon to be lishes in this volume three lectures which he de- burnt by the common hangman, and then dislivered on the House of Commons, its history, covering that they had passed a vote of thanks power, privileges, method of conducting business, to the preacher. This happened in 1772. We &c. It makes a very pleasant, readable book, notice that Mr. Palgrave mentions the case of full of information carefully collected, and put John Asgill, "translated Asgill," as he was together not without art, much of which will be called, but does not seem to be aware, or at all novel to many readers. We should like to know, events does not state, that he was actually a for instance, how many persons are aware of the member of Parliament, and was expelled on acfact that the mace which is laid before the count of his book on the non-necessity of death. Speaker does not belong to that officer or to the Spectator. Parliament, but is lent by the Queen? There are not a few amusing stories to be found here. Here is one that illustrates the good taste of the House as an assembly of gentlemen. A speaker descanting on the blessings which war destroys said, "What should I now see if I now went home? My children playing by my fireside." Every one looked at the clock; it was two hours past midnight, but no one laughed; the subject

A WELL-KNOWN street preacher in Edinburgh visited several bakers' shops on Good Friday, and from the cab of which he is the driver denounced the sin of Protestant bakers preparing idols for Papists to worship in the shape of ho cross buns!

London Scotsman,

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Common of piscary I own,

In that delightful brooklet's bed; And casements such as few have known, Beyond its waters' central thread. Jetsam and flotsam pass me by,

Nor envy I those valued rovers; While cooling breeze and starry sky

Are all I ask of earth's estovers. Ruthless brigands my close may break,

I'll bring no suit quare clausum fregit; My ewe lamb damage feasant take,

I'll not molest them while they cage it. For here contented with my lot,

I move no court for leave to change it; But if I have and hold my cot,

No plaints of mine shall e'er derange it.

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