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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesPausanias, The Spartan: An Unfinished Historical Romance - Book 3 - Chapter 2
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Pausanias, The Spartan: An Unfinished Historical Romance - Book 3 - Chapter 2 Post by :cashgalore Category :Long Stories Author :Edward Bulwer-lytton Date :May 2012 Read :2104

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Pausanias, The Spartan: An Unfinished Historical Romance - Book 3 - Chapter 2


"Thou art weeping still, Cleonice!" said the Spartan, "and I have not the privilege to kiss away thy tears."

"Nay, I weep not," answered the girl, throwing up her veil; and her face was calm, if still sad--the tear yet on the eyelids, but the smile upon the lip--(Greek: dakruoen gelaoisa). "Thy singer has learned his art from a teacher heavenlier than the Pierides, and its name is Hope."

"But if I understand him aright," said Pausanias, "the Hope that inspires him is a goddess who blesses us little on the earth."

As if the Mothon had overheard the Spartan, his voice here suddenly rose behind them, singing:

"_There the Beautiful and Glorious
Intermingle evermore."

Involuntarily both turned. The Mothon seemed as if explaining to the handmaids the allegory of his marriage song upon Helen and Achilles, for his hand was raised on high, and again, with an emphasis, he chanted:

"There, throughout the Blessed Islands,
And amid the Race of Light,
Do the Beautiful and Glorious
Intermingle evermore."

"Canst thou not wait, if thou so lovest me?' said Cleonice, with more tenderness in her voice than it had ever yet betrayed to him; "life is very short. Hush!" she continued, checking the passionate interruption that burst from his lips; "I have something I would confide to thee: listen. Know that in my childhood I had a dear friend, a maiden a few years older than myself, and she had the divine gift of trance which comes from Apollo. Often, gazing into space, her eyes became fixed, and her frame still as a statue's; then a shiver seized her limbs, and prophecy broke from her lips. And she told me, in one of these hours, when, as she said, 'all space and all time seemed spread before her like a sunlit ocean,' she told me of my future, so far as its leaves have yet unfolded from the stem of my life. Spartan, she prophesied that I should see thee--and--" Cleonice paused, blushing, and then hurried on, "and she told me that suddenly her eye could follow my fate on the earth no more, that it vanished out of the time and the space on which it gazed, and saying it she wept, and broke into funeral song. And therefore, Pausanias, I say life is very short for me at least--"

"Hold," cried Pausanias; "torture not me, nor delude thyself with the dreams of a raving girl. Lives she near? Let me visit her with thee, and I will prove thy prophetess an impostor."

"They whom the Priesthood of Delphi employ throughout Hellas to find the fit natures for a Pythoness heard of her, and heard herself. She whom thou callest impostor gives the answer to perplexed nations from the Pythian shrine. But wherefore doubt her?--where the sorrow? I feel none. If love does rule the worlds beyond, and does unite souls who love nobly here, yonder we shall meet, O descendant of Hercules, and human laws will not part us there."

"Thou die! die before me! thou, scarcely half my years! And I be left here, with no comfort but a singer's dreamy verse, not even mine ambition! Thrones would vanish out of earth, and turn to cinders in thine urn."

"Speak not of thrones," said Cleonice, with imploring softness, "for the prophetess, too, spake of steps that went towards a throne, and vanished at the threshold of darkness, beside which sate the Furies. Speak not of thrones, dream but of glory and Hellas--of what thy soul tells thee is that virtue which makes life an Uranian music, and thus unites it to the eternal symphony, as the breath of the single flute melts when it parts from the instrument into the great concord of the choir. Knowest thou not that in the creed of the Persians each mortal is watched on earth by a good spirit and an evil one? And they who loved us below, or to whom we have done beneficent and gentle deeds, if they go before us into death, pass to the side of the good spirit, and strengthen him to save and to bless thee against the malice of the bad, and the bad is strengthened in his turn by those whom we have injured. Wouldst thou have all the Greeks whose birthright thou wouldst barter, whose blood thou wouldst shed for barbaric aid to thy solitary and lawless power, stand by the side of the evil Fiend? And what could I do against so many? what could my soul do," added Cleonice with simple pathos, "by the side of the kinder spirit?"

Pausanias was wholly subdued. He knelt to the girl, he kissed the hem of her robe, and for the moment ambition, luxury, pomp, pride fled from his soul, and left there only the grateful tenderness of the man, and the lofty instincts of the hero. But just then--was it the evil spirit that sent him?--the boughs of the vine were put aside, and Gongylus the Eretrian stood before them. His black eyes glittered keen upon Pausanias, who rose from his knee, startled and displeased.

"What brings thee hither, man?" said the Regent, haughtily.

"Danger," answered Gongylus, in a hissing whisper. "Lose not a moment--come."

"Danger!" exclaimed Cleonice, tremblingly, and clasping her hands, and all the human love at her heart was visible in her aspect. "Danger, and to _him_!"

"Danger is but as the breeze of my native air," said the Spartan, smiling; "thus I draw it in and thus breathe it away. I follow thee, Gongylus. Take my greeting, Cleonice--the Good to the Beautiful. Well, then, keep Alcman yet awhile to sing thy kind face to repose, and this time let him tune his lyre to songs of a more Dorian strain--songs that show what a Heracleid thinks of danger." He waved his hand, and the two men, striding hastily, passed along the vine alley, darkened its vista for a few minutes, then vanishing down the descent to the beach, the wide blue sea again lay lone and still before the eyes of the Byzantine maid.

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Pausanias, The Spartan: An Unfinished Historical Romance - Book 3 - Chapter 3 Pausanias, The Spartan: An Unfinished Historical Romance - Book 3 - Chapter 3

Pausanias, The Spartan: An Unfinished Historical Romance - Book 3 - Chapter 3
BOOK III CHAPTER IIIPausanias and the Eretrian halted on the shore. "Now speak," said the Spartan Regent. "Where is the danger?" "Before thee," answered Gongylus, and his hand pointed to the ocean. "I see the fleet of the Greeks in the harbour--I see the flag of my galley above the forest of their masts. I see detached vessels skimming along the waves hither and thither as in holiday and sport; but discipline slackens where no foe dares to show himself. Eretrian, I see no danger." "Yet danger is there, and where danger is thou shouldst be. I have learned from my

Pausanias, The Spartan: An Unfinished Historical Romance - Book 3 - Chapter 1 Pausanias, The Spartan: An Unfinished Historical Romance - Book 3 - Chapter 1

Pausanias, The Spartan: An Unfinished Historical Romance - Book 3 - Chapter 1
BOOK III CHAPTER IThe fountain sparkled to the noonday, the sward around it was sheltered from the sun by vines formed into shadowy arcades, with interlaced leaves for roof. Afar through the vistas thus formed gleamed the blue of a sleeping sea. Under the hills, or close by the margin of the fountain, Cleonice was seated upon a grassy knoll, covered with wild flowers. Behind her, at a little distance, grouped her handmaids, engaged in their womanly work, and occasionally conversing in whispers. At her feet reposed the grand form of Pausanias. Alcman stood not far behind him, his hand, resting