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Philothea A Grecian Romance   By: (1802-1880)

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PHILOTHEA:

A Grecian Romance.

BY L. MARIA CHILD.

AUTHOR OF LETTERS FROM NEW YORK, FLOWERS FOR CHILDREN, ETC

The intelligible forms of ancient poets, The fair humanities of old religion, The Power, the Beauty, and the Majesty, That had their haunts in dale or piny mountain. Or forest by slow stream, or pabbly spring, Or chasms and watery depths, all these have vanished They live no longer in the faith of Reason! But still, the heart doth need a language still Doth the old instinct bring back the old names. COLERIDGE.

A Spirit hung, Beautiful region! o'er thy towns and farms, Statues, and temples, and memorial tombs, And emanations were perceived. WORDSWORTH.

A NEW AND CORRECTED EDITION.

To

MY BELOVED BROTHER,

Dr. Francis,

OF HARVARD UNIVERSITY,

To whose Early Influence I owe my Love of Literature

THIS VOLUME

IS RESPECTFULLY AND AFFECTIONATELY INSCRIBED.

PREFACE

This volume is purely romance; and most readers will consider it romance of the wildest kind. A few kindred spirits, prone to people space "with life and mystical predominance," will perceive a light within the Grecian Temple.

For such I have written it. To minds of different mould, who may think an apology necessary for what they will deem so utterly useless, I have nothing better to offer than the simple fact that I found delight in doing it.

CHAPTER I.

Here let us seek Athenæ's towers, The cradle of old Cecrops' race, The world's chief ornament and grace; Here mystic fanes and rites divine, And lamps in sacred splendour shine; Here the gods dwell in marble domes, Feasted with costly hecatombs, That round their votive statues blaze, Whilst crowded temples ring with praise; And pompous sacrifices here Make holidays throughout the year. ARISTOPHANES.

The moon was moving through the heavens in silent glory; and Athens, with all her beautiful variety of villas, altars, statues, and temples, rejoiced in the hallowed light.

The white columns of the lofty Parthenon stood in distinct relief against the clear blue sky; the crest and spear of Pallas Promachos glittered in the refulgent atmosphere, a beacon to the distant mariner; the line of brazen tripods, leading from the Theatre of Dionysus, glowed like urns of fire; and the waters of the Illyssus glanced right joyfully, as they moved onward to the ocean. The earth was like a slumbering babe, smiling in its sleep, because it dreams of Heaven.

In the most ancient and quiet part of the city, not far from the gate Diocharis, was the modest mansion of Anaxagoras; and at this tranquil hour, the grand daughter of the philosopher, with her beloved companion Eudora, stood on the roof, enjoying the radiant landscape, and the balmy air.

Philothea's tall figure was a lovely union of majesty and grace. The golden hair, which she inherited from a Laconian mother, was tastefully arranged on the top of her head, in a braided crown, over the sides of which the bright curls fell, like tendrils of grapes from the edge of a basket. The mild brilliancy of her large dark eyes formed a beautiful contrast to a complexion fair even to transparency. Her expression had the innocence of infancy; but it was tinged with something elevated and holy, which made it seem like infancy in Heaven.

Eudora had more sparkling eyes, lips more richly coloured, and a form more slender and flexile. Her complexion might have seemed dark, had it not been relieved by a profusion of glossy black hair, a portion of which was fastened with a silver arrow, while the remainder shaded her forehead, and fell over her shoulders.

As they stood side by side, with their arms twined around each other, they were as lovely a sight as the moon ever shone upon. Totally unlike each other, but both excellent in beauty. One might have been a model for the seraphs of Christian faith, the other an Olympian deity... Continue reading book >>




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