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BOOK THE FIRST.

"Who ne'er his bread in sorrow ate,

Who ne'er the mournful, midnight hours Weeping upon his bed has sate,

He knows you not, ye Heavenly Powers."

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BOOK THE FIRST.

CHAPTER I.

THE HERO.

IN John Lyly's Endymion, Sir Topas is made

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to say; "Dost thou know what a Poet is? Why, fool, a Poet is as much as one should say, Poet!" And thou, reader, dost thou know what a hero is? Why, a hero is as much as one should say, a hero! Some romance-writers, however, say much more than this. Nay, the old Lombard, Matteo Maria Bojardo, set all the churchbells in Scandiano ringing, merely because he had found a name for one of his heroes. Here, also, shall church-bells be rung, but more solemnly.

The setting of a great hope is like the setting of the sun. The brightness of our life is gone.

Shadows of evening fall around us, and the world seems but a dim reflection,-itself a broader shadow. We look forward into the coming, lonely night. The soul withdraws into itself. Then stars arise, and the night is holy.

Paul Flemming had experienced this, though still young. The friend of his youth was dead. The bough had broken "under the burden of the unripe fruit." And when, after a season, he looked up again from the blindness of his sorrow, all things seemed unreal. Like the man, whose sight had been restored by miracle, he beheld men, as trees, walking. His household gods were broken. He had no home. His sympathies cried aloud from his desolate soul, and there came no answer from the busy, turbulent world around him. He did not willingly give way to grief. He struggled to be cheerful, to be strong. But he could no longer look into the familiar faces of his friends. He could no longer live alone, where he had lived with her. He went abroad, that the sea might be between him and the grave. Alas! be

tween him and his sorrow there could be no sea, but that of time.

He had already passed many months in lonely wandering, and was now pursuing his way along the Rhine, to the south of Germany. He had journeyed the same way before, in brighter days and a brighter season of the year, in the May of life and in the month of May. He knew the beauteous river all by heart;· every rock and ruin, every echo, every legend. The ancient castles, grim and hoar, that had taken root as it were on the cliffs, they were all his; for his thoughts dwelt in them, and the wind told him tales.

He had passed a sleepless night at Rolandseck, and had risen before daybreak. He opened the window of the balcony to hear the rushing of the Rhine. It was a damp December morning; and clouds were passing over the sky, thin, vapory clouds, whose snow-white skirts were "often spotted with golden tears, which men call stars." The day dawned slowly; and, in the mingling of day

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