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and now speaking, in high proud tones, words bitter and painful to the soul of him whom she addressed: and then Myrrha knew that Oëri was once more within the sacred island.
“ And now she must be saved!” she cried, as she crept to the hall where she always dwelt, leaving Oëri in the presence and in the cell of Semmuthis.
She armed herself with one of those short keen knives for which Egypt was so famous ; knives that the weakest hand might use, and with effect, they were so sharp and so penetrating in their power. Again she stole to the door of the priestly chamber; and again she listened, as though her soul was in each nerve, for the words which might fall. But for a time all was silence; a silence broken only by a few suppressed sobs ; and once a low moan, as of one in extreme pain.
She knew then that the girl was alone. Cautiously she unslid the wooden pin which served as the bolt, when the quick opening of a door on the other side startled her into inaction, and the voice of Semmuthis froze her blood with horror. It seemed to be a peculiarity belonging to the high priest, this power of his to create a nameless dread and disgust; as noxious reptiles carry their earnest of danger in their repel
“Wilt thou accept my love, Oëri ?" asked Semmuthis, in tones half harsh, half entreating.
“ Thy love maddens me with its name alone,” cried Oëri, almost frantically “Wouldst thou see me a mowing idiot before thee? If not, cease this loathsome word!”
“ Thou art warm, my beautiful Oëri, and yet I do not chide thee ; for the soul which can hate the most fiercely, can also love the most ardently. I have seen the tame and gentle woman who will suffer any
affection even the one most hated-and yet she could never use such words as thou, most beautiful, hast used to a love to which, in thy turn, thou wilt learn to respond."
“Would'st thou test my strength ?” cried the girl ; and it seemed to Myrrha as though she had forcibly repulsed the priest. "I am weak ever, and weaker now than before ; yet I have such strength from the gods as shall enable me to overmaster thee, base, wicked priest !”
“ Dost thou brave me, Oëri?” asked the Hierophant, in a peculiarly still, concentrated tone.
Oëri forgot her prudence.
“I do !" she cried ; and then she flung herself against the wall, and folding her hands upon her bosom, stood proudly eyeing the priest.
Semmuthis bit his lip.
“The chain, and the prison, and the executioner, shall teach thee obedience and humility," he said, with a dark frown. “I am not a child, Oëri, that I should weep over the loss of the fairest maid earth ever bore. I love thee; and I proffer thee that love. Thou dost refuse. Good—but thou shalt abide by thy refusal. I will not now control thee by other than force.” And as he uttered the last word, he would have thrown round her a chain, heavy and rusted, which he held in his hand, but Myrrha suddenly opened the door, and stood before them.
Pale, wild, neglected, she looked more like the ghost of one suddenly murdered in her morning of life, than as if the full tide of that life yet flowed through her veins. She had slightly wounded her hand with the knife, and the blood which trickled from the wound had stained her robe. There was a fire in her large eyes, which told the Hierophant that danger was at hand; and instinctively, as one who shrinks from an angry lioness, though caged, the coward Semmuthis trembled before her, though he counted her strength as nothing.
“ Save thyself, Oëri!” cried the Ionian, “ through this door-through the passages-fly! Away-away: I will keep thee harmless! Away! Thou art hazarding Zimnis in thy delay.”
That word had a magical effect on Oëri. She hurried to the door; she would have passed through it, but a slight cry of pain from the Greek made her halt and look back. There lay Myrrha in the grasp of Semmuthis. His hand was on her delicate throat-his fingers were strangling, in their foul gripe, the marble flesh which his lips had once pressed. Not all her youth, not all her beauty, not one softened remembrance of the past, not a breath of admiration for her high heroism or daring, could still the busy fiend in the heart of Semmuthis. He had her in his
power; and he would end her bold thwarting him for ever.
Now Oëri do thy work! Now think upon thy own, and, for gratitude and deliverance, perform the sin, which the weaker virtue of constancy might not grant! She came near to them; but though she felt that all depended on the salvation of that frail girl—though her every feeling revolted against Semmuthis, and she had not even calmness, as the cause to hold her hands—though she herself had been stung to the quick, and had felt that his death, alone, could buy her selfrespect again-yet, for all that, she could not imbrue her hands in blood! She saw the gleaming knife within the vest of the Greek ; and she knew that one blow would end her sorrows and her trials for ever. But, honour to her womanhood ! she hesitated, and thus was saved the commission of a crime for which there is nor reparation nor repentance.
But now Myrrha, by a gigantic effort, had freed herself from Semmuthis; and with a quick and sudden turn she drew forth the knife, and plunged it to the hilt into his breast. He groaned, staggered, and fell ; and his blood wetted the Ionian's feet.
“Come! come !" she cried, dragging away Oëri, who stood horrorstruck and dismayed at the scene. “ This is no time for petty lamentation. We had stern things before us in our way, and they were but to be met with stern resistance. Come! the hours fleet fast; the day wears
Zimnis waits thee, beneath the shadow of the father's cave. Come, thou wilt not keep thy beloved longer from thee?"
While she thus spoke, the Greek hurried Oëri along passages, through which she had not yet passed, where pitfalls and artificial barriers, and every false cause for delay and fear were before them. But though the more lengthy, this was also the more secure way to the canal; and Myrrha's only thought, now, was the safety of the Egyptian.
And through these horrible ways those two beautiful girls sped swiftly, until they heard the low ripple of the Nile, as the waves broke gently against the marble steps. A few paces more brought them into the space where the waters flowed in ; and then they stood beside that pathway to the wide river, and congratulated themselves that their salvation
was so near.
“ Seize them both : bind them together with ropes, and fling them into yon stream,” said a hoarse voice; and Semmuthis, borne in a litter, suddenly broke upon the maidens. “They have polluted our holy isle, and broken the commands that woman should not enter on its sacred
shores ; yet these have hidden in the very temple. They must die, my sons; they must die! And ye, as ministers of the Mother, must rid her Ædes of such foes !"
A slight scream, faint and gentle, as the opening waters splashed around that heavy burden on its bosom; and then the maidens, bound in death as their fates had been mysteriously bound together in life floated on the river-meet inmates for the tomb. “ Zimnis," on the lips of the one ; “ Pardon, O Zeus!" the last prayer of the other.
And years passed on, and still Zimnis lived with, or near, the Holy Father; and still he sought in the holiest idealities to console himself for the loss of those things which nature has commanded. The name of Qëri never passed his lips; and her image he strove to banish from his heart ; for he was now vowed to Heaven, and an earthly love was a desecration and sacrilege to his higher purpose. But, was he happy ? Can
any religion, even the purest, compensate for those lessons of bliss which God and nature framed—the holy domestic virtues, affections, and duties? In truth, no! Zimnis dared not say his thought for fear of its impiety; and he dared not speak it, even to his own soul; but in spite of the improved faith, he could not be happy separated thus from life!
Oh! we know that for their like, were things established, and also for the heart were affections given : and these, unused, become as scorpions in our way to sting us wherever we would turn ! And we know that the purest religion is that which fulfils the Law of Nature ; and that it is but a fond falsehood, the decree which is in opposition to this !
Sin is the result of the violation of Nature, be it even named Religion.
PORTRAIT OF THE TRUE ENGLISH HOST.
BY THOMAS ROSCOE, Esq.
The steep ascent must be with toil subdued,
Proposed by Heaven ; true bliss, and real good.
Danger and toil stand stern before her throne. - The Choice of Hercules.
The past rush'd o'er me like some half-lost dream ;
An antique hall, friends, voices, looks that seem
High mind, pure worth, and the resistless beam
Of generous sympathy--bland words that stream
The pictured charm wrought well. So spoke, so sat
Surrounded then-Leicester, Smythe, Parr, and that
Not be past o'er, Currie, Traile, Gibson ! What
LIFE AND REMINISCENCES OF THOMAS CAMPBELL.
BY CYRUS REDDING, ESQ.
CHAP. XV. Pope's Poetry- Remark of Wolcot about Pope-Poetical Schoolmaster
Thomas Pringle and the Cape Government-Valedictory Stanzas to J. P. Kemble-The Word Sepulchre in Hohenlinden-Poetical Imagery, The Poet's Notice of Godwin-Verse of Raleigh's-Mrs. Hemans-Anecdotes of the Poet.
SPEAKING one day of the various passages in poetry which were pleasing to the ear, Campbell mentioned several couplets of Pope, particularly in the Epistle of Eloisa to Abelard, that were exceedingly pleasing to his own. He thought the simile borrowed from the well-known story of perpetual lamps found burning in tombs was very happy, applied to love that was without hope.
Ah, hopeless lasting flames like those that burn,
To light the dead and warm the unfruitful urn. He even thought it was perfect, and could not be exceeded. The whole epistle he deemed a strong proof of Pope's talent in a department of poetry for which, unless he had produced that poem, he would never have had credit. He thought that in the Thebais of Statius the lines
His ample hat his beamy locks o'erspread,
And veil'd the starry glories of his head, was a false image, as the stars are seen in a concavity not upon a convexity, and the fiction of stars upon the head of Mercury was not that he recollected to be found anywhere among the ancients, it was applied plurally, too, and could not be construed into a description of simple light reflected from one beaming object. The “ Rape of the Lock” he praised as unsurpassed of its kind. Campbell could repeat a great deal of it, and yet nothing could be more foreign to his own style of writing and manner of treating a subject. He could not get his muse to dally in a like playful humour, for he did not possess a particle of that rich vein of wit which Pope exhibited. He never caught the “ Cynthia of the minute” in the manners of the existing generation, nor was he at all familiar with those little fashionable foibles in the society with which he occasionally intermingled, that he might have observed and noted, if he had possessed an eye for observations of that nature. He had no inclination for satirical subjects ; perhaps he could not view that which was legitimate in the way of subject for satirical censure with sufficient coolness to treat it with mere sarcasm, for he always broke out into passionate reprobation that bordered too much upon anger and loss of temper, when he indignation about any thing, and satire of all things requires a malicious coolness of temper to sharpen its arrows with effect.
Conversing about rhyme, and its smoothness, he reverted to the well-known couplet of the sound of which Pope was so fond, declaring it did not strike him more than
others he could cite from the bard of Twickenham, but there was no reason to be given why such passages should be more pleasing to one ear than another. He observed that there was much shrewdness in Dr. Wolcot's remark, when discriminating between Dryden and Pope.
Dryden comes into a room like a clown, in a drugget jacket, with a bludgeon in his hand, and in hobnail shoes. Pope enters like a gentleman, in full dress, with a bag and sword.” Being taxed with treating Dryden'hardly, Wolcot contending for Pope, poem by poem, “but, Doctor, his Alexander's Feast ?!”
66 Pooh !” said Wolcot, “ he was drunk when he wrote that.”
Campbell laughed at the anecdote, and said, “ Ay, Wolcot could not get over that ode."
The poet said that many among the Scotch schoolmasters were makers of rhyme, and some very good poets, upon which I remarked to him how much superior Scotland was in regard to the means of education. That consequently the prevention of crime must be proportional, but then the poet remarked that one well-educated knave was a match for a dozen of the common class. This I ventured to doubt, because a well-educated man when he attempts to commit a crime, will have misgivings that will tend to paralyse the execution of a guilty act, misgivings that are never felt by the ignorant, who will go to the crime with unshaking fingers. there must always be a degree of foresight, too, about an educated person, and some contemplation of possible consequences. The criminals, too, would be much fewer in number. Campbell admitted that might be true, but that one well-educated scoundrel would exert a proportionate degree of cunning, and take precautions to prevent discovery of which the ignorant and reckless could not avail themselves. Yet after all it was probable that in general educated rogues would keep upon the verge of criminal justice; they would watch the loopholes of the law, or commit offences for which it had made no provision as to punishment. There were constant violations of morality, plans of cool villany executing in society, the
very nature of which would, to punish them, involve acts by other persons not intentionally criminal. There was no denying, however, that education diminished crime, but then the education must be something more than mere rote learning. In Scotland, he considered that the small comparative incomes and strictly moral lives of the clergy, leaving them no diversion from their duties, and causing their strict and zealous superintendence over morals, and in a certain degree over those concerned in education, gave an advantage to that country that it was in vain to expect under the present system of the church establishment here, where the emoluments led to the adoption of the profession, and the heads of the hierarchy were the creatures of political power, the profits and advancement to higher dignities being too much the main objects. Still he would educate to the utmost, and thus furnish the means of social advancement to those who might have the capacity to move forward.
Talking of schoolmasters and education, I happened to say that I had heard my father speak of the extraordinary talents of a country schoolmaster, by whom he had been taught the elements of language, and that it was little known what a number of useful men had thus lived and died in obscurity. This poor man had lost a daughter to whom he was greatly attached, and when near her departure from this life she had been heard to sing for the first and last time. The lines were those :
So the mute swan that living hath no note,
And sings her first and last, and sings no more!