Lydia Maria Child
Part 3 out of 5
Plato perceived that the contemplative maiden was busy with memories of
the past. In a tone of gentle reverence, he added, "What I have told you
proves that your souls were one, before it wandered from the divine
home; and it gives hope that they will be re-united, when they return
thither after their weary exile in the world of shadows."
"And has this strange pestilence produced such an effect on Paralus
only?" inquired Anaxagoras.
"Many in Athens have recovered health without any memory of the images
of things," replied Plato; "but I have known no other instance where
recollections of the ideal world remained more bright and unimpaired,
than they possibly can be while disturbed by the presence of the
visible. Tithonus formerly told me of similar cases that occurred when
the plague raged in Ethiopia and Egypt; and Artaphernes says he has seen
a learned Magus, residing among the mountains that overlook Taoces, who
recovered from the plague with a perpetual oblivion of all outward
forms, while he often had knowledge of the thoughts passing in the minds
of those around him. If an unknown scroll were placed before him, he
would read it, though a brazen shield were interposed between him and
the parchment; and if figures were drawn on the water, he at once
recognized the forms, of which no visible trace remained."
"Marvellous, indeed, is the mystery of our being," exclaimed Anaxagoras.
"It involves the highest of all mysteries," rejoined Plato; "for if man
did not contain within himself a type of all that is,--from the highest
to the lowest plane of existence,--he could not enter the human form. At
times, I have thought glimpses of these eternal truths were revealed to
me; but I lost them almost as soon as they were perceived, because my
soul dwelt so much with the images of things. Thus have I stood before
the thick veil which conceals the shrine of Isis, while the narrow
streak of brilliant light around its edges gave indication of unrevealed
glories, and inspired the eager but fruitless hope that the massive
folds would float away, like a cloud before the sun. There are indeed
times when I lose the light entirely, and cannot even perceive the veil
that hides it from me. This is because my soul, like Psyche bending over
the sleeping Eros, is too curious to examine, by its own feeble taper,
the lineaments of the divinity whereby it hath been blessed."
"How is Pericles affected by this visitation of the gods upon the best
beloved of his children?" inquired Anaxagoras.
"It has softened and subdued his ambitious soul," answered Plato; "and
has probably helped him to endure the loss of political honours with
composure. I have often observed that affliction renders the heart of
man like the heart of a little child; and of this I was reminded when I
parted from Pericles at Salamis, whence the galley sailed for Ionia. You
doubtless remember the little mound, called Cynos-sema? There lies the
faithful dog, that died in consequence of swimming after the ship which
carried the father of Pericles, when the Athenians were all leaving
their beloved city by advice of Themistocles. The illustrious statesman
has not been known to shed a tear amid the universal wreck of his
popularity, his family, and his friends; but standing by this little
mound, the recollections of childhood came over him, and he wept as an
infant weeps for its lost mother."
There was a tremulous motion about the lips of the old man, as he
replied, "Perchance he was comparing the constancy of that affectionate
animal with the friendship of men, and the happy unconsciousness of his
boyhood with the anxious cares that wait on greatness. Pericles had a
soft heart in his youth; and none knew this better than the forgotten
old man, whom he once called his friend."
Plato perceived his emotion, and answered, in a soothing voice, "He has
since been wedded to political ambition, which never brought any man
nearer to his divine home; but Anaxagoras is not forgotten. Pericles has
of late often visited the shades of Academus, where he has talked much
of you and Philothea, and expressed earnest hopes that the gods would
again restore you to Athens, to bless him with your wise counsels."
The aged philosopher shook his head, as he replied, "They who would have
a lamp should take care to supply it with oil. Had Philothea's affection
been like that of Pericles, this old frame would have perished for want
"Nay, Anaxagoras," rejoined Plato, "you must not forget that this
Peloponessian war, the noisy feuds in Athens, and afflictions in his own
family, have involved him in continual distractions. He who gives his
mind to politics, sails on a stormy sea, with a giddy pilot. Pericles
has now sent you substantial proofs of his gratitude; and if his power
equalled his wishes, I have no doubt he would make use of the alarmed
state of public feeling to procure your recall."
"You have as yet given us no tidings of Phidias and his household," said
"The form of Phidias sleeps," replied Plato: "His soul has returned to
those sacred mysteries, once familiar to him; the recollection of which
enabled him while on earth to mould magnificent images of supernal
forms--images that awakened in all who gazed upon them some slumbering
memory of ideal worlds; though few knew whence it came, or why their
souls were stirred. The best of his works is the Olympian Zeus, made at
Elis after his exile. It is far more sublime than the Pallas Parthenia.
The Eleans consider the possession of it as a great triumph over
"Under whose protection is Eudora placed?" inquired Philothea.
"I have heard that she remains at the house where Phidias died,"
rejoined Plato. "The Eleans have given her the yearly revenues of a
farm, in consideration of the affectionate care bestowed on her
illustrious benefactor.--Report says that Phidias wished to see her
united to his nephew Pandænus; but I have never heard of the marriage.
Philæmon is supposed to be in Persia, instructing the sons of the
wealthy satrap Megabyzus."
"And where is the faithful Geta?" inquired Anaxagoras.
"Geta is at Lampsacus; and I doubt not will hasten hither, as soon as he
has taken care of certain small articles of merchandize that he brought
with him. Phidias gave him his freedom the day they left Athens; and
after his death, the people of Elis bestowed upon him fifty drachmæ. He
has established himself at Phalerum, where he tells me he has doubled
this sum by the sale of anchovies. He was eager to attend upon me for
the sake, as he said, of once more seeing his good old master
Anaxagoras, and that maiden with mild eyes, who always spoke kind words
to the poor; but I soon discovered there was a stronger reason for his
desire to visit Lampsacus. From what we had heard, we expected to find
you in the city. Geta looked very sorrowful, when told that you were
fifty stadia farther from the sea."
"When we first landed on the Ionian shore,"'replied Anaxagoras, "I took
up my abode two stadia from Lampsacus, and sometimes went thither to
lecture in the porticos. But when I did this, I seemed to breathe an
impure air; and idle young men so often followed me home, that the
maidens were deprived of the innocent freedom I wished them to enjoy.
Here I feel, more than I have ever felt, the immediate presence of
"I know not whether it be good or bad," said Plato; "but philosophy has
wrought in me a dislike of conversing with many persons. I do not
imitate the Pythagoreans, who close their gates; for I perceive that
truth never ought to be a sealed fountain; but I cannot go into the
Prytanæum, the agoras, and the workshops, and jest, like Socrates, to
captivate the attention of young men. When I thus seek to impart hidden
treasures, I lose without receiving; and few perceive the value of what
is offered. I feel the breath of life taken away from me by the
multitude. Their praises cause me to fear, lest, according to Ibycus, I
should offend the gods, but acquire glory among men. For these reasons,
I have resolved never to abide in cities."
"The name of Socrates recalls Alcibiades to my mind," rejoined
Anaxagoras. "Is he still popular with the Athenians?"
"He is; and will remain so," replied Plato, "so long as he feasts them
at his own expense, and drinks three cotylæ of wine at a draught. I
know not of what materials he is made; unless it be of Carpasian flax,
which above all things burns and consumes not."
"Has this fearful pestilence no power to restrain the appetites and
passions of the people?" inquired the old man.
"It has but given them more unbridled license,'" rejoined Plato. "Even
when the unburied dead lay heaped in piles, and the best of our
equestrians were gasping in the streets, robbers took possession of
their dwellings, drinking wine from their golden vessels, and singing
impure songs in the presence of their household gods. Men seek to obtain
oblivion of danger by reducing themselves to the condition of beasts,
which have no perception above the immediate wants of the senses. All
pursuits that serve to connect the soul with the world whence it came
are rejected. The Odeum is shut; there is no more lecturing in the
porticos; the temples are entirely forsaken, and even the Diasia are no
longer observed. Some of the better sort of citizens, weary of fruitless
prayers and sacrifices to Phoebus, Phoebe, Pallas, and the Erinnys. have
erected an altar to the Unknown God; and this altar only is heaped with
garlands, and branches of olive twined with wool."
"A short time ago, he who had dared to propose the erection of such an
altar would have been put to death," said Anaxagoras. "The pestilence
has not been sent in vain, if the faith in images is shaken, and the
Athenians have been led to reverence One great Principle of Order, even
though they call it unknown."
"It is fear, unmingled with reverence, in the minds of many," replied
the philosopher of Academus. "As for the multitude, they consider all
principles of right and wrong as things that may exist, or not exist,
according to the vote of the Athenian people. Of ideas eternal in their
nature, and therefore incapable of being created or changed by the will
of a majority, they cannot conceive. When health is restored, they will
return to the old worship of forms, as readily as they changed from
Pericles to Cleon, and will again change from him to Pericles."
The aged philosopher shook his head and smiled, as he said: "Ah, Plato!
Plato! where will you find materials for your ideal republic?"
"In an ideal Atlantis," replied the Athenian, smiling in return; "or
perchance in the fabled groves of Argive Hera, where the wild beasts are
tamed--the deer and the wolf lie down together--and the weak animal
finds refuge from his powerful pursuer. But the principle of a republic
is none the less true, because mortals make themselves unworthy to
receive it. The best doctrines become the worst, when they are used for
evil purposes. Where a love of power is the ruling object, the tendency
is corruption; and the only difference between Persia and Athens is,
that in one place power is received by birth, in the other obtained by
"Thus it will ever be; while men grope in the darkness of their outward
nature; which receives no light from the inward, because they will not
open the doors of the temple, where a shrine is placed, from which it
ever beams forth with occult and venerable splendour.
"Philosophers would do well if they ceased to disturb themselves with
the meaning of mythologic fables, and considered whether they have not
within themselves a serpent possessing more folds than Typhon, and far
more raging and fierce. When the wild beasts within the soul are
destroyed, men will no longer have to contend against their visible
"But tell me, O admirable Plato!" said Anaxagoras, "what connection can
there be between the inward allegorical serpent, and the created form
"One could not exist without the other," answered Plato, "because where
there is no ideal, there can be no image. There are doubtless men in
other parts of the universe better than we are, because they stand on a
higher plane of existence, and approach nearer to the _idea_ of man. The
celestial lion is intellectual, but the sublunary irrational; for the
former is nearer the _idea_ of a lion. The lower planes of existence
receive the influences of the higher, according to the purity and
stillness of the will. If this be restless and turbid, the waters from a
pure fountain become corrupted, and the corruption flows down to lower
planes of existence, until it at last manifests itself in corporeal
forms. The sympathy thus produced between things earthly and celestial
is the origin of imagination; by which men have power to trace the
images of supernal forms, invisible to mortal eyes. Every man can be
elevated to a higher plane by quiescence of the will; and thus may
become a prophet. But none are perfect ones; because all have a tendency
to look downward to the opinions of men in the same existence with
themselves: and this brings them upon a lower plane, where the prophetic
light glimmers and dies. The Pythia at Delphi, and the priestess in
Dodona, have been the cause of very trifling benefits, when in a
cautious, prudent state; but when agitated by a divine mania, they have
produced many advantages, both public and private, to the Greeks."
The conversation was interrupted by the merry shouts of children; and
presently a troop of boys and girls appeared, leading two lambs decked
with garlands. They were twin lambs of a ewe that had died; and they had
been trained to suck from a pipe placed in a vessel of milk. This day,
for the first time, the young ram had placed his budding horns under the
throat of his sister lamb, and pushed away her head that he might take
possession of the pipe himself. The children were greatly delighted with
this exploit, and hastened to exhibit it before their old friend
Anaxagoras, who always entered into their sports with a cheerful heart.
Philothea replenished the vessel of milk; and the gambols of the young
lambs, with the joyful laughter of the children, diffused a universal
spirit of gladness. One little girl filled the hands of the old
philosopher with tender leaves, that the beautiful animals might come
and eat; while another climbed his knees, and put her little fingers on
his venerable head, saying, "Your hair is as white as the lamb's; will
Philothea spin it, father?"
The maiden, who had been gazing at the little group with looks full of
tenderness, timidly raised her eyes to Plato, and said, "Son of Aristo,
these have not wandered so far from their divine home as we have!"
The philosopher had before observed the peculiar radiance of Philothea's
expression, when she raised her downcast eyes; but it never before
appeared to him so much like light suddenly revealed from the inner
shrine of a temple.
With a feeling approaching to worship, he replied, "Maiden, your own
spirit has always remained near its early glories."
When the glad troop of children departed, Plato followed them to see
their father's flocks, and play quoits with the larger boys. Anaxagoras
looked after him with a pleased expression, as he said, "He will delight
their minds, as he has elevated ours. Assuredly, his soul is like the
Homeric, chain of gold, one end of which rests on earth, and the other
terminates in Heaven."
Milza was daily employed in fields not far distant, to tend a
neighbour's goats, and Philothea, wishing to impart the welcome tidings,
took up the shell with which she was accustomed to summon her to her
evening labours. She was about to apply the shell to her lips, when she
perceived the young Arcadian standing in the vine-covered arbour, with
Geta, who had seized her by each cheek and was kissing her after the
fashion of the Grecian peasantry. With a smile and a blush, the maiden
turned away hastily, lest the humble lovers should perceive they were
The frugal supper waited long on the table before Plato returned. As he
entered, Anaxagoras pointed to the board, which rested on rude sticks
cut from the trees, and said, "Son of Aristo, all I have to offer you
are dried grapes, bread, wild honey, and water from the brook."
"More I should not taste if I were at the table of Alcibiades," replied
the philosopher of Athens. "When I see men bestow much thought on eating
and drinking, I marvel that they will labour so diligently in building
their own prisons. Here, at least, we can restore the Age of Innocence,
when no life was taken to gratify the appetite of man, and the altars of
the gods were unstained with blood."
Philothea, contrary to the usual custom of Grecian women, remained with
her grandfather and his guest during their simple repast, and soon after
retired to her own apartment.
When they were alone, Plato informed his aged friend that his visit to
Lampsacus was at the request of Pericles. Hippocrates had expressed a
hope that the presence of Philothea might, at least in some degree,
restore the health of Paralus; and the heart-stricken father had sent to
intreat her consent to a union with his son.
"Philothea would not leave me, even if I urged it with tears," replied
Anaxagoras; "and I am forbidden to return to Athens."
"Pericles has provided an asylum for you, on the borders of Attica,"
answered Plato; "and the young people would soon join you, after their
marriage. He did not suppose that his former proud opposition to their
loves would be forgotten; but he said hearts like yours would forgive it
all, the more readily because he was now a man deprived of power, and
his son suffering under a visitation of the gods. Alcibiades laughed
aloud when he heard of this proposition; and said his uncle would never
think of making it to any but a maiden who sees the zephyrs run and
hears the stars sing. He spoke truth in his profane merriment. Pericles
knows that she who obediently listens to the inward voice will be most
likely to seek the happiness of others, forgetful of her own wrongs."
"I do not believe the tender-hearted maiden ever cherished resentment
against any living thing," replied Anaxagoras. "She often reminds me of
Hesiod's description of Leto:
'Placid to men and to immortal gods;
Mild from the first beginning of her days;
Gentlest of all in Heaven.'
"She has indeed been a precious gift to my old age. Simple and loving as
she is, there are times when her looks and words fill me with awe, as if
I stood in the presence of divinity."
"It is a most lovely union when the Muses and the Charities inhabit the
same temple," said Plato. "I think she learned of you to be a constant
worshipper of the innocent and graceful nymphs, who preside over kind
and gentle actions. But tell me, Anaxagoras, if this marriage is
declined, who will protect the daughter of Alcimenes when you are
The philosopher replied, "I have a sister Heliodora, the youngest of my
father's flock; who is Priestess of the Sun, at Ephesus. Of all my
family, she has least despised me for preferring philosophy to gold; and
report bespeaks her wise and virtuous. I have asked and obtained from
her a promise to protect Philothea when I am gone; but I will tell my
child the wishes of Pericles, and leave her to the guidance of her own
heart. If she enters the home of Paralus, she will be to him, as she has
been to me, a blessing like the sunshine."
Adieu, thou sun, and fields of golden light;
For the last time I drink thy radiance bright,
And sink to sleep.
The galley that brought Plato from Athens was sent on a secret political
mission, and was not expected to revisit Lampsacus until the return of
another moon. Anaxagoras, always mindful of the happiness of those
around him, proposed that the constancy of faithful Geta should be
rewarded by an union with Milza. The tidings were hailed with joy; not
only by the young couple, but by all the villagers. The superstition of
the little damsel did indeed suggest numerous obstacles. The sixteenth
of the month must on no account be chosen; one day was unlucky for a
wedding, because as she returned from the fields, an old woman busy at
the distaff had directly crossed her path; and another was equally so,
because she had seen a weasel, without remembering to throw three stones
as it passed. But at last there came a day against which no objections
could be raised. The sky was cloudless, and the moon at its full; both
deemed propitious omens. A white kid had been sacrificed to Artemis, and
baskets of fruit and poppies been duly placed upon her altar. The long
white veil woven by Milza and laid by for this occasion, was taken out
to be bleached in the sunshine and dew. Philothea presented a zone,
embroidered by her own skilful hands; Anaxagoras bestowed a pair of
sandals laced with crimson; and Geta purchased a bridal robe of flaming
Plato promised to supply the feast with almonds and figs. The peasant,
whose goats Milza had tended, sent six large vases of milk, borne by
boys crowned with garlands. And the matrons of the village, with whom
the kind little Arcadian had ever been a favourite, presented a huge
cake, carried aloft on a bed of flowers, by twelve girls clothed in
white. The humble residence of the old philosopher was almost covered
with the abundant blossoms brought by joyful children. The door posts
were crowned with garlands anointed with oil, and bound with fillets of
wool. The bride and bridegroom were carried in procession, on a litter
made of the boughs of trees, plentifully adorned with garlands and flags
of various colours; preceded by young men playing on reeds and flutes,
and followed by maidens bearing a pestle and sieve. The priest performed
the customary sacrifices at the altar of Hera; the omens were
propitious; libations were poured; and Milza returned to her happy home,
the wife of her faithful Geta. Feasting continued till late in the
evening, and the voice of music was not hushed until past the hour of
The old philosopher joined in the festivity, and in the cheerfulness of
his heart exerted himself beyond his strength. Each succeeding day found
him more feeble; and Philothea soon perceived that the staff on which
she had leaned from her childhood was about to be removed forever. On
the twelfth day after Milza's wedding, he asked to be led into the open
portico, that he might enjoy the genial warmth. He gazed on the bright
landscape, as if it had been the countenance of a friend. Then looking
upward, with a placid smile, he said to Plato, "You tell me that Truth
acts upon the soul, like the Sun upon the eye, when it turneth to him.
Would that I could be as easily and certainly placed in the light of
truth, as I have been in this blessed sunshine! But in vain I seek to
comprehend the mystery of my being. All my thoughts on this subject are
dim and shadowy, as the ghosts seen by Odysseus on the Stygian shore."
Plato answered: "Thus it must ever be, while the outward world lies so
near us, and the images of things crowd perpetually on the mind. An
obolus held close to the eye may prevent our seeing the moon and the
stars; and thus does the ever-present earth exclude the glories of
Heaven. But in the midst of uncertainty and fears, one feeling alone
remains; and that is hope, strong as belief, that virtue can never die.
In pity to the cravings of the soul, something will surely be given in
future time more bright and fixed than the glimmering truths preserved
in poetic fable; even as radiant stars arose from the ashes of Orion's
daughters, to shine in the heavens an eternal crown."
The old man replied, "I have, as you well know, been afraid to indulge
in your speculations concerning the soul, lest I should spend my life in
unsatisfied attempts to embrace beautiful shadows."
"To me likewise they have sometimes appeared doctrines too high and
solemn to be taught," rejoined Plato: "Often when I have attempted to
clothe them in language, the airy forms have glided from me, mocking me
with their distant beauty. We are told of Tantalus surrounded by water
that flows away when he attempts to taste it, and with delicious fruits
above his head, carried off by a sudden wind whenever he tries to seize
them. It was his crime that, being admitted to the assemblies of
Olympus, he brought away the nectar and ambrosia of the gods, and gave
them unto mortals. Sometimes, when I have been led to discourse of ideal
beauty, with those who perceive only the images of things, the
remembrance of that unhappy son of Zeus has awed me into silence."
While they were yet speaking, the noise of approaching wheels was heard,
and presently a splendid chariot, with four white horses, stopped before
the humble dwelling.
A stranger, in purple robes, descended from the chariot, followed by
servants carrying a seat of ivory inlaid with silver, a tuft of peacock
feathers to brush away the insects, and a golden box filled with
perfumes. It was Chrysippus, prince of Clazomenæ, the nephew of
Anaxagoras. He had neglected and despised the old man in his poverty,
but had now come to congratulate him on the rumour of Philothea's
approaching marriage with the son of Pericles. The aged philosopher
received him with friendly greeting, and made him known to Plato.
Chrysippus gave a glance at the rude furniture of the portico, and
gathered his perfumed robes carefully about him.
"Son of Basileon, it is the dwelling of cleanliness, though it be the
abode of poverty," said the old man, in a tone of mild reproof.
Geta had officiously brought a wooden bench for the high-born guest;
but he waited till his attendants had opened the ivory seat, and covered
it with crimson cloth, before he seated himself, and replied:
"Truly, I had not expected to find the son of Hegesibulus in so mean a
habitation. No man would conjecture that you were the descendant of
With a quiet smile, the old man answered,--"Princes have not wished to
proclaim kindred with Anaxagoras; and why should he desire to perpetuate
the remembrance of what they have forgotten?"
Chrysippus looked toward Plato, and with some degree of embarrassment
sought to excuse himself, by saying, "My father often told me that it
was your own choice to withdraw from your family; and if they have not
since offered to share their wealth with you, it is because you have
ever been improvident of your estates."
"What! Do you not take charge of them?" inquired Anaxagoras. "I gave my
estates to your father, from the conviction that he would take better
care of them than I could do; and in this I deemed myself most
"But you went to Athens, and took no care for your country," rejoined
The venerable philosopher pointed to the heavens, that smiled serenely
above them,--and said, "Nay, young man, my greatest care has ever been
for my country."
In a more respectful tone, Chrysippus rejoined: "Anaxagoras, all men
speak of your wisdom; but does this fame so far satisfy you, that you
never regret you sacrificed riches to philosophy?"
"I am satisfied with the pursuit of wisdom, not with the fame of it,"
replied the sage. "In my youth, I greatly preferred wisdom to gold; and
as I approach the Stygian shore, gold has less and less value in my
eyes. Charon will charge my disembodied spirit but a single obolus for
crossing his dark ferry. Living mortals only need a golden bough to
enter the regions of the dead."
The prince seemed thoughtful for a moment, as he gazed on the benevolent
countenance of his aged relative.
"If it be as you have said, Anaxagoras is indeed happier than princes,"
he replied. "But I came to speak of the daughter of Alcimenes. I have
heard that she is beautiful, and the destined wife of Paralus of
"It is even so," said the philosopher; "and it would gladden my heart,
if I might be permitted to see her placed under the protection of
Pericles, before I die."
"Has a sufficient dowry been provided?" inquired Chrysippus. "No one of
our kindred must enter the family of Pericles as a slave."
A slight colour mantled in the old man's cheeks, as he answered, "I have
friends in Athens, who will not see my precious child suffer shame for
want of a few drachmæ."
"I have brought with me a gift, which I deemed in some degree suited to
the dignity of our ancestors," rejoined the prince; "and I indulged the
hope of giving it into the hands of the maiden."
As he spoke, he made a signal to his attendants, who straightway brought
from the chariot a silver tripod lined with gold, and a bag containing
a hundred golden staters. At the same moment, Milza entered, and in a
low voice informed Anaxagoras that Philothea deemed this prolonged
interview with the stranger dangerous to his feeble health; and begged
that he would suffer himself to be placed on the couch. The invalid
replied by a message desiring her presence. As she entered, he said to
her, "Philothea, behold your kinsman Chrysippus, son of Basileon."
The illustrious guest was received with the same modest and friendly
greeting, that would have been bestowed on the son of a worthy peasant.
The prince felt slightly offended that his splendid dress and
magnificent equipage produced so little effect on the family of the
philosopher; but as the fame of Philothea's beauty had largely mingled
with other inducements to make the visit, he endeavoured to conceal his
pride, and as he offered the rich gifts, said in a respectful tone,
"Daughter of Alcimenes, the tripod is from Heliodora, Priestess at
Ephesus. The golden coin is from my own coffers. Accept them for a
dowry; and allow me to claim one privilege in return. As I cannot be at
the marriage feast, to share the pleasures of other kinsmen, permit the
son of Basileon to see you now one moment without your veil."
He waved his hand for his attendants to withdraw; but the maiden
hesitated, until Anaxagoras said mildly, "Chrysippus is of your father's
kindred; and it is discreet that his request be granted."
Philothea timidly removed her veil, and a modest blush suffused her
lovely countenance, as she said, "Thanks, Prince of Clazomenæ, for
these munificent gifts. May the gods long preserve you a blessing to
your family and people."
"The gifts are all unworthy of her who receives them," replied
Chrysippus, gazing so intently that the maiden, with rosy confusion,
replaced her veil.
Anaxagoras invited his royal guest to share a philosopher's repast, to
which he promised should be added a goblet of wine, lately sent from
Lampsacus. The prince courteously accepted his invitation; and the kind
old man, wearied with the exertions he had made, was borne to his couch
in an inner apartment. When Plato had assisted Philothea and Milza in
arranging his pillows, and folding the robe about his feet, he returned
to the portico. Philothea supposed the stranger was about to follow him;
and without raising her head, as she bent over her grandfather's couch,
she said: "He is feeble, and needs repose. In the days of his, strength,
he would not have thus left you to the courtesy of our Athenian guest."
"Would to the gods that I had sought him sooner!" rejoined Chrysippus.
"While I have gathered foreign jewels, I have been ignorant of the gems
in my own family."
Then stooping down, he took Anaxagoras by the hand, and said
affectionately, "Have you nothing to ask of your brother's son?"
"Nothing but your prayers for us, and a gentle government for your
people," answered the old man. "I thank you for your kindness to this
precious orphan. For myself, I am fast going where I shall need less
than ever the gifts of princes."
"Would you not like to be buried with regal honour, in your native
Clazomenæ?" inquired the prince.
The philosopher again pointed upward as he replied, "Nay. The road to
heaven would be no shorter from Clazomenæ."
"And what monument would you have reared to mark the spot where
Anaxagoras sleeps?" said Chrysippus.
"I wish to be buried after the ancient manner, with the least possible
trouble and expense," rejoined the invalid. "The money you would expend
for a monument may be given to some captive sighing in bondage. Let an
almond tree be planted near my grave, that the boys may love to come
there, as to a pleasant home."
"The citizens of Lampsacus, hearing of your illness, requested me to ask
what they should do in honour of your memory, when it pleased the gods
to call you hence. What response do you give to this message?" inquired
The philosopher answered, "Say to them that I desire all the children
may have a holiday on the anniversary of my death."
Chrysippus remained silent for a few moments; and then continued:
"Anaxagoras, I perceive that you are strangely unlike other mortals; and
I know not how you will receive the proposal I am about to make.
Philothea has glided from the apartment, as if afraid to remain in my
presence. That graceful maiden is too lovely for any destiny meaner than
a royal marriage. As a kinsman, I have the best claim to her; and if it
be your will, I will divorce my Phoenician Astarte, and make Philothea
princess of Clazomenæ."
"Thanks, son of Basileon," replied the old man; "but I love the innocent
orphan too well to bestow upon her the burden and the dangers of
"None could dispute your own right to exchange power and wealth for
philosophy and poverty," said Chrysippus; "but though you are the lawful
guardian of this maiden, I deem it unjust to reject a splendid alliance
without her knowledge."
"Philothea gave her affections to Paralus, even in the days of their
childhood," replied Anaxagoras; "and she is of a nature too divine to
place much value on the splendour that passes away."
The prince seemed disturbed and chagrined by this imperturbable spirit
of philosophy; and after a few brief remarks retreated to the portico.
Here he entered into conversation with Plato; and after some general
discourse, spoke of his wishes with regard to Philothea. "Anaxagoras
rejects the alliance," said he, smiling; "but take my word for it, the
maiden would not dismiss the matter thus lightly. I have never yet seen
a woman who preferred philosophy to princes."
"Kings are less fortunate than philosophers," responded Plato; "I have
known several women, who preferred wisdom to gold. Could Chrysippus look
into those divine eyes, and yet believe that Philothea's soul would
rejoice in the pomp of princes?"
The wealthy son of Basileon still remained incredulous of any exceptions
to woman's vanity; and finally obtained a promise from Plato, that he
would use his influence with his friend to have the matter left
entirely to Philothea's decision.
When the maiden was asked by her grandfather, whether she would be the
wife of Paralus, smitten by the hand of disease, or princess of
Clazomenæ, surrounded by more grandeur than Penelope could boast in her
proudest days--her innocent countenance expressed surprise, not
unmingled with fear, that the mind of Anaxagoras was wandering. But when
assured that Chrysippus seriously proposed to divorce his wife and marry
her, a feeling of humiliation came over her, that a man, ignorant of the
qualities of her soul, should be thus captivated by her outward beauty,
and regard it as a thing to be bought with gold. But the crimson tint
soon subsided from her transparent cheek, and she quietly replied, "Tell
the prince of Clazomenæ that I have never learned to value riches; nor
could I do so, without danger of being exiled far from my divine home."
When these words were repeated to Chrysippus, he exclaimed impatiently,
"Curse on the folly which philosophers dignify with the name of wisdom!"
After this, nothing could restore the courtesy he had previously
assumed. He scarcely tasted the offered fruit and wine; bade a cold
farewell, and soon rolled away in his splendid chariot, followed by his
train of attendants.
This unexpected interview produced a singular excitement in the mind of
Anaxagoras. All the occurrences of his youth passed vividly before him;
and things forgotten for years were remembered like events of the past
hour. Plato sat by his side till the evening twilight deepened,
listening as he recounted scenes long since witnessed in Athens. When
they entreated him to seek repose, he reluctantly assented, and said to
his friend, with a gentle pressure of the hand, "Farewell, son of
Aristo. Pray for me before you retire to your couch."
Plato parted the silver hairs, and imprinted a kiss on his forehead;
then crowning himself with a garland, he knelt before an altar that
stood in the apartment, and prayed aloud: "O thou, who art King of
Heaven, life and death are in thy hand! Grant what is good for us,
whether we ask it, or ask it not; and refuse that which would be
hurtful, even when we ask it most earnestly."
"That contains the spirit of all prayer," said the old philosopher. "And
now, Plato, go to thy rest; and I will go to mine. Very pleasant have
thy words been to me. Even like the murmuring of fountains in a parched
and sandy desert." When left alone with his grandchild and Milza, the
invalid still seemed unusually excited, and his eyes shone with unwonted
brightness. Again he recurred to his early years, and talked fondly of
his wife and children. He dwelt on the childhood of Philothea with
peculiar pleasure. "Often, very often," said he, "thy infant smiles and
artless speech led my soul to divine things; when, without thee, the
link would have been broken, and the communication lost."
He held her hand affectionately in his, and often drew her toward him,
that he might kiss her cheek. Late in the night, sleep began to steal
over him with gentle influence; and Philothea was afraid to move, lest
she should disturb his slumbers.
Milza reposed on a couch close by her side, ready to obey the slightest
summons; the small earthen lamp that stood on the floor, shaded by an
open tablet, burned dim; and the footsteps of Plato were faintly heard
in the stillness of the night, as he softly paced to and fro in the open
Philothea leaned her head upon the couch, and gradually yielded to the
When she awoke, various objects in the apartment were indistinctly
revealed by the dawning light. All was deeply quiet. She remained
kneeling by her grandfather's side, and her hand was still clasped in
his; but it was chilled beneath his touch. She arose, gently placed his
arm on the couch, and looked upon his face. A placid smile rested on his
features; and she saw that his spirit had passed in peace.
She awoke Milza, and desired that the household might be summoned. As
they stood around the couch of that venerable man, Geta and Milza wept
bitterly; but Philothea calmly kissed his cold cheek; and Plato looked
on him with serene affection, as he said, "So sleep the good."
A lock of grey hair suspended on the door, and a large vase of water at
the threshold, early announced to the villagers that the soul of
Anaxagoras had passed from its earthly tenement. The boys came with
garlands to decorate the funeral couch of the beloved old man; and no
tribute of respect was wanting; for all that knew him blessed his
He was buried, as he had desired, near the clepsydra in the little
brook; a young almond tree was planted on his grave; and for years
after, all the children commemorated the anniversary of his death, by a
festival called Anaxagoreia.
Pericles had sent two discreet matrons, and four more youthful
attendants, to accompany Philothea to Athens, in case she consented to
become the wife of Paralus. The morning after the decease of Anaxagoras,
Plato sent a messenger to Lampsacus, desiring the presence of these
women, accompanied by Euago and his household. As soon as the funeral
rites were passed, he entreated Philothea to accept the offered
protection of Euago, the friend of his youth, and connected by marriage
with the house of Pericles. "I urge it the more earnestly," said he,
"because I think you have reason to fear the power and resentment of
Chrysippus. Princes do not willingly relinquish a pursuit; and his train
could easily seize you and your attendants, without resistance from
these simple villagers."
Aglaonice, wife of Euago, likewise urged the orphan, in the most
affectionate manner, to return with them to Lampsacus, and there await
the departure of the galley. Philothea acknowledged the propriety of
removal, and felt deeply thankful for the protecting influence of her
friends. The simple household furniture was given to Milza; her own
wardrobe, with many little things that had become dear to her, were
deposited in the chariot of Euago; the weeping villagers had taken an
affectionate farewell; and sacrifices to the gods had been offered on
the altar in front of the dwelling.
Still Philothea lingered and gazed on the beautiful scenes where she
had passed so many tranquil hours. Tears mingled with her smiles, as she
said, "O, how hard it is to believe the spirit of Anaxagoras will be as
near me in Athens, as it is here, where his bones lie buried!"
One day, the muses twined the hands
Of infant love with flowery bands,
And gave the smiling captive boy
To be Celestial Beauty's joy.
While Philothea remained at Lampsacus, awaiting the arrival of the
galley, news came that Chrysippus, with a company of horsemen, had been
to her former residence, under the pretext of paying funeral rites to
his deceased relative. At the same time, several robes, mantles, and
veils, were brought from Heliodora at Ephesus; with the request that
they, as well as the silver tripod, should be considered, not as a
dowry, but as gifts to be disposed of as she pleased. The priestess
mentioned feeble health as a reason for not coming in person to bid the
orphan farewell; and promised that sacrifices and prayers for her
happines should be duly offered at the shrine of radiant Phoebus.
Philothea smiled to remember how long she had lived in Ionia without
attracting the notice of her princely relatives, until her name became
connected with the illustrious house of Pericles; but she meekly
returned thanks and friendly wishes, together with the writings of
Simonides, beautifully copied by her own hand.
The day of departure at length arrived. All along the shore might be
seen smoke rising from the altars of Poseidon, Æolus, Castor and
Polydeuces, and the sea-green Sisters of the Deep. To the usual danger
of winds and storms was added the fear of encountering hostile fleets;
and every power that presided over the destinies of sailors was invoked
by the anxious mariners. But their course seemed more like an excursion
in a pleasure barge, than a voyage on the ocean. They rowed along
beneath a calm and sunny sky, keeping close to the verdant shores where,
ever and anon, temples, altars, and statues, peeped forth amid groves of
cypress and cedar; under the shadow of which many a festive train hailed
the soft approach of spring, with pipe, and song, and choral dance.
The tenth day saw the good ship Halcyone safely moored in the harbour of
Phalerum, chosen in preference to the more crowded and diseased port of
the Piræus. The galley having been perceived at a distance, Pericles and
Clinias were waiting, with chariots, in readiness to convey Philothea
and her attendants. The first inquiries of Pericles were concerning the
health of Anaxagoras; and he seemed deeply affected, when informed that
he would behold his face no more. Philothea's heart was touched by the
tender solemnity of his manner when he bade her welcome to Athens. Plato
anticipated the anxious question that trembled on her tongue; and a
brief answer indicated that no important change had taken place in
Paralus. Clinias kindly urged the claims of himself and wife to be
considered the parents of the orphan; and they all accompanied her to
his house, attended by boys burning incense, as a protection against the
pestilential atmosphere of the marshy grounds.
When they alighted, Philothea timidly, but earnestly, asked to see
Paralus without delay. Their long-cherished affection, the full
communion of soul they had enjoyed together, and the peculiar visitation
which now rested on him, all combined to make her forgetful of ceremony.
Pericles went to seek his son, and found him reclining on the couch
where he had left him. The invalid seemed to be in a state of deep
abstraction, and offered no resistance as they led him to the chariot.
When they entered the house of Clinias, he looked around with a painful
expression of weariness, until they tenderly placed him on a couch. He
was evidently disturbed by the presence of those about him, but
unmindful of any familiar faces, until Philothea suddenly knelt by his
side, and throwing back her veil, said, "Paralus! dear Paralus! Do you
not know me?" Then his whole face kindled with an expression of joy, so
intense that Pericles for a moment thought the faculties of his soul
were completely restored.
But the first words he uttered showed a total unconsciousness of past
events. "Oh, Philothea!" he exclaimed, "I have not heard your voice
since last night, when you came to me and sung that beautiful welcome to
the swallows, which all the little children like so well."
On the preceding evening, Philothea, being urged by her maidens to sing,
had actually warbled that little song; thinking all the while of the
days of childhood, when she and Paralus used to sing it, to please their
young companions. When she heard this mysterious allusion to the music,
she looked at Plato with an expression of surprise; while Milza and the
other attendants seemed afraid in the presence of one thus visited by
With looks full of beaming affection, the invalid continued: "And now,
Philothea, we will again walk to that pleasant place, where we went when
you finished the song."
In low and soothing tones, the maiden inquired, "Where did we go,
"Have you forgotten?" he replied. "We went hand in hand up a high
mountain. A path wound round it in spiral flexures, ever ascending, and
communicating with all above and all below. A stream of water, pure as
crystal, flowed along the path, from the summit to the base. Where we
stood to rest awhile, the skies were of transparent blue; but higher up,
the light was purple and the trees full of doves. We saw little children
leading lambs to drink at the stream, and they raised their voices in
glad shouts, to see the bright waters go glancing and glittering down
the sides of the mountain."
He remained silent and motionless for several minutes; and then
continued: "But this path is dreary. I do not like this wide marsh, and
these ruined temples. Who spoke then and told me it was Athens? But now
I see the groves of Academus. There is a green meadow in the midst, on
which rests a broad belt of sunshine. Above it, are floating little
children with wings; and they throw down garlands to little children
without wings, who are looking upward with joyful faces. Oh, how
beautiful they are! Come, Philothea, let us join them."
The philosopher smiled, and inwardly hailed the words as an omen
auspicious to his doctrines. All who listened were deeply impressed by
language so mysterious.
The silence remained unbroken, until Paralus asked for music. A cithara
being brought, Philothea played one of his favourite songs, accompanied
by her voice. The well-remembered sounds seemed to fill him with joy
beyond his power to express; and again his anxious parent cherished the
hope that reason would be fully restored.
He put his hand affectionately on Philothea's head, as he said, "Your
presence evidently has a blessed influence; but oh, my daughter, what a
sacrifice you are making--young and beautiful as you are!"
"Nay, Pericles," she replied, "I deem it a privilege once more to hear
the sound of his voice; though it speaks a strange, unearthly language."
When they attempted to lead the invalid from the apartment, and
Philothea, with a tremulous voice, said, "Farewell, Paralus,"--an
expression of intense gloom came over his countenance, suddenly as a
sunny field is obscured by passing clouds. "Not farewell to Eurydice!"
he said: "It is sad music--sad music."
The tender-hearted maiden was affected even to tears, and found it hard
to submit to a temporary separation. But Pericles assured her that his
son would probably soon fall asleep, and awake without any recollection
of recent events. Before she retired to her couch, a messenger was sent
to inform her that Paralus was in deep repose.
Clinias having removed from the unhealthy Piræus, in search of purer
atmosphere, Philothea found him in the house once occupied by Phidias;
and the hope that scenes of past happiness might prove salutary to the
mind of Paralus, induced Pericles to prepare the former dwelling of
Anaxagoras for his bridal home. The friends and relations of the invalid
were extremely desirous to have Philothea's soothing influence
continually exerted upon him; and the disinterested maiden earnestly
wished to devote every moment of her life to the restoration of his
precious health. Under these circumstances, it was deemed best that the
marriage should take place immediately.
The mother of Paralus had died; and Aspasia, with cautious delicacy,
declined being present at the ceremony, under the pretext of ill health;
but Phoenarete, the wife of Clinias, gladly consented to act as mother
of the orphan bride.
Propitiatory sacrifices were duly offered to Artemis, Hera, Pallas,
Aphrodite, the Fates, and the Graces. On the appointed day, Philothea
appeared in bridal garments, prepared by Phoenarete. The robe of fine
Milesian texture, was saffron-coloured, with a purple edge. Over this,
was a short tunic of brilliant crimson, confined at the waist by an
embroidered zone, fastened with a broad clasp of gold. Glossy braids of
hair were intertwined with the folds of her rose-coloured veil; and both
bride and bridegroom were crowned with garlands of roses and myrtle. The
chariot, in which they were seated, was followed by musicians, and a
long train of friends and relatives. Arrived at the temple of Hera, the
priest presented a branch, which they held between them as a symbol of
the ties about to unite them. Victims were sacrificed, and the omens
declared not unpropitious. When the gall had been cast behind the
altar, Clinias placed Philothea's hand within the hand of Paralus; the
bride dedicated a ringlet of her hair to Hera; the customary vows were
pronounced by the priest; and the young couple were presented with
golden cups of wine, from which they poured libations. The invalid was
apparently happy; but so unconscious of the scene he was acting, that
his father was obliged to raise his hand and pour forth the wine.
The ceremonies being finished, the priest reminded Philothea that when a
good wife died, Persephone formed a procession of the best women to
scatter flowers in her path, and lead her spirit to Elysium. As he
spoke, two doves alighted on the altar; but one immediately rose, and
floated above the other, with a tender cooing sound. Its mate looked
upward for a moment; and then both of them rose high in the air, and
disappeared. The spectators hailed this as an auspicious omen; but
Philothea pondered it in her heart, and thought she perceived a deeper
meaning than was visible to them.
As the company returned, with the joyful sound of music, many a friendly
hand threw garlands from the housetops, and many voices pronounced a
In consideration of the health of Paralus, the customary evening
procession was dispensed with. An abundant feast was prepared at the
house of Clinias. The gentle and serious bride joined with her female
friends in the apartments of the women; but no bridegroom appeared at
the banquet of the men.
As the guests seated themselves at table, a boy came in covered with
thorn-boughs and acorns, bearing a golden basket filled with bread, and
singing, "I have left the worse and found the better." As he passed
through the rooms, musicians began to play on various instruments, and
troops of young dancers moved in airy circles to the sound.
At an early hour, Philothea went to the apartment prepared for her in
the home of her childhood. Phoenarete preceded her with a lighted torch,
and her female attendants followed, accompanied by young Pericles,
bearing on his head a vase of water from the Fountain of Callirhöe, with
which custom required that the bride's feet should be bathed. Music was
heard until a late hour, and epithalamia were again resumed with the
The next day, a procession of women brought the bridal gifts of friends
and relatives, preceded by a boy clothed in white, carrying a torch in
one hand, and a basket of flowers in the other. Philothea, desirous to
please the father of her husband, had particularly requested that this
office might be performed by the youthful Pericles--a beautiful boy, the
only son of Aspasia. The gifts were numerous; consisting of embroidered
sandals, perfume boxes of ivory inlaid with gold, and various other
articles, for use or ornament. Pericles sent a small ivory statue of
Persephone gathering flowers in the vale of Enna; and Aspasia a clasp,
representing the Naiades floating with the infant Eros, bound in
garlands. The figures were intaglio, in a gem of transparent cerulean
hue, and delicately painted. When viewed from the opposite side, the
effect was extremely beautiful; for the graceful nymphs seemed actually
moving in their native element Alcibiades presented a Sidonian veil, of
roseate hue and glossy texture. Phoenarete bestowed a ring, on which was
carved a dancing Oread; and Plato a cameo clasp, representing the infant
Eros crowning a lamb with a garland of lilies.
On the third day, custom allowed every relative to see the bride with
her face unveiled; and the fame of her surpassing beauty induced the
remotest connections of the family to avail themselves of the privilege.
Philothea meekly complied with these troublesome requisitions; but her
heart was weary for quiet hours, that she might hold free communion with
Paralus, in that beautiful spirit-land, where his soul was wandering
before its time.
Music, and the sound of Philothea's voice, seemed the only links that
connected him with a world of shadows; but his visions were so blissful,
and his repose so full of peace, that restless and ambitious men might
well have envied a state thus singularly combining the innocence of
childhood with the rich imagination of maturer years.
Many weeks passed away in bright tranquillity; and the watchful wife
thought she at times perceived faint indication of returning health.
Geta and Milza, in compliance with their own urgent entreaties, were her
constant assistants in nursing the invalid; and more than once she
imagined that he looked at them with an earnest expression, as if his
soul were returning to the recollections of former years.
Spring ripened into summer. The olive-garlands twined with wool,
suspended on the doors during the festival of Thargelia, had withered
and fallen; and all men talked of the approaching commemoration of the
Hippocrates had been informed that Tithonus, the Ethiopian, possessed
the singular power of leading the soul from the body, and again
restoring it to its functions, by means of a soul-directing wand; and
the idea arose in his mind, that this process might produce a salutary
effect on Paralus.
The hopes of the anxious father were easily kindled; and he at once
became desirous that his son should be conveyed to Olympia; for it was
reported that Tithonus would be present at the games.
Philothea sighed deeply, as she listened to the proposition; for she had
faith only in the healing power of perfect quiet, and the free communion
of congenial souls. She yielded to the opinion of Pericles with
characteristic humility; but the despondency of her tones did not pass
"It is partly for your sake that I wish it, my poor child," said he. "If
it may be avoided, I will not see the whole of your youth consumed in
The young wife looked up with a serene and bright expression, as she
replied, "Nay, my father, you have never seen me anxious, or troubled. I
have known most perfect contentment since my union with your son."
Pericles answered affectionately, "I believe it, my daughter; and I have
marvelled at your cheerfulness. Assuredly, with more than Helen's
beauty, you have inherited the magical Egyptian powder, whereby she
drove away all care and melancholy."
_Iphegenia_--Absent so long, with joy I look on thee.
_Agamemnon_--And I on thee; so this is mutual joy.
In accordance with the advice of Hippocrates, the journey to Olympia was
undertaken. Some time before the commencement of the games, a party,
consisting of Pericles, Plato, Paralus, Philothea, and their attendants,
made preparations for departure.
Having kissed the earth of Athens, and sacrificed to Hermes and Hecate,
the protectors of travellers, they left the city at the Dipylon Gate,
and entered the road leading to Eleusis. The country presented a
cheerless aspect; for fields and vineyards once fruitful were desolated
by ferocious war. But religious veneration had protected the altars, and
their chaste simplicity breathed the spirit of peace; while the
beautiful little rustic temples of Demeter, in commemoration of her
wanderings in search of the lost Persephone, spoke an ideal language,
soothing to the heart amid the visible traces of man's destructive
During the solemnization of the Olympic Games, the bitterest animosities
were laid aside. The inhabitants of states carrying on a deadly war with
each other, met in peace and friendship. Even Megara, with all her
hatred to Athens, gave the travellers a cordial welcome. In every house
they entered, bread, wine, and salt, were offered to Zeus Xinias, the
patron of hospitality.
A pleasant grove of cypress trees announced the vicinity of Corinth,
famed for its magnificence and beauty. A foot-path from the grove led to
a secluded spot, where water was spouted forth by a marble dolphin, at
the foot of a brazen statue of Poseidon.
The travellers descended from their chariots to rest under the shadow of
the lofty plane trees, and refresh themselves with a draught from the
fountain. The public road was thronged with people on their way to
Olympia. Most of them drove with renewed eagerness to enter Corinth
before the evening twilight; for nearly all travellers made it a point
to visit the remarkable scenes in this splendid and voluptuous city, the
Paris of the ancient world. A few were attracted by the cool murmuring
of the waters, and turned aside to the fountain of Poseidon. Among these
was Artaphernes the Persian, who greeted Pericles, and made known his
friend Orsames, lately arrived from Ecbatana. The stranger said he had
with him a parcel for Anaxagoras; and inquired whether any tidings of
that philosopher had been lately received in Athens. Pericles informed
them of the death of the good old man, and mentioned that his
grand-daughter, accompanied by her husband and attendants, was then in a
retired part of the grove. The Persian took from his chariot a roll of
parchment and a small box, and placed them in the hands of Geta, to be
conveyed to Philothea. The tears came to her eyes, when she discovered
that it was a friendly epistle from Philæmon to his beloved old master.
It appeared to have been written soon after he heard of his exile, and
was accompanied by a gift of four minæ. His own situation was described
as happy as it could be in a foreign land. His time was principally
employed in instructing the sons of the wealthy satrap, Megabyzus; a
situation which he owed to the friendly recommendation of Artaphernes.
At the close, after many remarks concerning the politics of Athens, he
expressed a wish to be informed of Eudora's fate, and an earnest hope
that she was not beyond the reach of Philothea's influence.
This letter awakened busy thoughts. The happy past and a cheerful future
were opened to her mind, in all the distinctness of memory and the
brightness of hope. At such moments, her heart yearned for the ready
sympathy she had been wont to receive from Paralus. As she drew aside
the curtains of the litter, and looked upon him in tranquil slumber, she
thought of the wonderful gift of Tithonus, with an intense anxiety, to
which her quiet spirit was usually a stranger. Affectionate
recollections of Eudora, and the anticipated joy of meeting, mingled
with this deeper tide of feeling, and increased her desire to arrive at
the end of their journey. Pericles shared her anxiety, and admitted no
delays but such as were necessary for the health of the invalid.
From Corinth they passed into the pleasant valleys of Arcadia, encircled
with verdant hills. Here nature reigned in simple beauty, unadorned by
the magnificence of art. The rustic temples were generally composed of
intertwined trees, in the recesses of which were placed wooden images of
Pan, "the simple shepherd's awe-inspiring god." Here and there an aged
man reposed in the shadow of some venerable oak; and the shepherds, as
they tended their flocks, welcomed this brief interval of peace with
the mingled music of reeds and flutes.
Thence the travellers passed into the broad and goodly plains of Elis;
protected from the spoiler by its sacred character, as the seat of the
Olympic Games. In some places, troops of women might be seen in the
distance, washing garments in the river Alpheus, and spreading them out
to whiten in the sun. Fertility rewarded the labours of the husbandmen,
and the smiling fields yielded pasturage to numerous horses, which
Phoebus himself might have prized for strength, fleetness, and majestic
Paralus passed through all these scenes entirely unconscious whether
they were sad or cheerful. When he spoke, it was of things unrecognized
by those of earthly mould; yet those who heard him found therein a
strange and marvellous beauty, that seemed not altogether new to the
soul, but was seen in a dim and pleasing light, like the recollections
of infant years.
The travellers stopped at a small town in the neighbourhood of Olympia,
where Paralus, Philothea, and their attendants were to remain during the
solemnization of the games. The place chosen for their retreat was the
residence of Proclus and his wife Melissa; worthy, simple-hearted
people, at whose house Phidias had died, and under whose protection he
had placed Eudora.
As the chariots approached the house, the loud barking of Hylax
attracted the attention of Zoila, the merry little daughter of Proclus,
who was playing in the fields with her brother Pterilaüs. The moment the
children espied a sight so unusual in that secluded place, they ran
with all speed to carry tidings to the household. Eudora was busy at the
loom; but she went out to look upon the strangers, saying, as she did
so, that they were doubtless travellers, who, in passing to the Olympic
Games, had missed their way.
Her heart beat tumultuously when she saw Hylax capering and fawning
about a man who bore a strong resemblance to Geta. The next moment, she
recognized Pericles and Plato speaking with a tall, majestic looking
woman, closely veiled. She darted forward a few paces, in the eagerness
of her joy; but checked herself when she perceived that the stranger
lingered; for she said, in her heart, "If it were Philothea, she could
not be so slow in coming to meet me."
Thus she reasoned, not knowing that Philothea was the wife of Paralus,
and that his enfeebled health required watchful care. In a few moments
her doubts were dispelled, and the friends were locked in each others'
Proclus gave the travellers a hospitable reception, and cheerfully
consented that Paralus and his attendants should remain with them.
Pericles, having made all necessary arrangements for the beloved
invalid, bade an early farewell, and proceeded with Plato to Olympia.
When Geta and Milza had received a cordial welcome; and Hylax had
somewhat abated his boisterous joy; and old Dione, with the tears in her
eyes, had brought forward treasures of grapes and wine--Eudora eagerly
sought a private interview with the friend of her childhood.
"Dearest Philothea!" she exclaimed, "I thought you were still in Ionia;
and I never expected to see you again; and now you have come, my heart
is _so_ full"----
Unable to finish the sentence, she threw herself on that bosom where she
had ever found sympathy in all her trials, and sobbed like a child.
"My beloved Eudora," said Philothea, "you still carry with you a heart
easily kindled; affections that heave and blaze like a volcano."
The maiden looked up affectionately, and smiled through her tears, as
she said, "The love you kindled in infancy has burned none the less
strongly because there was no one to cherish it. If the volcano now
blazes, it only proves how faithfully it has carried the hidden fire in
She paused, and spoke more sadly, as she added, "There was, indeed, one
brief period, when it was well-nigh smothered. Would to the gods, _that_
might pass into oblivion! But it will not. After Phidias came to Elis,
he made for Plato a small statue of Mnemosyne, that turned and looked
upward to Heaven, while she held a half-opened scroll toward the earth.
It was beautiful beyond description; but there was bitterness in my
heart when I looked upon it; I thought Memory should be represented
armed with the scourge of the Furies."
"And did you not perceive," said Philothea, "that yourself had armed the
benignant goddess with a scourge? Thus do the best gifts from the Divine
Fountain become changed by the will of those who receive them. But,
dearest Eudora, though your heart retains its fire, a change has passed
over your countenance. The cares of this world have driven away the
spirit of gladness, that came with you from your divine home. That
smiling twin of Innocence is ever present and visible while we are
unconscious of its existence; but when in darkness and sorrow the soul
asks where it has gone, a hollow voice, like the sound of autumn winds,
Eudora sighed, as she answered, "It is even so. But I know not where you
could have learned it; for you have ever seemed to live in a region
above darkness and storms. Earth has left no shadow on your countenance.
It expresses the same transparent innocence, the same mild love. A light
not of this world is gleaming there; and it has grown brighter and
clearer since we parted. I could almost believe that you accompany Hera
to the Fountain of Canathus, where it is said she every year bathes to
restore her infant purity."
Philothea smiled, as she playfully laid her hand on Eudora's mouth, and
said, "Nay, Eudora, you forget that flattery produces effects very
unlike the Fountain of Canathus. We have been gazing in each other's
faces, as if we fondly hoped there to read the record of all that has
passed since we were separated. Yet, very little of all that we have
known and felt--of all that has gradually become a portion of our
life--is inscribed there. Perhaps you already know that Anaxagoras fell
asleep in Ionia. The good old man died in peace, as he had lived in
love. If I mistake not, while I talked with Pericles, Milza informed you
that I was the wife of Paralus?"
"Yes, dearest Philothea; but not till she had first told me of her own
marriage with Geta."
Philothea smiled, as she replied, "I believe it is the only case in
which that affectionate creature thinks of herself, before she thinks of
me; but Geta is to her an object of more importance than all the world
beside. When we were in Ionia, I often found her whispering magical
words, while she turned the sieve and shears, to ascertain whether her
lover were faithful to his vows. I could not find it in my heart to
reprove her fond credulity;--for I believe this proneness to wander
beyond the narrow limits of the visible world is a glimmering
reminiscence of parentage divine; and though in Milza's untutored mind
the mysterious impulse takes an inglorious form, I dare not deride what
the wisest soul can neither banish nor comprehend."
As she finished speaking, she glanced toward the curtain, which
separated them from the room where Paralus reposed, watched by the
faithful Geta. There was a tender solemnity in the expression of her
countenance, whereby Eudora conjectured the nature of her thoughts.
Speaking in a subdued voice, she asked whether Paralus would inquire for
her, when he awoke.
"He will look for me, and seem bewildered, as if something were lost,"
replied Philothea. "Since I perceived this, I have been careful not to
excite painful sensations by my absence. Geta will give me notice when
slumber seems to be passing away."
"And do you think Tithonus can restore him?" inquired Eudora.
Philothea answered, "Fear is stronger than hope. I thought I perceived a
healing influence in the perfect quiet and watchful love that surrounded
him in Athens; and to these I would fain have trusted, had it been the
will of Pericles. But, dearest Eudora, let us not speak on this subject.
It seems to me like the sacred groves, into which nothing unconsecrated
After a short pause, Eudora said. "Then I will tell you my own history.
After we came to Elis, Phidias treated me with more tenderness and
confidence than he had ever done. Perhaps he observed that my proud,
impetuous character was chastened and subdued by affliction and
repentance. Though we were in the habit of talking unreservedly, he
never alluded to the foolish conduct that offended him so seriously. I
felt grateful for this generous forbearance; and by degress I learned to
fear him less and love him deeply."
"We received some tidings of him when Plato came into Ionia," rejoined
Philothea; "and we rejoiced to learn that he found in Elis a rich
recompense for the shameful ingratitude of Athens."
"It was a rich recompense, indeed," replied Eudora. "The people
reverenced him as if he were something more than mortal. His statue
stands in the sacred grove at Olympia, bearing the simple inscription;
'Phidias, Son of Charmides, sculptor of the Gods.' At his death, the
Elians bestowed gifts on all his servants; endowed me with the yearly
revenues of a farm; and appointed his nephew Pandænus to the honourable
office of preserving the statue of Olympian Zeus."
"Did Phidias express no anxiety concerning your unprotected situation?"
"It was his wish that I should marry Pandænus," answered Eudora; "but
he urged the subject no farther, when he found that I regarded the
marriage with aversion. On his death-bed he charged his nephew to
protect and cherish me as a sister. He left me under the guardianship of
Proclus, with strict injunctions that I should have perfect freedom in
the choice of a husband. He felt no anxiety concerning my maintenance;
for the Elians had promised that all persons connected with him should
be liberally provided at the public expense; and I was universally
considered as the adopted daughter of Phidias."
"And what did Pandænus say to the wishes of his uncle?" asked
Eudora blushed slightly as she answered, "He tried to convince me that
we should all be happier, if I would consent to the arrangement. I could
not believe this; and Pandænus was too proud to repeat his
solicitations to a reluctant listener. I seldom see him; but when there
is opportunity to do me service, he is very kind."
Her friend looked earnestly upon her, as if seeking to read her heart;
and inquired, "Has no other one gained your affections? I had some fears
that I should find you married."
"And why did you fear?" said Eudora: "Other friends would consider it a
"But I feared, because I have ever cherished the hope that you would be
the wife of Philæmon," rejoined her companion.
The sensitive maiden sighed deeply, and turned away her head, as she
said, with a tremulous voice, "I have little doubt that Philæmon has
taken a Persian wife, before this time."
Philothea made no reply; but searched for the epistle she had received
at Corinth, and placed it in the hands of her friend. Eudora started,
when she saw the well-known writing of Philæmon. But when she read the
sentence wherein he expressed affectionate solicitude for her welfare,
she threw her arms convulsively about Philothea's neck, exclaiming, "Oh,
my beloved friend, what a blessed messenger you have ever been to this
For some moments, her agitation was extreme; but that gentle influence,
which had so often soothed her, gradually calmed her perturbed feelings;
and they talked freely of the possibility of regaining Philæmon's love.
As Eudora stood leaning on her shoulder, Philothea, struck with the
contrast in their figures, said: "When you were in Athens, we called you
the Zephyr; and surely you are thinner now than you were then. I fear
your health suffers from the anxiety of your mind. "See!" continued she,
turning towards the mirror--"See what a contrast there is between us!"
"There should be a contrast," rejoined Eudora, smiling: "The pillars of
agoras are always of lighter and less majestic proportions than the
pillars of temples."
As she spoke, Geta lifted the curtain, and Philothea instantly obeyed
the signal. For a few moments after her departure, Eudora heard the low
murmuring of voices, and then the sound of a cithara, whose tones she
well remembered. The tune was familiar to her in happier days, and she
listened to it with tears.
Her meditations were suddenly disturbed by little Zoila, who came in
with a jump and a bound, to show a robe full of flowers she had gathered
for the beautiful Athenian lady. When she perceived that tears had
fallen on the blossoms, she suddenly changed her merry tones, and with
artless affection inquired, "What makes Dora cry?"
"I wept for the husband of that beautiful Athenian lady, because he is
very ill," replied the maiden.
"See the flowers!" exclaimed Zoila. "It looks as if the dew was on it;
but the tears will not make it grow again--will they?"
Eudora involuntarily shuddered at the omen conveyed in her childish
words; but gave permission to carry her offering to the Athenian lady,
if she would promise to step very softly, and speak in whispers.
Philothea received the flowers thankfully, and placed them in vases near
her husband's couch; for she still fondly hoped to win back the
wandering soul by the presence of things peaceful, pure, and beautiful.
She caressed the innocent little one, and tried to induce her to remain
a few minutes; but the child seemed uneasy, as if in the presence of
something that inspired fear. She returned to Eudora with a very
thoughtful countenance; and though she often gathered flowers for "the
tall infant," as she called Paralus, she could never after be persuaded
to enter his apartment.
They in me breathed a voice
Divine; that I might know, with listening ears,
Things past and future; and enjoined me praise
The race of blessed ones, that live for aye.
PHILOTHEA to PHILÆMON, greeting:
The body of Anaxagoras has gone to the Place of Sleep. If it were not
so, his hand would have written in reply to thy kind epistle. I was with
him when he died, but knew not the hour he departed, for he sunk to rest
like an infant.
We lived in peaceful poverty in Ionia; sometimes straitened for the
means whereby this poor existence is preserved, but ever cheerful in
I drank daily from the ivory cup thou didst leave for me, with thy
farewell to Athens; and the last lines traced by my grandfather's hand
still remain on the tablet thou didst give him. They are preserved for
thee, to be sent in to Persia, if thou dost not return to Greece, as I
hope thou wilt.
I am now the wife of Paralus; and Pericles has brought us into the
neighbourhood of Olympia, seeking medical aid for my husband, not yet
recovered from the effects of the plague. Pure and blameless, Paralus
has ever been--with a mind richly endowed by the gods; and all this thou
well knowest. Yet he is as one that dies while he lives; though not
altogether as one unbeloved by divine beings. Wonderful are the accounts
he brings of that far-off world, where his spirit wanders. Sometimes I
listen with fear, till all philosophy seems dim, and I shrink from the
mystery of our being. When they do not disturb him with earthly
medicines, he is quiet and happy. Waking, he speaks of things clothed in
heavenly splendour; and in his sleep, he smiles like a child whose
dreams are pleasant. I think this blessing comes from the Divine, by
reason of the innocence of his life.
We abide at the house of Proclus, a kind, truth-telling man, whose wife,
Melissa, is at once diligent and quiet--a rare combination of goodly
virtues. These worthy people have been guardians of Eudora, since the
death of Phidias; and with much affection, they speak of her gentleness,
patience, and modest retirement. Melissa told me Aspasia had urgently
invited her to Athens, but she refused, without even asking the advice
of her guardian. Thou knowest her great gifts would have been worshipped
by the Athenians, and that Eudora herself could not be ignorant of this.
Sometimes a stream is polluted in the fountain, and its waters are
tainted through all its wanderings; and sometimes the traveller throws
into a pure rivulet some unclean thing, which floats awhile, and is then
rejected from its bosom. Eudora is the pure rivulet. A foreign stain
floated on the surface, but never mingled with its waters.
Phidias wished her to marry his nephew; and Pandænus would fain have
persuaded her to consent; but they forebore to urge it, when they saw it
gave her pain. She is deeply thankful to her benefactor for allowing her
a degree of freedom so seldom granted to Grecian maidens.
The Elians, proud of their magnificent statue of Olympian Zeus, have
paid extraordinary honours to the memory of the great sculptor, and
provided amply for every member of his household. Eudora is industrious
from choice, and gives liberally to the poor; particularly to orphans,
who, like herself, have been brought into bondage by the violence of
wicked men, or the chances of war. For some time past, she has felt all
alone in the world;--a condition that marvellously helps to bring us
into meekness and tenderness of spirit. When she read what thou didst
write of her in thy epistle, she fell upon my neck and wept.
I return to thee the four minæ. He to whose necessities thou wouldst
have kindly administered, hath gone where gold and silver avail not.
Many believe that they who die sleep forever; but this they could not,
if they had listened to words I have heard from Paralus.
Son of Chærilaüs, farewell. May blessings be around thee, wheresoever
thou goest, and no evil shadow cross thy threshold.
Written in Elis, this thirteenth day of the increasing moon, in the
month Hecatombæon, and the close of the eighty-seventh Olympiad."
Without naming her intention to Eudora, Philothea laid aside the scroll
she had prepared, resolved to place it in the hands of Pericles, to be
entrusted to the care of some Persian present at the games, which were
to commence on the morrow.
Before the hour of noon, Hylax gave notice of approaching strangers, who
proved to be Pericles and Plato, attended by Tithonus. The young wife
received them courteously, though a sudden sensation of dread ran
through her veins with icy coldness. It was agreed that none but
herself, Pericles, and Plato, should be present with Tithonus; and that
profound silence should be observed. Preparation was made by offering
solemn sacrifices to Phoebus, Hermes, Hecate, and Persephone; and
Philothea inwardly prayed to that Divine Principle, revealed to her only
by the monitions of his spirit in the stillness of her will.
Tithonus stood behind the invalid, and remained perfectly quiet for many
minutes. He then gently touched the back part of his head with a small
wand, and leaning over him, whispered in his ear. An unpleasant change
immediately passed over the countenance of Paralus; he endeavoured to
place his hand on his head, and a cold shivering seized him. Philothea
shuddered, and Pericles grew pale, as they watched these symptoms; but
the silence remained unbroken. A second and a third time the Ethiopian
touched him with his wand, and spoke in whispers. The expression of pain
deepened; insomuch that his friends could not look upon him without
anguish of heart. Finally his limbs straightened, and became perfectly
rigid and motionless.
Tithonus, perceiving the terror he had excited, said soothingly, "Oh,
Athenians, be not afraid. I have never seen the soul withdrawn without a
struggle with the body. Believe me, it will return. The words I
whispered, were those I once heard from the lips of Plato: 'The human
soul is guided by two horses; one white, with a flowing mane, earnest
eyes, and wings like a swan, whereby he seeks to fly; but the other is
black, heavy and sleepy-eyed--ever prone to lie down upon the earth.'
"The second time, I whispered, 'Lo, the soul seeketh to ascend!' And the
third time I said, 'Behold the winged separates from that which hath no
wings.' When life returns, Paralus will have remembrance of these
"Oh, restore him! Restore him!" exclaimed Philothea, in tones of
Tithonus answered with respectful tenderness, and again stood in
profound silence several minutes, before he raised the wand. At the
first touch, a feeble shivering gave indication of returning life. As it
was repeated a second and a third time, with a brief interval between
each movement, the countenance of the sufferer grew more dark and
troubled, until it became fearful to look upon. But the heavy shadow
gradually passed away, and a dreamy smile returned, like a gleam of
sunshine after storms. The moment Philothea perceived an expression
familiar to her heart, she knelt by the couch, seized the hand of
Paralus, and bathed it with her tears.
When the first gush of emotion had subsided, she said, in a soft, low
voice, "Where have you been, dear Paralus?" The invalid answered: "A
thick vapour enveloped me, as with a dark cloud; and a stunning noise
pained my head with its violence. A voice said to me, 'The human soul is
guided by two horses; one white, with a flowing mane, earnest eyes, and
wings like a swan, whereby he seeks to fly; but the other is black,
heavy, and sleepy-eyed--ever prone to lie down upon the earth.' Then the
darkness began to clear away. But there was strange confusion. All
things seemed rapidly to interchange their colours and their forms--the
sound of a storm was in mine ears--the elements and the stars seemed to
crowd upon me--and my breath was taken away. Then I heard a voice,
saying, 'Lo, the soul seeketh to ascend!' And I looked and saw the
chariot and horses, of which the voice had spoken. The beautiful white
horse gazed upward, and tossed his mane, and spread his wings
impatiently; but the black horse slept upon the ground. The voice again
said, 'Behold the winged separates from that which hath no wings!' And
suddenly the chariot ascended, and I saw the white horse on light fleecy
clouds, in a far blue sky. Then I heard a pleasing, silent sound--as if
dew-drops made music as they fell. I breathed freely, and my form seemed
to expand itself with buoyant life. All at once, I was floating in the
air, above a quiet lake, where reposed seven beautiful islands, full of
the sound of harps; and Philothea slept at my side, with a garland on
her head. I asked, 'Is this the divine home, whence I departed into the
body?' And a voice above my head answered 'It is the divine home. Man
never leaves it. He ceases to perceive.' Afterward, I looked downward,
and saw my dead body lying on a couch. Then again there came strange
confusion--and a painful clashing of sounds--and all things rushing
together. But Philothea took my hand, and spoke to me in gentle tones,
and the discord ceased."
Plato had listened with intense interest. He stood apart with Tithonus,
and they spoke together in low tones, for several minutes before they
left the apartment. The philosopher was too deeply impressed to return
to the festivities of Olympia. He hired an apartment at the dwelling of
a poor shepherd, and during the following day remained in complete
seclusion, without partaking of food.
While Paralus revealed his vision, his father's soul was filled with
reverence and fear, and he breathed with a continual consciousness of
supernatural presence. When his feelings became somewhat composed, he
leaned over the couch, and spoke a few affectionate words to his son;
but the invalid turned away his head, as if disturbed by the presence of
a stranger. The spirit of the strong man was moved, and he trembled like
a leaf shaken by the wind. Unable to endure this disappointment of his
excited hopes, he turned away hastily, and sought to conceal his grief
During the whole of the ensuing day, Paralus continued in a deep sleep.
This was followed by silent cheerfulness, which, flowing as it did from
a hidden source, had something solemn and impressive in its character.
It was sad, yet pleasant, to see his look of utter desolation whenever
he lost sight of Philothea; and the sudden gleam of joy that illumined
his whole face the moment she re-appeared.
The young wife sat by his side, hour after hour, with patient love;
often cheering him with her soft, rich voice, or playing upon the lyre
he had fashioned for her in happier days. She found a sweet reward in
the assurance given by all his friends, that her presence had a healing
power they had elsewhere sought in vain. She endeavoured to pour balm
into the wounded heart of Pericles, and could she have seen him willing
to wait the event with perfect resignation, her contentment would have
been not unmingled with joy.
She wept in secret when she heard him express a wish to have Paralus
carried to the games, to try the effect of a sudden excitement; for
there seemed to her something of cruelty in thus disturbing the
tranquillity of one so gentle and so helpless. But the idea had been
suggested by a learned physician of Chios, and Pericles seemed reluctant
to return to Athens without trying this experiment also. Philothea found
it more difficult to consent to the required sacrifice, because the laws
of the country made it impossible to accompany her beloved husband to
Olympia; but she suppressed her feelings; and the painfulness of the
struggle was never fully confessed, even to Eudora.
While the invalid slept, he was carefully conveyed in a litter, and
placed in the vicinity of the Hippodrome. He awoke in the midst of a
gorgeous spectacle. Long lines of splendid chariots were ranged on
either side of the barrier; the horses proudly pawed the ground, and
neighed impatiently; the bright sun glanced on glittering armour; and
the shouts of the charioteers were heard high above the busy hum of that
Paralus instantly closed his eyes, as if dazzled by the glare; and an
expression of painful bewilderment rested on his countenance.
In the midst of the barrier stood an altar, on the top of which was a
brazen eagle. When the lists were in readiness, the majestic bird arose
and spread its wings, with a whirring noise, as a signal for the racers
to begin. Then was heard the clattering of hoofs, and the rushing of
wheels, as when armies meet in battle. A young Messenian was, for a
time, foremost in the race; but his horse took fright at the altar of
Taraxippus--his chariot was overthrown--and Alcibiades gained the prize.
The vanquished youth uttered a loud and piercing shriek, as the horses
passed over him; and Paralus fell senseless in his father's arms.
It was never known whether this effect was produced by the presence of a
multitude, by shrill and discordant sounds, or by returning
recollection, too powerful for his enfeebled frame. He was tenderly
carried from the crowd, and restoratives having been applied, in vain,
the melancholy burden was slowly and carefully conveyed to her who so
anxiously awaited his arrival.
During his absence, Philothea had earnestly prayed for the preservation
of a life so precious to her; and as the time of return drew near, she
walked in the fields, accompanied by Eudora and Milza, eager to catch
the first glimpse of his father's chariot. She read sad tidings in the
gloomy countenance of Pericles, before she beheld the lifeless form of
Cautiously and tenderly as the truth was revealed to her, she became
dizzy and pale, with the suddenness of the shock. Pericles endeavoured
to soothe her with all the sympathy of a parental love, mingled with
deep feelings of contrition, that his restless anxiety had thus brought
ruin into her paradise of peace: and Plato spoke gentle words of
consolation; reminding her that every soul, which philosophized
sincerely and loved beautiful forms, was restored to the full vigour of
its wings, and soared to the blest condition from which it fell.
They laid Paralus upon a couch, with the belief that he slept to wake no
more. But as Philothea bent over him, she perceived a faint pulsation of
the heart. Her pale features were flushed with joy, as she exclaimed,
"He lives! He will speak to me again! Oh, I could die in peace,--if I
might once more hear his voice, as I heard it in former years."
She bathed his head with cool perfumed waters, and watched him with love
that knew no weariness.
Proclus and Telissa deemed he had fallen by the dart of Phoebus Apollo;
and fearing the god was angry for some unknown cause, they suspended
branches of rhamn and laurel on the doors, to keep off evil demons.
For three days and three nights, Paralus remained in complete oblivion.
On the morning of the fourth, a pleasant change was observed in his
countenance; and he sometimes smiled so sweetly, and so rationally, that
his friends still dared to hope his health might be fully restored.
At noon, he awoke; and looking at his wife with an expression full of
tenderness, said: "Dearest Philothea, you are with me. I saw you no
more, after the gate had closed. I believe it must have been a dream;
but it was very distinct." He glanced around the room, as if his
recollections were confused; but his eyes no longer retained the fixed
and awful expression of one who walked in his sleep.
Speaking slowly and thoughtfully, he continued: "It could not be a
dream. I was in the temple of the most ancient god. The roof was of
heaven's pure gold, which seemed to have a ligat within it, like the
splendour of the sun. All around the temple were gardens full of bloom.
I heard soft, mumuring sounds, like the cooing of doves; and I saw the
immortal Oreades and the Naiades pouring water from golden urns.
Anaxagoras stood beside me; and he said we were living in the age of
innocence, when mortals could gaze on divine beings unveiled, and yet
preserve their reason. They spoke another language than the Greeks; but
we had no need to learn it; we seemed to breathe it in the air. The
Oreades had music written on scrolls, in all the colours of the rainbow.
When I asked the meaning of this, they showed me a triangle. At the top
was crimson, at the right hand blue, and at the left hand yellow. And
they said, 'Know ye not that all life is three-fold!' It was a dark
saying; but I then thought I faintly comprehended what Pythagoras has
written concerning the mysterious signification of One and Three. Many
other things I saw and heard, but was forbidden to relate. The gate of
the temple was an arch, supported by two figures with heavy drapery,
eyes closed, and arms folded. They told me these were Sleep and Death.
Over the gate was written in large letters, 'The Entrance of Mortals.'
Beyond it, I saw you standing with outstretched arms, as if you sought
to come to me, but could not. The air was filled with voices, that sung:
Come! join thy kindred spirit, come!
Hail to the mystic two in one!
When Sleep hath passed, thy dreams remain--
What he hath brought, Death brings again.
Come hither, kindred spirits, come!
Hail to the mystic two in one!
I tried to meet you; but as I passed through the gate, a cold air blew
upon me, and all beyond was in the glimmering darkness of twilight. I
would have returned, but the gate had closed; and I heard behind me the
sound of harps and of voices, singing:
Come hither, kindred spirits, come!
Hail to the mystic two in one!"
Philothea kissed his hand, and her face beamed with joy. She had
earnestly desired some promise of their future union; and now she felt
the prayer was answered.
"Could it be a dream?" said Paralus: "Methinks I hear the music now."
Philothea smiled affectionately, as she replied: "When sleep hath
passed, thy dreams remain."
As she gazed upon him, she observed that the supernatural expression of
his eyes had changed; and that his countenence now wore its familiar,
household smile. Still she feared to cherish the hope springing in her
heart, until he looked toward the place where her attendant sat,
motionless and silent, and said, "Milza, will you bring me the lyre?"
The affectionate peasant looked earnestly at Philothea, and wept as she
placed it in his hand.
Making an effort to rise, he seemed surprised at his own weakness. They
gently raised him, bolstered him with pillows, and told him he had long
"I have not known it," he replied. "It seems to me I have returned from
a far country."
He touched the lyre, and easily recalled the tune which he said he had
learned in the Land of Dreams. It was a wild, unearthly strain, with
sounds of solemn gladness, that deeply affected Philothea's soul.
Pericles had not visited his son since his return to perfect
consciousness. When he came, Paralus looked upon him with a smile of
recognition, and said, "My father!"
Milza had been sent to call the heart-stricken parent, and prepare him
for some favourable change; but when he heard those welcome words, he
dropped suddenly upon his knees, buried his face in the drapery of the
couch, and his whole frame shook with emotion.
The invalid continued: "They tell me I have been very ill, dear father;
but it appears to me that I have only travelled. I have seen Anaxagoras
often--Plato sometimes--and Philothea almost constantly; but I have
never seen you, since I thought you were dying of the plague at Athens."
Pericles replied, "You have indeed been ill, my son. You are to me as
the dead restored to life. But you must be quiet now, and seek repose."
For some time after the interview with his father, Paralus remained very
wakeful. His eyes sparkled, and a feverish flush was on his cheek.
Philothea took her cithara, and played his favourite tunes. This seemed
to tranquilize him; and as the music grew more slow and plaintive, he
became drowsy, and at length sunk into a gentle slumber.
After more than two hours of deep repose, he was awakened by the merry
shouts of little Zoila, who had run out to meet Plato, as he came from
Olympia. Philothea feared, lest the shrill noise had given him pain;
but he smiled; and said, "The voice of childhood is pleasant."
He expressed a wish to see his favourite philosopher; and their kindred
souls held long and sweet communion together. When Plato retired from
the couch, he said to Philothea, "I have learned more from this dear
wanderer, than philosophers or poets have ever written. I am confirmed
in my belief that no impelling truth is ever learned in this world; but
that all is received directly from the Divine Ideal, flowing into the
soul of man when his reason is obedient and still."
A basket of grapes, tastefully ornamented with flowers, was presented to
the invalid; and in answer to his inquiries, he was informed that they
were prepared by Eudora. He immediately desired that she might be
called; and when she came, he received her with the most cordial
affection. He alluded to past events with great clearness of memory, and
asked his father several questions concerning the condition of Athens.
When Philothea arranged his pillows and bathed his head, he pressed her
hand affectionately, and said, "It almost seems as if you were my wife."
Pericles, deeply affected, replied, "My dear son, she is your wife. She
forgot all my pride, and consented to marry you, that she might become
your nurse, when we all feared that you would be restored to us no
Paralus looked up with a bright expression of gratitude, and said, "I
thank you, father. This was very kind. Now you will be her father, when
I am gone."
Perceiving that Pericles and Eudora wept, he added: "Do not mourn
because I am soon to depart. Why would ye detain my soul in this world?
Its best pleasures are like the shallow gardens of Adonis, fresh and
fair in the morning, and perishing at noon."
He then repeated his last vision, and asked for the lyre, that they
might hear the music he had learned from immortal voices.
There was melancholy beauty in the sight of one so pale and thin,
touching the lyre with an inspired countenance, and thus revealing to
mortal ears the melodies of Heaven.
One by one his friends withdrew; being tenderly solicitous that he
should not become exhausted by interviews prolonged beyond his strength.
He was left alone with Philothea; and many precious words were spoken,
that sunk deep into her heart, never to be forgotten.
But sleep departed from his eyes; and it soon became evident that the
soul, in returning to its union with the body, brought with it a
consciousness of corporeal suffering. This became more and more intense;
and though he uttered no complaint, he said to those who asked him, that
bodily pain seemed at times too powerful for endurance.
Pericles had for several days remained under the same roof, to watch the
progress of recovery; but at midnight, he was called to witness
convulsive struggles, that indicated approaching death.
During intervals of comparative ease, Paralus recognized his afflicted
parent, and conjured him to think less of the fleeting honours of this
world, which often eluded the grasp, and were always worthless in the
He held Philothea's hand continually, and often spoke to her in words of
consolation. Immediately after an acute spasm of pain had subsided, he
asked to be turned upon his right side, that he might see her face more
distinctly. As she leaned over him, he smiled faintly, and imprinted a
kiss upon her lips. He remained tranquil, with his eyes fixed upon hers;
and a voice within impelled her to sing:
Come hither, kindred spirits, come!
Hail to the mystic two in one!
He looked upward with a radiant expression, and feebly pressed her hand.
Not long after, his eyelids closed, and sleep seemed to cover his
features with her heavy veil.
Suddenly his countenance shone with a strange and impressive beauty. The
soul had departed to return to earth no more.
In all his troubles, Pericles had never shed a tear; but now he rent the
air with his groans, and sobbed, like a mother bereft of her child.
Philothea, though deeply bowed down in spirit, was more composed: for
she heard angelic voices singing:
When sleep hath passed, thy dreams remain--
What he hath brought, Death brings again.
Come hither, kindred spirits, come!
Hail to the mystic two in one!
Thus a poor father, helpless and undone,
Mourns o'er the ashes of an only son;
Takes a sad pleasure the last bones to burn,
And pour in tears, ere yet they close the urn.
Of the immense concourse collected together at Olympia, each one pursued
his pleasure, or his interest, in the way best suited to his taste.
Alcibiades was proud of giving a feast corresponding in magnificence to
the chariots he had brought into the course. Crowds of parasites
flattered him and the other victors, to receive invitations in return;
while a generous few sympathized with the vanquished. Merchants were
busy forming plans for profitable negociation, and statesmen were
eagerly watching every symptom of jealousy between rival states and
One, amid that mass of human hearts, felt so little interest in all the
world could offer, that she seemed already removed beyond its influence.
Philothea had herself closed the eyes of her husband, and imprinted her
last kiss upon his lips. Bathed in pure water, and perfumed with
ointment, the lifeless form of Paralus lay wrapped in the robe he had
been accustomed to wear. A wreath of parsley encircled his head, and
flowers were strewn around him in profusion.
In one hand was placed an obolus, to pay the ferryman that rowed him
across the river of death; and in the other, a cake made of honey and
flour, to appease the triple-headed dog, which guarded the entrance to
the world of souls.
The bereaved wife sat by his side, and occasionally renewed the
garlands, with a quiet and serene expression, as if she still found
happiness in being occupied for him who had given her his heart in the
innocence and freshness of its childhood.
The food prepared by Milza's active kindness was scarcely tasted; except
when she observed the tears of her faithful attendant, and sought to
soothe her feelings with characterestic tenderness.
The event soon became universally known; for the hair of the deceased,
consecrated to Persephone, and a vase of water at the threshold,
proclaimed tidings of death within the dwelling.
Many of the assembled multitude chose to remain until the funeral
solemnities were past; some from personal affection for Paralus, others
from respect to the son of Pericles.
Plato sent two large vases, filled with wine and honey; Eudora provided
ointments and perfumes; Alcibiades presented a white cloak, richly
embroidered with silver; and the young men of Athens, present at the
games, gave a silver urn, on which were sculptured weeping genii, with
their torches turned downward.
Enveloped in his glittering mantle, and covered with flowers, the form
of Paralus remained until the third day. The procession, which was to
attend the body to the funeral pile, formed at morning twilight; for
such was the custom with regard to those who died in their youth.
Philothea followed the bier, dressed in white, with a wreath of roses
and myrtle around her head, and a garland about the waist. She chose
this beautiful manner to express her joy that his pure spirit had passed
At the door of the house, the nearest relatives addressed the inanimate
form, so soon to be removed from the sight of mortals. In tones of
anguish, almost amounting to despair, Pericles exclaimed: "Oh, my son!
my son! Why didst thou leave us? Why wast thou, so richly gifted of the
gods, to be taken from us in thy youth? Oh, my son, why was I left to
mourn for thee?"
Instead of the usual shrieks and lamentations of Grecian women,
Philothea said, in sad, heart-moving accents: "Paralus, farewell!
Husband of my youth, beloved of my heart, farewell!"
Then the dead was carried out; and the procession moved forward, to the
sound of many voices and many instruments, mingled in a loud and solemn
dirge. The body of Paralus was reverently laid upon the funeral pile,
with the garments he had been accustomed to wear; his lyre and Phrygian
flute; and vases filled with oil and perfumes.
Plentiful libations of wine, honey, and milk were poured upon the
ground, and the mourners smote the earth with their feet, while they
uttered supplications to Hermes, Hecate, and Pluto. Pericles applied the
torch to the pile, first invoking the aid of Boreas and Zephyrus, that
it might consume quickly. As the flames rose, the procession walked
slowly three times around the pile, moving toward the left hand. The
solemn dirge was resumed, and continued until the last flickering tongue
of fire was extinguished with wine. Then those who had borne the silver
urn in front of the hearse, approached. Pericles, with tender
reverence, gathered the whitened bones, sprinkled them with wine and
perfumes, placed them within the urn, and covered it with a purple pall,
inwrought with gold; which Philothea's prophetic love had prepared for
The procession again moved forward, with torches turned downward; and
the remains of Paralus were deposited in the Temple of Persephone, until
his friends returned to Athens.
In token of gratitude for kind attentions bestowed by the household of
Proclus, Pericles invited his family to visit the far-famed wonders of
the violet-crowned city; and the eager solicitations of young Pterilaüs
induced the father to accept this invitation for himself and son. As an
inhabitant of consecrated Elis, without wealth, and unknown to fame, it
was deemed that he might return in safety, even after hostilities were
renewed between the Peloponessian states. Eudora likewise obtained
permission to accompany her friend; and her sad farewell was cheered by
an indefinite hope that future times would restore her to that quiet
home. The virtuous Melissa parted from them with many blessings and
tears. Zoila was in an agony of childish sorrow; but she wiped her eyes
with the corner of her robe, and listened, well pleased, to Eudora's
parting promise of sending her a flock of marble sheep, with a painted
The women travelled together in a chariot, in front of which reposed the
silver urn, covered with its purple pall. Thus sadly did Philothea
return through the same scenes she had lately traversed with hopes,
which, in the light of memory, now seemed like positive enjoyment.
Pericles indeed treated her with truly parental tenderness; and no
soothing attention, that respect or affection could suggest, was omitted
by her friends. But he, of whose mysterious existence her own seemed a
necessary portion, had gone to return no more; and had it not been for
the presence of Eudora, she would have felt that every bond of sympathy
with this world of forms had ceased forever.
At Corinth, the travellers again turned aside to the Fountain of
Poseidon, that the curiosity of Pterilaüs might be satisfied with a view
of the statues by which it was surrounded.
"When we are in Athens, I will show you something more beautiful than
these," said Pericles. "You shall see the Pallas Athenæ, carved by
"Men say it is not so grand as the statue of Zeus, that we have at
Olympia," replied the boy.
"Had you rather witness the sports of the gymnasia than the works of
artists?" inquired Plato.
The youth answered very promptly, "Ah, no indeed. I would rather gain
one prize from the Choragus, than ten from the Gymnasiarch. Anniceris,
the Cyrenæan, proudly displayed his skill in chariot-driving, by riding
several times around the Academia, each time preserving the exact orbit
of his wheels. The spectators applauded loudly; but Plato said, 'He who
has bestowed such diligence to acquire trifling and useless things, must
have neglected those that are truly admirable.' Of all sights in
Athens, I most wish to see the philosophers; and none so much as Plato."
The company smiled, and the philosopher answered, "I am Plato."
"You told us that your name was Aristocles," returned Pterilaüs; "and we
always called you so. Once I heard that Athenian lady call you Plato;
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