« السابقةمتابعة »
circular lamp of gold against the deep blue sky, while the pale stars faintly sparkled round her.
Beneath the long shadows of the trees were cast on the spacious lawns, and beyond, the moonbeams played in lines of light on a small lake. The breeze of night gently waved the boughs, and whispered soft music, and notes of peace, to every folded flower, as it passed on its light wings, amid the rustling leaves.
Gerosia was soothed and refreshed by the sweet scene, and the cool air; but even as she hearkened to the delicious sounds of falling waters and trembling leaves, a voice of surpassing melody breathed her name, and when she turned, the maiden beheld beside her, the wondrous stranger, more lovely than ever; her crown of snow.drops sparkling yet more brightly in the moonlight. Awe and surprise held Gerosia in silence, as she gazed on the calm beautiful features of the lady, lighted by the beaming look of love.
“You are wearied,” said the same sweet voice; “else why have you, so admired, so gay, forsaken the dance ?"
“Because," replied Gerosia, “all are grown weary of it, and I find no more the same pleasure as at first. The admiration all united to give me is soon transferred, and I feel how quickly all the beauty which won it, may also pass away.”
She sighed and looked as though she fain would say more, but her companion rejoined; “You would wish to possess a charm which should ensure perpetual power
to beauty, and command a love more lasting than now you know of; one which should triumph over weariness, and exert its power when the splendours of festivals cease. I am come to teach it
all acknowledge its power, but only a favoured few attain to its possession."
“ You have it indeed,” exclaimed the maiden, “and I might have said the wondrous spell lies in those sparkling flowers, did not a yet more brilliant light shine in your eyes, and beam over your whole countenance.”
“Those flowers,” replied her lovely companion, are indeed gifted with mystic light; but you shall now behold with me, a scene which will fill you with delight and
wonder, by which you also may be taught to shine with enduring splendour.”
Gerosia felt herself gently wafted through the air, over the spacious gardens of the Palace, till she with her guide, came to the borders of a lake, clear as crystal. The deep blue of the star-lit sky was reflected in it, and the moonbeams played on its surface, mingling streams of gold with its azure hue.
I have brought you to this mirror," said the stranger “ for here will be made plain to you, what without its aid your eyes are too dim to behold. Look into the lake, and watch well the scene it displays."
Gerosia gazed intently, and gradually its wonders were -unfolded to her astonished eye; and she stood silent with delight and admiration. The lake seemed a crystal globe, within which was inclosed a vast garden of varied form, filled with flowers from every part of the world. It might have been a reflection of Eden's garden, so rich, so varied, and so beautiful were its productions, appearing as if conscious of the enjoyment of their growth, and their united beauty. Ere the young maiden could express her surprise and delight, her mind was attracted by the display of new wonders. As her eye became accustomed to the scene, and she could look more deeply into it, she perceived that each flower was a living lamp enshrining a star, whose pure rays shone through its delicate and transparent petals with exquisite brilliancy. No imagination could conceive the exceeding splendour of this garden, as it became visible to the awe-struck Gerosia; she thought the gems of night so lately sparkling over her head, had each chosen a flower as its temple, and left for a time its place in the blue vault of heaven, to shine with yet lovelier radiance on earth. And the flowers, beautiful as they had always appeared to her, and well as she had loved them, whether bright with the early dew, they opened at the gentle call of the summer breeze, to smile up to the returning sun, or meekly bowed their heads beneath the shades of night, now were fraught with such brilliancy, and displayed by the light within such surpassing beauty, as no words could tell.
Gerosia’s eye rested now on one flower, now on
another, and was almost dazzled by the rays streaming from each. The rose, each leaf glowing with crimson, as the beams of the inward light shone through, seemed still the queen, yet even her gorgeous hues could not surpass a flower that stood near her, on its tall slight stem, and through whose pure petals the star almost seemed visible, wbile the cup in its radiance looked as if of snow, when the sun first shines on it, and its radiance is too overpowering for the sight.
The orange blossom, the myrtle, and many other lovely flowers were so bright, that Gerosia turned her eye to the lowlier forms beneath ; it gladly rested on the fair green leaf of the forget-me-not, whose flowers of the azure hue of heaven, seemed frosted with diamonds, and the depth of its cup, like the golden clouds round the setting sun. It were vain to attempt description of the beauties which met the maiden's eye wherever she turned; the lowliest blossoms, the most common forms and colours, lighted with the mystic ray, seemed far too rich for earth. The simple daisy trodden under foot continually, revealed here the deep wonder of its form; and each one of the almost invisible flowers, which unite within the circle of its ray-like petals, shone with its own star. "But most exquisite were those flowers, whose rich odour rose like a cloud of incense upwards from the beautiful censer of their glowing cups. After long gazing on the wondrous garden, in silent awful delight, Gerosia turned to ask her guide the secret of what she beheld.
“ This garden," answered her companion, “is an emblem of the region in which you, fair maiden, and your companions dwell, and of which you are the flowers. All the deep mystery which it enshrines, I may not tell you, but much of it you are now permitted to behold."
“What then," asked Gerosia, “is that light burning in each flower, as in a lamp ; and whence comes it ?”
“ That pure beam," replied the stranger,“ is no natural part of these plants; they have caught the ray from the fountain of light, in the far deeps of heaven, and cherish it in their bosoms as their chiefest ornament. See how they look upwards, as if eager to drink in each beam
from above, and mark how that light gives richness and brilliancy to the commonest hue, while it enhances the beauty of the loveliest. Every flower may imbibe that living ray if it will; it shines not more freely on the rose and tulip in their cultured bed, than on the pale soldanella, as it springs beside a glacier, or the water. lily floating on the silent river. And the united light of all, how fair a radiance does it shed over the garden, as each in its own place gives forth the brightness shrined within, and offers the incense of its own fragrance. Varied as they are in form and colour, and some appearing more beautiful and rich in odours than others, all blend together in one harmonious splendour, one offering of sweets."
“ I see most of the flowers lift up their heads, as in loving eagerness to the sky,” said Gerosia, “and the light pours down on them its full flood of brightness; but can it reach those blossoms which are so shrouded within their dark green leaves ?”
She pointed to a bed of lilies-of-the-valley, whose heads meekly bowed in the shade, were scarcely visible.
Those," said the lady, “ are among the most precious flowers of the garden ; their leaves do but hide them from the common gaze; not from the all penetrating light; and such is their exquisite purity, that not one ray
is lost. Look well, you will see them shining even through their veiling leaves, and their fragrance exceeds almost every other flower."
Long in silence, the young maiden continued to gaze on the unbounded luxuriance and variety of the garden, in which she discovered perpetual wonders, and fresh beauties. Suddenly, the peaceful beauty of the scene was changed; a wild storm rushed down, and swept over it. Gerosia turned to question her guide, but a sign from her, bade her observe in silence; and wondering, she watched the effect of this tempest. The flowers were beaten by the wind, and many of them bowed their heads to the earth, but though dark clouds passed over the garden, its radiance was not lessened. She saw the stars in many a flower shine with more dazzling brightness than they had ever done before; the light which might be said to blaze, in the transparent whiteness of the lily, and the rich crimson of the rose, was flashed back from the meek violet and daisy, and as the blossoms were agitated by the tempest, lambent lightning seemed to play over the garden from the cups of the flowers.
Gerosia's eye was attracted by a spot of more than usual brilliancy-it was the lowly bed of the lilies-of-thevalley, whose leaves blown rudely by the wind, displayed the innumerable lamps, brighter than polished diamonds, of the snow-white transparent bells, whose perfume richer than ever, was diffused over the whole garden.
But while many a flower, even of those whose tender stems were beaten down, displayed the most vivid light, there were others which had wholly lost theirs, and were dull in colour, being deprived of all their lovely hues by the furious storm. After some time the wind died away, the sunshine beamed again, and the former peace was restored to the lately agitated garden. All was not however the same; the same equal radiance was no longer shed from every flower, and the unison of light and beauty was broken. Those flowers which had shone through the storm were now visibly increased in brightness and beauty, but in melancholy contrast there were many which had lost both, and stood dull, deformed, and even drooping
Gerosia's surprise as she surveyed the altered scene was great, and she besought her guide to tell her the mystery of the flowers which had lost their light.
“I marvel not at your question,” replied the stranger, “ for your eyes are too dim to discern the difference between the lights of the flowers, and to know that while some draw their rays from the sky, others are contented with false and borrowed brightness. The blossoms you now behold pale, and void of radiance, had not embraced the living rays, but caught the brilliancy of those near them, and reflected it, and so looked like the rest, while as you now behold the first storm could destroy all their beauty. They will remain till they wither away, without light, and must fall soon unregarded and blighted.”
“ The flowers that yet have their brilliant star, wither also," said Gerosia, and she pointed to a rose many of whose petals had fallen off, and lay beneath it.