Edward Bulwer-Lytton: The Last Days of Pompeii

2. Chapter II (continued)

'I will tell thee, then,' said Glaucus, passionately; 'she is like the sun that warms--like the wave that refreshes.'

'The sun sometimes scorches, and the wave sometimes drowns,' answered Nydia.

'Take then these roses,' said Glaucus; 'let their fragrance suggest to thee Ione.'

'Alas, the roses will fade!' said the Neapolitan, archly.

Thus conversing, they wore away the hours; the lovers, conscious only of the brightness and smiles of love; the blind girl feeling only its darkness--its tortures--the fierceness of jealousy and its woe!

And now, as they drifted on, Glaucus once more resumed the lyre, and woke its strings with a careless hand to a strain, so wildly and gladly beautiful, that even Nydia was aroused from her reverie, and uttered a cry of admiration.

'Thou seest, my child,' cried Glaucus, 'that I can yet redeem the character of love's music, and that I was wrong in saying happiness could not be gay. Listen, Nydia! listen, dear Ione! and hear:

             THE BIRTH OF LOVE


         Like a Star in the seas above,
             Like a Dream to the waves of sleep--
        Up--up--THE INCARNATE LOVE--
            She rose from the charmed deep!
          And over the Cyprian Isle
          The skies shed their silent smile;
          And the Forest's green heart was rife
          With the stir of the gushing life--
         The life that had leap'd to birth,
          In the veins of the happy earth!
                Hail! oh, hail!
          The dimmest sea-cave below thee,
             The farthest sky-arch above,
          In their innermost stillness know thee:
             And heave with the Birth of Love!
                Gale! soft Gale!
          Thou comest on thy silver winglets,
             From thy home in the tender west,
          Now fanning her golden ringlets,
             Now hush'd on her heaving breast.
          And afar on the murmuring sand,
          The Seasons wait hand in hand
          To welcome thee, Birth Divine,
          To the earth which is henceforth thine.


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