Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub

But he what look of mastery was this
He cast on her? why were his lips so red?
Why was his face so flushed with happiness?
So looks not one who deems himself but dead,
E'en if to death he bows a willing head;
So rather looks a god well pleased to find
Some earthly damsel fashioned to his mind.

Why must she drop her lids before his gaze, And even as she casts adown her eyes Redden to note his eager glance of praise, And wish that she were clad in other guise? Why must the memory to her heart arise Of things unnoticed when they first were heard, Some lover's song, some answering maiden's word?

What makes these longings, vague, without a name,

And this vain pity never felt before,

This sudden languor, this contempt of fame,
This tender sorrow for the time past o'er,
These doubts that grow each minute more and more?
Why does she tremble as the time grows near,
And weak defeat and woful victory fear?

But while she seemed to hear her beating heart, Above their heads the trumpet blast rang out And forth they sprang; and she must play her part. Then flew her white feet, knowing not a doubt, Though slackening once, she turned her head about, But then she cried aloud and faster fled

Than e'er before, and all men deemed him dead.

But with no sound he raised aloft his hand, And thence what seemed a ray of light there flew And past the maid rolled on along the sand; Then trembling she her feet together drew And in her heart a strong desire there grew To have the toy; some god she thought had given That gift to her, to make of earth a heaven.

Then from the course with eager steps she ran, And in her odorous bosom laid in gold. But when she turned again, the great-limbed man Now well ahead she failed not to behold, And mindful of her glory waxing cold, Sprang up and followed him in hot pursuit, Though with one hand she touched the golden fruit.

Note too, the bow that she was wont to bear
She laid aside to grasp the glittering prize,
And o'er her shoulder from the quiver fair
Three arrows fell and lay before her eyes
Unnoticed, as amidst the people's cries
She sprang to head the strong Milanion,
Who now the turning-post had well-nigh won.

But as he set his mighty hand on it White fingers underneath his own were laid, And white limbs from his dazzled eyes did flit, Then he the second fruit cast by the maid, But she ran on awhile, then as afraid Wavered and stopped, and turned and made no stay, Until the globe with its bright fellow lay.

Then, as a troubled glance she cast around,
Now far ahead the Argive could she see,
And in her garment's hem one hand she wound
To keep the double prize, and strenuously
Sped o'er the course, and little doubt had she
To win the day, though now but scanty space
Was left betwixt him and the winning place.

Short was the way unto such winged feet,
Quickly she gained upon him till at last
He turned about her eager eyes to meet
And from his hand the third fair apple cast.
She wavered not, but turned and ran so fast
After the prize that should her bliss fulfill,
That in her hand it lay ere it was still.

Nor did she rest, but turned about to win Once more, an unblest woful victoryAnd yet and yet--why does her breath begin To fail her, and her feet drag heavily? Why fails she now to see if far or nigh The goal is? why do her gray eyes grow dim? Why do these tremors run through every limb?

She spreads her arms abroad some stay to find Else must she fall, indeed, and findeth this, A strong man's arms about her body twined, Nor inay she shudder now to fell his kiss, So wrapped she is in new unbroken bliss: Made happy that the foe the prize hath won, She weeps glad tears for all her glory done.

JOHN LOTHROP MOTLEY

66

JOHN LOTHROP MOTLEY, born in Dorchester, Mass., in 1814; died in 1877. He was graduated from Harvard, and then spent some time at German universities. He studied law, but soon forsook the practice of his profession for literature. He attempted fiction, and published "Morton's Hope" and Merry Mount," which are virtually unread now. His pen turned to history, and Motley's name has an enviable place among historians. His three great works, "The Rise of the Dutch Republic," "The History of the United Netherlands" and "The Life of John of Barneveld" stand as monuments of painstaking investigation and distinguished style.

ASSASSINATION

OF WILLIAM
ORANGE

66

OF

(From "Rise of the Dutch Republic ")

ΟΝ

N Tuesday, the 10th of July, 1584, at about halipast twelve, the Prince, with his wife on his arm, and followed by the ladies and gentlemen of his family, was going to the dining-room. William the Silent was dressed upon that day, according to his usual custom, in a very plain fashion. He wore a wide-leaved hat of dark felt, with a silken cord around the crown, such as had been worn by the "Beggars" in the early days of the revolt. A high ruff encircled his neck, from which also depended one of the Beggars' medals with the motto, "Fidèle jusqu'à la besace;" while a loose surcoat of gray frieze cloth, over a tawny leather doublet, with wideslashed underclothes, completed his costume, Gérard

presented himself at the doorway, and demanded a passport, which the Prince directed his secretary to make out for him. . . .

At two o'clock the company rose from the table. The Prince led the way, intending to pass to his private apartments above. The dining-room, which was on the ground floor, opened into a little square vestibule which communicated through an arched passage-way with the main entrance into the courtyard. The vestibule was also directly at the foot of the wooden staircase leading to the next floor, and was scarcely six feet in width. Upon its left side, as one approached the stairway, was an obscure arch sunk deep in the wall, and completely in shadow of the door. Behind this arch a portal opened to the narrow lane at the side of the house. The stairs themselves were completely lighted by a large window half way up the flight.

The Prince came from the dining-room and began leisurely to ascend. He had only reached the second stair when a man emerged from the sunken arch, and, standing within a foot or two of him, discharged a pistol full at his heart. Three balls entered his body, one of which, passing quite through him, struck with violence upon the wall beyond. The Prince exclaimed in French, as he felt the wound: "O my God, have mercy upon my soul! O my God, have mercy upon this poor people!" These were the last words he ever spake, save that when his sister immediately afterward asked him if he commended his soul to Jesus Christ, he faintly answered, "Yes." His master-of-horse had caught him in his arms as the fatal shot was fired. The Prince was then placed on the stairs for an instant, when he immediately began to swoon. He was afterward laid upon a couch in the dining-room, where in a few minutes he breathed his last in the arms of his wife and sister.

« ÎnapoiContinuați »