Imágenes de páginas

not yet been seen, either in the crowd or with the judges; and Zeuxis gloried in the thought that his conscious inferiority had made him shrink from the trial. The branch of palm was placed in the Athenian's hand, and a virgin was about to place the crown of evergreen upon his head, when, from a small tent opposite the pavilion of the judges, stepped forth the “Ephesian boy,” pale and trembling, and, with a tablet in his hand, approached the multitude. Not a single voice greeted him, for he was unknown to that vast concourse, and the silence weighed like lead upon his heart. There was, however, one heart there that beat in sympathy with his own. It was that of Cassandra. She, too, stood pale and trembling; and by her side was Thearchus, watching with intense anxiety for the result. Parrhasius drew near to his rival. At first, he would not deign to notice him ; but a few faint voices crying out, “Victory for Parrhasius !” the judges demanded an exhibition of the picture of the Ephesian. Turning around, with ill-concealed rage, Zeuxis, with a bitter, scornful tone, cried out, “Come, away with your curtain, that we may see what goodly affair you have beneath it !” Parrhasius handed the tablet to his rival. Had a thunderbolt fallen at his feet, he could not have been more astounded. The curtain was painted upon the tablet, and so exquisitely was it wrought, that even the practised eye of the great painter did not till then detect the deception

[ocr errors]

guiled poor birds, but Parrhasius hath deceived Zeuxis Bring hither the laurel and the palm: my hand alone shall crown the victor l’” “And thy promise !” exclaimed Cassandra, bounding forward and grasping the hand of her father. “I here fulfil it,” said he ; “Parrhasius is indeed worthy of my Cassandra. Embrace and be happy!” The laurel and the palm were brought—and there, in the presence of assembled thousands, Zeuxis crowned the young Ephesian. Then, mounting a pedestal, he addressed the multitude. He recounted the love and constancy of Parrhasius and Cassandra, and told of his promise ; he also tenderly related his engagement with Thearchus. He was proceeding to vindicate himself from the imputation of treachery to Thearchus, when another deafening shout arose from the assembly, as a noble youth came from the pavilion with a branch of palm, and placed it in the hands of Cassandra. It was Thearchus. He had before heard, and now witnessed the devotion of the lovers, and his generous heart melted at the spectacle. He had tenderly loved the maiden, but he nobly resigned all. “Laurels for Thearchus !” shouted the multitude and he, too, was crowned victor, for he had conquered love. Matrons and virgins strewed the path of Parrhasius and Cassandra with flowers, as they returned to the city; and on the following day their nuptials were celebrated with a splendor fully adequate to the wishes of the ambitious Zeuxis, for the city made the marriage a high festival in honor of Genius and Constancy.

The games ended—the city became quiet. A few years of happiness cast their sunlight around the footsteps of the great painter, and he went down into the tomb honored and mourned by a nation—by the world, wherever his fame was known. His mantle fell upon Parrhasius, who is revered by Genius as the greatest painter of antiquity.

NEw York, June, 1846.

[ocr errors][merged small]

We are lonely, but not friendless,
For our father was of those
Whose pledge of faith is endless,
And whose love around us throws
Plenty, science, social feeling,
Guides the slippery feet of youth —
Those whose secrets we, revealing,
Learn are “Friendship, Love, and Truth.”

NEw York, July, 1846. F. J. O.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
« AnteriorContinuar »