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HERC. I still know naught. Thy teaching is not clear.
Adm. No other hearth of mortal shalt thou seek.
610 It stands apart : and let my stewards see That there be store of meats. Take care they close The mid-hall doors, I would not feasting friends Should hear our wailing, and be sad perforce.
Chor. What dost thou? bast thou heart to welcome guests When sorrow clings thee? art thou mad, my liege?
Adm. How! bad I closed my palace, and our walls
Chor. How didst conceal, I pray, thy present fate,
Adm. Had he but known the least of these my woes,
630 Know not the art to spurn, or frown on, guests.
CHORUS. Ye balls of one so far renowned
And deigned a serf to be:
Was fain near you to feed
O'er sloping hills to lead
And piping shepherd's strain;
Nor gentler mood disdain.
Thy forest, Othrys, saw the troop
Of savage lions roam,
Far from their silvan home.
The dappled fawn would sport,
And seek the glad resort;
Hence doth the God bestow
O lake of Beebe, flow.
And therefore the Molossian clime
A limit sets and bound,
Sol's thirsting steeds are found,
The tillage of his fields,
Its grassy produce yields.
And e'en the portless shore,
They frown so darkly o’er.
His flowing tresses spread the ground:
Close to the spot where he was laid :
In those strange old times, when fantastic dreams and madmen's reveries were realized among the actual circumstances of life, two persons met together at an appointed hour and place. One was a lady, graceful in form and fair of feature, though pale and troubled, and smitten with an untimely blight in what should have been the fullest bloom of her years : the other was an ancient and meanly dressed woman, of ill-favored aspect, and so withered, shrunken and decrepit, that even the space since she began to decay must have exceeded the ordinary term
of human existence. In the spot where they encountered, no mortal could observe them. Three little hills stood near each other, and down in the midst of them sunk a hollow basin, almost mathematically circular, two or three hundred feet in breadth, and of such depth that a stately cedar might but just be visible above the sides. Dwarf pines were numerous upon the hills, and partly fringed the outer verge of the intermediate hollow; within which there was nothing but the brown grass of October, and here and there a tree-trunk, that had fallen long ago, and lay mouldering with no green successor from its roots. One of these masses of decaying wood, formerly a majestic oak, rested close beside a pool of green and sluggish water at the bottom of the basin. Such scenes as this ( so gray tradition tells ) were once the resort of a Power of Evil and his plighted subjects; and here, at midnight or on the dim verge of evening, they were said to stand round the mantling pool, disturbing its putrid waters in the performance of an impious baptismal rite. The chill beauty of an autumnal sunset was now gilding the three hilltops, whence a paler tint stole down their sides into the hollow.
“Here is our pleasant meeting come to pass,” said the aged crone, “ according as thou hast desired. Say quickly what thou would'st have of me, for there is but a short hour that we may tarry here.
As the old withered woman spoke, a smile glimmered on her countenance, lıke lamplight on the wall of a sepulchre. The lady trembled, and cast her eyes upward to the verge of the basin, as if meditating to return with her purpose unaccomplished. But it was not so ordained.
“I am a stranger in this land, as you know," said she at length. “Whence I come it matters not; but I have left those behind me with whom my fate was intimately bound, and from whom I am cut off for ever. There is a weight in my bosom that I cannot away with, and I have come hither to inquire of their welfare."
5 And who is there by this green pool, that can bring thee news from the ends of the earth ?” cried the old woman, peering into the lady's face. “Not from my lips mayest thou hear these tidings; yet, be thou bold, and the daylight shall not pass away from yonder hill-top, before thy wish be granted.
“I will do your bidding, though I die,” replied the lady, desperately.
The old woman seated herself on the trunk of a fallen tree, threw aside the hood that shrouded her gray locks, and beckoned her companion to draw near.
“ Kneel down,” she said, “and lay your forehead on my knees."