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Child, Lydia Maria Francis, 1802-1880 [1836], Philothea (Otis, Broaders & Co., Boston) [word count] [eaf046].
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One day, the muses twined the hands
Of infant love with flowery bands,
And gave the smiling captive boy
To be Celestial Beauty's joy.

[figure description] Page 169.[end figure description]

While Philothea remained at Lampsacus, awaiting
the arrival of the galley, news came that Chrysippus,
with a company of horsemen, had been to her former
residence, under the pretext of paying funeral rites
to his deceased relative. At the same time, several
robes, mantles, and veils, were brought from Heliordora
at Ephesus, with the request that they, as well as
the silver tripod, should be considered, not as a dowry,
but as gifts to be disposed of as she pleased. The
priestess mentioned feeble health as a reason for not
coming in person to bid the orphan farewell; and
promised that sacrifices and prayers for her happiness
should be duly offered at the shrine of radiant Phœbus.

Philothea smiled to remember how long she had
lived in Ionia without attracting the notice of her
princely relatives, until her name became connected
with the illustrious house of Pericles; but she meekly
returned thanks and friendly wishes, together with the
writings of Simonides, beautifully copied by her own

The day of departure at length arrived. All along
the shore might be seen smoke rising from the altars
of Poseidon, Æolus, Castor, and Polydeuces and the

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sea-green Sisters of the Deep. To the usual danger of
winds and storms was added the fear of encountering
hostile fleets; and every power that presided over the
destinies of sailors was invoked by the anxious mariners.
But their course seemed more like an excursion
in a pleasure barge, than a voyage on the ocean.
They rowed along beneath a calm and sunny sky,
keeping close to the verdant shores, where, ever and
anon, temples, altars, and statues, peeped forth amid
groves of cypress and cedar; under the shadow of
which many a festive train hailed the soft approach of
spring with pipe, and song, and choral dance.

The tenth day saw the good ship Halcyone safely
moored in the harbor of Phalerum, chosen in preference
to the more crowded and diseased port of the
Piræus. The galley having been perceived at a distance,
Pericles and Clinias were waiting, with chariots,
in readiness to convey Philothea and her attendants.
The first inquiries of Pericles were concerning the
health of Anaxagoras; and he seemed deeply affected,
when informed that he would behold his face no more
Philothea's heart was touched by the tender solemnity
of his manner when he bade her welcome to Athens.
Plato anticipated the anxious question that trembled
on her tongue; and a brief answer indicated that no
important change had taken place in Paralus. Clinias
kindly urged the claims of himself and wife to be considered
the parents of the orphan; and they all accompanied
her to his house, attended by boys burning
incense, as a protection against the pestilential atmosphere
of the marshy grounds.

When they alighted, Philothea timidly, but ear
nestly, asked to see Paralus without delay. Their
long-cherished affection, the full communion of soul

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they had enjoyed together, and the peculiar visitation
which now rested on him, all combined to make her
forgetful of ceremony.

Pericles went to seek his son, and found him reclining
on the couch where he had left him. The invalid
seemed to be in a state of deep abstraction, and offered
no resistance as they led him to the chariot. When
they entered the house of Clinias, he looked around
with a painful expression of weariness, until they tenderly
placed him on a couch. He was evidently disturbed
by the presence of those about him, but unmindful
of any familiar faces, until Philothea suddenly
knelt by his side, and throwing back her veil, said,
“Paralus! dear Paralus! Do you not know me?”
Then his whole face kindled with an expression of joy,
so intense that Pericles for a moment thought the
faculties of his soul were completely restored.

But the first words he uttered showed a total unconsciousness
of past events. “Oh, Philothea!” he exclaimed,
“I have not heard your voice since last
night, when you came to me and sung that beautiful
welcome to the swallows, which all the little children
like so well.”

On the preceding evening, Philothea, being urged
by her maidens to sing, had actually warbled that
little song; thinking all the while of the days of childhood,
when she and Paralus used to sing it, to please
their young companions. When she heard this mysterious
allusion to the music, she looked at Plato with
an expression of surprise; while Mibra and the other
attendants seemed afraid in the presence of one thus
visited by the gods.

With looks full of beaming affection, the invalid
continued: “And now, Philothea, we will again walk

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to that pleasant place, where we went when you finished
the song.”

In low and soothing tones, the maiden inquired,
“Where did we go, Paralus?”

“Have you forgotten?” he replied. “We went
hand in hand up a high mountain. A path wound
round it in spiral flexures, ever ascending, and communicating
with all above and all below. A stream
of water, pure as crystal, flowed along the path, from
the summit to the base. Where we stood to rest
awhile, the skies were of transparent blue; but higher
up, the light was purple, and the trees full of doves.
We saw little children leading lambs to drink at the
stream, and they raised their voices in glad shouts to
see the bright waters go glancing and glittering down
the sides of the mountain.”

He remained silent and motionless for several minutes;
and then continued: “But this path is dreary.
I do not like this wide marsh, and these ruined temples.
Who spoke then and told me it was Athens?
But now I see the groves of Academus. There is a
green meadow in the midst, on which rests a broad
belt of sunshine. Above it, are floating little children
with wings; and they throw down garlands to little children
without wings, who are looking upward with joyful
faces. Oh, how beautiful they are! Come, Philothea,
let us join them.”

The philosopher smiled, and inwardly hailed the
words as an omen auspicious to his doctrines. All
who listened were deeply impressed by language so

The silence remained unbroken, until Paralus asked
for music. A cithara being brought, Philothea played
one of his favorite songs, accompanied by her voice.

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The well-remembered sounds seemed to fill him with
joy beyond his power to express; and again his anxious
parent cherished the hope that reason would be
fully restored.

He put his hand affectionately on Philothea's head,
as he said, “Your presence evidently has a blessed
influence; but oh, my daughter, what a sacrifice you
are making—young and beautiful as you are!”

“Nay, Pericles,” she replied, “I deem it a privilege
once more to hear the sound of his voice; though
it speaks a strange, unearthly language.”

When they attempted to lead the invalid from the
apartment, and Philothea, with a tremulous voice,
said, “Farewell, Paralus,”—an expression of intense
gloom came over his countenance, suddenly as a sunny
field is obscured by passing clouds. “Not farewell to
Eurydice!” he said: “It is sad music—sad music.”

The tender-hearted maiden was affected even to
tears, and found it hard to submit to a temporary
separation. But Pericles assured her that his son
would probably soon fall asleep, and awake without
any recollection of recent events. Before she retired
to her couch, a messenger was sent to inform her that
Paralus was in deep repose.

Clinias having removed from the unhealthy Piræum,
in search of purer atmosphere, Philothea found him
in the house once occupied by Phidias; and the hope
that scenes of past happiness might prove salutary to the
mind of Paralus, induced Pericles to prepare the former
dwelling of Anaxagoras for his bridal home. The
friends and relations of the invalid were extremely
desirous to have Philothea's soothing influence continually
exerted upon him; and the disinterested maiden
earnestly wished to devote every moment of her life to

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the restoration of his precious health. Under these
circumstances, it was deemed best that the marriage
should take place immediately.

The mother of Paralus had died; and Aspasia, with
cautious delicacy, declined being present at the ceremony,
under the pretext of ill health; but Phœnarete,
the wife of Clinias, gladly consented to act as mother of
the orphan bride.

Propitiatory sacrifices were duly offered to Artemis,
Hera, Pallas, Aphrodite, the Fates, and the Graces.
On the appointed day, Philothea appeared in bridal
garments, prepared by Phœnarate. The robe of fine
Milesian texture, was saffron-colored, with a purple
edge. Over this, was a short tunic of brilliant crimson,
confined at the waist by an embroidered zone, fastened
with a broad clasp of gold. Glossy braids of hair
were intertwined with the folds of her rose-colored
veil; and both bride and bridegroom were crowned
with garlands of roses and myrtle. The chariot, in
which they were seated, was followed by musicians,
and a long train of friends and relatives. Arrived at
the temple of Hera, the priest presented a branch
which they held between them as a symbol of the ties
about to unite them. Victims were sacrificed, and the
omens declared not unpropitious. When the gall had
been cast behind the altar, Clinias placed Philothea's
hand within the hand of Paralus; the bride dedicated
a ringlet of her hair to Hera; the customary vows
were pronounced by the priest; and the young couple
were presented with golden cups of wine, from which
they poured libations. The invalid was apparently
happy; but so unconscious of the scene he was acting,
that his father was obliged to raise his hand and pour
forth the wine.

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The ceremonies being finished, the priest reminded
Philothea that when a good wife died, Persephone
formed a procession of the best women to scatter
flowers in her path, and lead her spirit to Elysium.
As he spoke, two doves alighted on the altar; but one
immediately rose, and floated above the other, with a
tender cooing sound. Its mate looked upward for a
moment; and then both of them rose high in the air,
and disappeared. The spectators hailed this as an
auspicious omen; but Philothea pondered it in her
heart, and thought she perceived a deeper meaning
than was visible to them.

As the company returned; with the joyful sound of
music, many a friendly hand threw garlands from the
housetops, and many voices pronounced a blessing.

In consideration of the health of Paralus, the customary
evening procession was dispensed with. An
abundant feast was prepared at the house of Clinias.
The gentle and serious bride joined with her female
friends in the apartments of the women; but no bridegroom
appeared at the banquet of the men.

As the guests seated themselves at table, a boy came
in covered with thorn-boughs and acorns, bearing a
golden basket filled with bread, and singing, “I have
left the worse and found the better.” As he passed
through the rooms, musicians began to play on various
instruments, and troops of young dancers moved in
airy circles to the sound.

At an early hour, Philothea went to the apartment
prepared for her in the home of her childhood. Phœ
narete preceded her with a lighted torch, and her
female attendants followed, accompanied by young
Pericles, bearing on his head a vase of water from the
Fountain of Callirhöe, with which custom required

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that the bride's feet should be bathed. Music was
heard until a late hour, and epithalamia were again
resumed with the morning light.

The next day, a procession of women brought the
bridal gifts of friends and relatives, preceded by a boy
clothed in white, carrying a torch in one hand, and a
basket of flowers in the other. Philothea, desirous to
please the father of her husband, had particularly requested
that this office might be performed by the
youthful Pericles—a beautiful boy, the only son of
Aspasia. The gifts were numerous; consisting of
embroidered sandals, perfume boxes of ivory inlaid
with gold, and various other articles, for use or ornament.
Pericles sent a small ivory statue of Persephone
gathering flowers in the vale of Enna; and Aspasia a
clasp, representing the Naiades floating with the infant
Eros, bound in garlands. The figures were intaglio,
in a gem of transparent cerulean hue, and delicately
painted. When viewed from the opposite side, the
effect was extremely beautiful; for the graceful nymphs
seemed actually moving in their native element. Alcibiades
presented a Sidonian veil, of roseate hue and
glossy texture. Phœnarete bestowed a ring, on which
was carved a dancing Caryatides; and Plato a cameo
clasp, representing the infant Eros crowning a lamb
with a garland of lilies.

On the third day, custom allowed every relative to
see the bride with her face unveiled; and the fame of
her surpassing beauty induced the remotest connections
of the family to avail themselves of the privilege.
Philothea meekly complied with these troublesome
requisitions; but her heart was weary for quiet hours,
that she might hold free communion with Paralus, in
that beautiful spirit-land, where his soul was wandering
before its time.

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Music, and the sound of Philothea's voice seemed
the only links that connected him with a world of
shadows; but his visions were so blissful, and his
repose so full of peace, that restless and ambitious men
might well have envied a state thus singularly combining
the innocence of childhood with the rich imagination
of maturer years.

Many weeks passed away in bright tranquillity; and
the watchful wife thought she at times perceived faint
indications of returning health. Geta and Mibra, in
compliance with their own urgent entreaties, were her
constant assistants in nursing the invalid; and more
than once she imagined that he looked at them with an
earnest expression, as if his soul were returning to the
recollections of former years.

Spring ripened into summer. The olive-garlands
twined with wool, suspended on the doors during the
festival of Thargelia, had withered and fallen; and all
men talked of the approaching commemoration of the
Olympic games.

Hippocrates had been informed that Tithonus, the
Ethiopian, possessed the singular power of leading the
soul from the body, and again restoring it to its functions,
by means of a soul-directing wand; and the idea
arose in his mind, that this process might produce a
salutary effect on Paralus.

The hopes of the anxious father were easily kindled;
and he at once became desirous that his son should be
conveyed to Olympia; for it was reported that Tithonus
would be present at the games.

Philothea sighed deeply, as she listened to the proposition;
for she had faith only in the healing power of
perfect quiet, and the free communion of congenial
souls. She yielded to the opinion of Pericles with

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characteristic humility; but the despondency of her
tones did not pass unobserved.

“It is partly for your sake that I wish it, my poor
child,” said he. “If it may be avoided, I will not see
the whole of your youth consumed in anxious watchings.”

The young wife looked up with a serene and bright
expression, as she replied, “Nay, my father, you have
never seen me anxious, or troubled. I have known
most perfect contentment since my union with your

Pericles answered affectionately, “I believe it, my
daughter; and I have marvelled at your cheerfulness.
Assuredly, with more than Helen's beauty, you have
inherited the magical Egyptian powder, whereby she
drove away all care and melancholy.”

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Child, Lydia Maria Francis, 1802-1880 [1836], Philothea (Otis, Broaders & Co., Boston) [word count] [eaf046].
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