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Child, Lydia Maria Francis, 1802-1880 [1836], Philothea (Otis, Broaders & Co., Boston) [word count] [eaf046].
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They in me breathed a voice
Divine; that I might know, with listening ears,
Things past and future; and enjoined me pruise
The race of blessed ones, that live for aye.

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Philothea to Philæmon, greeting:

The body of Anaxagoras has gone to the Place of
Sleep. If it were not so, his hand would have written
in reply to thy kind epistle. I was with him when he
died, but knew not the hour he departed, for he sunk
to rest like an infant.

We lived in peaceful poverty in Ionia; sometimes
straightened for the means whereby this poor existence
is preserved, but ever cheerful in spirit.

I drank daily from the ivory cup thou didst leave for
me, with thy farewell to Athens; and the last lines
traced by my grandfather's hand still remain on the
tablet thou didst give him. They are preserved for
thee, to be sent into Persia, if thou dost not return to
Greece, as I hope thou wilt.

I am now the wife of Paralus; and Pericles has
brought us into the neighborhood of Olympia, seeking
medical aid for my husband, not yet recovered from
the effects of the plague. Pure and blameless, Paralus
has ever been—with a mind richly endowed by the
gods; and all this thou well knowest. Yet he is as
one that dies while he lives; though not altogether as

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one unbeloved by divine beings. Wonderful are the
accounts he brings of that far-off world where his spirit
wanders. Sometimes I listen with fear, till all philosophy
seems dim, and I shrink from the mystery of our
being. When they do not disturb him with earthly
medicines, he is quiet and happy. Waking, he speaks
of things clothed in heavenly splendor; and in his
sleep, he smiles like a child whose dreams are pleasant.
I think this blessing comes from the Divine, by
reason of the innocence of his life.

We abide at the house of Proclus, a kind, truth-telling
man, whose wife, Melissa, is at once diligent
and quiet—a rare combination of goodly virtues.
These worthy people have been guardians of Eudora,
since the death of Phidias; and with much affection,
they speak of her gentleness, patience, and modest
retirement. Melissa told me Aspasia had urgently
invited her to Athens, but she refused, without even
asking the advice of her guardian. Thou knowest
her great gifts would have been worshipped by the
Athenians, and that Eudora herself could not be ignorant
of this.

Sometimes a stream is polluted in the fountain, and
its waters are tainted through all its wanderings; and
sometimes the traveller throws into a pure rivulet some
unclean thing, which floats awhile, and is then rejected
from its bosom. Eudora is the pure rivulet. A foreign
stain floated on the surface; but never mingled
with its waters.

Phidias wished her to marry his nephew; and Pand
ænus would fain have persuaded her to consent; but
they forebore to urge it, when they saw it gave her
pain. She is deeply thankful to her benefactor for
allowing her a degree of freedom so seldom granted
to Grecian maidens.

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The Eleans, proud of their magnificent statue of
Olympian Zeus, have paid extraordinary honors to the
memory of the great sculptor, and provided amply for
every member of his household. Eudora is industrious
from choice, and gives liberally to the poor; particularly
to orphans, who, like herself, have been brought
into bondage by the violence of wicked men, or the
chances of war. For some time past, she has felt all
alone in the world;—a condition that marvellously
helps to bring us into meekness and tenderness of
spirit. When she read what thou didst write of her
in thy epistle, she fell upon my neck and wept.

I return to thee the four minæ. He to whose necessities
thou wouldst have kindly administered, hath
gone where gold and silver availeth not. Many believe
that they who die sleep forever; but this they could
not, if they had listened to words I have heard from

Son of Chærilaüs, farewell. May blessings be
around thee, wheresoever thou goest, and no evil
shadow cross thy threshold.

Written in Elis, this thirteenth day of the increasing
moon, in the month Hecatombæon, and the close of
the eighty-seventh Olympiad.”

Without naming her intention to Eudora, Philothea
laid aside the scroll she had prepared, resolved to
place it in the hands of Pericles, to be entrusted to
the care of some Persian present at the games, which
were to commence on the morrow.

Before the hour of noon, Hylax gave notice of approaching
strangers, who proved to be Pericles and
Plato, attended by Tithonus. The young wife received
them courteously, though a sudden sensation of dread
ran through her veins with icy coldness. It was agreed

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that none but herself, Pericles, and Plato, should be
present with Tithonus; and that profound silence should
be observed. Preparation was made by offering solemn
sacrifices to Phœbus, Hermes, Hecate, and Persephone;
and Philothea inwardly prayed to that Divine
Principle, revealed to her only by the monitions of his
spirit in the stillness of her will.

Tithonus stood behind the invalid, and remained
perfectly quiet for many minutes. He then gently
touched the back part of his head with a small wand,
and leaning over him, whispered in his ear. An unpleasant
change immediately passed over the countenance
of Paralus; he endeavored to place his hand
on his head, and a cold shivering seized him. Philothea
shuddered, and Pericles grew pale, as they
watched these symptoms; but the silence remained
unbroken. A second and a third time the Ethiopian
touched him with his wand, and spoke in whispers.
The expression of pain deepened; insomuch that his
friends could not look upon his without anguish of
heart. Finally his limbs straightened, and became
perfectly rigid and motionless.

Tithonus, perceiving the terror he had excited, said
soothingly, “Oh, Athenians be not afraid. I have
never seen the soul withdrawn without a struggle with
the body. Believe me, it will return. The words I
whispered, were those I once heard from the lips of
Plato: `The human soul is guided by two horses. One
white, with a flowing mane, earnest eyes, and wings
like a swan, whereby he seeks to fly; but the other is
black, heavy and sleepy-eyed—ever prone to lie down
upon the earth.'

“The second time, I whispered, `Lo, the soul seeketh
to ascend!' And the third time I said, `Behold the

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winged separates from that which hath no wings.'
When life returns, Paralus will have remembrance of
these words.”

“Oh, restore him! Restore him!” exclaimed Philothea,
in tones of agonized entreaty.

Tithonus answered with respectful tenderness, and
again stood in profound silence several minutes, before
he raised the wand. At the first touch, a feeble
shivering gave indication of returning life. As it was
repeated a second and a third time, with a brief interval
between each movement, the countenance of the
sufferer grew more dark and troubled, until it became
fearful to look upon. But the heavy shadow gradually
passed away, and a dreamy smile returned, like a
gleam of sunshine after storms. The moment Philothea
perceived an expression familiar to her heart, she
knelt by the couch, seized the hand of Paralus, and
bathed it with her tears.

When the first gush of emotion had subsided, she
said, in a soft, low voice, “Where have you been,
dear Paralus?” The invalid answered: “A thick vapor
enveloped me, as with a dark cloud; and a stunning
noise pained my head with its violence. A voice
said to me, `The human soul is guided by two horses.
One white, with a flowing mane, earnest eyes, and
wings like a swan, whereby he seeks to fly; but the
other is black, heavy, and sleepy-eyed—ever prone
to lie down upon the earth.' Then the darkness began
to clear away. But there was strange confusion. All
things seemed rapidly to interchange their colors and
their forms—the sound of a storm was in mine ears—
the elements and the stars seemed to crowd upon me—
and my breath was taken away. Then I heard a
voice, saying, `Lo, the soul seeketh to ascend!' And

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I looked and saw the chariot and horses, of which the
voice had spoken. The beautiful white horse gazed
upward, and tossed his mane, and spread his wings
impatiently; but the black horse slept upon the ground.
The voice again said, `Behold the winged separates
from that which hath no wings!' And suddenly the
chariot ascended, and I saw the white horse on light
fleecy clouds, in a far blue sky. Then I heard a
pleasing, silent sound—as if dew-drops made music
as they fell. I breathed freely, and my form seemed
to expand itself with buoyant life. All at once, I was
floating in the air, above a quiet lake, where reposed
seven beautiful islands, full of the sound of harps; and
Philothea slept at my side, with a garland on her head.
I asked, `Is this the divine home, whence I departed
into the body?' And a voice above my head answered
`It is the divine home. Man never leaves it. He
ceases to perceive.' Afterward, I looked downward,
and saw my dead body lying on a couch. Then again
there came strange confusion—and a painful clashing
of sounds—and all things rushing together. But Philothea
took my hand, and spoke to me in gentle tones,
and the discord ceased.”

Plato had listened with intense interest. He stood
apart with Tithonus, and they spoke together in low
tones, for several minutes before they left the apartment.
The philosopher was too deeply impressed to
return to the festivities of Olympia. He hired an
apartment at the dwelling of a poor shepherd, and during
the following day remained in complete seclusion,
without partaking of food.

While Paralus revealed his vision, his father's soul
was filled with reverence and fear, and he breathed
with a continual consciousness of supernatural

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presence. When his feelings became somewhat composed,
he leaned over the couch, and spoke a few affectionate
words to his son; but the invalid turned away his head,
as if disturbed by the presence of a stranger. The
spirit of the strong man was moved, and he trembled
like a leaf shaken by the wind. Unable to endure this
disappointment of his excited hopes, he turned away
hastily, and sought to conceal his grief in solitude.

During the whole of the ensuing day, Paralus continued
in a deep sleep. This was followed by silent
cheerfulness, which, flowing as it did from a hidden
source, had something solemn and impressive in its
character. It was sad, yet pleasant, to see his look
of utter desolation whenever he lost sight of Philothea;
and the sudden gleam of joy that illumined his
whole face the moment she re-appeared.

The young wife sat by his side hour after hour with
patient love; often cheering him with her soft, rich
voice, or playing upon the lyre he had fashioned for
her in happier days. She found a sweet reward in
the assurance given by all his friends, that her presence
had a healing power they had elsewhere sought
in vain. She endeavored to pour balm into the
wounded heart of Pericles, and could she have seen
him willing to wait the event with perfect resignation,
her contentment would have been not unmingled with

She wept in secret when she heard him express a
wish to have Paralus carried to the games, to try the
effect of a sudden excitement; for there seemed to her
something of cruelty in thus disturbing the tranquillity
of one so gentle and so helpless. But the idea had
been suggested by a learned physician of Chios, and
Pericles seemed reluctant to return to Athens without

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trying this experiment also. Philothea found it more
difficult to consent to the required sacrifice, because
the laws of the country made it impossible to accompany
her beloved husband to Olympia; but she suppressed
her feelings; and the painfulness of the struggle
was never fully confessed, even to Eudora.

While the invalid slept, he was carefully conveyed
in a litter, and placed in the vicinity of the Hippodrome.
He awoke in the midst of a gorgeous spectacle.
Long lines of splendid chariots were ranged on
either side of the barrier; the horses proudly pawed
the ground, and neighed impatiently; the bright sun
glanced on glittering armor; and the shouts of the
charioteers were heard high above the busy hum of
that vast multitude.

Paralus instantly closed his eyes, as if dazzled by
the glare; and an expression of painful bewilderment
rested on his countenance.

In the midst of the barrier stood an altar, on the top
which was a brazen eagle. When the lists were in
readiness, the majestic bird arose and spread its
wings, with a whirring noise, as a signal for the
racers to begin. Then was heard the clattering of
hoofs, and the rushing of wheels, as when armies meet
in battle. A young Messenian was, for a time, foremost
in the race; but his horse took fright at the altar
of Taraxippus—his chariot was overthrown—and Alcibiades
gained the prize. The vanquished youth uttered
a loud and piercing shriek, as the horses passed
over him; and Paralus fell senseless in his father's

It was never known whether this effect was produced
by the presence of a multitude, by shrill and discordant
sounds, or by returning recollection, too

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powerful for his enfeebled frame. He was tenderly carried
from the crowd, and restoratives having been applied,
in vain, the melancholy burden was slowly and carefully
conveyed to her who so anxiously awaited his

During his absence, Philothea had earnestly prayed
for the preservation of a life so precious to her; and
as the time of return drew near, she walked in the
fields, accompanied by Eudora and Mibra, eager to
catch the first glimpse of his father's chariot.

She read sad tidings in the gloomy countenance of
Pericles, before she beheld the lifeless form of her

Cautiously and tenderly as the truth was revealed
to her, she became dizzy and pale, with the suddenness
of the shock. Pericles endeavored to soothe her with
all the sympathy of parental love, mingled with deep
feelings of contrition, that his restless anxiety had thus
brought ruin into her paradise of peace: and Plato
spoke gentle words of consolation; reminding her
that every soul, which philosophized sincerely and
loved beautiful forms, was restored to the full vigor of
its wings, and soared to the blest condition from which
it fell.

They laid Paralus upon a couch, with the belief that
he slept to wake no more. But as Philothea bent over
him, she perceived a faint pulsation of the heart.
Her pale features were flushed with joy, as she exclaimed,
“He lives! He will speak to me again!
Oh, I could die in peace, if I might once more hear
his voice, as I heard it in former years.”

She bathed his head with cool perfumed waters, and
watched him with love that knew no weariness.

Proclus and Melissa deemed he had fallen by the

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dart of Phœbus Apollo; and fearing the god was angry
for some unknown cause, they suspended branches
of rhamn and laurel on the doors, to keep off evil

For three days and three nights, Paralus remained
in complete oblivion. On the morning of the fourth, a
pleasant change was observed in his countenance; and
he sometimes smiled so sweetly, and so rationally, that
his friends still dared to hope his health might be fully

At noon, he awoke; and looking at his wife with an
expression full of tenderness, said: “Dearest Philothea,
you are with me. I saw you no more, after the
gate had closed. I believe it must have been a dream;
but it was very distinct.” He glanced around the
room, as if his recollections were confused; but his
eyes no longer retained the fixed and awful expression
of one who walks in his sleep.

Speaking slowly and thoughtfully, he continued:
“It could not be a dream. I was in the temple of the
most ancient god. The roof was heaven's pure gold,
which seemed to have a light within it, like the splendor
of the sun. All around the temple were gardens
full of bloom. I heard soft, murmuring sounds, like
the cooing of doves; and I saw the immortal Oreades
and the Naiades pouring water from golden urns.
Anaxagoras stood beside me; and he said we were
living in the age of innocence, when mortals could
gaze on divine beings unveiled, and yet preserve their
reason. They spoke another language than the Greeks;
but we had no need to learn it; we seemed to breathe
it in the air. The Oreades had music written on
scrolls, in all the colors of the rainbow. When I
asked the meaning of this, they showed me a triangle.

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At the top was crimson, at the right hand blue, and at
the left hand yellow. And they said, `Know ye not
that all life is threefold?' It was a dark saying; but
I then thought I faintly comprehended what Pythagoras
has written concerning the mysterious signification of
One and Three. Many other things I saw and heard,
but was forbidden to relate. The gate of the temple
was an arch, supported by two figures with heavy drapery,
eyes closed, and arms folded. They told me
these were Sleep and Death. Over the gate was written
in large letters, `The Entrance of Mortals.' Beyond
it, I saw you standing with outstretched arms, as
if you sought to come to me, but could not. The air
was filled with voices, that sung:

Come! join thy kindred spirit, come!
Hail to the mystic two in one!
When Sleep hath passed, thy dreams remain—
What he hath brought, Death brings again.
Come hither, kindred spirits, come!
Hail to the mystic two in one!

I tried to meet you; but as I passed through the
gate, a cold air blew upon me, and all beyond was in
the glimmering darkness of twilight. I would have
returned, but the gate had closed; and I heard behind
me the sound of harps and of voices, singing:

Come hither, kindred spirits, come!
Hail to the mystic two in one!”

Philothea kissed his hand, and her face beamed with
joy. She had earnestly desired some promise of their
future union; and now she felt the prayer was answered.

“Could it be a dream?” said Paralus: “Methinks I
hear the music now.”

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Philothea smiled affectionately, as she replied:
“When sleep hath passed, thy dreams remain.”

As she gazed upon him, she observed that the supernatural
expression of his eyes had changed; and
that his countenance now wore its familiar, household
smile. Still she feared to cherish the hope springing in
her heart, until he looked toward the place where her
attendant sat, motionless and silent, and said, “Mibra,
will you bring me the lyre?”

The affectionate peasant looked earnestly at Philothea,
and wept as she placed it in his hand.

Making an effort to rise, he seemed surprised at his
own weakness. They gently raised him, bolstered him
with pillows, and told him he had long been ill.

“I have not known it,” he replied. “It seems to
me I have returned from a far country.”

He touched the lyre, and easily recalled the tune
which he said he had learned in the Land of Dreams.
It was a wild, unearthly strain, with sounds of solemn
gladness, that deeply affected Philothea's soul.

Pericles had not visited his son since his return to
perfect consciousness. When he came, Paralus looked
upon him with a smile of recognition, and said, “My

Mibra had been sent to call the heart-stricken parent,
and prepare him for some favorable change; but when
he heard those welcome words, he dropped suddenly
upon his knees, buried his face in the drapery of the
couch, and his whole frame shook with emotion.

The invalid continued: “They tell me I have been
very ill, dear father; but it appears to me that I have
only travelled. I have seen Anaxagoras often—Plato
sometimes—and Philothea almost constantly; but I
have never seen you since I thought you were dying
of the plague at Athens,”

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Pericles replied, “You have indeed been ill, my son.
You are to me as the dead restored to life. But you
must be quiet now, and seek repose.”

For some time after the interview with his father,
Paralus remain ed very wakeful. His eyes sparkled,
and a feverish flush was on his cheek. Philothea took
her cithara, and played his favorite tunes. This seemed
to tranquillize him; and as the music grew more slow
and plaintive, he became drowsy, and at length sunk
into a gentle slumber.

After more than two hours of deep repose he was
awakened by the merry shouts of little Zoila, who had
run out to meet Plato, as he came from Olympia. Philothea
feared, lest the shrill noise had given him pain;
but he smiled, and said, “The voice of childhood is

He expressed a wish to see his favorite philosopher;
and their kindred souls held long and sweet communion
together. When Plato retired from the couch, he said
to Philothea, “I have learned more from this dear
wanderer, than philosophers or poets have ever written.
I am confirmed in my belief that no impelling
truth is ever learned in this world; but that all is received
directly from the Divine Ideal, flowing into the
soul of man when his reason is obedient and still.”

A basket of grapes, tastefully ornamented with flowers,
was presented to the invalied; and in answer to his
inquiries, he was informed that they were prepared by
Eudora. He immediately desired that she might be
called; and when she came, he received her with the
most cordial affection. He alluded to past events with
great clearness of memory, and asked his father several
questions concerning the condition of Athens. When

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Philothea arranged his pillows, and bathed his head,
he pressed her hand affectionately, and said, “It almost
seems as if you were my wife.”

Pericles, deeply affected, replied, “My dear son,
she is your wife. She forgot all my pride, and consented
to marry you, that she might become your nurse,
when we all feared that you would be restored to us no

Paralus looked up with a bright expression of
gratitude, and said, “I thank you, father. This was
very kind. Now you will be her father, when I am

Perceiving that Pericles and Eudora wept, he added:
“Do not mourn because I am soon to depart. Why
would ye detain my soul in this world? Its best pleasures
are like the shallow gardens of Adonis, fresh and
fair in the morning, and perishing at noon.”

He then repeated his last vision, and asked for the
lyre, that they might hear the music he had learned from
immortal voices.

There was melancholy beauty in the sight of one
so pale and thin, touching the lyre with an inspired
countenance, and thus revealing to mortal ears the
melodies of Heaven.

One by one his friends withdrew; being tenderly
solicitous that he should not become exhausted by interviews
prolonged beyond his strength. He was left
alone with Philothea; and many precious words were
spoken, that sunk deep into her heart, never to be forgotten.

But sleep departed from his eyes; and it soon became
evident that the soul, in returning to its union
with the body, brought with it a consciousness of

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corporeal suffering. This became more and more intense;
and though he uttered no complaint, he said to those
who asked him, that bodily pain seemed at times too
powerful for endurance.

Pericles had for several days remained under the
same roof, to watch the progress of recovery; but at
midnight, he was called to witness convulsive struggles,
that indicated approaching death.

During intervals of comparative ease, Paralus recognized
his afflicted parent, and conjured him to think
less of the fleeting honors of this world, which often
eluded the grasp, and were always worthless in the

He held Philothea's hand continually, and often
spoke to her in words of consolation. Immediately
after an acute spasm of pain had subsided, he asked to
be turned upon his right side, that he might see her
face more distinctly. As she leaned over him, he
smiled faintly, and imprinted a kiss upon her lips. He
remained tranquil, with his eyes fixed upon hers; and
a voice within impelled her to sing:

Come hither, kindred spirits, come!
Hail to the mystic two in one!

He looked upward, with a radiant expression, and
feebly pressed her hand. Not long after, his eyelids
closed, and sleep seemed to cover his features with her
heavy veil.

Suddenly his countenance shone with a strange and
impressive beauty. The soul had departed to return
to earth no more.

In all his troubles, Pericles had never shed a tear;
but now he rent the air with his groans, and sobbed,
like a mother bereft of her child.

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Philothea, though deeply bowed down in spirit,
was more composed: for she heard angelic voices

When Sleep hath passed, thy dreams remain—
What he hath brought, Death brings again.
Come hither, kindred spirits, come!
Hail to the mystic two in one!

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