Welcome to PhiloLogic  
   home |  the ARTFL project |  download |  documentation |  sample databases |   
Child, Lydia Maria Francis, 1802-1880 [1836], Philothea (Otis, Broaders & Co., Boston) [word count] [eaf046].
To look up a word in a dictionary, select the word with your mouse and press 'd' on your keyboard.

Previous section


Next arose
A well-towered city, by seven golden gates
Inclosed, that fitted to their lintels hung.
Then burst forth
Aloud the marriage-song; and far and wide
Long splendors flashed from many a quivering torch.

[figure description] Page 257.[end figure description]

When the galley arrived at the opulent city of Tyre,
the noble Persian and his retinue joined a caravan of
Phœnician merchants bound to Ecbatana, honored at
that season of the year with the residence of the royal
family. Eudora travelled in a cedar carriage drawn
by camels. The latticed windows were richly gilded,
and hung with crimson curtains, which her father ordered
to be closed at the slightest indication of approaching
travellers. Dione, with six more youthful
attendants, accompanied her, and exerted all their
powers to make the time pass pleasantly; but all their
stories of romantic love, of heroes mortal and immortal—
combined with the charms of music, could not prevent
her from feeling that the journey was exceedingly
long and wearisome.

She recollected how her lively spirit had sometimes
rebelled against the restraints imposed on Grecian
women, and sighed to think of all she had heard concerning
the far more rigid customs of Persia. Expressions
of fatigue sometimes escaped her; and her indulgent
parent consented that she should ride in the

-- 258 --

[figure description] Page 258.[end figure description]

chariot with him, enveloped in a long, thick veil, that
descended to her feet, with two small openings of network
for the eyes.

As they passed through Persia, he pointed out to her
the sacred groves, inhabited by the Magi; the entrance
of the cave where Zoroaster penned his divine precepts;
and the mountain on whose summit he was
wont to hold midnight communication with the heavenly

Eudora remarked that she nowhere observed temples
or altars; objects to which her eye had always
been accustomed, and which imparted such a sacred
and peculiar beauty to Grecian scenery.

Artaphernes replied, “It is because these things
are contrary to the spirit of Persian theology. Zoroaster
taught us that the temple of Oromasdes was infinite
space—his altar, the air, the earth, and the

When the travellers arrived within sight of Ecbatana,
the setting sun poured upon the noble city a
flood of dazzling light. It was girdled by seven walls,
of seven different colors; one rising above the other,
in all the hues of the rainbow. From the centre of the
innermost, arose the light, graceful towers of the royal
palace, glittering with gold. The city was surrounded
by fertile, spacious plains, bounded on one side by
Mount Orontes and on the other by a stately forest,
amid whose lofty trees might here and there be seen
the magnificent villas of Persian nobles.

Eudora's heart beat violently, when her father
pointed to the residence of Megabyzus, and told her
that the gilded balls on its pinnacles could be discovered
from their own dwelling; but maiden shame prevented
her from inquiring whether Philæmon was still the instructer
of his sons.

-- 259 --

[figure description] Page 259.[end figure description]

The morning after his arrival, Artaphernes had a
private audience with his royal master. This conference
lasted so long that many of the courtiers supposed
his mission in Greece related to matters of more
political importance than the purchase of pictures and
statues; and this conjecture was afterward confirmed
by the favors lavished upon him.

It was soon known throughout the precincts of the
court that the favorite noble had returned from Athens,
bringing with him his long-lost daughter. The very
next day, as Eudora walked round the terraces of her
father's princely mansion, she saw the royal carriages
approach, followed by a long train of attendants, remarkable
for age and ugliness, and preceded by an
armed guard, calling aloud to all men to retire before
their presence, on pain of death. In obedience to
these commands, Artaphernes immediately withdrew
to his own apartment, closed the shutters, and there
remained till the royal retinue departed.

The visiters consisted of Amestris, the mother of
Artaxerxes; Arsinöe of Damascus, his favorite mistress;
and Parysatis, his daughter; with their innumerable
slaves. They examined Eudora with more
than childish curiosity—pulled every article of her
dress, to ascertain its color and its texture—teased to
see all her jewels—wanted to know the name of every
thing in Greek—requested her to sing Greek songs—
were impatient to learn Ionian dances—conjured
her to paint a black streak from the eyes to the ears—
and were particularly anxious to ascertain what cosmetic
the Grecian ladies used to stain the tips of their

When all these important matters were settled, by
means of an interpreter, they began to discuss the

-- 260 --

[figure description] Page 260.[end figure description]

merits of Grecian ladies; and loudly expressed their
horror at the idea of appearing before brothers unveiled,
and at the still grosser indelicacy of sometimes
allowing the face to be seen by a betrothed lover.
Then followed a repetition of all the gossip of the
harem; particularly, a fresh piece of scandal concerning
Apollonides of Cos, and their royal kinswoman,
Amytis, the wife of Megabyzus. Eudora turned away
to conceal her blushes; for the indelicacy of their language
was such as seldom met the ear of a Grecian

The Queen mother was eloquent in praise of a young
Lesbian girl, whom Artaphernes had bought to attend
upon his daughter. This was equivalent to asking for
the slave; and the captive herself evinced no unwillingness
to join the royal household; it having been
foretold by an oracle that she would one day be the
mother of kings. Amestris accepted the beautiful
Greek with many thanks, casting a triumphant glance
at Arsinöe and Parysatis, who lowered their brows, as
if each had reasons of her own for being displeased
with the arrangement.

The royal guests gave and received a variety of
gifts; consisting principally of jewels, embroidered
mantles, veils, tufts of peacock feathers with ivory
handles, parrots, and golden boxes filled with roseate
powder for the fingers, and black paint for the eyebrows.
At length they departed, and Eudora's attendants
showered perfumes on them as they went.

Eudora recalled to mind the pure and sublime discourse
she had so often enjoyed with Philothea, and
sighed as she compared it with this specimen of intercourse
with high-born Persian ladies.

When the sun was setting, she again walked upon

-- 261 --

[figure description] Page 261.[end figure description]

the terrace; and, forgetful of the customs of the country,
threw back her veil, that she might enjoy more
perfectly the beauty of the landscape. She stood
thoughtfully gazing at the distant pinnacles, which
marked the residence of Megabyzus, when the barking
of Hylax attracted her attention, and looking into the
garden, she perceived a richly dressed young man,
with his eyes fixed earnestly upon her. She drew her
veil hastily, and retired within the dwelling, indulging
the secret hope that none of her attendants had witnessed
an action which Artapherues would deem so

On the following morning commenced the celebrated
festival called, `The Salutation of Mithras;' during
which, forty days were set apart for thanksgiving and
sacrifice. The procession formed long before the
rising of the sun. First appeared a long train of the
most distinguished Magi from all parts of the empire,
led by their chief in scarlet robes, carrying the sacred
fire upon a silver furnace. Next appeared an empty
chariot consecrated to Oromasdes, decorated with garlands,
and drawn by white steeds harnessed with gold.
This was followed by a magnificent large horse, his
forehead flaming with gems, in honor of Mithras.
Then came the Band of Immortals, and the royal kindred,
their Median vests blazing with embroidery and
gold. Artaxerxes rode in an ivory chariot, richly inlaid
with precious stones. He was followed by a long
line of nobles, riding on camels splendidly caparisoned;
and their countless attendants closed the train. This
gorgeous retinue slowly ascended Mount Orontes.
When they arrived upon its summit, the chief of the
Magi assumed his tiara interwoven with myrtle, and
hailed the first beams of the rising sun with prayer and

-- 262 --

[figure description] Page 262.[end figure description]

sacrifice. Then each of the Magi in turns sung orisons
to Oromasdes, by whose eternal power the radiant
Mithras had been sent to gladden the earth, and
preserve the principle of life. Finally, they all joined
in one universal chorus, while king, princes, and nobles,
prostrated themselves, and adored the Fountain
of Light.

At that solemn moment, a tiger leaped from an adjoining
thicket, and sprung toward the king. But ere
the astonished courtiers had time to breathe, a javelin
from some unknown hand passed through the ferocious
animal, and laid him lifeless in the dust.

Eudora had watched the procession from the housetop;
and at this moment she thought she perceived hurried
and confused movements, of which her attendants
could give no explanation.

The splendid concourse returned toward the palace
in the same order that it had ascended the mountain.
But next to the royal chariot there now appeared a
young man on a noble steed, with a golden chain about
his neck, and two heralds by his side, who ever and
anon blew their trumpets, and proclaimed, “This is
Philæmon of Athens, whom the king delighteth to

Eudora understood the proclamation imperfectly;
but afar off, she recognized the person of her lover.
As they passed the house, she saw Hylax running to
and fro on the top of the wall, barking, and jumping,
and wagging his tail, as if he too were conscious of the
vicinity of some familiar friend. The dog evidently
arrested Philæmon's attention; for he observed him
closely, and long continued to look back and watch his

A tide of sweet and bitter recollections oppressed

-- 263 --

[figure description] Page 263.[end figure description]

the maiden's heart; a deadly paleness overspread her
cheeks; a suffocating feeling choked her voice; and
had it not been for a sudden gush of tears, she would
have fallen.

When her father returned, he informed her that the
life of Artaxerxes had been saved by the promptitude
and boldness of Philæmon, who happened to perceive
the tiger sooner than any other person at the festival.
He added, “I saw Philæmon after the rescue, but we
had brief opportunity to discourse together. I think
his secluded habits have prevented him from hearing
that I found a daughter in Athens. He told me he
intended soon to return to his native country, and
promised to be my guest for a few days before he
departed. Furthermore, my child, the Great King,
in the fullness of his regal bounty, last night sent
a messenger to demand you in marriage for his son

He watched her countenance, as he spoke; but
seemed doubtful how to understand the fluctuating color.
Still keeping his scrutinizing gaze fixed upon her, he
continued, “Artaminta, this is an honor not to be lightly
rejected—to be princess of Persia now, and hereafter
perhaps its queen.”

In some confusion, the maiden answered, “Perhaps
the prince may not approve his father's choice.”

“No, Artaminta; the prince has chosen for himself.
He sent his sister to obtain a view of my newly-discovered
daughter; and he himself saw you, as you
stood on the terrace unveiled.”

In an agitated voice, Eudora asked, “And must I be
compelled to obey the commands of the king?”

“Unless it should be his gracious pleasure to dispense
with obedience,” replied Artaphernes. “I and all my

-- 264 --

[figure description] Page 264.[end figure description]

household are his servants. I pray Oromasdes that
you may never have greater troubles than the fear of
becoming a princess.”

“But you forget, my dear father, that Parysatis
told me her brother Xerxes was effeminate and capricious,
and had a new idol with every change of the
moon. Some fairer face would soon find favor in his
sight; and I should perhaps be shut up with hundreds
of forgotten favorites, in the old harem, among silly
women and ugly slaves.”

Her father answered, in an excited tone, “Artaminta,
if you had been brought up with more becoming seclusion,
like those silly Persian women, you would perhaps
have known, better than you now seem to do, that a
woman's whole duty is submission.”

Eudora had never heard him speak so harshly.
She perceived that his parental ambition was roused,
and that her indifference to the royal proposal displeased
him. The tears fell fast, as she replied, “Dear
father, I will obey you, even if you ask me to sacrifice
my life, at the command of the king.”

Her tears touched the feelings of the kind old man.
He embraced her affectionately, saying, “Do not weep,
daughter of my beloved Antiope. It would indeed
gratify my heart to see you queen of Persia; but you
shall not be made wretched, if my interest with the
Great King can prevent it. All men praise his justice
and moderation; and he has pledged his royal word to
grant anything I ask, in recompense for services rendered
in Greece. The man who has just saved his
life can no doubt obtain any favor. But reflect upon
it well, my daughter. Xerxes has no son; and should
you give birth to a boy, no new favorite could exclude
you from the throne. Perhaps Philæmon was silent

-- 265 --

[figure description] Page 265.[end figure description]

from other causes than ignorance of your arrival in Persia;
and if this be the case, you may repent a too hasty
rejection of princely love.”

Eudora blushed like crimson, and appeared deeply
pained by this suggestion; but she made no answer.

Artaphernes departed, promising to seek a private
audience with the king; and she saw him no more that
night. When she laid her head upon the pillow, a
mind troubled with many anxious thoughts for a long
time prevented repose; and when she did sink to sleep,
it was with a confused medley of ideas, in which the
remembrance of Philæmon's love was mixed up with
floating visions of regal grandeur, and proud thoughts
of a triumphant marriage, now placed within her power,
should he indeed prove as unforgiving and indifferent,
as her father had suggested.

In her sleep, she saw Philothea; but a swift and
turbid stream appeared to roll between them; and her
friend said, in melancholy tones, “You have left me,
Eudora; and I cannot come to you, now. Whence
are these dark and restless waters, which separate our

Then a variety of strange scenes rapidly succeeded
each other—all cheerless, perturbed, and chaotic.
At last, she seemed to be standing under the old
grape-vine, that shaded the dwelling of Anaxagoras,
and Philæmon crowned her with a wreath of myrtle.

In the morning, soon after she had risen from her
couch, Artaphernes came to her apartment, and mildly
asked if she still wished to decline the royal alliance.
He evinced no displeasure when she answered in the
affirmative; but quietly replied, “It may be that you
have chosen a wise part, my child; for true it is, that
safety and contentment rarely take up their abode

-- 266 --

[figure description] Page 266.[end figure description]

with princes. But now go and adorn yourself with
your richest apparel; for the Great King requires me
to present you at the palace, before the hour of noon.
Let your Greek costume be laid aside; for I would
not have my daughter appear like a foreigner, in the
presence of her king.”

With a palpitating heart, Eudora resigned herself
into the hands of her Persian tire-women, who so loaded
her with embroidery and gems, that she could scarcely
support their weight.

She was conveyed to the palace in a cedar carriage,
carefully screened from observation. Her father rode
by her side, and a numerous train of attendants followed.
Through gates of burnished brass, they entered
a small court with a tesselated pavement of black
and white marble. Thence they passed into a long
apartment, with walls of black marble, and cornices
heavily gilded. The marble was so highly polished
that Eudora saw the light of her jewels everywhere
reflected like sunbeams. Surprised by the multiplied
images of herself and attendants, she did not at first
perceive, through the net-work of her veil, that a
young man stood leaning against the wall, with his
arms folded. This well-remembered attitude attracted
her attention, and she scarcely needed a glance to assure
her it was Phiæmon.

It being contrary to Persian etiquette to speak
without license within hearing of the royal apartments,
the Athenian merely smiled, and bowed gracefully to
Artaphernes; but an audible sigh escaped him, as he
glanced at the Greek attendants. Eudora hastily
turned away her head, when he looked toward her;
but her heart throbbed so violently, that every fold of
her veil trembled. They continued thus in each

-- 267 --

[figure description] Page 267.[end figure description]

other's presence many minutes; one in a state of perfect
unconsciousness, the other suffering an intensity
of feeling, that seemed like the condensed excitement
of years. At last a herald came to say it was now the
pleasure of the Great King to receive them in the private
court, opening into the royal gardens.

The pavement of this court was of porphyry inlaid
with costly marbles, in various hieroglyphics. The
side connected with the palace was adorned with
carved open-work, richly painted and gilded, and with
jasper tablets, alternately surmounted by a golden ram
and a winged lion; one the royal ensign of Persia, the
other emblematic of the Assyrian empire conquered by
Cyrus. The throne was placed in the centre, under a
canopy of crimson, yellow, and blue silk, tastefully intermingled
and embroidered with silver and gold.
Above this was an image of the sun, with rays so
brilliant, that it dazzled the eyes of those who looked
upon it.

The monarch seemed scarcely beyond the middle
age, with long flowing hair, and a countenance mild
and dignified. On his right hand stood Xerxes—on
his left, Darius and Sogdianus; and around him were
a numerous band of younger sons; all wearing white
robes, with jewelled vests of Tyrian purple.

As they entered, the active buzzing of female voices
was heard behind the gilded open-work of the wall;
but this was speedily silenced by a signal from the
herald. Artaphernes prostrated himself, till his forehead
touched the pavement; Eudora copied his example;
but Philæmon merely bowed low, after the
manner of the Athenians. Artaxerxes bade them
arise, and said, in a stern tone, “Artaphernes, has
thy daughter prepared herself to obey our royal

-- 268 --

[figure description] Page 268.[end figure description]

mandate? Or is she still contemptuous of our kingly

Eudora trembled; and her father again prostrated
himself, as he replied: “O great and benignant king!
mayest thou live forever. May Oromasdes bless thee
with a prosperous reign, and forever avert from thee
the malignant influence of Arimanius. I and my
household are among the least of thy servants. May
the hand that offends thee be cut off, and cast to unclean

“Arise, Artaphernes!” said the monarch. “Thy
daughter has permission to speak.”

Eudora, awed by the despotic power and august
presence of Artaxerxes, spoke to her father, in a low
and tremulous voice, and reminded him of the royal
promise to grant whatever he might ask.

Philæmon turned eagerly, and a sudden flush mantled
his cheeks, when he heard the pure Attic dialect,
with its lovely marriage of sweet sounds.”

“What does the maiden say?” inquired the king.

Artaphernes again paid homage, and answered: “O
Light of the World! Look in mercy upon the daughter
of thy servant, and grant that her petition may find
favor in thy sight. As yet, she hath not gained a
ready utterance of the Persian language—honored
and blessed above all languages, in being the messenger
of thy thoughts, O king. Therefore, she spoke in
the Greek tongue, concerning thy gracious promise to
grant unto the humblest of thy servants whatsoever he
might ask at thy hands.”

Then the monarch held forth his golden sceptre, and
replied, “Be it unto thee, as I have said. I have
sought thy daughter in marriage for Xerxes, prince of
the empire. What other boon does Artaphernes ask
of the king?”

-- 269 --

[figure description] Page 269.[end figure description]

The Persian approached, and reverently touching
the point of the sceptre, answered: “O King of kings!
before whom the nations of the earth do tremble.
Thy bounty is like the overflowing Nilus, and thy
mercy refreshing as dew upon the parched earth. If
it be thy pleasure, O king, forgive Artaminta, my
daughter, if she begs that the favor of the prince, like
the blessed rays of Mithras, may fall upon some fairer
damsel. I pray thee have her excused.”

Xerxes looked up with an angry frown; but his royal
father replied, “The word of the king is sacred; and
his decree changeth not. Be it unto thee even as thou

Then turning to Philæmon, he said: “Athenian
stranger, our royal life preserved by thy hand deserves
a kingly boon. Since our well beloved son cannot find
favor in the eyes of this damsel, we bestow her upon
thee. Her father is one of the illustrious Pasargadæ,
and her ancestors were not unremotely connected with
the princes of Media. We have never looked upon
her countenance—deeming it wise to copy the prudent
example of our cousin Cyrus; but report describes
her beautiful as Panthea.”

Eudora shrunk from being thus bestowed upon
æmon; and she would have said this to her father, had
Philhe not checked the first half-uttered word by a private

“With extreme confusion, the Athenian bowed low,
and answered, “Pardon me, O King, and deem me
not insensible of thy royal munificence. I pray thee
bestow the daughter of the princely Artaphernes upon
one more worthy than thy servant.”

“Now, by the memory of Cyrus! exclaimed Artaxerxes,
“The king's favors shall this day be likened

-- 270 --

[figure description] Page 270.[end figure description]

unto a beggar, whose petitions are rejected at every

Then, turning to his courtiers, he added: “A proud
nation are these Greeks! When the plague ravaged
all Persia and Media, Hippocrates of Cos, refused our
entreaties, and scorned our royal bounty; saying he
was born to serve his own countrymen, and not foreigners.
Themistocles, on whom our mighty father
bestowed the revenues of cities, died, rather than fight
for him against Athens;—and lo! here is a young
Athenian, who refuses a maiden sought by the Persian
prince, with a dowry richer than Pactolus.”

Philæmon bowed himself reverently, and replied:
“Deem not, O king, that I am moved by Grecian
pride; for well I know that I am all unworthy of this
princely alliance. An epistle lately received from
Olympia makes it necessary for me to return to
Greece; where, O king, I seek a beloved maiden, to
whom I was betrothed before my exile.”

Eudora had trembled violently, and her convulsed
breathing was audible, while Philæmon spoke; but
when he uttered the last words, forgetful of the reverence
required of those who stood in the presence of
majesty, she murmured, “Oh, Philothea!” and sunk
into the arms of her father.

The young man started;—for now, not only the language,
but the tones were familiar to his heart. As
the senseless form was carried into the garden, he
gazed upon it with an excited and bewildered expression.

Artaxerxes smiled, as he said. “Athenian stranger,
the daughter of Artaphernes, lost on the coast of Ionia,
was discovered in the household of Phidias, and the
Greeks called her Eudora.”

-- 271 --

[figure description] Page 271.[end figure description]

Philæmon instantly knelt at the monarch's feet, and
said, “Pardon me, O king. I was ignorant of all this.

He would have explained more fully; but Artaxerxes
interrupted him; “We know it all, Athenian
stranger—we know it all. You have refused Artaminta,
and now we bestow upon you Eudora, with the
revenues of Magnesia and Lampsacus for her dowry.”

Before the next moon had waned, a magnificent
marriage was celebrated in the court of audience,
opening into the royal gardens. On a shining throne,
in the midst of a stately pavilion, was seated Artaxerxes,
surrounded by the princes of the empire. Near
the throne stood Philæmon and Eudora. Artaphernes
placed the right hand of the bride within the right hand
of the bridegroom, saying, “Philæmon of Athens, I
bestow upon thee, Artaminta, my daughter, with my
estates in Pasagarda, and five thousand darics as her

The chief of the Magi bore sacred fire on a silver
censer, and the bridal couple passed slowly around it
three times, bowing reverently to the sacred emblem
of Mithras. Then the bridegroom fastened a golden
jewel about the bride's neck, and they repeated certain
words, promising fidelity to each other. The nuptial
hymn was sung by six handsome youths, and as many
maidens, clothed in white garments, with a purple

Numerous lamps were lighted in the trees, making
the gardens bright as noon. Females belonging to the
royal household, and to the most favored of the nobility,
rode through the groves and lawns, in rich pavilions,
on the backs of camels and white elephants. As
the huge animals were led along, fireworks burst from

-- 272 --

[figure description] Page 272.[end figure description]

under their feet, and playing for a moment in the air,
with undulating movements, fell in a sparkling shower.

Artaxerxes gave a luxurious feast, which lasted
seven days; during which time the Queen entertained
her female guests with equal splendor, in the apartments
of the women.

The Athenian decree against those of foreign parentage
had been repealed in favor of young Pericles; but
in that country everything was in a troubled and unsettled
state; and Artaphernes pleaded hard to have
his daughter remain in Persia.

It was therefore decided that the young couple
should reside at Pasagarda, situated in a fertile valley,
called the Queen's Girdle, because its revenues were
appropriated to that costly article of the royal wardrobe.
This pleasant city had once been the favorite
residence of Cyrus the Great, and a plain obelisk in
the royal gardens marked his burial-place. The adjacent
promontory of Taoces afforded a convenient
harbor for Tyrian merchants, and thus brought in the
luxuries of Phœnicia, while it afforded opportunities
for literary communication between the East and the
West. Here were celebrated schools under the direction
of the Magi, frequently visited by learned men
from Greece, Ethiopia, and Egypt.

Philæmon devoted himself to the quiet pursuits of
literature; and Eudora, happy in her father, husband
and children, thankfully acknowledged the blessings of
her lot.

Her only daughter, a gentle maiden, with plaintive
voice and earnest eyes, bore the beloved name of

Previous section

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