Marzio's Crucifix and Zoroaster eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 492 pages of information about Marzio's Crucifix and Zoroaster.

Zoroaster started to his feet in amazement and horror, and stood staring at the body of his master and friend lying stiff and stark beneath the yellow light of the hanging lamp.  Then suddenly he sprang forward and kneeled again beside the pale noble head that looked so grand in death.  He took one of the hands and chafed it, he listened for the beating of the heart that beat no more, and sought for the stirring of the least faint breath of lingering life.  But he sought in vain; and there, in the upper chamber of the tower, the young warrior fell upon his face and wept alone by the side of the mighty dead.

CHAPTER IV.

Thus died Daniel, and for seven days the women sat apart upon the ground and mourned him, while the men embalmed his body and made it ready for burial.  They wrapped him in much fine linen and poured out very precious spices and ointments from the store-houses of the palaces.  Round about his body they burned frankincense and myrrh and amber, and the gums of the Indian benzoe and of the Persian fir, and great candles of pure wax; for all the seven days the mourners from the city made a great mourning, ceasing not to sing the praises of the prophet and to cry aloud by day and night that the best and the worthiest and the greatest of all men was dead.

Thus they watched and mourned, and sang his great deeds.  And in the lower chamber of the tower the women sat upon the floor, with Nehushta in their midst, and sorrowed greatly, fasting and mourning in raiment of sackcloth, and strewing ashes upon the floor and upon themselves.  Nehushta’s face grew thin and very pale and her lips white in that time, and she let her heavy hair hang neglected about her.  Many of the men shaved their heads and went barefooted, and the fortress and the palaces were filled with the sound of weeping and grief.  The Hebrews who were there mourned their chief, and the two Levites sat beside the dead man and read long chapters from their scriptures.  The Medes mourned their great and just governor, under the Assyrian name of Belteshazzar, given first to Daniel by Nebuchadnezzar; and from all the town the noise of their weeping and mourning came up, like the mighty groan of a nation, to the ears of those that dwelt in the fortress and the palace.

On the eighth day they buried him, with pomp and state, in a tomb in the garden which they had built during the week of mourning.  The two Levites and a young Hebrew and Zoroaster himself, clad in sackcloth and barefooted, raised up the prophet’s body upon a bier and bore him upon their shoulders down the broad staircase of the tower and out into the garden to his tomb.  The mourners went before, many hundreds of Median women with dishevelled hair, rending their dresses of sackcloth and scattering ashes upon their path and upon their heads, crying aloud in wild voices of grief and piercing the air with their screams, till they came to the tomb and stood round about it while

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Marzio's Crucifix and Zoroaster from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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