Ziska eBook

Marie Corelli
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 227 pages of information about Ziska.

“Yes, presently; if you wish it, I will.  But you must hear some music first.  Sit down there,” and she pointed with her small jewelled hand to a low chair near her own.  “My lutist shall sing you something,—­in English, of course!—­for all the world is being Anglicized by degrees, and there will soon be no separate nations left.  Something, too, of romantic southern passion is being gradually grafted on to English sentiment, so that English songs are not so stupid as they were once.  I translated some stanzas from one of the old Egyptian poets into English the other day, perhaps you will like them.  Myrmentis, sing us the ’Song of Darkness.’”

An odd sensation of familiarity with the name of “Myrmentis” startled Gervase as he heard it pronounced, and he looked at the girl who was so called in a kind of dread.  But she did not meet his questioning regard,—­she was already bending over her lute and tuning its strings, while her companion likewise prepared to accompany her on a similar though larger instrument, and in an-other moment her voice, full and rich, with a sobbing passion in it which thrilled him to the inmost soul, rang out on the warm silence: 

  In the darkness what deeds are done! 
     What wild words spoken! 
   What joys are tasted, what passion wasted! 
     What hearts are broken! 
   Not a glimpse of the moon shall shine,
     Not a star shall mark
   The passing of night,—­or shed its light
     On my Dream of the Dark!

  On the scented and slumbrous air,
     Strange thoughts are thronging;
   And a blind desire more fierce than fire
     Fills the soul with longing;
   Through the silence heavy and sweet
     Comes the panting breath
   Of a lover unseen from the Might-Have-Been,
     Whose loving is Death!

  In the darkness a deed was done,
     A wild word spoken! 
   A joy was tasted,—­a passion wasted,—­
     A heart was broken! 
   Not a glimpse of the moon shall shine,
     Not a star shall mark
   The passing of night,—­or shed its light
     On my Dream of the Dark!

The song died away in a shuddering echo, and before Gervase had time to raise his eyes from their brooding study of the floor the singer and her companion had noiselessly disappeared, and he was left alone with the Princess Ziska.  He drew along breath, and turning fully round in his chair, looked at her steadily.  There was a faint smile on her lips—­a smile of mingled mockery and triumph,—­her beautiful witch-like eyes glittered.  Leaning towards her, he grasped her hands suddenly in his own.

“Now,” he whispered, “shall I speak or be silent?”

“Whichever you please,” she responded composedly, still smiling.  “Speech or silence rest equally with yourself.  I compel neither.”

Project Gutenberg
Ziska from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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