An Egyptian Princess — Volume 04 eBook

Georg Ebers
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 80 pages of information about An Egyptian Princess — Volume 04.

“My grandmother says that it is easy to understand what we like to hear; but if you had just whispered, ‘I hate you,’ your eyes would have told me with a thousand glad voices that you loved me.  Silent eyes are much more eloquent than all the tongues in the world.”

“If I could only speak the beautiful Greek language as you do, I would..”

“Oh, I am so glad you cannot, for if you could tell me all you feel, I think you would not look into my eyes so lovingly.  Words are nothing.  Listen to the nightingale yonder!  She never had the gift of speech and yet I think I can understand her.”

“Will you confide her secret to me?  I should like to know what Gulgul, as we Persians call the nightingale, has to talk about to her mate in the rose-bush.  May you betray her secret?”

“I will whisper it softly.  Philomel sings to her mate ‘I love thee,’ and he answers, (don’t you hear him?), ‘Itys, ito, itys.’”

“And what does that mean, ‘Ito, ito?’”

“I accept it.”

“And Itys?”

“Oh, that must be explained, to be rightly understood.  Itys is a circle; and a circle, I was always taught, is the symbol of eternity, having neither beginning nor end; so the nightingale sings, ’I accept it for eternity.’”

“And if I say to you, ‘I love thee?’”

“Then I shall answer gladly, like the sweet nightingale, ’I accept it for to-day, to-morrow, for all eternity!’”

“What a wonderful night it is! everything so still and silent; I do not even hear the nightingale now; she is sitting in the acacia-tree among the bunches of sweet blossoms.  I can see the tops of the palm-trees in the Nile, and the moon’s reflection between them, glistening like a white swan.”

“Yes, her rays are over every living thing like silver fetters, and the whole world lies motionless beneath them like a captive woman.  Happy as I feel now, yet I could not even laugh, and still less speak in a loud voice.”

“Then whisper, or sing!”

“Yes, that is the best.  Give me a lyre.  Thank you.  Now I will lean my head on your breast, and sing you a little, quiet, peaceful song.  It was written by Alkman, the Lydian, who lived in Sparta, in praise of night and her stillness.  You must listen though, for this low, sweet slumber-song must only leave the lips like a gentle wind.  Do not kiss me any more, please, till I have finished; then I will ask you to thank me with a kiss: 

         “Now o’er the drowsy earth still night prevails,
          Calm sleep the mountain tops and shady vales,
          The rugged cliffs and hollow glens;

The wild beasts slumber in their dens;
The cattle on the bill.  Deep in the sea
The countless finny race and monster brood
Tranquil repose.  Even the busy bee
Forgets her daily toil.  The silent wood
No more with noisy hum of insect rings;
And all the feathered tribe, by gentle sleep subdued,
Roost in the glade and hang their drooping wings.” 

                                        —­Translation by Colonel Mure.

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An Egyptian Princess — Volume 04 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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