“The day after to-morrow!” exclaimed the steward in joyous excitement; and soon after the carrier dove was flying toward the house of Archias, bearing the letter which stated the hour when his fame-crowned blind nephew would enter the great harbour of Alexandria.
The evening of the next day but one the Proserpina was bearing Hermon away from the city of weavers toward home.
As the evening breeze fanned his brow, his thoughts dwelt sadly on his Myrtilus. Hitherto it had always seemed as if he was bound, and must commit some atrocious deed to use the seething power condemned to inaction. But as the galley left the Tanitic branch of the Nile behind, and the blind man inhaled the cool air upon the calm sea, his heart swelled, and for the first time he became fully aware that, though the light of the sun would probably never shine for him again, and therefore the joy of creating, the rapture of once more testing his fettered strength, would probably be forever denied him, other stars might perhaps illumine his path, and he was going, in a position of brilliant independence, toward his native city, fame, and—eternal gods!—love.
Daphne had conquered, and he gave only a passing thought to Ledscha and the hapless weaver Arachne.
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Chance, which took no
heed of merit or unworthiness
Deceived himself concerning the value of his own work
Gods whom men had invented after their own likeness
Hate the person from whom he receives benefits
By Georg Ebers
At the third hour after sunrise a distinguished assemblage of people gathered at the landing place east of the Temple of Poseidon in the great harbour of Alexandria.
Its members belonged to the upper classes, for many had come in carriages and litters, and numerous pedestrians were accompanied by slaves bearing in delicately woven baskets and cornucopias a laurel wreath, a papyrus crown, or bright-hued flowers.
The most aristocratic among the gentlemen had gathered on the western side of the great sanctuary, between the cella and the long row of Doric columns which supported the roof of the marble temple.
The Macedonian Council of the city was already represented by several of its members. Among their number was Archias, Daphne’s father, a man of middle height and comfortable portliness, from whose well-formed, beardless face looked forth a pair of shrewd eyes, and whose quick movements revealed the slight irritability of his temperament.
Several members of the Council and wealthy merchants surrounded him, while the grammateus Proclus first talked animatedly with other government officials and representatives of the priesthood, and then with Archias. The head of the Museum, who bore the title of “high priest,” had also appeared there with several members of this famous centre of the intellectual life of the capital. They shared the shade of this part of the temple with distinguished masters of sculpture and painting, architecture and poetry, and conversed together with the graceful animation of Greeks endowed with great intellectual gifts.