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immeasurable ambition. He stood in a lofty attitude of firmness and command, yet mingled somewhat with a sense of surprise and pain ;—his figure erect, yet slightly thrown backward; his arms downward, yet a little advanced; his hands separately clenched, and his features raised and prominent, as if his attention were fixed on some one before him. There was no one; but at his feet lay a splendid flagon.
How long Daloom had been entranced in the contemplation of these marvellous scenes, it were impossible to tell. The intensity of his feelings had annihilated all ideas of time; the impression of those two figures overpowered all others, and especially that breathing the immensity of woe, absorbed his whole spirit and transfused itself through his whole imagination. He turned from it, as from a figure of enchantment; and attempting to break with a powerful effort the spell of its fascination, he sped on. His progress was still through vast rooms, vast corridors, and courts exhibiting traces of fountains which had ceased, and statuary enormous as the beings which he had seen; but the figures before the throne still glowed upon his spirit, and he beheld nothing beside distinctly, till he issued, with a feeling of joy, to the open air.
It was night! and the moon, in solitary splendour, was casting her beams upon those towering abodes, and tracing upon the ground their awful shadows. But what was his astonishment and terror as he beheld, seated on
a fallen column just before him, in a leaning and melancholy attitude, a figure gigantic as those within ! And this, he felt, must be a living figure,— were it not merely a phantom of his heated and bewildered brain. The moon now shone partially upon it. He looked up, with an agonized hope to discover it, however fearful, yet inanimate and stony as they. One glance froze him to the spot!—He beheld the light of a living eye! it was fixed upon him, and, in the same instant, he recognised, in the whole form and face, a vivid resemblance to the statue of the young king before the throne. Another moment, and a voice, gentle and low for a being of such a stature, thus addressed him.
“Son of the earth, by whatever means thou hast entered this city, it must be by the agency of God. Hitherto, no eye of man has beheld it; no foot of man has trodden its streets. Know then, that thou art in the city of earth's primæval race. Thou hast seen what to thee are marvels; thou hast seen what man shall never see again ;-hear therefore, what may not be lost, even upon thee.
“These towers were the dwellings of my ancestors, a race of beings such as thou seest me; such as the scenes within have represented them,-beings less, far less in number than thy diminutive species; but possessed of faculties, of energies, of an intensity of passion and perception impossible to your feebler fabric. They were mortal, it is true; but the term of their existence was not years, but thousands of years. My forefathers ruled this city; but an incident, trivial in itself, gave them at once dominion over the greater part of their race. A child playing on the bank of a river, found a radiant girdle, and bringing it into the palace, was amusing himself with it, when the prince beheld, and springing forward in a transport of joy, seized upon it. It was the girdle of an angel of power ;--one of those strong angels who roll the newly-created orbs into the infinitude of space, and fix them in their eternal stations; or who, on less occasions, shake them with earthquakes to their centres. Girt with this glorious girdle the king subdued the fierce, the fearful, the cunning, and hitherto indomitable sphinges, a race of creatures who possessed, in the shape of a beast, the faculties of a spirit and the malignity of a fiend; and dwelt in the solitary places of the earth. Yoked to his chariot, and to those of his warriors, they bore him in triumph from land to land,-mountains or seas formed no impediment to their course; they trod with equal ease, and with the velocity of lightning, earth, air, or water. Lord of these, and girt with the girdle of power, every city, save one, became his; and this city the capital of the world. Seven kings,—all, save one, that the earth knew,- became his captives; in these towers they feasted at one table, and one tomb contains them,
“When the kingdom became mine, what was there left for me to desire? The world was my patrimony-the most beautiful and gifted of earth's daughters was my queen. Oh! lovely and gentle Thua, what charms and enchantments were thine! In loftiness of stature, in glory of countenance, there was none like her--for I had seen all. In the thrilling mysteries of music, who could emulate her? She had gathered the strains of the earth from the farthest of her many thousand ages; and had wrought them into songs which were sung from side to side of creation. When I trod secretly through my streets, I heard the happy children singing them, and my heart leaped at the sound; when I took the path of my camp, I heard the soldier chant the victories of his fathers in her words; when I visited the most distant and solitary regions of the world, I heard the lonely woman beneath her palm-tree soothing her heart with the pensive melodies of Thua! What did I need ?—There was one little city which had resisted all the efforts of my ancestors,-- not by its numbers, nor by its superior strength, or wisdom, but because there dwelt the ancient, the oracular Sphinx. This had resisted all my ancestors, this was wanting to my glory. I bore down upon it with all my power, and I subdued it, and brought hither in triumph its prince, and the ancient Sphinx.
“Cursed be the day of that conquest! Cursed be the day that the Sphinx entered this city! The world was mine. In one achievement I had concentrated all its glory; in one female I had concentrated all its charms and its love. What could I need? Oh man! knowest thou not that an earlier, and a greater race than ours
the sons of heaven, were wrenched from the heart of the universe, and hurled into the unutterable depths, by the fiend Ambition ? Knowest thou not what myriads of thy trivial race, like insects in the summer sunlight, have been scorched by the sudden lightnings of its wrath, and have perished in every age, leaving vain warnings to their children? Our race was not the less subject to its influence;- it is a power wide as nature, and irresistible as death. Will the little brook, as it bounds, laughing and sparkling from its native hill, content itself with being a brook? Does not the brook swell on into a river, the river into a sea, and the sea, grasping the world in its embrace, lift up its stormy waves in the face of heaven? Yes, Ambition is a spirit that climbs the loftiest pinnacles of earth's mountains only to grasp at the stars, though the gulf of eternity yawns at its feet. What did I need? There was one thing wanting ;– to achieve immortality, -- to become, not only the king of the world, but its God! I sought the counsels of the Sphinx; and by these counsels the multitude was taught to hail me as a deity, the vanquisher, even of the Godhead. Curse on that degenerate race !-it was only too compliant. They were become proud and self-willed: their ancient faith had died away; the spirits of heaven had long ceased to visit them; like me, they grasped at immortality, and eagerly anticipated it at my hands. One only dared to oppose my design ;- and that was Affod, the father of my Thua. Firm in the ancient faith, he had filled his daughter's