Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter XII / The Picture of Judgment; Or, The Grotta Del Tifone >> Page 223

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Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription THE PROCESSION OF SOULS. 223
exquisite paintings, in which the genius of the Etruscan proves
itself to have anticipated, though it may never have rivalled the
ultimate excellence of the Greek. The piece describes a fre-
quent subject of art �a procession of souls to judgment, under
the charge of good and evil genii. The group is numerous.
The grace, freedom and expression of the several figures are
beyond description fine ; and, with two exceptions, the effect is
exquisitely grateful to the spectator, as the progress seems to be
one to eternal delights. Two of the souls, however, are not
freed, but convict ; not escaping, but doomed ; not looking hope
and bliss, but despair and utter misery. One of these is clearly
the noble youth whose effigy, without inscription, appears upon
the tomb. He is one of the Roman intruders. Behind him,
following close, is the evil genius of the Etruscan�represented
as a colossal negro�brutal in all his features, exulting fiend-
ishly in his expression of countenance, and with his claws
firmly grasping the shoulders of his victim. His brow is twined
with serpents in the manner of a fillet, and his left hand car-
ries the huge mallet with which the demon was expected to
crush, or bruise and mangle, the prey which was assigned him.
The other unhappy soul, in similar keeping, is that_ of a young
woman, whose features declare her to be one of the loveliest of
her sex. She is tall and majestic ; her carriage haughty even
in her wo, and her face equally distinguished by the highest
physical beauty, elevated by a majesty and air of sway, which
denoted a person accustomed to the habitual exercise of her own
will. But, through all her beauty and majesty, there are the
proofs of that agony of soul which passeth show and under-
standing. Two big drops of sorrow have fallen, and rest upon
her cheeks, the only tokens which her large Juno-like eyes
seem to have given of the suffering which she endures. They
still preserve their fires undimmed and undaunted, and leave it
rather to the brow, the lips, and the general features of the face
to declare the keen, unutterable wo that swells within her soul,
triumphant equally over pride and beauty. Nothing can exceed
in force the touching expression of her agony unutterable, unless
in the sympathizing imagination of him who looks for the sources
of the painter's pencil into the very bosom of the artist. Imme-
diately behind this beautiful and suffering creature is seen, close