Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter XVI / The Wager of Battle. A Tale of the Feudal Ages. >> Page 354

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Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 354 SOUTHWARD HO !
of those slumbers which. had been so unusually banished from
mine eyes. For more than an hour I lay tossing and dissatisfied,
with my thoughts flitting from subject to subject with all the
caprice of an April butterfly. -Wlheii I again slept, however, I
was again conscious of a crowd. A multitude of objects passed
ill prolonged bodies before my sight. Troops of glittering forms
then occupied the canvass, one succeeding to the other regularly,
but without any individuality of object or distinct feature.. But
I could catch at intervals a bright flash, as of a plume or jewel,
of particular size and splendor, leading me to the conviction that
what I beheld was the progress of some great state ceremonial,
or the triumphal march of some well-appointed army. But
whether the procession moved under the eagles of the Roman,
the horse-tails of the Ottoman, or the lion banner of England, it
was impossible to ascertain. I could distinguish none of the en-
signs of battle. The movements were all slow and regular.
There was nothing of strife or hurry´┐Żnone of the clamor of
invasion or exultation of victory. The spectacle passed on with
a measured pomp, as if it belonged to some sad and gloomy rite,
where the splendor rather increased the solemnity to which it
was simply tributary.
'fnE scene changed even as I gazed. The crowd had disap-
peared. Tulle vast multitude was gone from sight, and mine eye,
which had strained after the last of their retreating shadows,
now dropped its lids on vacancy. Soon, however, instead of the
great waste of space and sky, which left me without place of rest
for sight, I beheld the interior of a vast and magnificent hall,
most like the interior of some lofty cathedral. The style of the
building was arabesque, at once richly and elaborately wrought,
and sombre. The pointed arches, reached by half-moon involu-
tions, with the complex carvings and decorations of cornice,
column, and ceiling, at once carried me back to those wondrous
specimens which the art of the Saracen has left rather for our
admiration than rivalry. The apartment was surrounded by a
double row of columns ; slender shafts, which seemed rather the
antennce of graceful plants than bulks and bodies of stone and
marble, rising for near fifty feet in height, then gradually