Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter XVI / The Wager of Battle. A Tale of the Feudal Ages. >> Page 355

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Page 355

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription THE FEUDAL PALACE. 355
spreading in numerous caryatides, resembling twisted and un-
folding serpents, to the support of the vast roof. All appearance
of bulk, of cumbrousness, even of strength, seemed lost in the
elaborate delicacy with which these antennm stretched them-
selves from side to side, uniting the several arches in spans of
the most airy lightness and beauty. The great roof for which
they furnished the adequate support, rose too high in the but
partial light which filled the hall, to enable me to gather more
than an imperfect idea of its character and workmanship. But
of its great height the very incapacity to define its character af-
forded me a sufficient notion. Where the light yielded the desired
opportunity, I found the flowery beauty of the architecture, on
every band, to be alike inimitable. To describe it would be im-
possible. A thousand exquisite points of light, the slenderest
beams, seemed to depend, like so many icicles, from arch and
elevation�to fringe the several entrances and windows�to
Lang from every beam and rafter ; and to cast over all, an ap-
pearance so perfectly aerial, as to make me doubtful, at moments,
whether the immense interior which I saw them span, with the
massive but dusky ceiling which they were intended to sustain,
were not, in fact, a little world of wood, with the blue sky dimly
overhead, a realm of vines and flowers, with polished woodland
shafts, lavishly and artfully accumulated in the open air, so as
to produce, in an imperfect light, a delusive appearance of archi-
tectural weight, magnificence and majesty. An immense avenue,
formed of columns thus embraced and bound together by the
most elaborate and fantastic carvings, linked vines, boughs,
flowers and serpents, opened before me, conducting the eye
through far vistas of the same description, thus confirming the
impression of cathedral avenues of forest. The eye, beguiled
along these passages, wandered into others quite as interminable,
with frequent glimpses into lateral ranges quite as wonderful and
ample, until the dim perspective was shut, not because of the
termination of the passage, but because of the painful inability
in the sight any further to pursue it. Each of these avenues
had its decorations, similarly elaborate and ornate with the rest
of the interior. Vines and flowers, stars and wreaths, crosses
and circles�with such variety of form and color as the kaleido-
scope only might produce in emulation of the fancy�were all