Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter XVI / The Wager of Battle. A Tale of the Feudal Ages. >> Page 356

image of pageExplore Inside

Page 356

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 356 SOUTHWARD HO !
present, but symmetrically duplicated, so as to produce an equal
correspondence on each side, figure answering to figure. But
these decorations were made tributary to other objects. Numer-
ous niches opened to the sight, as you penetrated the mighty
avenue, in which stood noble and commanding forms ; � statues
of knights in armor ; of princes ; great men who had swayed
nations ; heroes, who had encountered dragons for the safety of
the race ; and saintly persons, who had called down blessings
from heaven upon the nation in the hour of its danger and its
fear. The greater number of these stood erect as when in life;
but some sat, some reclined, and others knelt ; but all, save for the
hue of the marble in which they were wrought�so exquisite
was the art which they had employed�would have seemed to
be living even then. Around the apartment which I have been
describing, were double aisles, or rather avenues, formed by sister
columns, corresponding in workmanship and style, if not in size,
with those which sustained the roof. These were deep and
sepulchral in shadow, but withal very attractive and lovely
places ; retreats of shade, and silence, and solemn beauty;
autumnal walks, where the heart which had been wounded by
the shafts and sorrows of the world, might fly, and be secure,
and where the form, wandering lonely among the long shadows
of grove and pillar, and in the presence of noble and holy images
of past worth and virtue, might still maintain the erect stature
which belongs to elevated fancies, to purest purposes, and great
designs for ever working in the soul.
But it would be idle to attempt to convey, unless by general-
ities, any definite idea of the vast and magnificent theatre, or of
that singular and sombre beauty with which I now found myself
surrounded. Enough, that, while I was absorbed, with my whole
imagination deeply excited by the architectural grandeur which
I surveyed, I had grown heedless of the progress of events
among certain human actors�if I may be thus permitted to des-
ignate the creatures of a vision�which had meanwhile taken
their places in little groups in a portion of the ample area.
While mine eyes had been uplifted in the contemplation of things
inanimate, it appears that a human action was in progress on a
portion of the scene below. I was suddenly aroused by a stir
and bustle, followed by a faint murmur, as of applauding voices,