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    Anita and Giovanni   Table of Contents     Mignon

Ray, H. Cordelia

- Listening Nydia

Listening Nydia

Meanwhile Nydia, when separated by the throng from Glaucus and Ione, had in vain endeavored to regain them.... Again and again she returned to the spot where they had been divided-- to find her companions gone-- "Last Days of Pompeii."


Breathless she stood, her graceful head bent low,
And dinty fingers round her chiseled ear;
The cherished staff held tenderly as erst,
When knew the tender heart nor grief nor fear.
A startled dove she seemed amid the gloom
And wrath of Nature wakened from soft dreams;
Yet her imploring soul's reflection shone
Like the rare moonlight over summer streams.

The ashes seemed to leave her fragile form
Unharmed, despite the fierce volcanic show'rs;
She listened in an agony of doubt,
Fair Nydia, lately twining fairest flow'rs.
Her sightless eyes seemed praying, lightly veil
By quivering silken lashes wet with tears;
The mystic soul that leaps o'er bound's had made
The child a woman, bowed 'neath weight of years.

Aglow with hope, with love-light luminous,
Her features shone pure in the fitful gleams
That broke o'er column, arch and fleeing slave,
O'er speechless gladiator and blue streams.
Expectancy's embodied model she,
The potent force of gesture all suppressed;
But in her motionless, intent repose,
The soul's arrested pleading was confessed.

The mountain lava-washed, raised menacing
Its peaks majestic toward the brooding sky;
And unappeared, the earth groaned piteously,
While multitudes aghast, fled cowering by,
But still pale Nydia stood amid the wreck,
In sculptured attitude: the broken lights
Shed magic radiance o'er her, and she gleamed
Like a chaste vision caught on starlit nights.

Blind Nydia! proud Pompeii's flower-nymph!
Child of rare intuitions, hidden sight!
Was it the moaning of the far off sea,
Or yearning love that chose thy path aright?
But though for thee, alas! none listeneth,
Type of devotion! thou immortal art!
Clad in renunciation's purest robes,
Enshrined with love in each devoted heart!

    Anita and Giovanni   Table of Contents     Mignon