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the entrance of the cave, which my guide contemplated with a profound horror; and as no entreaties would prevail upon him to enter, I took a pistol in each hand, being in sooth somewhat apprehensive of banditti, though perfectly undismayed by any fear of supernatural adversaries, and marched slowly forward into the mouth of the aperture.
From the appearances of the interior, I should conjecture it to have served as a place of refuge for some pious hermit of the early ages, rude seats being hewn out of the rock, and sufficient light admitted by tunnels communicating with the surface to enable a person to read in any part without difficulty. Passing through a narrow passage at the extremity of the first porch I entered a second, where, to my infinite amazement, I beheld a young and beautiful female gazing earnestly upon a large book: her complexion was pale, and her dark hair parting at the top of her head, and falling on each side upon her shoulders, discovered a high and fair forehead, with a finely carved brow, which seemed to be the seat of intense thought. So much was she absorbed in study, that she did not observe my entrance until I intercepted a portion of the light that fell upon the volume, when, without expressing any surprise or alarm, she turned towards me, and said with a gentle voice-" You are a stranger; why do you invade my solitude?" Simple as was the question, I hardly knew what reply to make, stammering out with some hesitation, that I had no excuse for my intrusion but curiosity, excited by the marvellous stories related by the peasants
of the surrounding district; although I assured her that I put no faith in the absurd rumours of her supernatural powers, particularly of her ability to raise apparitions of the dead. "And why not ?" she calmly resumed. "Is not every thing that surrounds. you, the earth, the sea, the sky, with their respective tenants, and all the glorious pageant of nature, a mystery and a miracle? Will you believe in innumerable things that are incomprehensible, because they are of frequent occurrence, and refuse to credit one because it is rare ? Is it more wonderful that men should reappear than that they should live and die? Speak; name the mortal, either of the past or present times, whom you would wish to behold."
Startled at the determined confidence of her tone, which I attributed to the delusions of some mental hallucinations, rather than to any consciousness of supernatural power, I felt somewhat embarrassed by her command, although resolved to put her assumed magic to the test of proof. Having lately been reperusing Sappho's Hymn to Venus, preserved by Dionysius of Halicarnassus, as well as her celebrated ode, so indifferently imitated by Catullus, and so admirably translated by our Ambrose Phillips, one of those sudden associations of thought for which there is no accounting suggested her at that moment to my mind, and I suddenly exclaimed-" Sappho, the poetess."—" Behold her!" said the female, and quietly resumed her studies.
Turning eagerly round, I observed for the first time that one side of the grotto was covered by a
black curtain, which began slowly to arise; but what words can express the wonder with which I was bewildered and astonished, when, as the mysterious drapery became completely upfurled, I found myself gazing upon the island of Delos, in the Egean Sea, with an intuitive knowledge of the localities that surrounded me, and even of the living personages that figured in the scene. Ancient tradition having asserted that it was a floating island until Jupiter "Immotamque coli dedit, et contemnere ventos," I at first imagined that it had again broken from its rocky moorings and been wafted up to the mouth of the cave; but a moment's observation dissipated this fancy, for I seemed to be standing in the centre of the island, surrounded by a vast multitude of people, who were assembled to celebrate the great quinquennial Festival of Apollo. Before me was the beautiful Temple of that deity, forming the principal ornament of a city, watered by the little river Inopus, behind which rose Mount Cynthus, covered with laurel groves. The sun had not yet risen; but the moon was full, and Diana, as if anxious to show all honour to her brother deity, poured from the heavens a steady and resplendent light, illuminating the whole group of the Cyclades, and diffusing a rippling brightness over the Egean, whose waves laid themselves gently down upon the yellow sands of the island with a hushing sound. The ocean was covered with vessels from the Saronic Sea to the Hermaic Gulf on the west, and from the Icarian Sea to the Hellespont on the east, their white sails alternately catching and losing the moonbeams,
and their oars, as they cut the glittering waters, appearing to flash like meteors. All were loaded with votaries, bearing offerings of statues, pictures, and costly presents, or with visitants from various parts, hurrying to witness this magnificent festival. The Ionians were there with their wives and children, the natives of Thessaly, Boeotia, Arcadia, and Argolis; and even the remote Hyperboreans had freighted a bark with the tribute of their first fruits.
But that which excited most attention was the splendid deputation of the Athenians, in five handsome vessels, headed by the sacred galley called Paralus, which was said to have been preserved from the times of Theseus, and during whose absence from Athens no criminal could be executed. Crowding with other inhabitants to the beach, I saw the Deliastes descend from it, followed by the four priests of the family of the Ceryces, who claimed Mercury for their ancestor; the priestesses called Deliades, all crowned with laurel; and lastly, the dancing-girls, attended by Philammon, whom Plutarch mentions as the inventor of the sacred dances used at Delphi. As it was customary to rehearse their performance beforehand, they danced, as soon as they landed, the Geranon, intended by its figure to represent the turns and intricacies of the Labyrinth.
By the time this was concluded, a thin grey light had stolen over the deep blue of the eastern heavens, which, gradually assuming a rosy hue, deepened at last into those golden flushes which fly up the sky to announce the coming of the god of day. At this sight
the multitude, with the priests and priestesses, the officers of the sanctuary, and all those who were to figure in the ceremonies, arranged themselves in order in front of the Temple, anxiously gazing towards the quarter whence their deity was to arise; and as soon as the upper surface of his fiery orb became visible above the horizon, the whole assembled people sunk upon one knee, and stretching their right hands to the east, shouted out simultaneously-"Apollo! Apollo ! Apollo!" leaving a short interval between each exclamation. The seas and islands, and the blue concave of the air, reverberated the sound, and as I contemplated the illuminated countenances and glistening eyes of this vast assemblage, and, upon turning to the east, beheld the sun's disk now fully developed, I could not help imagining that he had quickened his uprising at this triumphant summons, and that he cast a complacent smile upon this crowd of kneeling votaries, assembled in the island which his rays had first vivified after the great Ogygian deluge.
Musical instruments now sounded a solemn prelude,' and the whole body of the priests and choristers united their voices in the following chaunt:
"Hail to Apollo, the magnificent, the beautiful,
Celebrate his jubilee with sacrifices dutiful,
which was followed by an animated Pæan from the Priestesses:
"God of the Earth!-God of the Earth!
Our praises we pour from the place of thy birth :