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She was fair as the untrodden mountain snow, and graceful as the flower of the early spring ; gay as the lark upon the summer air, and lovely as the rising of the infant morning; and as she wandered down the valley so bright and so harmonious, she seemed the child of music and of sunshine.
Far in the ultimate windings of the vale, a deep wood overhangs in shady darkness the steep of the mountain ; while on the other side, the rocks, bold and precipitous, rise abrupt in majestic nakedness, forming a narrow gloomy chasm, which winds along for some way, scarcely enlightened by the beams of day, till at length opening upon the lake 'beyond, a scene of unrivalled beauty and magnificence bursts at once upon the sight. Broad waters, fertile islands, ample sunshine, diversified with a thousand hues
and shapes, greet the eye, and satisfy the soul.
It was through the gloom of the chasm which leads thither that the young and lovely Flora took her way; but it was not to view the wild scene through which she passed, nor to enjoy the fair prospect beyond, that she wandered in solitude so far from her home. There is a cave hewn in the solid rock, deep into the very bowels of the mountain: the hand of man never could have achieved that monstrous work, and yet the chisel's mark is visibly to be traced throughout all its vast extent; columns, altars, niches, are spread on all sides, while the feeble torch that lights the traveller but dimly shews the wonders of its immense dimensions. It is said that the compelled demon, bound by the mystic virtues of an anchorite, there laboured for an hundred weeks to form a dwelling for the holy man. I know not: the tale is strange; but there, however, Flora paused, before the yawning jaws of the · VOL. III.
cavern. For an instant she was silent, as if in half-fearful awe; and then making the sign of the cross, she thus began to warble the song of her adjuration.
“ Yet no danger, yet no fear,
“ Tell me, is it war or wile,
Whence the sorrows come, oh tell!
“ Last, oh tell me, is his love,
The noise of no footstep woke the echoes of that deep cave; no sound proclaimed his approach; but as the last note dropped in liquid melody from Flora's lip, gliding with silent soundless step from the mouth of the cavern, a dark shadowy form appeared in the sunshine, and the wizard priest stood before her.
Flora bent with a look of reverence, while the old man, raising his hands above her head, bestowed on her his benediction with an air of majestic calmness.—“ In the name of the holy Trinity I bless thee,
daughter !" he said, and remained for a moment with his eyes fixed upon the heavens, as if in prayer; then quickly turning towards her, with a deep sonorous voice, and measured chaunt, he repeated :
“ The sun is high
In yonder sky,
But ere day
Illumed his way
Listen what I tell to thee-
“ The morning's light,
And sombre night,
But ere your eyes
See morning rise,
Trust not all that seem most free ;
“ Let not fear,
And terror drear,
Heaven is kind,
Though man is blind,
But yet beware of all you see,