Love Among the Ruins
by Edward Coley Burne Jones
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by Dani Lachuk
CLICK TO ENLARGE
This story is written by the
Latin writer Ovid
as told by Thomas Bullfinch
continued from page one
Pyramus, having been delayed, now approached the place of
meeting. He saw in the sand the footsteps of the lion, and the
colour fled from his cheeks at the sight.
Presently he found the veil all rent and bloody. "O hapless
girl," said he, "I have been the cause of thy death! Thou, more
worthy of life than I, hast fallen the first victim. I will
follow. I am the guilty cause, in tempting thee forth to a place
of such peril, and not being myself on the spot to guard thee.
Come forth, ye lions, from the rocks, and tear this guilty body
with your teeth."
He took up the veil, carried it with him to the appointed tree,
and covered it with kisses and with tears. "My blood also shall
stain your texture," said he, and drawing his sword plunged it
into his heart.
The blood spurted from the wound, and tinged the white
mulberries of the tree all red; and sinking into the earth
reached the roots, so that the red colour mounted through the
trunk to the fruit.
By this time Thisbe, still trembling with fear, yet wishing not
to disappoint her lover, stepped cautiously forth, looking
anxiously for the youth, eager to tell him the danger she had
escaped. When she came to the spot and saw the changed colour of
the mulberries she doubted whether it was the same place.
While she hesitated she saw the form of one struggling in the
agonies of death. She started back, a shudder ran through her
frame as a ripple on the face of the still water when a sudden
breeze sweeps over it.
But as soon as she recognized her lover, she screamed and beat
her breast, embracing the lifeless body, pouring tears into its
wounds, and imprinting kisses on the cold lips.
"O Pyramus," she cried, "What has done this? Answer me, Pyramus;
it is your own Thisbe that speaks. Hear me, dearest, and lift
that drooping head!"
At the name of Thisbe, Pyramus opened his eyes, then closed them
again. She saw her veil stained blood and the scabbard empty of
"Thy own hand has slain thee, and for my sake," she said. "I too
can be brave for once, and my love is as strong as thine. I will
follow thee in death, for I have been the cause; and death which
alone could part us shall not prevent my joining thee. And ye,
unhappy parents of us both, deny us not our united request. As
love and death have joined us, let one tomb contain us. And
thou, tree, retain the marks of slaughter. Let thy berries still
serve for memorials of our blood."
So saying she plunged the sword into her breast. Her parents
ratified her wish, the gods also ratified it. The two bodies
were buried in one sepulcher, and the tree ever after brought
forth purple berries, as it does to this day.
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