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The Sphinx's Children

The Sphinx's Children and Other People (New York: Tickner, 1886)


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22 THE SPHINX'S CHILDREN.

relentless, cruel as jealousy ; an anomalous woman, were she not a stone-born child of the Sphinx!

Or a great General, before whose iron will horse and horseman quailed and fled, like dry stubble before flame; who wielded the sword of Gideon. and cut off the armies of his kindred people and his anointed king as a mower fells the glittering grass on a summer dawn, heedless that he, too, shall be eat down from his flourishing. On his track fire and blood spread their banners, and the raven scented his trophies afar off; age and youth alike were crushed under the tread of his war-horse; honor, and valor, and life's best prime, opposed him as summer opposes the Arctic hail-fury, and lay beaten into mire at his feet. Hated, feared, followed to the death; victorious or vanquished, the same strong, imperturbable, sullen nature; persistent rather than patient in effort, vigorously direct in action; a minister of unconscious good, of half-conscious evil; stern and gloomy to the sacrilegious climax of his well-battled life, even in the regicidal act going as one driven to his deeds by Fate that forgot God; was he to be wondered at, whose life, in ages far gone, began among the stony Sphinx children?

or alone in these great landmarks of their dwelling have the Sphinx's children haunted Earth. Poets have sung them under myriad names ; History has chronicled them in groups; Painting and Sculpture have handed down their aspect to a gazing world, From them sprung the Eumenides, pursuers and destroyers of men. They wore the garb of Roman legionaries, when Hannah wept for her children dashed against the walls of the Holy City, and not one stone stood upon another in Zion. They crowded the offices of the Inquisition, and tested the endurance of its victims, with



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