Beside the springs of Dove

A short fragment inspired by the writing of Edgar Allen Poe


‘Will I never overcome this helpless, hopeless fascination I have for the people of the world?’  I wondered as I made my way through the forest. I had just turned twenty and was tired of all the fuss that had been made over me at my birthday. I loved my father, the king, terribly, and my frivolous uncle Dale, whose conjuring tricks had given me hours of juvenile mirth, was a delight to my soul, but I was now overcome with the exhaustion we feel when surfeited on the company of others.

 I made my way to a quiet place, where Alph the sacred river ran through caverns measureless to man…no no no, that’s someone else’s writing… here was but a gentle flowing stream (with nothing sacred about it whatsoever) where I expected to find my companion solitude, whose embrace would sooth my perturbed spirit and whose gentle words – which are transported by the winds and though the sweet sound of birdsong – provide me with rest and consolation.

 The stream was clear like the crystals in Final Fantasy. I was on the bank beside the stream, reclining indolently, not willing to bestir myself, content to simply drift through the morning in an opium-filled delirium. The day before had been filled with my typical anxious – what shall we say, thoughts, cogitations, preoccupations? – all that sort of meaningless pufnstuf. Today none of it seemed to matter anymore. When we are no longer around people, it is not only that they cannot harm us but even the concern over how much more money this one has, how superior the skill of another – and other such meditations that weigh us down each time we are in company or society – seem to dissipate. Anyway, none of that seemed to matter today as I reclined indolently on a bank of the stream; the lush verdure grass cushioning me like the most decadent ottoman, and the leafy boughs of a sycamore affording me their shade, their branches swaying gently like the arms of some giant puppeteer moving about his marionettes in a subtle, dreamlike way. 

 Just as I was drifting off to sleep, recumbently dreaming of knights templar and  the glory of ancient civilisations, the lust and the lasciviousness of the moors, the ardent, murderous intensity of the Italians, a faint rustling of leaves not far from me alerted me to the fact I was not alone. Opening my eyes, which had involuntarily begun to close, I made out to my right a vision fair and lovely, something that seem ethereal, as though from the wind or the sun rather than corporeal, human earthly; such was the loveliness and perfection that this vision manifest before my bleary eyes.

 She was a maiden, softly bedecked in white as though clothed with the dew of heaven and the soft tresses of her hair, cascaded like the little rivulets of immense rivers, which branch out gently amidst the banks and levees of quaint, rustic landscapes. Her lips were the colour of a ripe peach and the enamel coating of her skin seemed impervious to the harshness of the sun, such was its dignified, stately complexion. As she moved gently toward me, like a gazelle who is at first timid and then stately in its movements as it becomes more comfortable in its surroundings, I sensed in her manner and bearing the most noble, the most elegant of characters; not only was the impression of her beauty overwhelming, but the air of quiet dignity and almost regal solemnity with which she deported herself, aroused in me awe and profound respect.


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