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Antonina

VI.
Years on years have worn onward, as--watch'd from above--Speeds that meek
spirit yet on its labour of love; Still the exile of Heav'n, it ne'er shall away, Every
heart has a home for it, roam where it may!
For the first few minutes after she had concluded the ode, Hermanric was hardly
conscious that she had ceased; and when at length she looked up at him, her mute
petition for approval had an eloquence which would have been marred to the Goth
at that moment, by the utterance of single word. A rapture, an inspiration, a new
life moved within him. The hour and the scene completed what the magic of the
song had begun. His expression now glowed with a southern warmth; his words
assumed a Roman fervour. Gradually, as they discoursed, the voice of the girl was
less frequently audible. A change was passing over her spirit; from the teacher,
she was now becoming the pupil.
As she still listened to the Goth, as she felt the birth of new feelings within her
while he spoke, her cheeks glowed, her features lightened up, her very form
seemed to freshen and expand. No intruding thought or awakening remembrance
disturbed her rapt attention. No cold doubt, no gloomy hesitation, appeared in her
companion's words. The one listened, the other spoke, with the whole heart, the
undivided soul. While a world-wide revolution was concentrating its hurricane
forces around them; while the city of an Empire tottered already to its tremendous
fall; while Goisvintha plotted new revenge; while Ulpius toiled for his revolution
of bloodshed and ruin; while all these dark materials of public misery and private
strife seethed and strengthened around them, they could as completely forget the
stormy outward world, in themselves; they could think as serenely of tranquil
love; the kiss could be given as passionately and returned as tenderly, as if the lot
of their existence had been cast in the pastoral days of the shepherd poets, and the
future of their duties and enjoyments was securely awaiting them in a land of
eternal peace!
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