Page:Idalia, by 'Ouida'.djvu/152

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while from the convent tower the midnight strokes fell slowly, beating out the flight of Time, that in its merciless eternal movement had left of the Great King but the writing on the wall, but the mute story of Assyrian stones; and that had swept down, like insects of a summer day, the mailed and mighty cohorts who once had passed the windings of the Ister, with the shouts of "Ave Caesar Imperator!" proudly heralding the passage of the Last Constantine. Where were they—the innumerable Peoples of the Past?

Where were they?—bright Greek and delicate Persian, ravening Hun and haughty Latin, swift Scythian and black-browed Tartar, brute Mogul and patrician Roman, whose bones lay buried there, unmarked, unparted, in the community of the grave?

The Danube rolled along its majestic waters, while centuries and cycles passed; sweeping onward under the same sun that once flashed on the diadem of Darius; flowing in solemn melody through the night under the same stars which the wistful eyes of Julian once studied in the still lonely watches of his tent. The river was living still, dark and changeless, rushing ever onward to the sea; but they, the fleeting and innumerable phan-