But, having taken
my station beside one of those pillars, I had a distinct view of the
young dancers, as in succession they passed me.
Their long, graceful drapery was as white as snow; and each wore
loosely, beneath the rounded bosom, a dark-blue zone, or bandelet,
studded, like the skies at midnight, with little silver stars. Through
their dark locks was wreathed the white lily of the Nile,--that flower
being accounted as welcome to the moon, as the golden blossoms of the
bean-flower are to the sun. As they passed under the lamp, a gleam of
light flashed from their bosoms, which, I could perceive, was the
reflection of a small mirror, that, in the manner of the women of the
East, each wore beneath her left shoulder.
There was no music to regulate their steps; but as they gracefully went
round the bird on the shrine, some, by the beat of the Castanet, some,
by the shrill ring of the sistrum,--which they held uplifted in the
attitude of their own divine Isis,--harmoniously timed the cadence of
their feet; while others, at every step, shook a small chain of silver,
whose sound, mingling with those of the castanets and sistrums, produced
a wild, but not an unpleasing harmony.
They seemed all lovely; but there was one--whose face the light had not
yet reached, so downcast she held it,--who attracted, and at length
rivetted all my attention--_The Epicurean, by Thomas Moore, Esq.