I was a fool, a dreamer—man belongs to reality, and not to fancy.'
With song and with sounding guitars the young people returned that evening from the tavern, through the narrow streets ; the two glowing carnations, daughters of the Campagna, went with them.
In Angelo's room, among a litter of coloured sketches, studies, and glowing pictures, the voices sounded mellower but not less merrily. On the ground lay many a sketch that resembled the daughters of the Campagna, in their fresh comeliness, but the two originals were far handsomer than their portraits. All the burners of the six-armed lamp flared and flamed ; and the human flamed up from within, and appeared in the glare as if it were divine.
1 Apollo ! Jupiter ! I feel myself raised to your heaven, to your glory ! I feel as if the blossom of life were unfolding itself in my veins at this moment! '
Yes, the blossom unfolded itself, and then burst and fell, and an evil vapour arose from it, blinding the sight, leading astray the fancy—the firework of the senses went out, and it became dark.
He was again in his own room ; there he sat down on his bed and collected his thoughts.
* Fie on thee ! '—these were the words that sounded out of his mouth from the depths of his heart. ' Wretched man, go, begone !' And a deep painful sigh burst from his bosom.
1 Away ! begone ! ' These, her words, the words of the living Psyche, echoed through his heart, escaped from his lips. He buried his head in the pillows, his thoughts grew confused, and he fell asleep.
In the morning dawn he started up, and collected his thoughts anew. What had happened ? Had all the past been a dream ? The visit to her, the feast at the tavern, the evening with the purple carnations of the Campagna ? No, it was all real—a reality he had never before experienced.
In the purple air gleamed the bright Star, and its beams fell upon him and upon the marble Psyche. He trembled as he looked at the picture of immortality, and his glance seemed impure to him. He threw the cloth over the statue, and then touched it once more to unveil the form—but he was not able to look again at his own work.