Psyche (Couperus)/Chapter 2
To fly! oh, to fly!
She was so fond of birds. How she envied them! She enticed them with crumbs of bread, with grains of corn, and once she had rescued a dove from an eagle. The dove she had hidden under her veil, pressed close to her bosom, and the eagle she had courageously driven off with her hand, when in his flight he overshadowed her with his broad wings, calling out to him to go away and leave her dove unhurt.
Oh, to seek! to seek!
For she was so fond of flowers, and gladly in the woods and meadows, or farther away still, would she have sought for those that were unknown. But she cultivated them within the walls, on the rocky ground, and she had made herself a garden; the buds opened when she looked at them, the stems grew when she stroked them, and when she kissed a faded flower it became as fresh again as ever.
To wander, oh, to wander!
Then she wandered along the battlements, down the steps, over the court-yards and the ramparts, but at the gates stood the guards, rough and bearded and clad in mail, with loud-sounding horns round their shoulders.
Then she could go no farther and wandered back into the vaults and crypts, where sacred spiders wove their webs; and then, if she became frightened, she hurried away, farther, farther, farther, along endless galleries, between rows of motionless knights in armour, till she came again to her nurse, who sat ever at her spinning-wheel.
Oh! to glide through the air!
To glide in a steady wind, to the farthest horizon, to the milk-white and opal region, which she saw in her dreams, to the uttermost parts of the earth!
To glide to the seas, and the islands, which yonder, so far, far away and so unsubstantial, changed every moment, as if a breeze could alter their form, their tint; so unfirm, that no foot could tread them, but only a winged being like herself, a bird, a fairy, could gently hover over them, to see all that beautiful landscape, to enjoy that atmosphere, that dream of Paradise. . . .
Oh! to fly, to seek, to wander, to soar! . . . .
And for hours together she sat dreaming in an embrasure, her eyes far off, her arms round her knees, and her wings spread out, like a little butterfly that sat motionless.