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The description of SEMIRAMIS

The existing history of Assyria's greatest ruler, Semiramis, is so confounded with the religions and superstitions of the ancients that little or no authentic fact may be gleaned therefrom. Again, these legends were handed down from father to son among the Syrians and imaginative Persians, till finally recorded by the more imaginative Greeks. These latter gentlemen seemed seldom to allow mere truth to stand as a stumbling block in their literary paths, but leaped it nimbly for the entertainment of an admiring world.

As for poets, they ever sing of Queen Semiramis at a period of her seasoned age and wickedness, though her "devilish beauty" continued to abide with her, being wielded as an evil scepter o'er the souls of men; yet much must be forgiven in a poet, because of that strange inaptitude of truth for a friendly relationship with meter and with rhyme.

In every human, however bad, there exists a trace of virtue, even as, on the other hand, no mortal yet has lived without some blemish of flesh or mind or heart; thus Nature balances her weird accounts, leaving the extremes of vice or purity to mythical ideals.

Given a woman without imagination or originality, and that woman deserves no credit whatsoever for her righteousness. She exists; she does not live; for her temptation possesses no attractive lure. Yet given another woman, of beauty, temper, brains, and for her the battles of good and evil will be waged till her fires are dead. Her better self must battle against ambition, passion, the blood of direct inheritance, the thousand ghostly guides that lead her into perilous ways, while on the scales of circumstances must hang the issue of her rise or fall. She must face still other foes, in men who are stronger than herself—men who seek her charms for weel or woe; for perfect love is a woman's highest goal, and a man may make or mar it by the mould of his great or little heart.

If, therefore, in her later days Semiramis was evil, the fault was not all her own. She chose her master—not the master of her mind, but the master of her woman's heart, and to him she gave her all. What wonder, then, that when her all was filched by lustful treachery, departing peace awoke a sleeping devil in her blood?

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