The Nameless Isle

Some twenty years before Lewis wrote the scene in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe where Aslan breathes life into the stone statues bewitched by the White Witch, he wrote a comparable scene into the alliterative poem "The Nameless Isle". In this story, a throng of statues is brought back to life by an elf who plays a magic flute, and at the last frees a beautiful maiden from her prison of stone:

Noble creatures were coming near, and more
Stirring, as I saw them, out of stone bondage,
Stirring and descending from their still places,
And every image shook, as an egg trembles
Over the breaking beak. Through the broad garden
--The dew drenched it--drawn, ev'n as moths,
To that elf's glimmering, his old shipmates
Moved to meet him. There, among, was tears,
Clipping and kissing. King they hailed him,
Men, once marble, that were his mates of old,
Fair in feature and of form godlike,
For the stamp of the stone was still on them
Carved by the wizard. They kept, and lived,
The marble mien. They were men weeping,
Round the dwarf dancing to his deft fingers.
Then was the grey garden as if the gods of heaven
On the carol dancing had come and chos'n
The flowers folded, for their floor to dance.
Close beside me, as when a cloud brightens
When, mid thin vapours, through comes the sun,
The marble maid, under mask of stone,
Shook and shuddered. As a shadow streams
Over the wheat waving, over the woman's face
Life came lingering. Nor was it long after
Down its blue pathways, blood returning
Moved, and mounted to her maiden cheek.
Breathing broadened her breast. Then light
from her eyes' opening all that beauty
Worked into woman. So the wonder was complete,
Set, precipitate, and the seal taken,
Clear and crystal the alchemic change,
Bright and breathing.

C.S. Lewis, The Nameless Isle, Lines 542 - 573 (1930)

(With thanks to Arevanye)

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