Jiří Karásek ze Lvovic

The Death of Salomé (A Nubian Apocrypha)

Day after day Salomé came in secret with a single slave to the hut of Séhon, hunter of gazelles.

The beautiful boy, all tanned and dark, with such white teeth that nothing was brighter, with black tresses that shone to a dark blue hue, as though sprinkled with azure powder, was loved by the Jewish princess, who tried in vain to hide the traces of old age with make‑up.

Only her eyes still shone in bright, flaming points like stars. But the exhausted pallor of her withered skin testified to their deceit.

The Roses of St. Sebastian

Before he knew Christ, Sebastian lived like all the other young cavaliers of Diocletian’s court, wasting day after day in worldly vanities.

This was in the time when light‑footed Diana still roamed the woods in gilded sandals with a throng of her nymphs. But her beauty was already too weary, and the goddess sometimes had moments when she felt the shadow of age. Now she would hardly have transformed Actaeon into a stag to be torn apart by his own dogs: she would not be likely to spurn lovers who adored her.