[p. 154] and Walker. It was delightful to hear her converse. Her knowledge of present and past events, and of the prominent characters of history, was astonishing. She would tell anecdotes of persons so varied and interesting that her quiet and unassuming conversation was sought and listened to by many distinguished persons. I remember of her travelling with her brothers several miles in order to see an Indian chief, and get the precise accent and signification of an Indian word.That she had a remarkable memory and a natural aptitude for knowledge, we learn also from Griswold,1 her sympathetic friend and admirer. Her notes on ‘Zophiel’ mark her as a student of wide and accurate information, capable of thought and research quite unusual for a woman of her time. On ‘Zophiel; or, The Bride of Seven,’ Mrs. Brooks' fame as a poetess rests. Southey,2 after quoting from this poem, adds: ‘So sings Maria del Occidente, the most impassioned and most imaginative of poetesses.’ ‘Zophiel’ is an Oriental epic. Mrs. Brooks finds the suggestion for her plot in the ‘Apocrypha.’ Sara, a beautiful maiden, suffers persecution because the seven husbands to whom she was successively married were mysteriously killed on the wedding-night by the wicked spirit Asmodeus. Finally the unhappy Sara prays for death, or, if she must live, she begs some pity may be shown her. In answer to this prayer the angel Raphael brings Tobias to the house of Raguel, Sara's father. Tobias, nothing daunted by the sad fate of the seven who preceded him, becomes the eighth aspirant to Sara's hand, and begs for an immediate marriage. Since Tobias is the one man foreordained and predestinated to be Sara's mate, the spell of the wicked Asmodeus is overcome, and the marriage safely and happily consummated. On this ancient myth Mrs. Brooks enlarges in her poem ‘Zophiel.’
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