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.
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