Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

STANZAS

TO AN INFANT ASLEEP IN ITS MOTHER's arms.

Heaven lies about us in our infancy.

WORDSWORTH.

O ne'er was bird at morning hour,

So bright, and blithe as thou,
Yet scarcely is a night-closed flower,

More soft and stirless now:
But never did a bower like thine,

Or bird, or blossom keep-
Sweet Babe, thou hast a dower divine,

In that, thine INFANT SLEEP.

II.

For what to thee is Chance or Time ?

The wrongs thy kind endure ?
In thine unconsciousness sublime ;-

Thine innocence secure;-
Soft gliding like a leaf or flower,

On this world's wonderous deep,
Though winds arise and tempests lower,

Calm, calm, thine INFANT SLEEP.

III.

But years must lapse ere thou wilt learn

Of that stilljoy the truth;
The child, for active sport will burn,

For Pleasure's chase the youth ;-
Stern Time must many a hope destroy,

And Care thy spirit steep,
Ere thou, perceiving life's alloy-

Regret, thine Infant SLEEP.

IV.

Yes,~manhood will embrown thy cheek,

Where blooms a six months' rose, And fervid beams from that eye break,

Where morn's meek lustre glows;
Ambition, Glory, Love, and Lore,

Thy wakened spirit sweep;
But Sage, or Hero,-hope no more

Thy pure, thine INFANT SLEEP!

And, thou wilt leave that precious fold,

Thy mother's gentle breast;
And love in other eyes behold, -

By other lips be blest ;-
The Wife-the Friend-in hours of woe

Will minister and weep ;-
But love,- such love as seraphs know

That-watched thine INFANT SLEEP.

VI.

Farewell sweet Babe! O be thy soul

Stirred gently by the world!
Truth's banner vast—Time's tragic scroll-

By guardian hands unfurled ;
Be thou a child of thoughtful breath,'—

Life's pilgrim-path so keep-
That even the dark repose of death,

May be but INFANT SLEEP !

CUPID'S CONTRADICTIONS.

It is as easy to count atomies, as to resolve the propositions of a lover.

AS YOU LIKE IT.

A palace, yet a place of thrall,

My bosom is I ween;
Where thou, altho' the space be small,

Art captive, yet a queen :-
Thou hast no power to leave me,

Yet being bound art free;
Full often dost thou grieve me,

Yet joy is summed in thee.

Though to the world I praise thee,

Thy worth it cannot know;
Above the stars I raise thee,

Yet leave thee all too low.
When absent, I deplore thee,

Yet shrink when thou art near;
My pain is to adore thee,-

My happiness to fear.

I would have all men love thee,

A world of hearts be thine;
Yet die, should thou my dove, flee

To other Ark than mine.
I'd have thee blythely range, love,

Yet fixed beyond control ;-
To the eye, be a moon for change, love,

A load-star to the soul.

of you.

AN ADVENTURE IN THE NORTH. My Dear FRIEND, --A truce to your complainings- a traveller cannot be a punctual correspondent—unless indeed he travel on business, and correspond with his employers. It is true I have not once addressed you during my two months absence from home, but then so much the more shall I have to tell you when we meet by our own fire-side; and if I have never committed my thoughts to foolscap, believe me, I have never ceased to think

Whether I climbed Skiddaw, or wandered among the fastnesses of Borrowdale-or sailed over the clear blue depths of Windermere--whether overtaken by a storm-or taking 'mine ease in mine inn'-or feasting on char, or fasting on oat-cake“wheresoever I went, whatsoever I did, suffered, or enjoyed, I invariably wished for the presence of my wise, foolish, incomprehensible cousin and friend—Walter Freeman, Nevertheless as I am threatened with instant loss of favor, unless I give some account of myself, or, to use thine own phrase, 'relate my adventures,' I am fain to take up the pen and sacrifice an intended moonlight ramble. But if truth must be told, friend Walter, and a very disagreeable truth it is—the romance of this country is confined to the appearances of nature; the course of human life, is as little poetical here, as it is in your Babelof brick and mortar, London: and for aught I see, the men and women are, in the main, precisely like the men and women everywhere else-beings who eat, drink , and sleep; and are alternately pleased and vexed with trifles. Furthermore, much as it will grieve thy romance loving self to hear it, I am constrained to confess that adventures are rarely to be met with, or even made. I protest that notwithstanding all my efforts, I have been utterly unable to get up an attachment of any sort or kind; and I begin to think with thee that the world is becoming a mere volume of prose. A line of poetry was certainly taken from it, when Fashion added the Lakes to her territories. It is true the scenery remains in nature's keeping, and the by-ways are yet unsophisticated, but the highways are lost for ever to the true-lovers of the picturesque: carriages-stage-coaches—dandies-livery-servants-green-veiled ladiesparasols, and opera-glasses-affront the eye at every step. Not only the days of chivalry, but the days of sentiment are past !

It was on the morning of a second day of almost incessant rain, that I strolled out to refresh both mind and body, after the ennui occasioned by solitary confinement in a strange place. The sky was covered with gloomy ragged clouds, except in the west, where the sun had burst forth, preparatory to his setting, and thrown a partial, troubled splendour, over the dark masses which immediately surrounded him. The far-off mountains with their awful depth of shade, and the lake, swollen with the rain and ruffled with the wind, accorded well with that sullen sky. The little rills no longer trickled over the rocks like lines of silver, making in their descent only a quiet murmur, but came pouring down with the impetuous speed of torrents. In my mountain rambles I usually choose the most unfrequented paths, as being less likely to encounter in them the regular promenaders, and as enjoying greater facilities of becoming acquainted with the country and its inhabitants. In the present instance, I had struck into a by-road wild enough even for my taste, and careless whither it might lead me, I wandered on until my further progress was stopped by a rapid stream, which, increased far beyond its natural size by the rain and mountain rivulets, was flowing right across my path. Over boots over shoes,' says the proverb, but in this case it seemed likely to be over head over ears’-therefore, wisely de

B

clining to ford the brook, I clambered up a crag, at a little distance from the road side, and there seated myself. When one is in a lazy, or in a melancholy mood, it is delightful to watch motion without being required to move ;—therefore, sailing in a boat-observing people work-trees waveor shadows dance-is pleasant : in the absence of these excitements, I was content to watch the flowing of the water. I had sat there some time, when my attention was attracted by the appearance of a female, who suddenly emerged from a turn in the road below, and walked backwards and forwards with a rapid anxious step; frequently directing her eyes to a particular point, as though from thence she awaited the approach of some object. After some time thus fruitlessly spent, she retreated to a stone close by the way-side and there sitting down, covered her face, and bowed her head, like one given up to over powering sorrow. It was a better feeling than mere curiosity, that induced me to descend, and address her in the language of compassion. “Tell me,' said I, what you look for, and I will assist you in the search ;” She made me no answer, and I was obliged to repeat both my question and offer of assistance more than once, before I could succeed in gaining her attention. At last, she looked in my face, but with an expression so wild, so desolate, that at once the truth suggested itselfthe poor soul was crazed! Though young, she was not pretty, her dress was that of the peasantry, nor did her deportment bespeak her of a higher rank-every thing about her, excepting her wild and grief-worn countenance, was common-place. Nevertheless I was inexpressibly touched. Again I made fresh inquiries as to her name, residence, and object of search; and again with the same ill success. She only looked at me as before, in dumb sorrow-raised her hand-(it was wan and attenuated like the rest of her frame) pointed along the road, shook her head, and sighed bitterly. At length after about a quarter of an hour thus spent, in dumb show on her side, and on mine, in fruitless efforts to make myself understood—she seemed to arouse to recollection :-giving another look to the point whither she had previously directed so many in vain-she murmured in a low, heartbroken voice-He is not come yet, I will return to-morrow, rose from her seat,—moved from me at a rapid pace, and was soon hidden by the turn in the road from which I had first beheld her approach.

It will be quite needless to tell you, that compassion, curiosity, a multitude of strong, undefinable emotions, excited me to follow her steps at a distance to inform myself of her history—and do all in my power towards improving her circumstances. Alas ! it was little that any human being could hope to effect, for who may 'minister to a mind diseased.' I know not that I ever had my feelings so powerfully affected as by this poor

crazed girl, and yours too, my dear Walter, will not be unmoved, when I tell you the ‘ower true tale' connected with those simple words—He is not come yet -I will return to-morrow.

Reuben Sands, her father, was a poor man, inasmuch as he gained his bread by his daily labour ; but there was nothing abject in his poverty, because his labour sufficed to furnish him with the necessaries of life, and his principles led him to be therewith content.' He had but one child, and she ministered to him, and to her mother, with tenderness and zeal. Kate was not beautiful (except in the eyes of her parents), but she was endowed with a meek, loving, womanly spirit, with a heart made to sympathize with suffering a hand ever ready to afford personal serviceKate was born to love, and to be loved ;-and the village gossips foretold, by her timid, melancholy eye-her silent, almost reserved demeanour-that she would love once, and for ever—for life, or for death-in happiness deep and steadfastor in sorrow, dark and changeless. She did love-and not only well, but wisely-for her betrothed was approved by both father and mother ; well spoken of in his own, and that was a neighbouring village ; and, added to these recommendations, he was superior in point of station and manners to the country youths around. Kate had been his first and only love; neither friends nor circumstances offered opposition; the lovers plighted their troth; their few simple preparations were made; the cottage was furnished; the day fixed for their union arrived; and the wedding cavalcade assembled. It was to be a rustic holiday throughout the village, for Kate was a universal favourite; all was ready, but the young lover did not make his appearance. The wedding guests looked at each other, not knowing what to think. Anger, suspicion, even threats, were at first expressed; but as the lagging hours sped on, other feelings arose, of a kinder, but more melancholy nature. The messengers sent to his father's house, returned and brought no tidings.

He had left home the afternoon before, to pay his last visit as a lover to Kate ; he had never returned.' But he had reached Kate's cottage at the appointed trysting hour, and had left her early in the evening; no more was known. Suddenly, it was remembered that one of those sudden and heavy mists, common, and often fatal, in those mountainous regions, had arisen the preceding evening, and that the young man's path lay across a wild rocky district; for, in the impatience of a lover's heart, he had latterly never travelled the regular road, because it was more than a mile round. The moment an old shepherd suggested the mist, and the pass of

dejection and dismay was painted on every face; the young men spoke not a word, but went out, and dispersed to the right and to the left, seeking their companion ; whilst the females remained to weep with their bereaved friend. I shall tire you if I prolong the details of this simple but most sad tale. It was not till some days had elapsed that the object of search was discovered ; dead of course. The mist had arisen, and not having had presence of mind to sit down and wait till the morning should disperse it, the unfortunate young man had wandered out of his way, and unable, by reason of the fog, to discover the chasms and precipices around, had fallen from aconsiderable height, and perished! They brought him home and buried him, and mourned for him as a brother and a friend; but grief for the dead soon yielded to sympathy for the living, for whom sympathy was equally vain. I will not harrass your feelings by repeating the description given me by eye witnesses of the scene which ensued when the survivor came to the full knowledge of her hapless fate. Three words will inform you of the result. Kate is crazed ! Neither medicine nor kindness, no, nor yet severity affects her ; she is a tearless Niobe; still, silent, and harmless, her existence centres in one idea, one phrase, one recollection. She has forgotten her lover's catastrophe; she remembers only that he promised to make her his wife ; and day after day, throughout summer and winter, she repairs, morning and evening, to the path where he should have appeared on his wedding day. When there, she looks forth anxiously as though she still expected him to meet her, and after having watched her appointed time, turns back to her home repeating the same mournful phrase-He is not come yet- I will return to-morrow!. Alas! morrow succeeds to-morrow, and still he comes not!

Z

« ПредишнаНапред »