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father mounted our house's throne. The prince's widow was little heeded : God's judgment upon her, because she herself was wanting in maternal love, and at length thrust her daughter out of her own house-after disturbing her mental peace by her tyrannical and immoral conduct. Then the latter gave up all earthly glory, and desired, after so deep a deception, nothing more than a heart full of love, and the quiet peace of obscurity. She found both in my father; for although he was not of princely descent, he possessed a lofty mind and a towering spirit. She brought him six sons; when the last was born, her measure of duty was performed. My father could not survive her, and yet durst not die : the departed drew him after her; his children held him. He lived here with her the life of a saint in an inseparable union of souls ; I never saw him either joyful or sad like another mortal. His thoughts were constantly turned inward, and one could see in his eyes that his soul already belonged to another world. One care only had he for this; to instil into his sons their mother's lofty spirit, and to prepare such a fate for them that the workings of that spirit in them might not be oppressed by an overpowering weight of worldly misery. He ordered their education accordingly, and dedicated his undivided attention to it; and as he possessed, himself, but little of this world's goods, he doubted not but your father would at least bestow some portion of them upon the descendants of a man from whom he had obtained all, and whose throne he occupied. His entreaties found no way to the prince's heart. Then you, his only son, ascended the throne. You, at least, he hoped, having received such signal bounty from heaven, and expecting to become the founder of a race far extending into futurity, would be willing to deserve such grace, by shewing some commiseration for the last withering branches of your own stock.
But he received no answer to his repeated supplications; and when at last he attempted to approach your person, your sentinels thrust him back with their halberds. Therefore has God sent the destroying angel into your house, whose entrance no sentries can prevent. But I am anticipating my story. Attend !
The monarch, trembling with fear and agitation, supported himself against the pillar which sustained the wide roof. The coffin-maker went on with his narration without interrupting his work.
Just as my father received this rude repulse, the time had arrived when my three eldest brothers were to enter on the career that he had selected for them. He called us all together, ‘God,' said he, ' has determined otherwise than we wished.' Proceeding then to acquaint us with his circumstances, he conjured us to give up all ideas of grandeur, and follow the humble vocations which he had already made choice of for us. We were silent, because we would not distress our father, but the spirit of the departed prince burned in the hearts of his grandsons. At night we all ascended to the topmost room of the house. resolved rather to relinquish life than degrade ourselves by any mean occupation; but we resolved first to drag down your ungrateful race with us to perdition.
“ An inexpressible inward anxiety betrayed to our father what was passing. On a sudden he appeared in the midst of us as his six sons stood there in a circle, with their daggers raised in their right hands to
swear, and their eyes, especially those of the youngest, though he had not completed his fourteenth year, flashing with indignation. Our arms dropped mechanically as he regarded us with his placid look, and our anger died away when he addressed us : Children, have I dedicated ye to the dark deeds of hell? Is every ray of heavenly light from yonder, where your mother beckons ye, extinguished in your breasts ? Every wrathful feeling was eradicated as he spoke, and all power of volition destroyed. But in proportion as our spirits grew composed, an inward feeling seemed more and more to animate our father :-his eyes beamed so brightly that we durst scarce look at him ; a spirit of prophecy came over him, and with a terrible voice he suddenly exclaimede Stain not your hearts and hands! Vengeance is His, He will repay! It was clear to us, then, that we must leave it to God to judge; and the hands which we had raised to imprecate vengeance, were now uplifted to confirm the vow that we would never seek for revenge on the foe who had wronged us in our parents.”
Without leaving off his work, the coffin-maker stopped a second, as if to give the king time to recover himself, for he had swooned away.
“ Sir,” continued he, “then I was the youngest. It was late at night when we separated; I walked out into the garden. The weather was sultry, and the atmosphere exceedingly oppressive; while the thick darkness was only occasionally relieved by the faint glimmer of a distant flash of lightning. I sat myself down, exhausted in spirit and in body, and fell asleep. Singular dreams flitted before my troubled mind; but when I awoke they were all vanished, distinctly as I had seen them. However, the words which one apparition had whispered to me, echoed articulately and intelligibly in my soul. Gird thyself to prepare the coffins, in which the unmerciful generation shall be carried to the grave!' And as I now observed that I had fallen asleep beneath my favourite rose tree, on which were six roses, its first bearing, which had all opened in the day and withered during the night, I looked upon this as a token of the certain fulfilment of my vision.
“ Like my brothers, I relinquished my ambitious hopes, and entered the next morning into the service of a joiner, whose business I speedily began to learn. I acquainted nobody with the least circumstance of my dream. I worked indefatigably, and when my time of servitude expired, I wandered about in foreign parts, seeking employment as a journeyman. I never gave my relatives any tidings of me, for I knew that in obscurity alone could I follow my obscure calling. I obtained reputation as a mechanist: then you appointed me to your city. I knew it must so happen; but a long time elapsed before I found employment, so that I had opportunities of inventing curious ornamental devices for coffins, and in many an hour of the night I worked up my materials in emblematical sculpture. I was offered great prices for my work— They are bespoke,' said I, “and must be got ready beforehand, for such work is not to be performed in the hour of need.' Nobody understood me; I alone knew what I meant. I was afterwards appointed coffin-maker to your household. Now thought I, business will begin. But your house's splendour glowed on with increasing lustre ;—your children grew up in strength and beauty; and you were esteemed the happiest of princes. But the spirit in me spake They must be exalted high, that their downfall may be the greater,' and I waited patiently for the accomplishment of that, which I knew must come to pass.
“ It happened that one clear spring day I went out of my workshop, and wandered through the green meadows. Suddenly the sky darkened above me, and the hail fell and destroyed the fresh seed that was just beginning to shoot. While I reflected upon the passing scene, a voice within me said, “ The first things shall be first sacrificed.' I understood this not, but went home ;-then the cry of despair assailed my ears. The twin sons thy wife had first borne thee were gone; a malignant disorder had quickly swept them away, both in one hour. Then I thought of the sculpture of the pair of doves offered up in the templeand I looked them out and fitted them to the coffin in which your twin sons repose under the cold sod.
“ Years rolled on; it was summer. I ascended a hill where I was accustomed to quench my thirst with a fresh draught from a lucid spring that collected in a stone basin, under the shade of a lofty beech-tree that stood on the skirt of a mountain meadow. Far extends the glance from that elevated spot over a flat fertile land, dotted with innumerable cities and villages, the fairest portion of your kingdom. But when I had reached the spot, the channel was dry in which the streamlet used to purl, and the basin empty. Then spake the voice
Now the spring fails. I hurried home and got ready thy rulpture of the parting mother, for I well knew that soon would your royal spouse decline; and so it happened.
“ The circling years again rolled on, and I stood one day in autumn · beneath the favourite tree that you planted with your own hand; and
while I gazed with admiration at the ripening fruits, the storm caught the arms and branches, and shook them so that all the fruit fell off. The voice said, "Now the fruit falls !' I returned homeward immediately, to prepare the sculptures of the broken lily's stem, the butterfly with torn wings, and the leafless rose; and as I entered the city, the wailings of the people burst upon my ear, and I learned that the carriage which bore your daughters, three lovely brides, betrothed to three royal bridegrooms, had been overturned and dashed down a precipice; and just as I reached the boundary of your park, they brought the lacerated corpses of your beloved children upon litters, covered with costly canopies, through the postern entrance.
“ After this, a long period elapsed. Mightily appeared your race to wrestle with the destruction that impended over it. Powerfully grew your youngest son, a bold hero in the field of slaughter. We celebrated the prince's nuptial fête. He brought conquests to your country; his bed was unblessed. Then winter laid both meadow and stream in chains; all nature reposed; but restlessly raged on the fury of mankind in reckless bloodshed.
“I went out into the dark and deep green forest. There was an aspiring fir, to whose lofty summit I often looked up in admiration of the mighty artisan who had formed so proud a work ; its long straight stem lay extended at the feet of lowly shrubs ! Then the voice spake, while I gazed on it, full of sorrow. Now is the axe laid to the trunk !' Without delay, I bent my steps homeward, and scarcely had I looked out the sculpture of the fallen temple, when the joyous cry of victory resounded through the city ; but suddenly every tongue was stilled -and quickly followed the direful news, that the crown prince had fallen
on the field ! Not for his own sake has he aggrandized his kingdom others will now possess it. Now, Sir, my story is finished, and I have no more emblems. The king cried, as if struck with madness, ' And hast thou no coffin left for me?'
“ • Thou wilt not need a coffin,' answered the workman, but permit me to try the lid ; let us see if all the parts correspond.'”
He placed the lid upon the coffin, and examined the work with the scrutinizing eye of a proficient in his art.
“ These figures do not harmonize well,” said he, “I must chaunt my old burthen once again : thus will the work be best completed.” He sang:
Behold the pit-by man of sin
A snare for others laid ;
His own death-bed is made!
In whom is placed my trust,
Omnipotent and just ! The king was senseless. Supported against the bench, he might have remained a long while in that state. When he came to himself the song had ceased, and he was alone in the workshop. The curious coffin stood before him, completely finished. The coffin-maker had disappeared, and from that hour nobody ever saw him again. But the prince remained a long while standing before the coffin, and looking back upon his past life; the gloomy recollection rose up in his whirling brain, that one day a memorial was presented to him, and he felt deep commiseration for the indigent father and his six young sons ; but his courtiers dissuaded him from affording them relief, and since then no complaint of their's had reached his ear.
Now his last son was at rest, enclosed in the narrow coffin, and buried deep below the earth. The king, tired of life, mounted his judgment-seat once again, and commanded those unfeeling counsellors before him, and punished them. He caused the grand-children of his ancestor to be sought for, but none of them were to be found in his kingdom. They dwelt in foreign countries, in the peaceful enjoyment of domestic happiness, and despised the gifts which he now proffered too late. The name of his race was not extinct, but had descended from the princely dignity to the middle station of life. Insanity at length seized on the hapless prince, and when the ocean was raging with its wildest fury around the rocks upon which his castle raised its lofty turrets, he threw himself headlong down from the battlements into the foaming flood. His corpse was never found ; the coffin-maker had said “ thou wilt not need a coffin.”
A boundless ocean swallows up, at last, all generations of mensome rise above, some sink below. Ye, who rise, compassionate the sinking, for ye are supported only by the Divine mercy,
W. S. S.
A SPANISH LEGEND.
BY MRS. HENRY ROLLS.
“ Oh! go not to thy favourite bower!
For there, 'tis said, a spirit dwells ; And that it seems as though a shower
Of blood had stained its lilies' bells.
Nor seek yon mouldering turret's height,
Whose ruins overhang the stream; For there, 'tis said, at dead of night,
A gliding torch is seen to gleam.
Oh, lady ! mournful was the sound,
Late heard upon the midnight gale ; It rang yon cork-tree wood around,
Then died within yon lonely dale.
And thou, my nursling, dearer far
Than all these arms have e'er upborne, What cares have ris'n thy bliss to mar? What griefs have taught thee thus to mourn?
For sure thy cheek its rose hath lost,
And wild and wandering is thine eye; As though, by secret conflict tossed,
Thy soul some direful thought would fly.
Thou art thy father's only child,
His house's heir, its only stay; Then why should'st thou, by pride beguiled,
Its last remaining hope delay?
Ay, dearest ! let me braid thy hair,
And deck with gems that beauteous brow; The bridal robe consent to wear,
And take the lord Alonzo's vow!
For sure a nobler, brayer knight,
Ne'er strove by Guadalquiver's side; Oft has bis sword, in holy fight,
With Moorish blood its waters dyed.
Then, lady, thank the saints above
That champion of the cross is thine! May numerous pledges bless your love,
And distant ages hail your line !"