Графични страници
PDF файл

enemies; and till thou hast gone on, and raised a swarm of wasps about thine ears, and art half stung to death by them, thou wilt never be convinced it

is so.

I cannot suspect it in the man whom I esteem, that there is the least spur from spleen, or malevolence of intent in these sallies--I believe and know them to be truly honest and sportive :-But consider, my dear lad, that fools cannot distinguish this,-and that knaves will not ;-and thou knowest not what it is, either to provoke the one, or to make merry with the other:--whenever they associate for mutual defence, depend upon it, they will carry on the war in such a manner against thee, my dear friend, as to make thee heartily sick of it, and of thy life too.

Revenge, from some baneful corner, shall level a tale of dishonour at thee, which no innocence of heart or integrity of conduct shall set right.. The fortunes of thy house shall totter,--thy character, which led the way to them, shall bleed on every side of it,—thy faith questioned,—thy works belied,--thy wit forgotten,—thy learning trampled on. To wind up the last scene of thy tragedy, CRUELTY and cOWARDICE, twin ruffians, hired and set on by MALICE in the dark, shall strike together at all thy infirmities and mistakes :- -The best of us, my dear lad, lieopen there,--and trust me,

- trust me, Yorick, when to gratify a private appetite, it is once resolved upon, that an innocent and an helpless creature shall be sacrificed, 'tis an easy matter to pick up sticks enough from any thicket where it has strayed, to make a fire to offer it ир with.

Yorick scarce ever heard the sad vaticination of his destiny read over to him, but with a tear stealing from his eye, and a promissory look attending it, that he was resolved, for the time to come, to ride bis tit with more sobriety.—But, alas, too late !-a grand confederacy, with ***** and ***** at the head of it, was formed before the first prediction of it. The whole plan of the attack, just as Eugenius had foreboded, was put in execution all at once,—with so Jittle mercy on the side of the allies,--and so little suspicion in Yorick of what was carrying on against him,—that when he thought, good easy man! full surely preferment was o'ripening,—they had smote his root, and then he fell, as many a worthy man had fallen before him.

Yorick, however, fought it out with all imaginable gallantry for some time; till overpowered by numbers, and worn out at length by the calamities of the war,—but more so, by the ungenerous manner in which it was carried on,-he threw down the sword;

and though he kept up his spirits in appearance to the last, he died, nevertheless, as was generally thought, quite broken-hearted.

What inclined Eugenius to the same opinion, was as follows:

A few hours before Yorick breathed his last, Eugenius stept in with an intent to take liis last sight and farewell of him. Upon his drawing Yorick's curtain, and asking how he felt himself, Yorick looked up in his face, took hold of his hand,-and after thanking him for the many tokens of his friendship to him, for which, he said, if it was their fate to meet hereafter,- he would thank him again and again,ếhe told him, he was within a few hours, of giving his enemies the slip for ever. I hope not, answered Eugenius, with tears trickling down his cheek, and with the tenderest tone that ever man spoke,--I hope not Yorick, said he.Yorick replied with a look up, and a gentle squeeze of Eugenius's hand, and that was all, but it cat Eugenius to the lieart.--Come,-come, Yorick, quoth Eugenius, wiping his eyes, and summoning up the man within him, my dear lad, be comforted, let not all thy spirits and fortitude forsake thee at this crisis when thou most wantest them ;who knows what resources are in store, and what the power of God may yet do for thee?-Yorick laid his hand upon his heart, and gently shook his head.–For my heart, cried Eugenius, crying bitterly as he uttered the words,- I declare I know not, Yorick, how to part with thee, and would gladly flatter my hopes, added Eugenius, cheering up his voice, that there is still enough left of thee to make a bishop, and that I may live to see it.-I beseech thee, Eugenius, quoth Yorick, taking off his night-cap as well as he could with his left hand, - his right hand being still grasped close in that of Eugenius, -I beseech thee to take a view of my head.-I see nothing that ails it, replied Eugenius. Then, alas ! my friend, said Yorick, let me tell you, that 'tis so bruised and mis-shapened with the blows which ***** and *****, and some others have so unhandsomely given me in the dark, that I might say with Sanco Panca, that should I recover, and

Mitres thereupon be suffered to rain down from Heaven as thick as hail, not one of them wonld fit it.'- Yorick's last breath was hanging upon his trembling lips ready to depart as he uttered this ; -yet still it was uttered with something of a Cervantic tone; and as he spoke it, Eugenius could perceive a stream of lambent fire lighted up for a moment in his eyes;- -faint picture of those flashes of his spirit, which (as Shakspeare said of his ancestor) was wont to set the table in a roar!

Eugenius was convinced from this, that the heart of his friend was broke: he squeezed his hand,

Land 'then walked softly out of the room, weeping as he walked. Yorick followed Eugenius with his eyes to the door, he then closed them, and never opened them more.

He lies buried in the corner of his church-yard, in the parish of under a plain marble slab, which his friend Eugenius, by leave of his execators, laid upon his grave, with no more than these words of inscription, serving both for his epitaph · and elegy.

Alas, poor YORICK!

Ten times a day has Yorick's ghost the consolation to hear the monumental inscription read over with such a variety of plaintive tones, as denote a general pity and esteem for him ;a footway crossing the church-yard close by the side of his grave,

not a passenger goes by without stopping to cast a look upon it,--and sighing as he walks on,

Alas, poor YORICK!



My heart stops me to pay thee, my dear uncle Toby, once for all, the tribute I owe thy goodness ; here let me thrust my chair aside, and kneel down upon the ground, whilst I am pouring forth the warmest sentiments of love for thee, and veneration for the excellency of thy character, that éver virtue and nature kindled in a nephew's bosom.-Peace and comfort rest for evermore upon thy head !—Thou enviedst no man's comforts, insultedst no man's opinions.-Thou blackenedst no man's character,--devouredst no man's bread : gently, with faithful Trim behind thee, didst thou amble round the little circle of thy pleasures, jostling no creature in the way :--for each one's sorrows thou hadst a tear, for each man's need thou hadst a shilling. Whilst I am worth one, to pay a weeder,-thy path from thy door to thy bowling-green shall never be grown up-Whilst there is a rood and a half of land in the Shandy family, thy fortifications, my dear ancle Toby, shall never be demolished.



Was it Mackay's regiment, quoth my uncle Toby, where the poor grenadier was so unmercifully whipp'd at Bruges about the ducats ?- O Christ! he was imocent! cried Trim, with a deep sigh -And he was whipp'd, may it please your honour

« ПредишнаНапред »