Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub
[blocks in formation]

Perk 'round and see, and tell it home,

Where the wee bairns would leer;
And say they kenn'd my Jo, with things

My checks burnt red to hear.

That was a time!- then youth was green,

And life a merry-make;
I trow ye've not forgot how oft

I've made your heart sore ache.

But lassie aye will have her way,

And play her gleeful part,
To fout her love-friend with her eye,

And fond him with her heart.

I doubt not, Walter, but ye mind

The spree on Cuthbert-Green,
When with the laird of Langley-Hall

Full hour I danced, I ween.

And ye turned on your heel, 'If I

The laird liked best,' ye said,
'Ye soon could find some lassie glad

A round with ye to tread.'

And so, so gay ye trod that round,

And looked in soul so light,
And danced your best, that I might see

Ye were not one to slight;

That soon, fool thing, my heart misgave,

I said, your mind to prove,
"The laird is scarce so light of foot

As some that I wot of.'

Since then, for many a summer's sun,

Have we in troth-plight been,
And well-a-day! some cark and wo,

(For best no doubt,) we've seen.

But Walter, dear, ye've been to me

So faithful and so true,
Mine eye that could not choose but weep,

Could smile through all for you.

When black-eyed John, your likeness, drooped,

And was to God up-took,
Ye whispered peace unto my heart,

Although your own was broke.

And now we're ganging to the grave,

The fearful, darksome land;
But simple souls need fear no scath,

Hand locked full fast in hand.

Ay, Walter Lee, we're old, we're old!

Our hair is silver gray;
Yet heart to heart still beats as true,

As in our love's first day.
Elizabethtown, (N. J.,) 1837.

1. L. B.

INTERCEPTED LETTERS FROM A SENSITIVE BRITON.

LETTER ONE.

My Dear RUNNYMEDE:

New - York, .... 1637. Sıx long months have elapsed, to this hour, since, as I stood stretching my organs of vision from the front windows of Meurice's Hotel, Paris, I caught the last glimpse of a travelling equipage, which was conveying no less a distinguished personage than yourself to the shores of that privileged country, where, clad in the panoply of the most dazzling abilities, and rich in the recollections of the heroic past, you have since acquired a name, that shall live as long as the emblazoned memory of your stupendous literary exploits.

Alas! what a totally different course did the everlasting chain of fate compel me to pursue ! Had an angel descended from the loftiest heaven, and told me then, that the brief space of six revolving moons would have caused such an astounding change, both as regards our respective latitudes, and our social position, I should have deemed him the veriest dunce that ever attempted to startle our weaker senses with prophetic dreams. This you will of course attribute to that want of ambitious energy, and due appreciation of literary distinction, with which you were wont to taunt me, in happy days of yore. Alas! say rather, that my mind, like that of poor Collins, (forgive the presumptuous comparison !) being cast in too common a mould to admit of my concentrating my faculties upon any fixed object, I possess, therefore, little or no capacity for the prosecution of those splendid schemes, which have at once illumined your hermitage in solitude, and flattered your pride in the season of success.

* We had opened, late one evening, our pore-folio, for copy,' at the instance of an ambassadorimp from that hazy cave of Trophonius,' the printing-office, aod were revolving over in our mind which of two clever articles to choose, when in waiked, without knocking, our old friend AsmoDEUS, bearing in his band an opened letter. With 'ful gret solempuite,' he advanced, and laying it before us, said: 'I was amidst the passengers of the late outward-bound packet, when they gathered around the contents of the letter-bag, while the captain assorted them. I selected, and have brought you, this epistle. I know what it contains. Print it; for it will effect a work of good. I shall come again.' And so saying, the sententious, business-like Shade vanished from the apartment We obey the voice which sounded soft and low in our ears on that memorable night.

The deportment of many of our countrymen while abrond, glanced at in the present letter, is not a new topic. We have heard several native travellers, on their return from Europe, animadvert upon it; and an observant American tourist, with whom our readers are already favorably acquainted, bestows, in a work now passing through the press, the following judicious advice, suggested by the same contemptible propensity in question:

• Without presuming to give a homily on manners, I may be pardoned, perhaps, for one or two hints to my young countrymen, touching their general deportment abroad – viz: If you would win respect and confidence in good society, especially in England, preserto your republican simplicity of character. Be straight-forward and yuassuming in your manner, and honest, free, and at the same time unobtrusive, in the expression of your opinions. If you wish to inake yourself ridiculous, the best course is, to cringe to rauk and wealth ; atiect mysterious importance and reserve; and slander, either in words or practice, your own country and her institutions. Do not deem ihese hints intrusive: they are certainly well meant. I have seen many instances, and heard of more, io wbich prejudice and disgust have been excited agiuiust the whole American people, by this sort of conduct on the part of their representatives. Such consequentinl airs, if they ever do introduce you to high life, will only sooner or later bring you into coolempi. An American who conducts himself as a patriotic and gentlemanly American should do, bas no reason to be ashamed of his name or nation. He belongs to Nature's nobility; and to a couútry unequalled in extent, beauty, and natural advantages, by any on earth. On the other hand, avoid the too common practice of continually referring to it by invidious comparisons, or lofty boasts. "A word to the wise.”' Eps. KNICKEVOCKER.

Beside, your absence, unlooked for as it had been, and only occasioned by the éclat of your marvellous productions, left a hiatus in my heart, which no extraneous charm or consolation could fill up. I could think of nothing but of our untoward separation. Oh that word separation! What a chill and drear sound it has ! It comes between us and our happiness like a ravenous kite, and tears asunder, with one dreadful wrench, all the ties of tenderness and love!

But Nature, whatever may be the quality of your draught upon her, is capable of a certain amount of endurance only; and as I lay one day stretched on an easy couch, in luxurious indolence, like a puritanical Sardanapalus, striving to resist the narcotic influence of an enervating atmosphere, a flash from the reviving embers of my dormant energies suddenly shot athwart my cerebral chamber, and forthwith my passions were roused to the utmost verge of active sympathy. Weary of seeing thousands of idle faces daily buzzing about me, and yet live,

Like a lonely bird,

Wailing unheeded in a vast sea-cave,' I resolved to get into good humor with the world again, even at the hazard of beholding the premature subversion of all plea for turning misanthrope. Collision with society is, after all, I fear, the only antidote against bile - a species of mental carbonate of soda, which causes a gentle degree of acetous fermentation, by which the superabundance of acid is either carried off, or neutralized.

It was during my subsequent intercourse with the gay circles of the French metropolis, that I became acquainted with those rare transatlantic specimens of female loveliness, whose rainbow-like glances had not unfrequently detracted from the singleness of your own pursuits, and bereft your eyelids of their proportionate share of vacancy. Through their gracious intercession, I soon found myself on a footing of intimacy with almost every American of standing and quality then in Paris.

You may remember how forcibly, for the last eight years, your American predilections had gained upon me, and how rapidly I was veering round to your own point of the compass, when the wholesome severities of

Mrs. Trollope's criticisms, and the amusing impertinences of the ci-devant Fanny Kemble, made me wish to be placed in a position where I might sagely try conclusions of my own on the subject.

The accomplishment of this project, however, I found more thickly beset with difficulties than Sancho Panza's attempts at repletion, with Doctor Don Periwig Snatchaway by his side ; for, notwithstanding that there were assembled in Paris, at this period, nearly two thousand Americans of wealth and influence, who entered freely into all the harmless frivolities of the season, and thus supplied me with excellent opportunities for contemplating new modifications of intellect and character, yet such is the melancholy diffidence exhibited by most Americans, when from home, particularly on the continent of Europe, and under the benign influence of daily condescension from the proud, the powerful, and the noble, that instead of those spontaneous ebullitions of patriotism, which I expected their

conversation to be tinctured with, and which, when emanating from a pure and untainted heart, are attractive in the highest degree, I generally found, that even when I attempted to celebrate the panegyric of the illustrious names their country had given to deck the scrolls of fame, or to applaud the tendency of those institutions, wherein was contained the safeguard of their political independence, my observations were considered officious and intrusive ; my conscientious enthusiasm mawkish and jejune.

It has always been my opinion, that a man must be painfully deficient in those organs which assist deglutition, whose palate is unsuisceptible of being tickled with condiments of domestic produce; and had I not known that the deepest-seated passion is sometimes the last to reveal itself, I should have looked upon this philosophical exemption from national predilections, on the part of travelled Americans abroad, as put on, more from a puerile love of singularity, than from a plausible desire to exemplify the beauty of self-denial. But, heaven forbid that I should be betrayed into disparaging conclusions, by attributing these seeming abdications of pristine character to that increasing prostitution of mind and feeling, whereby some men now-a-days are rendered either too wise or too cunning, to deem themselves sufficiently respectable, for what they actually are.

That the Americans are a great people, we all know. That they have achieved great things, England and Louis Philippe can best testify. That a universal tribute of respect is yielded to them, by every civilized potentate, from pole to pole, the studied deference paid to the American flag, throughout the navigable seas, can also give evidence. In what language, then, shall I celebrate the meek-mindedness of those individuals, who, (undeterred by the narrow scruples of petty intellects, and stimulated only by that estimable passion for imitation, so beautifully eulogized by Burke,) not only deny themselves every participation in that pride of country which should be deeply rooted in the heart of every free-born American, but, in the true spirit of a timid philanthropist, ashamed of being detected in the performance of a charitable action,

virtually doff the mantleof identity, to make discovery less probable! Lord Brougham's abjuration of every privilege and prerogative pertaining to his noble order, was nothing to this !

Philosophy, in this case, is, as you may perceive, a sort of neutral ground, where duty, principle, and convenience, meet in amity; exchange civilities, and then shake hands and part.

This, after all, strikes me as being part of your own wise doctrine of enjoyment, which consists in the purchase of our pleasures at the expense of temporary restraint. Happy, indeed, is the man, who possesses a Proteus-like faculty of self-transmigration into all the contraries that teem within the real, as well as the ideal world! from the forlorn and mossy cell of the contemplative anchorite, to the gay and richly-carpeted halls of pompous royalty !—from the silvery beam that unfolds to our view some lonely valley, by distance mellowed, and with Bulwer's fairies dancing in the midst, to the ray that gleams upon the hellish features of Beldame Hecate, in the Acherontic pit. But to return': It is somewhere told of an eccentric Hibernian

6

VOL. XI.

« ПредишнаНапред »