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THE HALL OF JUSTICE.

PART I.

Coifiteor facere hoc annus; aed et altera causa ett Aiiircas animi, continuuttquc dolor.

Ovid.

Magistrate, Vagrant, Constable.

VAGRANT.

Tim, take away thy barbarous hand,
And let me to thy master speak;

Rrmit awhile the harsh command,
And hear me, or my heart will break.

JUGISTJllTK.

Foad wretch! and what canst thou relate, Bnt deeds of sorrow, shame, and sin?

Thy crime is proved, thou knowst thy fate; But come, thy tale!—begin, begin!—

VAGBAKT.

My crime! This sick'ning child to feed,

I seized the food, your witness saw;

I knew your laws forbade the deed,
Bat yielded to a stronger law.

Know»t thou, to Nature's great command
All human laws are frail and weak?

fay! frown not—stay his eager hand,
And hear me, or my heart will break.

'» this, tir adopted babe I hold
With anxious fondness to my breast,

My heart's sole comfort I behold,
More dear than life, when life was blest;

I *»w her pining, fainting, cold,
I begg'd--but vain was my request.

I «*w the tempting food, and seized—
My infant-sufferer found relief;

Abo, in the pilfer'd treasure pleased,
Smiled on my guilt, and hush'd my grief.

Bnt I have griefs of other kind,
Troubles and sorrows more severe;

Gire me to ease my tortured mind,
Irfnd to my woes a patient ear;

And let me—if I may not find
A friend to help—find one to hear.

Yet nameless let me plead—my name
Would only wake the cry of scorn;

A child of sin, conceived in shame,
Brought forth in wo, to misery born.

My mother dead, my father lost,
I wander'd with a vagrant crew;

A common care, a common cost,

Their sorrows and their sins I knew;

With them, by want on error forced,
Like them, I base and guilty grew.

Few are my years, not so my crimes;

The age, which these sad looks declare, Is Sorrow's work, it is not Time's,

And I am old in shame and care.

Taught to believe the world a place
Where every stranger was a foe,

Train'd in the arts that mark our race,
To what new people could I go?

Could I a better life embrace,
Or live as virtue dictates? No!—

So through the land I wandering went,
And little found of grief or joy;

But lost my bosom's sweet content
When first I loved—the Gipsy-Boy.

A sturdy youth he was and tall,
1 lix looks would all his soul declare,

His piercing eyes were deep and small,
And strongly curl'd his raven-hair.

Yes, Aaron had each manly charm.
All in the May of youthful pride,

He scarcely fear'd his father's arm,
And every other arm defied.—

Oft, when they grew in anger warm,

(Whom will not love and power divide?)

I rose, their wrathful souls to calm,
Not yet in sinful combat tried.

His father was our party's chief,
And dark and dreadful was his look;

His presence fill'd my heart with grief,
Although to me he kindly spoke.

With Aaron I delighted went,

His favour was my bliss and pride;

In growing hope our days we spent,
Love growing charms in either spied,

It saw them, all which Nature lent.
It lent them, all which she denied.

Could I the father's kindness prize,
Or grateful looks on him bestow,

Whom I beheld in wrath arise,

When Aaron sunk beneath his blow?

He drove him down with wicked hand,
It was a dreadful sight to see;

Then vex'd him, till he left the land,
And told his cruel love to me ;—

The clan were all at his command.
Whatever his command might be.

The night was dark, the lanes were deep,
And one by one they took their way;

He bade me lay me down and sleep,
I only wept and wish'd for day.

Accursed be the love he bore,
Accursed was the force he used,

So let him of his God implore
For mercy, and be so refused!

You frown again,—to show my wrong,
Can I in gentle language speak?

My woes are deep, my words are strong,—
And hear me, or my heart will break.

MAGISTRATE.

I hear thy words, I feel thy pain;

Forbear awhile to speak thy woes; Receive our aid, and then again

The story of thy life disclose.

For, though seduced and led astray,

Thou'st travcll'd far and wander'd long;

Thy God hath seen thee all the way, And all the turns that led thee wrong.

PART II.

Quondam ridentes ocoll none fonte perenni Drnlorant iiojnas nocte diequc »ua».

1 Coin. Galli Eleg.

MAGISTRATE

Comh, now again thy woes impart, Tell all thy sorrows, all thy sin;

We cannot heal the throbbing heart Till we discern the wounds within.

Compunction weeps our guilt away, The sinner's safety is his pain;

Such pangs for our offences pay, And these severer griefs are gain.

YACRAST.

The son came back—he found us wed, Then dreadful was the oath he swore ;—

His way through Blackburn Forest led,— His father we beheld no more.

Of all our daring clan not one

Would on the doubtful subject dwell;

For all esteem'd the injured son,
And fear'd the tale which he could tell.

But I had mightier cause for fear,
For slow and mournful round my bed

I saw a dreadful form appear,—
It came when I and Aaron wed.

(Yes! we were wed, I know my crime,—
We slept beneath the clmin-trec;

But I was grieving all the time,
And Aaron frown'd my tears to sec.

For he not yet had felt the pain
That rankles in a wounded breast;

He waked to sin, then slept again,
Forsook his God, yet took his rest—

But I was forced to feign delight,
And joy in mirth and music sought,—

And mem'ry now recalls the night,

With such surprise and horror fraught

That reason felt a moment's flight
And left a mind to madness wrought.)

When waking, on my heaving breast
I felt a hand as cold as death;

A sudden fear my voice suppress'd,
A chilling terror stopp'd my breath.—

I seem'd—no words can utter how!

For there my father-husband stood,— And thus he said:—Will God allow.

The great avenger, just and good. A wife to break her marriage-vow?

A sbn to shed his father's blood?

I trembled at the dismal sonnds,
But vainly strove a word to say;

So, pointing to his bleeding wounds.
The threat'ning spectre stalk'd away.

I brought a lovely daughter forth,
His father's child, in Aaron's bed;

He took her from me in his wrath,—
Where is my child?—Thy child is dead

'Twas false—we wander'd far and wide.

Through town and country, field and fen. Till Aaron, fighting, fell and died,

And I became a wife again.

I then was young:—my husband sold
My fancied charms for wicked price;

He gave me oft, for sinful gold,
The slate, but not the friend of vice:—

Behold me, Heaven! my pains behold,
And let them for my sins suffice!

The wretch who lent mc thus for gain,
Despised me when my youth was fled;

Then came disease, and brought me pain —
Come, death, and bear me to the dead!

For though I grieve, my grief is vain,
And fruitless all the tears I shed.

True, I was not to virtue train'd,
let well I knew my deeds were ill;

By each oflence my heart was pain'd,
I wept, but I offended still;

My hetter thoughts my life disdain'd,
Bst yet the viler led my will.

My hatband died, and now no more
Hi imile was sought, or nsk'd my hand,

A widow'd vagrant, vile and poor.
Beneath a vagrant's vile command.

Ceaseless I roved the country round,
To win my bread by frnudful arts,

And long a poor subsistence found,
By spreading nets for simple hearts.

ThuQ'h poor, and abject, and despised,
Their fortunes to the crowd I told;

'pre the young the love they prized.
And promised wealth to bless the old;

Schemes for the doubtful I devised,
And charms for the forsaken sold.

it length for arts like these confined

In prison with a lawless crew, ■ won perceived a kindred mind,

And there my long-lost daughter knew.

Hii lather's child, whom Aaron gave

To wander with a distant clan,
The railleries of the world to brave,

And be the slat e of vice and man.

She Lnew my name—we met in pain,
Oar parting pangs can I express?

She tail'd a convict o'er the main,
And left an heir to her distress;

This is that heir to shame and pain,
For whom I only could descry

A world of trouble and disdain:
Yet, could I bear to see her die,

Or stretch her feeble hands in vain,
And, weeping, beg of me supply?

No! though the fate thy mother knew
Was shameful! shameful though thy race

Have wander'd all, a lawless cre.w,
Outcasts, despised in every place;

Yet as the dark and muddy tide,
When far from its polluted source,

Becomes more pure, and, purified,

Flows in a clear and happy course;—

In thee, dear infant! so may end

Our shame, in thee our sorrows cense!

And thy pure course will then extend,
In floods of joy, o'er vales of peace.

Oh! by the God who loves to spare,

Deny me not the boon I crave;
Let this loved child your mercy share,

And let me find a peaceful grave;
Make her yet spotless soul your care,

And let my sins their portion have; Her for a better fate prepare,

And punish whom 'twere sin to save!

SMCISTB.iTE.

Recall the word, renounce the thought,
Command thy heart and bend thy knee.

There is to all a pardon brought,
A ransom rich, assured and free;

'Tis full when found, 'tis found if sought,
Oh! seek it, till 'tis senl'd to thee.

VAaaUHT.
But how my pardon shall I know?

MACISTRITK.

By feeling dread that 'tis not sent, By tears for sin that freely flow.

By grief, that all thy tears arc spent, By thoughts on that great debt we owe,

With all the mercy God has lent, By suffering what thou canst not show,

Yet showing how thine heart is rent, Till thou canst feel thy bosom glow,

And say: "Mv Sunn it. I Rkpknt!

186

WOMAN.

Mr. Ledvahii, Ax Ovotbd ay M. Park In nis Tfuvbi* Into Aran*.

To a Woman I never addressed myself in the language of decency and friendship, without receiving a decent and friendly answer. If 1 was hungry or thirsty, wet or sick, they did not hesitate, like Men, to perform a generous action: in so free and kind a manner did they contribute to my relief, that if I was dry, I drank the sweetest draught; and if hungry, I ate the coarsest morsel with a double relish.

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EDWARD SHORE.

Seem they grave or learned? rVhy, So didst ibou—Seem they religious? Wbj, io didst than; or are they spare in diet. Free from grow passion, or of mirth or anger, Cnsiont ia spirit, not swerving with the blood. Garaiffl'd and deck'd in modest compliment, V'l working with the eye without the ear, Asd bat with purged judgment trusting neither? Ssck lad so liaely bolted didst thou seem.

Shiksi-kahk, King Henry V.

Better I were distract, S* should my thoughts be sevcr'd from my griefs, And woes by strong imagination lose The knowledge of themselves.

Sii ik.»fKiRE, King Lear.

Ummiii! thou gift of Heav'n! thou light divine! Amid what dangers art tliou dooru'd to shine! Oft vill the body's weakness check thy force, Oft damp thy vigour and impede thy course; .lad trembling nerves compel thee to restrain Thy nobler efforts, to contend with pain; Or Want (sad guest!) will in thy presence

come, And breathe around her melancholy gloom; To life's low t-ares will thy proud thought

confine, Asd make her sufferings, her impatience,

thine. Evil and strong, seducing passions prey On soaring minds, and win them from their

way; ■ ho then to \ ice the subject spirits give. And in the service of the conqu'ror live; Like captive Samson making sport for all, Who fear'd their strength, and glory in

their fall, (•rains, with v irtue, still may lack the aid Implored by humble minds and hearts afraid; May leave to timid souls tho shield and

sword Of the tried faith, and the resistless word; Amid a world of dangers venturing forth, frail, but yet fearless, proud in conscious

worth, Till strong temptation, in some fatal time, Assails the heart and wins the soul to crime; Vibea left by honour, and by sorrow spent, Unused to pray, nnable to repent, The nobler powers that once exalted high Th'aspiring man, shall then degraded lie: Reason, through anguish, shall her throne

forsake, And strength of mind but stronger madness make.

When Edward Shork had reaeh'd his

twentieth year, He felt his bosom light, his conscience

clear; Applause at school the youthful hero gain'd, And trials there with manly strength

sustain d: With prospects bright upon the world he

came, Pure love of virtue, strong desire of fame: Men watch'd the way his lofty mind would

take. And all foretold the progress he would make. Boast of these friends, to older men a guide, Proud of his parts, but gracious in his pride; He bore a gay good-nature in his face, And in his air were dignity and grace; Dress that became his state and years he

wore, And sense and spirit shone in Kdwnrd Shore. Thus while admiring friends the youth

beheld, His own disgust theirforward hopes rcpell'd; For he unfix'd, unfixing, look'd around, And no employment but in seeking found; He gave his restless thoughts to views refined, And shrank from worldly cares with wounded

mind. Rejecting trade, awhile he dwelt on lnws, But who conld plead, if unapproved the

cause If A doubting, dismal tribe physicians seem'd; Divines o'er texts and disputations dreain'd; War and its glory he perhaps could love, Rut there again he must tbe cause approve. Our hero thought no deed should gain

applause, Where timid virtue found support in laws; He to all good would soar, would fly all sin, By the pure prompting of the will within; Who needs a law that binds him not to steal, Ask'd the young teacher, can he rightly feel? To curb the will, or arm in honour's cause, Or aid the weak—are these enforced by

laws? Should we a fonl, ungenerous action dread. Because a law condemns th'adulterous bed? Or fly pollution, not for fear of stain. But that some statute tells us to refrain? The grosser herd in ties like these we bind. In virtue's freedom moves th' enlighten'd

mind. Man's heart deceives him, said a friend:

Of course, Replied the youth, but has it power to force?

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