Графични страници
PDF файл
[ocr errors]

The next was The Confessions of a Nun,-|The sex, that wrought in earlier life my
'Twas quite a shame such evilshould be done;
Nun of_no matter for the creature's name, With loss of time, who murder'd my repose,
For there are girls no nunnery can tame: They to my joys administer, nor vex
Then was the story of the Haunted Hall, Me more; and now I venerate the sex;
Where the huge picture nodded from the wall And boast the friendship of a spinster kind,
When the old lord look'd up with trembling Cheerful and pleasant, to her fate resign'd;


Then by her side my bachelor I place, And I grew pale, and shudder'd as I read : And hold them honours to the human race. Then came the tales of Winters, Summers, Yet these are they in tale and song display'd,


The peevish man, and the repining maid; At Bath and Brighton,-they were pretty Creatures made up of misery and spite,


| Who taste no pleasures, except those they No ghosts nor spectres there were heard or

blight; seen,

From whom th' affrighten'd niece and But all was love and flight to Gretna-green.

nephew fly, Perhaps your greater learning may despise Fear'd while they live, and useless till they What others like, and there your wisdom

die. lies,

Not such these friends of mine; they never Well! do not frown, I read the tender tales

meant Of lonely cots, retreats in silent vales That youth should so be lost, or life be spent. For maids forsaken, and suspected wives, They had warm passions, tender hopes, Against whose peace some foe his plot

desires contrives;

That youth indulges, and that love inspires; With all the hidden schemes that none can But fortune frown'd on their designs, clear

displaced Till the last book, and then the ghosts The views of hope, and love's gay dreams appear.

disgraced; I read all plays that on the boards succeed, Took from the soul her sunny views, and And all the works, that Jadies ever read,

spread Shakspeare, and all the rest, I did, indeed,- A cloud of dark but varying gloom instead: Ay! you may stare; but, sir, believe it true And shall we these with ridicule pursne, That we can read and learn, as well as you. Because they did not what they could not do? I would not boast,-but I could act a scene If they their lot preferr'd, still why the jest In any play, before I was fifteen.

On those who took the way they judged Nor is this all; for many are the times

the best? I read in Pope and Milton, prose and rhymes; But if they sought a change, and sought They were our lessons, and, at ten years old,

in vain, I could repeat-but now enough is told. | 'Tis worse than brutal to deride their painSir, I can tell you I my mind applied But you will see them; see the man I praise, To all my studies, and was not denied The kind protector in my troubled days, Praise for my progress-Are you satisfied ? Himself in trouble; you shall see him now,

And learn his worth! and my applause allow.

Entirely! madam! else were I possess'd
By a strong spirit who could never rest. This friend appear’d, with talents form'd to
Yes! yes, no more I question,-here I close

please, The theme for ever- let us to repose. And with some looks of sprightliness and

To him indeed the ills of life were known,
But misery had not made him all her own.
They spoke on various themes, and George


To shew his brother this, the favourite mind: BOOK X.

To lead the friend, by subjects he could

choose, THE OLD BACHELOR To paint himself, his life, and earlier vievs,

What he was bless'd to hope, what he was Save their kind friend the Rector, Richard yet

doom'd to lose. Had not a favourite of his Brother met; They spoke of marriage, and he understood Now at the Hall that welcome guest appear'd, Their call on him, and said: “It is not good By trust, by trials, and by time endear'd; To be alone, although alone to be of him the grateful Squire his love profess'd, Is freedom; so are men in deserts free; And full regard-he was of friends the best; Men who unyoked and unattended groan. Yet not to him alone this good I owe, Condemn'd and grieved to walk their way This social pleasure that our friends bestow;

alone :


Whatever ille a married pair betide, | Sooner should I in Paris look to see
Each feels a stay, a comfort, or a guide; An English army sent their guard to be.'
Not always comfort, will our wits reply.- My poor mamma, who had her mind subdued
Wits are not jadges, nor the cause shall try. By whig-control, and hated every feud,
Have I not seen, when grief his visits paid, Would have her neighbour met with mind
That they were easier by communion made ?

serene; True, with the quiet times and days serene, But fiercer spirit fired the tory-queen: There have been flying clouds of care and My parents both had given her high disgust,


Which she resenting said, Revenge is just; But is not man, the solitary, sick

And till th' offending parties chose to stoop, Of his existence, sad and splenetic?

She judged it right to keep resentment up; And who will help him, when such evils come, Could she in friendship with a woman live To bear the pressure or to clear the gloom? Who could the insult of a man forgive? Do you not find, that joy within the breast Did not her husband in a crowded room of the unwedded man is soon suppress'd; Once call her idiot, and the thing was dumb ? While, to the bosom of a wife convey'd, The man's attack was brutal to be sure, Increase is by participation made ?

But she no less an idiot to endure. The lighted lamp that gives another light, Say, is it by th' imparted blaze less bright? Are not both gainers when the heart's distress This lofty dame, with unrelenting soul, Is so divided, that the pain is less ?

Had a fair girl to govern and control; And when the tear has stood in either eye, The dear Maria !whom, when first I met, Love's sun shines out, and they are quickly Shame on this weakness! do I feel it yet?


The parent's anger, you will oft-times see,
Prepares the children's minds for amity;

Youth will not enter into guch debate,
He ended here, but would he not confess, 'Tis not in them to cherish groundless hate;
How came these feelings on his mind to press? Nor can they feel men's quarrels or their
He would! nor fear'd his weakness to display

cares, To men like them; their weakness too had of whig or tory, partridges or hares.


Long ere we loved, this gentle girl and I Bright shone the fire, wine sparkled, sordid Gave to our parents' discord many a sigh;

It was not ours,--and when the meeting Was banish'd far, at least appear'd not there;

came, A kind and social spirit each possessid,

It pleased us much to find our thoughts the And thus began his tale the friendly guest.

same; | But grief and trouble in our minds arose From the fierce spirits we could not compose;

And much it vex'd us that the friends so dear Near to my father's mansion, but apart, To us should foes among themselves appear. I must acknowledge, from my father's heartDwelt a keen sportsman, in a pleasant seat; Nor met the neighbours as should neighbours Such was this maid, the angel of her race,


Whom I had loved in any time and place, To them revenge appear'd a kind of right, But in a time and place which chance A lawful pleasure, an avow'd delight;

assign'd, Their neighbours too blew up their passion's When it was almost treason to be kind;


When we had vast impediments in view, And urged the anger of each rival-squire; Then wonder not that love in terror grew More still their waspish tempers to inflame, With double speed—we look'd, and strove A party-spirit, friend of anger, came:

to find Oft would my father cry, that tory-knave, A kindred spirit in the hostile mind; That villain - placeman, would the land But is it hostile? there appears no sign


In those dear looks of warfare-none have Not that his neighbour had indeed a place,

mine; Bat would accept one-that was his disgrace; At length I whisper'd-Would that war Who, in hin turn, was sure my father plann'd

might cease To revolutionize his native land.

Between our houses, and that all was peace! Hedared the most destructive things advance, A sweet confusion on her features rose, And even pray'd for liberty to France; She could not bear to think of having foes, Hadstill good hope that Heaven would grant When we might all as friends and neighbours his prayer,

live, That he might see a revolution there. And for that blessing, 0! what would she At this the tory-squire was much perplex'd,

give?Freedom in France !--what will he utter | Then let us try and our endeavours blend,


| I said, to bring these quarrels to an end;

Thus, with one purpose in our hearts, we | Though all was granted, yet was grace strove,

refused; And, if no more, increased our secret love; I felt as one indulged, and yet abused, Love that with such impediments in view And yet, although provoked, I was not To meet the growing danger stronger grew:

Unamused. And from that time each heart, resolved in a reply like this appear'd to meet

and sure,

All that encourage hope, and that defeat; Grew firm in hope, and patient to endure. Consent, though cool, had been for me enough,

But this consent had something of reproof;

I had prepared my answer to his rage, To those who know this season of delight With his contempt I thought not to engage: I need not strive their feelings to excite; I, like a hero, would my castle storm, To those who know not the delight or And meet the giant in his proper form;


Then, conquering him, would set my prinThe best description would be lent in vain;

cess free, And to the grieving, who will no more find This would a trial and a triumph be: The bower of bliss, to paint it were unkind; When lo! a sncering menial brings the keys, I pass it by, to tell that long we tried And cries in scorn: Come,enter, if you please; To bring our fathers over to our side; You'll find the lady sitting on her bed, 'Twas bootless on their wives our skill to try, And 'tis expected that you woo and wed.' For one wonld not, and one in vain comply. Yet not so easy was my conquest found ;

I met with trouble ere with triumph crown'd.

Triumph, alas !_My father little thought, First I began my father's heart to move,

A king at home, how other minds are By boldly saying: We are born to love;

wrought; My father answer’d, with an air of case,

True, his meck neighbour was a gentle Well! very well! be loving if you please!

eqnire, Except a man insults us or offends,

And had a soul averse from wrath and ire: In my opinion we should all be friends.

He answer'd frankly, when to him I went, This gaind me nothing; little would accrne

I give you little, sir, in my consent: From clearing points so useless though so

fle and my mother were to us inclined, true;

The powerless party with the peaceful mind; But with some pains I brought him to.

But that meek man was destined to obey

A sovereign lady's unremitted sway;

confess, That to forgive our wrongs is to redress:

Who bore no partial, no divided rule, It might be so, he answer'd, yet with doubt,

| All were obedient pupils in her school. That it might not, but what is this about? She had religious zeal, both strong and sonr. I dared not speak directly, but I strove

That gave an active sternness to her power;

But few could please her, she herself was one To keep my snbjects, harmony and love. Coolly my father look'd, and much enjoy’a By whom that deed was very seldom done : The broken eloquence his eye destroy'd;

With such a being, so disposed to feed Yet less confused, and more resolved at last. / Contempt and scorn-how was I to sncceedy

But love commanded, and I made my prayeri With bolder effort to my point I past; And fondly speaking of my peerless maid, to the stern lady, with an humble air; I call'd her worth and beauty to my aid,

Said all that lovers hope, all measures tried Then make her mine! I said, and for his That love suggested, and bow'd down to favour pray'd.


My father's look was one I seldom saw, Yes! I have now the tygress in my eye
It gave no pleasure, nor created awe; When I had ceased and waited her reply.
It was the kind of cool contemptuous smile A pause ensued, and then she slowly rose.
of witty persons, overcharged with bile; With bitter smile predictive of my woes :
At first he spoke not, nor at last to me A look she saw was plainly understood
Well now, and what if such a thing could be? | Admire my daughter! Sir, you're very good
What, if the boy should his addresses pay The girl is decent, take her all in ali,
To the tall girl, would that old tory say? Genteel we hope-perhaps a thought too
I have no hatred to the dog -but, still,
It was some pleasure when I used him ill; A daughter's portion hers--yon'll think her
This I must lose if we should brethren be,

fortune small.
Yet may be not, for brethren disagree; Perhaps her uncles, in a cause so good.
The fool is right, there is no bar in life Would do a little for their flesh and blood -
Against their marriage, -- let her be his wife. We are not ill allied,-and say we make
Well, sir, you hear me!'- Never man com- Her portion decent-whither would you take


Is there some cottage on your father's ground And left a beggar so dissatisfied;

Where may a dwelling for the girl be found

[ocr errors]


Or a small farm,- your mother understands | And reason trembles-Yes! you bid me cease,
How to make useful such a pair of hands. Nor try to think; but I will think in peace.-
Bat this we drop at present, if you please, Unbid and unforbidden, to the room
We shall have leisure for such things as I went, a gloomy wretch amid that gloom;

And there the lovely being on her bed
They will be proper ere you fix the day Shrowded and cold was laid-Maria dead!
For the poor girl to honour and obey; There was I left,-and have now no
At present therefore we may put an end

thought To our discourse-Good morrow to you, Remains with me, how fear or fancy wrought;


I know I gazed upon the marble cheek, Then, with a solemn curtesy and profound, And pray'd the dear departed girl to speakHer laughing eye she lifted from the ground, Further I know not, for, till years were fled, And left me lost in thought, and gazing idly All was extinguish'd-all with her was dead.


I had a general terror, dread of all

That could a thinking, feeling man befall;

JI was desirous from myself to run, Sull we had hope, and, growing bold in time, and some

ime, | And something, but I knew not what, to I would engage the father in our crime;

shun: But he refused, for though he wish'd us well, There w

us well, There was a blank from this I cannot fill,

e He said, he must not make his house a hell;-||

It is a puzzle and a terror still. And sure the meaning look that I convey'd

Yet did I feel some intervals of bliss, Did not inform him that the hell was made. Er'n with the horrors of a fate like this; Still hope existed that a mother's heart

And dreams of wonderful construction paid Would in a daughter's feelings take a part; |

t; For waking horror-dear angelic maid ! Nor was it vain,- for there is found access To a bard heart, in time of its distress : The mother sicken'd, and the daughter sigh’d,

| When peace return'd, unfelt for many a year, And we petition'd till our queen complied;

And Hope, discarded flatterer,dared i'appear; She thought of dying, and if power must

I heard of my estate, how free from debt, cease,

And of the comforts life afforded yet; Better to make, than cause, th' expected

Beside that best of comforts in a life peace;

So sad as mine—a fond and faithful wife. And sure this kindness, mixing with the blood,

My gentle mother, now a widow, made Its balmy influence caused the body's good;

These strong attempts to guide me or For as a charm it work'd upon the frame

Of the reviving and relenting dame;
For when recover'd, she no more opposed
Her daughter's wishes.-Here contention

| Much time is lost, she said, but yet my son closed.

May, in the race of life, have much to run;
When I am gone, thy life to thee will seem

Lonely and sad, a melancholy dream;
Then bliss ensued, so exquisitely sweet, Get thee a wife-I will not way to love,
That with it once, once only, we can meet; But one, a friend in thy distress to prove;
For though we love again, and though once One who will kindly help thee to sustain

Thy spirit's burden in its hours of pain ; We feel th' enlivening hope we felt before, I Say, will you marry?-I in baste replied: Still the pure freshness of the joy that cast And who would be the self-devoted bride? Its sweet around us is for ever past.

There is a melancholy power that reigns 0! time to memory precious,-ever dear, Tvrant within me- who would bear his Though ever painful-this eventful year;

chains, What bliss is now in view! and now what And hear them clicking every wretched hour, woes appear!

With will to aid me, but without the power? Sweet hours of expectation!-1 was gone | But if such one were found with easy mind, To the vile town to press our business on; Who would not ask for raptures, I'm To urge its formal instruments,—and lo!

resign'd. Comes with dire looks a messenger of woe, 'Tis quite enough, my gentle mother cried, With tidings sad as death! With all my | We leave the raptures, and will find the bride

speed I reach'd her home!--but that pure soul was freed

There was a lady near us, quite discreet, She was no more-for ever shut that eye, Whom in our visits 'twas our chance to meet, That look'd all soul, as if it could not die; One grave and civil, who had no desire I could not see me--0! the strange distress That men should praise her beauties or Of these new feelings !-misery's excess;

admire; What can describe it? words will not express. She in our walks would sometimes take my When I look back upon that dreadful scene, leel renewid the anguish that has been; But had no foolish fluttering or alarm;



She wish'd no heart to wound, no truth to Much pains she took engagements old to state,


And hoped to hear me curse my cruel fate, And seem'd, like me, as one estranged from Threat'ning my luckless life; and thought love;

. it strange My mother praised her, and with so much In me to bear the unexpected change:

In my calı feelings she be held disguise, She gave a certain bias to my will; | And told of some strange wildness in my But calm indeed our courtship; I profess'd

eyes. A due regard— My mother did the rest; But there was nothing in the eye amiss, Who soon declared that we should love, And the heart calmly bore a stroke like this ;

and grow

Not so my mother; though of gentle kind, As fond a couple as the world could show ; She could no mercy for the creature find. And talk'd of boys and girls with so much Vile plot! she said.-But, madam, if they glee,

plot, That I began to wish the thing could be. And you would have revenge, disturb them Still when the day that soon would come

not. was named

What can we do, my son ?-Consult our I felt a cold fit, and was half ashamed;

ease, But we too far proceeded to revoke, And do just nothing, madam, if you please. And had been much too serious for a joke: What will be said ?-We need not that I shook away the fear that man annoys,

discuss; And thought a little of the girls and boys. Our friends and neighbours will do that A week remain'd,- for seven succeeding days

for us. Nor man nor woman might control my ways; Do you so lightly, son, your loss sustain? For seven dear nights I might to rest retire Nay, my dear madam, but I count it gain. At my own time, and none the cause require; The world will blame us eure, if we be For seven blest days I might go in and out,

still. And none demand, Sir, what are you about? And, if we stir, you may be sure it win. For one whole week I might at will discourse Not to such loss your father had agreed.On any subject, with a freeman's force. No, for my father's had been loss indeed. Thus while I thought, I utter'd, as men sing With gracious smile my mother gave assent, In under-voice, reciting With this ring' And let th' aflair slip by with much content. That when the hour should come, I might Some old dispute, the lover ineant should not dread

rise, There,or the words that follow'd, 'I thee wed.' Some point of strife they could not comproSuch was my state of mind, exulting now

mise, And then depress d—I cannot tell you how- Displeased the squire-he from the field When a poor lady, whom her friends could

withdrew, send

Not quite conceal'd, not fully placed in view On any message, a convenient friend, | But half advancing, half retreating, kept Who had all feelings of her own o'ercome, At his old distance, and the business slept. And could pronounce to any man his doom; Whose heart indeed was marble, but whose


Six years had past, and forty ere the six, Assumed the look adapted to the case; When Time began to play his usual tricks Enter'd my room, commission'd to assuage The locks once comely in a virgin's sight What was foreseen, my sorrow and my rage. Locks of pure brown, display'd th' encroach

ing white;

| The blood once fervid now to cool began, It seem'd the lady whom I could prefer, And Time's strong pressure to subdue the And could my much-loved freedom lose for


I rode or walk'd as I was wont before. Had bold attempts, but not successful, made, But now the bounding spirit was no more The heart of some rich cousin to invade; A moderate pace would now my body heat. Who, half resisting, half complying, kept A walk of moderate length distress my feet A cautious distance, and the business slept. I show'd my stranger-guest those hill. This prudent swain his own importance knew,

sublime, And swore to part the now affianced two: But said: 'the view is poor, we need not Fill'd with insidious purpose, forth he went,

climb. Profess'd his love, and woo'd her to consent: At a friend's mansion I began to dread *Ah! were it true!' she sighd; he boldly The cold neat parlour, and the gay glazed

swore His love sincere, and mine was sought no At home I felt a more decided taste,

And must have all things in my order placed All this the witch at dreadful length reveal'd, I ceased to hunt, my horses pleased me less And begg'd me calmly to my fate to yield: My dinner more; I learn'd to play at chess



[ocr errors]
« ПредишнаНапред »