Графични страници
PDF файл

ceased upon the ear, than the rude tongue of censure took up the tale. The newspapers, fatal enemies to ill-gotten wealth, began to buz a general suspicion of his conduct, and the inquisitive public soon refined it into particulars. Every post gave a stab to fame—a wound to his peace,—and a nail to his coffin. Like spectres from the grave they haunted him in every company, and whispered murder in his ear. A life chequered with uncommon varieties is seldom a long one. Action and care will in time wear down the strongest frame, but guilt and melancholy are poisons of quick despatch.

Say, cool deliberate reflection, was the prize, though abstracted from the guilt, worthy of the pains? Ah! no. Fatigued with victory he sat down to rest, and while he was recovering breath, he lost it. A conqueror more fatal than himself beset him, and revenged the injuries done to India.

As a cure for avarice and ambition let us take a view of him in his latter years.—Ha! what gloomy being wanders yonder? How visibly is the melancholy heart delineated on his countenance. He mourns no common care—his very steps are timed to sorrow—he trembles with a kind of mental palsy. Perhaps it is some broken-hearted parent, some

mons, against the charges mentioned in the preceding note, very positively insists on his innocence, and very pathetically laments his situation; and after informing .he Home of the thanks which he had some years before received, for the same actions which they are now endeavouring to censure him for, he says,

"After such certificates as these, Sir, am I to be brought here like a criminal, and the very best parts of my conduct construed into crimes against the state? Is this the reward that is now held out to persons who have performed such important services to their country? If it is, Sir, the future consequences that will attend the execution of any important trust, committed to the persons who have the care of it, will be fatal indeed; and I am sure the noble Lord upon the treasury bench, whose great humanity and ahilities I revere, would never have consented to the resolutions that passed the other night, if he had thought on the dreadful consequences that would attend them. Sir, I cannot say that I either sit or rest easy, when I find that all I have in the world is likely to be confiscated, and that no one will take my security for a shilling. These, Sir, are dreadful apprehensions to remain under, and I cannot look upon myself but as a hankrupt. I have not any thingleft which I can call my own, except my paternal fortune, of £500 per annum, and which has been in the family for ages past. But upon this I am content to live, and perhaps I shall find more real content of mind and happiness than in the trembling affluence of an unsettled fortune. But, Sir, I must make one more observation, that, if the David mourning for his Absalom,or some Heraclitus weeping for the world. I hear him mutter something about wealth—Perhaps he is poor, and hath not where withal to hide his head. Some debtor started from his sleepless pillow, to ruminate on poverty, and ponder on the horrors of a jail. Poor man! I'll to him and relieve him. Ha! 'tis Lord Clive himself! Bless me what a change! He makes I see for yonder cypress shade, a fit scene for melancholy hearts! I'll watch him there and listen to his story.

Lord Clive. " Can I but suffer when a beggar pities me. Ere while I heard a ragged wretch, who every mark of poverty had on, say to a sooty sweep, Ah, poor Lord Clive! while he the negro-coloured vagrant, more mercifully cruel, curse me in my hearing.

"There was a time when fortune, like a yielding mistress, courted me with smiles—She never waited to be told my wishes, but studied to discover them, and seemed not happy to herself, but when she had some favour to bestow. Ah! little did I think the fair enchantress would desert me thus; and after lavishing her smiles upon me, turn my reproacher, and publish me in folio to the world. Volumes of morality are dull and spiritless compared to me. Lord Clive is himself a treatise upon vanity, printed on a golden type. The most unlettered clown writes explanatory notes thereon, and reads them to his children. Yet I could bear these insults could I but bear myself. A strange unwelcome something hangs about me. In company I seem no company at all.— The festive board appears to me a stage, the crimson coloured port resembles blood—each glass is strangely metamorphosed to a man in armour, and every bowl appears a

definition of the Hon. Gentleman (General Burgoyne,) and of this House, is that the state, as expressed in these resolutions, is, quo ad hoc, the Company, then, Sir, every farthing that I enjoy is granted to me. But to be called, after sixteen years have elapsed, to account for my conduct in this manner, and after an uninterrupted enjoyment of my property, to be questioned and considered us obtaining it unwarrantably, is hard indeed ! and a treatment I should not think the British Senate capable of. But if it should be the case, I have a conscious innocence within me, that tells me my conduct is irreproachable, l'rangas, won Jlectes. They may take from me what I have ; they may, as they think, make me poor, but I will be happy ! I mean not this as my defence. My defence will be made at the bar; and, before I sit down. I have one request to make to the House that when they come to decide upon tny kouour they will not forget Tueik Own.

Nabob. The joyous toast is like the sound of murder, and the loud laugh are groans of dying men. The scenes of India are all rehearsed, and no one sees the tragedy but myself. Ah! I discover things which are not, and hear unuttered sounds.

"O peace, thou sweet companion of the calm and innocent! Whither art thou fled ? here take my gold, and all the world calls mine, and come thou in exchange. O thou, thou noisy sweep, who mixeth thy food with soot and relish it, who canst descend from lofty heights and walk the humble earth again, without repining at the change, come teach that mystery to me. Or thou, thou ragged wandering beggar, who, when thou canst not beg successfully, will pilfer from the hound, and eat the dirty morsel sweetly ; be thou Lord Clive, and I will beg, so I may laugh like thee.

"Could I unlearn what I've already learned—unact what I've already acted—or would some sacred power convey me back to youth and innocence, I'd act another part—I'd keep within the vale of humble life, nor wish for what the world calls pomp."

But since this cannot be
And only a few days and sad remain for me,
I'll haste to quit the scene ; for what is life
When every passion of the soul's at strife.


* Sometime before his death, he became very melancholy—subject to strange imaginations—and was found dead at last.


...__ /

Cupid and Hymen. An Original.

As the little amorous deity was one day winging his way over a village in Arcadia, he was drawn by the sweet sound of the pipe and tabor, to descend and see what was the matter. The gods themselves are sometimes ravished with the simplicity of mortals. The groves of Arcadia were once the country seats of the celestials, where they relaxed from the business of the skies, and partook of the diversions of the villagers. Cupid being descended, was charmed with the lovely appearance of the place. Every thing he saw had an air of pleasantness. Every shepherd was in his holyday dress, and every shepherdess was decorated with a profusion of flowers. The sound of labour was not heard among them. The little cottages had a peaceable look, and were almost hidden with arbours of jessamine and myrtle. The way to the temple was strewed with flowers, and enclosed with a number of garlands and green arches. "Surely," quoth Cupid," here is a festival to day. I'll hasten and inquire the matter."

So saying, he concealed his bow and quiver, and took a turn through the village: As he approached a building distinguished from all the rest by the elegance of its appearance, he heard a sweet confusion of voices mingled with instruments of music. "What is the matter," said Cupid to a swain who was sitting under a sycamore by the way-side, and humming a very melancholy tune, " why are you not at the feast, and why are you so sad ?" " I sit here, answered the swain, to see a sight, and a sad sight 'twill be." "What is it?" said Cupid," come tell me, for perhaps I can help you." "I was once happier than a king," replied the swain, " and was envied by all the shepherds of the place, but now every thing is dark and gloomy because"—" Because what?" said Cupid—" Because I am robbed of my Ruralinda; Gothic, the lord of the manor, hath stolen her from me, and this is to be the nuptial day." "A wedding," quoth Cupid, " and I know nothing of it, you must be mistaken shepherd, " I keep a register of marriages, and no such thing hath come to my knowledge; 'tis no wedding, I assure you, if I am not consulted about it." "The lord of the manor," continued the shepherd, "consulted nobody but Ruralinda's mother, and she longed to see her fair daughter the lady of the manor: He hath spent a deal of money to make all this appearance, for money will do any thing; I only wait here to see her come by, and then farewell to the hills and dales." Cupid bade him not be rash, and left him. "This is another of Hymen's tricks," quoth Cupid to himself, "he hath frequently served me thus, but I'll hasten to him and have it out with him." So saying, he repaired to the mansion. Every thing there had an air of grandeur rather than of joy, sumptuous but not serene. The company were preparing to walk in procession to the temple. The lord of the manor looked like the father of the village, and the business he was upon gave a foolish awkwardness, to his age and dignity. Ruralinda smiled, because she would smile, but in that smile was sorrow. Hymen with a torch faintly burning on one side only stood ready to accompany them. The gods when they please can converse in silence, and in that language Cupid began on Hymen.

"Know Hymen," said he, " that I am your master. Indulgent Jove gave you to me as it clerk, not as a rival, much less a superior. 'Tis my province to form the union, and your's to witness it. But of late you have treacherously assumed to set up for yourself. 'Tis true you may chain couples together like criminals, but you cannot yoke them like lovers; besides you are such a dull fellow when I am not with you, that you poison the felicities of life. You have not a grace but what is borrowed from me. As well may the moon attempt to enlighten the earth without the sun, as you to bestow happiness when I am absent. At best you are but a temporal and a temporary god, whom Jove has appointed not to bestow, but to secure happiness, and restrain the infidelity of mankind. But assure yourself that I'll complain of you to the synod."

"This is very high indeed," replied Hymen," to be called to an account by such a boy of a god as you are. You are not of such importance in the world as your vanity thinks; for my own part I have enlisted myself with another master, and can very well do without you. Plutus* and I are greater than Cupid; you may complain and welcome, for Jove himself descended in a silver shower and conquered: and by the same power the lord of the manor hath won a damsel, in spite of all the arrows in your quiver."

Cupid incensed at this reply, resolved to support his

* God of riches.

« ПредишнаНапред »