Rhyme Romance and Revery (III)

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MY NOSE


Did such "a nose" haunt my bitterest foe,
I should wish him no severer punishment.

M. G. Lewis


IF ever there were a mortal who suffered undeservedly, that mortal is myself.  I am guilty of no enormous crime.  I am not one of those persons who look after every body's business, except their own.  I am tolerably charitable; that is, rather than be pestered with the importunities of a beggar, I throw him a penny.  I am a regular attendant at church, and though I sometimes fall asleep during a long sermon, I do not scoff at the parson when I awake.  I am not given to liquor, except when oppressed with sorrow, which unfortunately is too often the case, and even then I am not quarrelsome.  This last good quality some of my kind friends account for, by saying I am a coward: but such an assertion, I assure the reader, is perfectly unfounded: and yet, though possessed of these, and numerous other negative qualifications, I am scorned, laughed at, depised, shunned, and made miserable, and all for what?  Because I have a nose?  "A nose!" methinks I hear the reader exclaim, "why so has every one."  Aye, reader, but mine is no common nose — would that it were.  Didst thou ever read Shakspeare's description of Bardolph, whose monstrous proboscis is compared to an ignis-fatuus?  If so, thou mayest form a faint idea of my most prominent feature, though no description can paint to thee my nose as it really is, decorated with its ruddy pimples and quizzical twists; yet, heaven knows, its present appearance has not been caused by intemperance, or any other excess: it has "grown with my growth, and strengthened with my strength," until it has gained its now unseemly ponderosity.

    I have no friend to whom I can impart my sorrows, and, therefore, reader, though thou art an utter stranger to me, I have made choice of thee for a confidant.  Patient reader — if thou art not patient, throw aside this record of misery, for be assured I shall quickly put thy patience to the test — it may seem strange to thee why, and for what reason, a single feature should make me so unhappy: "bear with me yet a little longer," and I will pour into thine ear a tale, "whose lightest word shall harrow up thy soul."  I am , one of the most sensitive and bashful beings in the world, so that I cannot walk the streets without meeting with a host of vexations; and the most petty slight or insult will rankle in my memory for days and weeks.  No one can take a hint sooner than myself; and if I am in company, which latterly happens but seldom, and an allusion of a disagreeable nature is made to any one, I examine it in all its bearings with painful nicety, until I construe it as being applied to me.  This unfortunate disposition has caused me endless uneasiness.  If there be a whisper, I am instantly on the alert to catch its meaning, for I fancy myself and nose are the subjects of conversation, and consequently sit on thorns.  I have heard of people being haunted by spectres, that make it a rule of regularly becoming visible at a certain hour of the night; but this amounts to nothing, when compared to the manner in which I am haunted by my nose.  By night and by day, it is ever before my eyes, saluting me with its fearful length and redness.  "Oh! for a long, long sleep, and so forget it!"  Never do I walk forth, without being greeted by the vulgar, with some offensive appellations.  Innumerable are the ill-natured names that have been heaped upon me by the lower class; of which "nosey" is the most common.  Many a time have I hurried away, like a dog with a canister at his tail, when pestered by a group of graceless urchins, following and shouting after me; and when I have gained my destination, I have cursed my nose, and wept out of pure vexation.  The more respectable class do not express themselves so openly, but then their astonished looks, and significant smiles, speak daggers to me.  Every step which I take, some wandering eye is fixed upon me, and so am I annoyed by these gazes, that my cheeks have generally a blush of as deep a crimson as that which tinges my nose, rendering me still more conspicuous.  To add more to my distresses, I am remarkably fond of females, yet such is the peculiarity of my countenance, that I am entirely unfitted for their society.  Wilt thou believe it reader?  I was once desperately in love; aye, and I had the assurance to declare my passion, and as thou mayest suppose, was unsuccessful in my suit.  If thou art not already tired with my prosing, I will relate to thee the progress and catastrophe of this unfortunate affair.

    The only house at which I felt myself comfortable, was the dwelling of a young man who had been my schoolfellow, and who ever took my part, and repressed the insults and tricks which my fellow-students were accustomed to play upon me, on account of the deformity of my face; for even when at school my nose was of an alarming dimension.  My old schoolfellow introduced me to his father and sisters, and though at first sight, it was difficult for them to restrain their risible faculties, at my grotesque appearance, they soon grew familiar with me; and as I am naturally good-tempered and obliging, I soon became a sort of favourite with the family.  I was at first somewhat galled by the smothered titters, and ill-concealed mirth of the servants, when I entered the house; however, I was pretty liberal in my bounty to them, so that these marks of rudeness soon passed away.  My friend had three sisters, and when in their company, I was often so charmed, that I forgot my nose, and all the taunts and uneasiness I had experienced on its account, and exerted myself to the utmost to please them in return.  The young ladies were all lovely; but by far the most beautiful, in my eyes, was the youngest, whose lively simplicity, and arch and expressive glances, made a complete conquest of my poor heart.  Love stole upon me imperceptibly, and I was over head and ears, before I discovered my situation.  Reader, didst thou ever feel a deep yet almost hopeless attachment?  If not, thou canst have no idea of what I suffered.  It was in vain that I endeavoured to reason myself out of my passion: every day it became stronger.  I resolved to try what effect absence would produce upon me, and refrained from visiting my fair enslaver for the space of a week.  At the end of that period, I was still worse, and found that I could hold out no longer.  I, therefore, went to the house more frequently than ever, and at every visit drank large draughts of love.  I at length resolved to brave all, and bring my amour to a crisis by revealing my sentiments.  My nerves were braced to the extremist pitch, when I sallied forth to execute my purpose; and to increase my courage, I had fortified myself by swallowing a few extra glasses of port.  I walked into the house with a firm step, and just opportunely for my purpose, found my enchantress alone.  This was the most eventful moment of my existence: I was kindly invited to take a chair, and encouraged by the bland manner in which the words were spoken, I drew my seat near her.  A short time elapsed in exchanging common-place civilities, and as I was afraid of losing the precious opportunity, I cast an anxious look around the room, to be assured that there were no listeners, and then attempted to speak.  My tongue clove to the roof of my mouth, and denied me utterance; the chairs and tables seemed to be amusing themselves by dancing round the apartment; and my heart beat as though it were keeping time to their movements.  This lasted for a few moments, and then I managed to stammer out my meaning; what I said, I know not; but this I know, I did express myself so as to become sufficiently intelligible, and no sooner had I finished my declaration, than my fair one riveted her eyes on my nose, and after striving to no purpose, to repress her mirth, burst into a long and loud fit of laughter, and ran from the room.  Whether from the excess of my feelings I fainted; or how I got out of the house, I am utterly at a loss to conceive.  The first thing that I recollect is, finding myself in the street, walking at a terrible rate, without hat, and with a train of boys at my heels: I gained my door, rushed in, fancied my blood had attained such a heat, that it bubbled like boiling water, and threw myself, quite exhausted, on a couch.

    My mistress and my nose were constantly before me, and my visions became of the most frightful description.  Once I dreamt that my nose had been transformed into a rocket, had shot from my face, and set the bed-curtains on fire.  In my eagerness to escape from the flames, I was on the point of jumping out of the window, when I awoke.  Another time I dreamt that I had found favour in the sight of my mistress, and was preparing to greet her with a kiss, when she assumed the shape of a demon; a pair of wings jutted from her shoulders, and seizing me by the nose, she sprung with me into the air, and alighting on the top of a steep precipice, plunged me into a dark and dread abyss: when I arrived at the bottom, the shock awoke me, and I found that I had leapt down stairs, and bruised myself in the most pitiful manner.

    But why do I trouble thee, good reader, with my sorrows! why do I complain of that which cannot be remedied!  I have consulted physicians innumerable, as to the means of removing this cursed protuberance from my face; I have rubbed it with all kinds of ointments; nay, I have even thought of getting it amputated, but this I am told would prove fatal.  Poverty may be surmounted by perseverance and industry; ill-health may be got the better of; in short, for all other human evils there is a remedy, but a long nose will attend its owner to the grave.  Pray, reader, that thou mayest never be cursed, like him who now obtrudes his nose and sufferings upon thy notice.


――――♦――――

 
THE LITTLE SPRITE


MY home is the home of a little sprite,
Which haunteth my presence by day and night;
His voice hath a tone of the wildest glee,
Which comes o'er my heart like a witchery.
Scarce ever at rest — like the changeful air,
He frolics and gambols everywhere;
Now, as a lamb, in the green meadows found;
Now wantonly rolling on dusty ground;
Now merry as wild-bird flitting along,
Mine ear he greets with a snatch of song;
Now he has climb'd to forbidden shelf;
And he plays me a trick like a fairy elf,
And I turn to chide, and look wonderous wise,
But he laughs as he meets my angry eyes,
And I smile at his arch and joyful look,
As he shows me his prize — a pictur'd book.
With a face grotesque, and a scorn of time,
Like the painted imp of a pantomime,
No scene from his whims and freaks is free;
His moods are as vane-like as moods can be,
As many as harlequin's suit hath dyes,
Or the hues of an arch of the showery skies.
And now, with a dwarfish sword and shield,
The carpeted floor is his mimic field;
Now he beats a tattoo on the tiny drum;
Now he dances about with a bee-like hum;
Now he chases the top, or the slender hoop,
With a gleesome shout, and a merry whoop;
Now tir'd with his noisy romp and play,
Toys are hurl'd with a careless hand away;
Now mounted aloft on his little chair,
He uses his infant skill to rear
The painted cards in a structure light,
And marks its growth with an earnest sight;
From the table upspring the paper walls —
A cry of joy and the fabric falls;
As the air-built mansions of men decay,
And fade at the breath of their judgment away.

My darling boy, oh, my frolicsome sprite!
Thou art clear as the captive's gleam of light:
As to storm-tost sailors the sight of land;
As a sinner sav'd to the angel band.
No sorrow or boding fear hast thou,
But glad and serene is thine open brow;
As the sparkling bubbles that float on wine,
To thy lip springs up every thought of thine;
An echo art thou, for each trivial word,
Which thy ear drinks in, from thy tongue is heard;
And questions ask'st thou, in simplicity,
Which the wisest are puzzled to answer thee.
May'st thou brightly and gaily through life
            pass on,
As a mote through a beam of the midday sun;
May thy years be from sin and pollution free;
May no shadow of guilt ever rest on thee;
May the attributes of thy heart and mind
Pass through every ordeal — pure, refin'd;
And, oh, may death open the path to thee
Of a glorious immortality.


――――♦――――

 
FORTUNE'S FROWNS


I know not why, mine only love, alas, I
            know not why
The dew that flows from sorrow's fount
            should gather in thine eye;
'Tis true that thou art fallen now from
            high to low estate,
Yet not alone dwells joy with wealth,
            contentment with the great.

What though amid thine auburn locks
            no jewels glitter now,
What though no white and stately plume
            waves o'er thy whiter brow;
Thou need'st not coronal nor plume thy
            loveliness to deck,
Nor pearls of snowy purity to wreath thy
            purer neck.

Oh! cold indeed must be his heart whom
            only wealth could move,
And surely thou would'st deem him all
            unworthy of thy love;
Although, with vow and smile, no more
            proud flatterers round thee press,
I will not boast — I only say I do
            not love thee less.

When in the gay and lighted hall, girt
            by a festive crowd,
Or at the banquet, when the sounds of
            revelry are loud,
Or where, whilst music fills the air, she
            glideth through the dance,
Then beauty, for a transient space, may
            well the soul entrance.

But 'twas not in the lighted hall, 'mid
            sounds of mirth and glee,
That first I pour'd into thine ear my
            heart's deep love for thee:
No eye beheld, no voice was heard — we
            breath'd our vows alone —
In silence, and in solitude, love ever
            builds his throne.

Like gaudy flowers that court the sun,
            and shrink when night comes on,
The minions of thy brighter days at fortune's
            frowns have gone;
Mourn not for them, the faithless ones —
            thou yet may'st find that those
Who shunn'd thee in thy day of pride, will
            cheer thee at its close.

Then let thy smile, love, chase the tear, as
            twilight's silver mist
Is chas'd at morn, when sunny beams the
            dewy rose have kist;
Thy grief is twofold in its birth — each tear,
            sweet girl, of thine,
Each sigh that heaves thy gentle breast an
            answer hath in mine.

It was not at the shrine of wealth that
            first I bent the knee —
I bow'd to beauty, not to gold; and thou
            still liv'st for me:
Let narrow worldlings stand aloof; let
            pride and pomp depart;
Whate'er thy lot, thou still shalt find
            one true and changeless heart.


――――♦――――

 
PAST AND FUTURE


HISTORY may tell us of the vanish'd past,
    Or chronicle the days now sweeping by;
A gloomy shade is round the future cast,
    Unsearch'd, unsearchable by mortal eye.

Forests have been where crowded cities rise,
    And lift their domes and turrets in the air;
And stars have faded from the far-off skies,
    Passing away, no tongue may tell us where.

Rivers have rush'd where verdant islands bloom,
    Shedding their perfume on the restless breeze;
And beauteous lands have found a spacious tomb
    Within the waters of the mighty seas.

Will heaven again shower down its dreadful ire,
    And whelm the world beneath a watery grave?
Or cast o'er all its bright consuming fire?
    A blazing sea from which no ark may save!

We know such things have been in bygone years,
    But o'er the coming darkness throws its pall;
Our hopes may be in vain — in vain our fears,
    Yes, our own fate is vain conjecture all.

We know not our own fate — why should we strive
    With destiny, or wish its flag unfurl'd?
Enough for us that now we breathe and live,
    Yet know not when from life we may be hurl'd.

We know the rose of beauty will turn pale,
    Wrinkles will gather on the fairest brow,
The light and bounding step of youth will fail,
    And all must perish, blossoming below.

The destin'd path we have to tread conceal'd,
    How much of woe is hidden from our sight;
While yet enough is to the mind reveal'd,
    To shape our course and guide our steps aright.

Nature's great secrets though we may not scan,
    We know how frail the tenure of our breath;
We know the period to the race of man,
    And all the beings born of earth, is death.

The end of life is death — then let our aim
    Be fix'd on things beyond our earthly doom;
Though dust return to dust, the soul may claim
    Its refuge then — its earliest, latest home!


――――♦――――

 
EXTRACTS FROM
THE DIARY OF A SUICIDE


JUNE 9TH. — The sun is shining brightly, and the light and snowy clouds flit across the horizon, as heralds of his glory.  The birds sing sweetly, as though they wooed the flowers, who lift their heads like young and beauteous maidens, smiling through tears, for their leaves are wet with the dews of morning.  I have been confined in the dull and smoky town; it is long since I looked on "nature in her green array," and I feel a pleasure in this lonely place, that I might seek in vain amidst the noise and bustle of society.  This is the very meadow in which I gambolled when a child, before the cares and coldness of the world had withered the glad feelings of my heart.  Recollections of other and happier days are with me.  The landscape appears the same as ever — I alone am changed — the bluebell gleams in the hedges, and the meadow seems like a green heaven, starred by the daisy and the cup of gold.  Blessed time! when a simple flower was a treasure to me; when I chased the butterfly from blossom to blossom; and the hum of a bee, or the carol of a bird, came over my heart like a sound of sweetest melody.  Can I look back to what I once was, without sighing to think of what I now am?  I sicken when I look forward, for all my prospects of the future are gloomy ones.

JUNE 20TH. — If there be anything which can make life worth enduring, it is the devoted affection of a virtuous and beautiful woman.  The only happy moments of my existence are those which I pass with Adelaide, and even these temporary dreams of bliss are sometimes broken by my unhappy temper.  I have the most jealous of dispositions, and if we are in company, and Adelaide bestows the least attention on any one besides myself, I am miserable.  Excellent girl!  I feel that I am unworthy of her.  I visited her last night, and maddened by a supposed slight, I quarrelled with her — she wept — my passion was over — I felt that I had wronged her — I sued for pardon, and she forgave me.  I am convinced that she loves me fervently, yet I can perceive that my settled despondency, and increased fretfulness, are the bane of her happiness.  Would to God I could shake off the gloom that preys upon me — this utter lack of interest in the things which are sought after by other men!  Would to God I could cease to give pain to the only being on earth whom I love, and by whom I am beloved!

JUNE 29TH. — I have been at a fashionable party.  I have mingled with those who call themselves votaries of pleasure.  Can it be possible that so many human beings spend the chief part of their lives in such frivolous amusements as I have just witnessed?  I was disgusted with the unmeaning jargon of the coxcombs who were around me.  I found myself neglected and unnoticed; the females preferred the company of any forward puppy who had the art of talking nonsense, and I retired from the scene of folly, to nurse my hatred of the world in solitude and silence.

JULY 3RD. — I am unhappy; and why am I so!  I possess the same means of procuring happiness as many whom I behold with the smile of gaiety almost continually on their faces.  I was not born to mingle with men.  That which gives pleasure to others, creates but an emotion of contempt in me at the insignificant minds which are the portion of the generality of mankind.  Gracious heaven! how can a creature endowed with reason submit to go through the same unvaried round of things day after day — to consume his health and strength, for the mere privilege of walking and breathing in this world of sorrow?  Surely it never was meant that man should rise in the morning, and toil through the blessed hours of the sun, with no intermission to his labour, save the short space set apart that he may take in the necessary sustenance to enable him to continue his task.  Surely so many millions were not placed on the earth for the purpose of performing the bidding, bowing low, and coming and going at the beck of the wealthy and the high-born; and yet it is so — the greater part of mankind are only allowed to eat, drink, and sleep, that they may labour with more vigour for the pampered few.  All that I see and hear convinces me of the worthlessness of life.

JULY 21ST. — 'Tis past — the struggle is over — Adelaide, the only being in whose fate I felt an interest, is dead!  I am now quite desolate and joyless in the world.  She had been fading for some time — she wasted gradually and calmly away.  With what agony did I mark the bloom depart from her cheek, and the brightness from her eye.  She had become a perfect shadow of what she once was, yet she was beautiful to the last.  They told me she was dying, but though I saw every symptom of approaching dissolution, I could not think that she whom I clung to with such tenderness, she whose lips had so often been fondly pressed to mine, would be torn from me — no, no, I clasped her to my bosom, and I could not think she would shortly be insensible to my caresses.  She died in my arms, and her last words blessed me.  Seldom was I absent from the chamber of death — I sat gazing on her lifeless body for hours, as she lay in calm and fearful beauty.  Sometimes I would start, and think she still lived and smiled upon me, for her features, even in death, had all their wonted sweetness, and she reposed like a sleeping child beguiled by blissful dreaming.  Even this mournful pleasure was soon denied me — she was shut from my view, and deposited in the cold, cold grave.  I saw her laid in the earth, and, oh, how I wished that I might share her dwelling, and be senseless and dead as she was.  I shall soon have done with the noise and tumult of the world; I feel myself rapidly decaying — my hatred of life increases — my blood is chilled, and creeps languidly through my veins, and my heart seems as though it were a mass of ice.

AUGUST 12TH. — Still do I live — still do I drag on a wretched existence.  Ere this, I thought I should have ceased to be; but the powers of life which a short time since seemed exhausted, are now strong as ever, I have wandered out when the thunder rolled, and the lightning flashed, and I have wished that the blaze might consume me, or the bolt of heaven annihilate me.  I have prayed for death, and it comes not.  Strange ideas pass across my mind, and I have imagined that I was doomed to eternal misery — destined to exist for ever, and like the fabled wanderer of old, cursed with immortality.  Why should I entertain these thoughts? why should I linger in society, like a weed which destroys the flowers of joy that bloom in the path of others?  A poisoned draught — a ball — a plunge — fool!  I have not the courage.

SEPTEMBER 9TH. — I have rushed into the vortex of dissipation; I have committed things which a rational being should blush at, and why have I done so?  I know not.  My passions are like the waters of ocean, dark and impetuous in their course.  I am the victim of impulse: as the waves of the sea are chafed into a tempest by the blast, so am I at times impelled by a dread fatality to commit acts which, at other times, appear to me as the result of madness.

OCTOBER 1ST. —No one was ever more susceptible of female loveliness than myself; spite of the gloom which shrouds my heart, the sight of a beautiful woman will for a moment light it up with admiration.  This, instead of decreasing, adds to my misery; no sooner has the fair creature passed away, than my soul becomes, if possible, darker than before, for I am the more reminded of my own loneliness.

NOVEMBER 22ND. — Extraordinary as it may seem, I am again deeply in love — I have declared my passion and am a successful wooer.  Maria S―――, the interesting, the gentle Maria, will soon be my own, and I may yet be happy.  I saw her at the house of a friend, and was struck by her resemblance to Adelaide.  She has the same mild blue eyes, the same delicate and expressive features, and the same bashful and retiring demeanour.  When I think of the circumstances attendant on our brief wooing, I almost consider it all a dream, so exquisite however, that I am afraid to reflect, lest I should wake to a sad reality.  I can scarcely deem it possible, that such a melancholy and discontented creature as myself, should have won the affections of one so fair and sinless as she whose young heart throbs with transport when I approach, and who strives to dissipate the despondency of my spirits, by her own innocent gaiety.

DECEMBER 30TH. — I have deceived myself — love and happiness are to me indeed a dream.  I am like a dark and ruined pile, to which the verdure of the ivy may impart an outward appearance of freshness, but cannot chase the dreary loneliness that dwells within.  Maria has ceased to waken in my breast a passion corresponding with her own, and I feel a listless indifference towards her.  My love, compared to that which animates the bosoms of other men, has been like the comet, which, though it may for awhile eclipse with its dazzling light, the ever-burning stars, soon passes, and leaves the space it has shone on, gloomy as before.  I have gone too far to retract; in haste to secure that which I thought would constitute my bliss, I set on foot preparations for our union; Maria's bridal robe is already finished, and I stand pledged in the eyes of her family; if I break that pledge, scorn and disgrace will be my portion.  How shall I act? If the ceremony take place, such is my disposition, that my indifference may become hatred, and I shall destroy for ever the peace and hopes of a lovely girl. One course alone will enable me to prevent it — it must, and shall be taken.

DECEMBER 31ST.—I have been, as a vessel, long tossed on the waves of worldly strife-rage on, ye billows! — I leave the storm and the tempest behind, for my pilot is death, and my haven is the grave. I have chosen a strange time to execute my purpose: it is the dying hour of the year, and in a few short minutes we shall both be no more. Many sweet remembrances will be blended with the recollections of the departed year, but for me — no matter. The poisoned goblet is before me — my hand is firm and steady — I raise the draught of death to my lips — the potion is swallowed! What sound is that which swells upon the breeze? it is the merry peal of the bells, and they bring joy even to me, for they ring my knell. This deed may be termed madness — perchance it is so — yet my mind feels calmer now than ever, and I welcome death, as the drowsy waker welcomes sleep. The poison has commenced its work—there is a swelling and burning at my heart――― my fingers refuse to guide my pen ――― I shall soon be ―――

 
 
THE LADY OF MY HEART


MY love is like a sweet young flower,
    That shrinketh from the eye;
My love is like a beauteous star,
    That trembleth in the sky:
My love is fair, yet she doth fear
    That other eyes should see
The loveliness she would reveal
    To me, and only me.

I breathe her name in solitude,
    And not in haunts of men;
I muse on her when none are nigh,
    In lone and shadowy glen;
I even fear the very breeze
    My secret love should share;
I even fear to breathe her name
    Unto the sighing air.

We roam at eve by silver streams,
    We shun the glare of day —
Oh, eyes and cheeks look lovelier far,
    When viewed by twilight gray.
We wander 'neath the golden stars,
    I look on the blue sky,
Then turn away from heaven to earth,
    And gaze upon her eye.

We seat ourselves on some green mound,
    And dream of times of old,
Of minstrel's lays, and lady-love,
    Of page, and warrior bold;
We speak of pilgrim bow'd with age,
    Who sought some lady bright,
Then casting off his years and weeds,
    Reveal'd her own true knight.

I tell some legend of the days
    When gallants broke the lance,
And fought and bled on warlike field,
    For one approving glance;
And when is told the high-wrought tale
    Of deeds beheld no more,
She smiles, and says "Oh, love we not
    As well as they of yore?"

I lov'd her long, but dar'd not hope
    That I her love had won;
Yet she that blest my dreams by night,
    I waking could not shun:
I stole one even near her bower,
    Where I might stand unseen,
And saw the image of my heart,
    'Mid flowers and branches green.

She knelt, with uprais'd eyes and hands,
    Like some enchanted dame,
And, whispering low, in words of love
    She syllabled my name;
I stood entranc'd, nor spoke nor mov'd,
    A statue rooted there,
Gazing with wilder'd soul on her,
    The maid who knelt in prayer.

The honey-bee was hastening home,
    With perfume from the flower,
But sighs more sweet were breath'd for me,
    Within that lonely bower:
A moment, and our lips had met —
    The bright moon saw us part,
And heard me vow to love till death
    The lady of my heart.


――――♦――――

 
SERENADE


OH, Marian! Marian! think of the hour!
Night throws her veil on the tree and the flower,
But affection's pale beacon, the moon is above,
And yet thou art sleeping, oh, Marian, my love!

Oh, Marian! come from thy chamber of rest,
For the queen of the stars is enthron'd in the west,
And, under the window that looks on the grove,
I wait for thy coming, oh, Marian, my love!

Roses are sparkling with dew silver-bright,
Violets are breathing their sweets to the night;
Then wake, oh, awake, that thy lover may prove
His true heart's devotion, oh, Marian, my love!

Rise, dearest, arise! and thy casement unclose,
Let me look on that cheek, like the leaf of the
            rose;
All around, sweet, is silence, below and above,
Save my voice as it calls thee, oh, Marian,
            my love!

Oh bliss! now I see, by the moon's witching light,
That fair form approaching, so dear to my sight:
Haste! haste! the slight easement that shrouds
            thee remove,
And appear in thy beauty, oh, Marian, my love!


――――♦――――

 
LOVERS' TOKENS


TAKE back the tokens of thy love,
    Since change is with thy heart;
I need not say how long I strove,
    Ere I with them could part,
Yet why should I retain a token
Of her whose faith and vows are broken?

Take back each fondly-cherish'd scroll,
    Fill'd with sweet thoughts of thine —
With eager eye and raptur'd soul,
    I've dwelt on every line:
I could not bear to look on now
The record of each broken vow.

My heart is not a woman's heart,
    And if I do not weep,
Think'st thou I mourn not thus to part?—
    My grief is all too deep:
Calmly the deepest waters flow,
Though many a grave doth lurk below.

I have not sought thee to reprove
    Thy young heart's fickleness,
I do not say I spurn thy love —
    No, still I can but bless;
I could not doom unto the flame
These records, for they bore thy name.

I sought thee not to tell thee how
    I've sorrow'd — 'tis my fate,
And grief is vain and fruitless now,
    Thou'rt false, I desolate;
Thou still wilt laugh 'mid gay and fair,
Whilst I shall pine in lone despair.

I sought thee but once more to gaze
    On her I've lov'd so true;
Once more to dream of other days,
    And bid a last adieu:
'Tis past — my task is done — we sever,
And thou and I are twain for ever.


――――♦――――

 
A FIDDLER'S DREAM


When the power of slumber lies
On the senses, on the eyes,
Deeds ne'er seen by waking sight,
Pass before the dreaming wight;
Forms fantastic, fancy brings,
Giving life to lifeless things;
And the dreamer heareth word
Which no other ear hath heard,
Till, by touch or sound alarm'd,
He by spell no more is charm'd.


IT was in the winter of the year l8――, when the whim of learning the art of fiddling came into my head.  After searching all the second-hand music shops in the town, I at length fixed my attention on an instrument which the vendor assured me was even BETTER than when it was new.  I drew the bow several times across it, and appeared to listen to its sound with all the skill of a consummate connoisseur in violins.  Of course I found fault with it, in order to lower the price, which the seller of music had fixed at the ENORMOUS sum of fifteen shillings.  With a good deal of haggling I placed fourteen shillings and six-pence on the counter, declaring that, rather than give more, I would depart without the fiddle.  The money was swept into the drawer with seeming reluctance, and I marched off with the prize under my arm.  Whilst within sight of the shop, I walked leisurely enough, but, the moment I thought myself free from observation, I hurried on with as much celerity and delight as a child returning from a fair with a new toy, which it is all impatience to exhibit before its playmates.  When I gained my home, having previously purchased a note-book, I began my studies, with all the eagerness with which people usually enter upon a fresh pursuit; it always being a hundred chances to one against their obtaining any degree of perfection.  In a short time by dint of constantly annoying the ears of all my kindred, I produced a something between harmony and discord — I must confess it was rather inclining towards the latter — that, to me, sounded like "God save the king," though no doubt to any one else, it would have seemed as unlike that air as it was to the hunting-chorus in "Der Freischutz."  One dull night after having thrummed away for several hours, I fell into a sound slumber.  The subject of my waking thoughts took possession of my dreams, and you may easily imagine my surprise on seeing the fiddle raise itself erect, and after bowing politely, address me in the following terms, with rather a harsh voice, that varied, however, as the subject required, from the lowest bass to the acutest treble: —

    "It will appear strange to you, who have been brought up in the belief that fiddles are destitute both of sense and feeling, to hear me address you in a somewhat rational discourse.  Before I commence a brief outline of my history, allow me to ask you whether it is not almost impossible for those of your own species to affect the passions of others without being in some degree, affected themselves; and, to reason from analogy — I know you will be sceptical — what is more capable of exciting emotion than a fiddle? and why should not we ourselves feel a part of that emotion we excite in others? — but to my tale.

    "I cannot give you an account of my parentage, for, alas! our race are outcasts from the first period of existence; we are sold to servitude, torn from our fellows, and abandoned by our maker.  Suffice it to say, my first master was major-domo of a theatrical orchestra; and the time I passed in his service I account the most glorious part of my life.  My abilities were displayed amidst the beauteous and the gay, the dazzling brilliancy of lamps, and the magic splendour of scenery.  I assumed as much superiority over my fellow-fiddles as my master did over his companions; and my voice was always the loudest and most distinct.  Sometimes I went through a solo, to the delight and astonishment of the whole house; and even when acting in concert with the rest, I was always listened to with more attention than any other, and all my acquaintances looked upon me as a fiddle of first-rate genius, each paying the greatest deference to my opinion.  This course was too pleasant to last long.  By one of those unforeseen strokes of destiny so prevalent in human affairs, my master was suddenly thrown out of his situation, and after several unsuccessful attempts to gain another, was obliged to part with me, in order to procure him the necessary means of subsistence, and accordingly, with tears in his eyes, he did so.  It is impossible to paint the grief I felt on finding myself in a second-hand music-shop, hung amongst a crowd of unfortunates like myself; some indeed, were so superannuated as to be entirely unfit for any respectable service, whilst most of them had been hurled down in the height of their pride: and thus it is with life — it opens with promise and gladness, and is too often followed by blight and sorrow.  I do not know how long I remained, in this abject state, for I became utterly indifferent to all that was passing around me, and I found my constitution and faculties rapidly decaying.  My fibres were relaxed, some of my screws were lost, my bridge was broken, and I began to feel all the symptoms of an early dissolution, when I was purchased by a dancing-master, who, with a good deal of labour, restored me to almost all my pristine vigour.  Still in my prime, it was with no small share of pleasure that I found myself rescued from oblivion, and my talents again admired by the lovers of harmony.  I soon grew as much attached to my second master as I had been to my first.  Generally surrounded by a happy band of sweet creatures tripping to my music, my new duties were of the most pleasing nature.  However, I was doomed to be unfortunate; at the expiration of twelve or thirteen months, my master contrived to hop off with one of his female pupils, who was heiress to twenty thousand pounds.  No sooner did he gain possession of his wife's fortune, than I was sold, as an article for which he had no further use.  Here, were I of a censorious disposition, I might rail against the ingratitude of man, who no sooner arrives at wealth and affluence, than he casts off the companions of his less prosperous days; but I know enough of the world to be aware that the complaints and revilings of the helpless are seldom, if ever, attended with any result except that of producing contempt.  From this time my life has been a continued succession of misfortunes.  I will not tire your patience by describing the low scenes I was witness to whilst in the services of a common tap-room fiddler, and a ballad-singer, for they chiefly consisted of pictures of human degradation and vulgar inebriety, which I, though reputed to be bereft of reason, could not avoid beholding with loathing and disgust.  Nothing can equal the tortures I have felt from the scraping of fiddling students, all commencing with as much eagerness as yourself; and all in the course of a few weeks throwing me aside.  But I will no longer protract a worthless existence — my resolution is fixed — nay, hold me not — you strive in vain to divert me from my purpose — thus will I put a period to my sufferings."

    Here the fiddle, in a paroxysm of grief and despair, precipitated itself from the table, and was shivered to pieces.  The noise of its fall awoke me, and I found that in my efforts to save it, I had actually dashed it to the ground, where it lay a a mere wreck of its former self.  Thus ended my dream, and my propensity for fiddling.


――――♦――――

 
I SIT BESIDE HER IN THE HALL


I sit beside her in the hall,
    I gaze upon her face,
And while she sweetly smiles on all,
    No smile for me I trace;
I seek the presence I should shun —
    Alas, how hard his lot,
Who cannot choose but cling to one
    Who heeds, who loves him not.

I breath'd my passion in her ear,
    With fervent look and word,
And as I spoke 'mid hope and fear,
    Unmov'd my tale she heard;
And then she told, with alter'd look,
    That all must be forgot —
Her chilling glance I could not brook—
    Alas, she lov'd me not.

I dreamt of her at dead of night,
    Her lips to mine seem'd prest,
My soul was fill'd with love's own light,
    I clasp'd her to my breast;
I ask'd if she would be my bride,
    And bless'd my happy lot,
But when we reach'd the altar's side,
    She said she lov'd me not.

I do not blame her just decree,
    'Tis meet that we should part,
No ray of hope remains for me —
    Another claims her heart;
Yet still I linger where she dwells,
    I cannot quit the spot,
Though all I see and hear but tells
    She heeds, she loves me not.


――――♦――――

 
THE RUINED MAN


With agony, with sorrow, and with pride,
He lifted his wan eyes upon the bride.
And said, "Is this thy faith?"

Shelley.


WE dashed rapidly along the well-paved streets of the metropolis; the lamps shone brightly, and the windows of the shops sent forth streams of clear and dazzling light.  It was a cold winter night.  The pale moon, and the trembling stars gleamed above us, and what with the splendour of the ever-burning orbs of heaven, and the mimic stars of earth, a radiance was shed over the scene, which made the glorious city appear to me a place of gladness and rejoicing.  Crowds of people were hurrying through the streets, all apparently intent on business of emergency; and the emporiums of commerce, the magnificent buildings, and the stately domes, which every where greeted, me, forced me to exclaim ― "Can this famed and beautiful London be the abode of want, and the habitation of wretchedness? can squalid misery and lean starvation here find an abiding place? — surely not."  Thus do we reason, when we look on the surface of things — when we content ourselves with what is presented to casual observation.  Alas, how deceitful are external appearances!  Many a countenance has a glad and smiling look, whilst the heart of its owner is bursting with hidden sorrow — we gaze on the diamond with admiration, and think not of the toil and suffering which have given to it its beauty — the stream flashes onwards with a pleasant murmur, we dream not that death lies hidden beneath its waters.

    The mail stopped, and my delusion faded away.  A host of wretched beings pressed round the passengers, anxious to earn a trifling pittance, by carrying away their luggage.  There was one man who stood aloof from the rest; he thrust not himself forward to offer his services, yet his eye followed, with a longing and envious gaze, those who had succeeded in procuring employment.  I pushed aside his more obtrusive companions, and proposed that he should bear away my trunk.  He eagerly accepted my offer, and walked on before me with his burden.  We had not proceeded many yards ere I perceived that his strength was unequal to the task he had undertaken; his steps began to totter under his load; he staggered and fell at full length on the pavement.  I conveyed him to a neighbouring tavern, where he remained for some time in a sort of stupor.  Never shall I forget his famine-stricken appearance.  He could not be thirty years of age, and his clothes, which had evidently seen better days, hung in rags about his attenuated frame.  His features were almost absolutely fleshless, and his eyes seemed as though starting from their sockets.  By degrees his senses returned; he gazed wildly around him, and endeavoured to speak, but his voice was inaudible.  With difficulty we distinguished the word "food."  I procured him some provisions; he seized them with avidity, and devoured them with the most greedy voracity.  When he had finished his meal, he observed my eyes bent on him in astonishment.  "I had not tasted food for three days," he muttered, and burst into tears.  Before I left the house, I gave directions that every care should be taken of the unfortunate being, and proper nourishment given to him.  To ensure the fulfilment of my orders, I deposited my purse in the hands of the landlord.

    I visited the man, on the following day, and found him confined to his bed from debility and disease.  In conversation he displayed much knowledge and intelligence; his language was elegant and refined, and the more I conversed with him, the more I was astonished, when I thought of the low and degraded state in which I had found him.  He continued to grow daily worse; medicine had no effect on him, and the physician, whom I had engaged to attend him, assured me that it was impossible he could recover.  His constitution was completely worn out.  I often requested him to inform me what had reduced him to the state of poverty in which I beheld him.  At first he evaded my questions, but a few days previous to his death — for he died in the retreat I had provided him — he consented to relate to me a portion of the events of his life.  His tale made at the time a strong impression on me, and when I left him I committed it to paper.  It was as follows.



    "I was born in affluence — you see how I am about to die.  No matter.  You have been kind to me, and I have not the means of repaying you.  You wish me to relate to you the particulars of my fall from wealth to poverty, and I will endeavour to obey you; yet even from you I must conceal my name, for I would not that they who once called themselves my friends, should possess a clue to lead them to a knowledge as to how I died.  When I am dead, inscribe on my coffin only these words — 'A Ruined Man' — deposit me in some lonely burial ground, and let me rot in obscurity.  My parents were rich, and I was brought up in indolence and luxury.  I was liberally educated, and reading was one of my greatest delights.  My favourite playmate was a beautiful girl, who was also the child of wealthy parents.  We played, read, danced, and sang together, until we grew too old to indulge in the familiarities of childhood.  Our respective mothers suddenly fancied that there was something improper in our being so frequently in each other's company, and they therefore, read us separate lectures on the subject.  Suddenly, too, our own feelings underwent a change.  I no longer kissed the lips of my play-mate with the same careless freedom as formerly, and, in fact, she now began to repel such freedoms, with a face crimsoned with blushes.  This all seemed to me mighty odd, and I was rather at a loss to account for it.  I felt quite tremulous if any one mentioned her name, and this was a sensation which until lately I had been a stranger to.  I knew a little of drawing, and one day in sport I had sketched her likeness; this had been thrown aside, but I now sought it out, and regarded it as a treasure.  Since I was debarred from kissing the original, I took a fancy for kissing the likeness.  This state of things could not last long.  Something besides friendship must be at the bottom of this, thought I; so I began to ruminate, and after a few hours meditation, discovered that I was over head and ears in love.  Big with this discovery, I sought my former playmate, and communicated to her the result of my ruminations.  It needed not any great degree of rhetoric to convince her of the important fact, and accordingly, from that time, we were sworn lovers.  This happened in my sixteenth year — my mistress had not reached fifteen.  Our intercourse now daily grew of a more tender nature; when we were only friends we loved to roam over sunny hills and vales, chasing butterflies, or gathering wild roses, and this we then thought the height of enjoyment; but we now had joys and delights of a different character.  We loved to wander in the moonlight, to stray by murmuring streams, to listen to nightingales, and praise the beauty of the stars.  We now were enamoured of silence, though formerly our tongues were constantly in motion; and we sometimes sat for hours gazing in each other's eyes, intensely happy, yet fearful of speaking, lest words should break the spell that bound us.  I took a pleasure in disfiguring trees with the initials of her name, and sat up at nights writing sonnets on her loveliness, wherein I almost exhausted nature's calendar, to find comparisons for her charms.  Thus ran the world away until I was about nineteen.  My mistress was then taken from me to be introduced amongst the circles of fashion, and exhibit her beauty in town, as all well-bred young ladies are expected to do.  Vows were exchanged, and tears were shed on both sides; however the decree for our separation was passed, and neither vows nor tears had power to alter it.  The carriage rolled up to the gate, my mistress stepped into it, the horses swept on, and I stood gazing towards the route of the vehicle long after the white hand and waving handkerchief of her I loved had vanished from my view.  I dried my eyes, heaved a deep sigh, and returned with a heavy heart to my father's house.  I shut myself in my chamber, and wrote a poem on the subject.  I could not for several days eat at meal times, and I was only happy when asleep, for I saw my mistress in my dreams.

    My father wished me to make choice of a profession, and I was at a loss what to choose.  I was not knave enough for a lawyer, hypocrite enough for a parson, or pragmatical enough for a physician, besides I should be sufficiently rich to live in idleness; but my father's will was absolute, and he had decided that all young gentlemen should have a profession, so I was compelled to make up my mind to be something or other.  I made choice of a soldier's life, partly because I thought a red coat would become me, and partly because I had an ardent love for my king and country, and should have liked nothing better than to defeat their foes.  My father purchased me a commission, and my regiment was shortly afterwards ordered abroad to join in the campaigns of the Peninsula.

    I went up to town before I left England, to see my mistress, and to assure her of my fidelity.  I found her seated in a fashionable drawing-room, surrounded by a group of well-dressed young men, who all seemed candidates for her smiles.  I could scarcely think it possible that twelve months should have effected so great a change in her.  She was tastefully and elegantly attired, and dispensed her favours with an easy and aristocratic air that perfectly surprised me.  I should have hesitated to approach her, but no sooner did the servant announce my name than she started from the languid attitude in which she sat, and ran towards me with a frank expression of joy on her countenance that assured me her heart was still my own.  I conducted her to her seat, and took my place by her side.  The crowd of flatterers finding themselves now unnoticed soon slunk away.  She presented me with a beautiful ivory miniature of herself, and promised to write to me often.  Again we parted, and I left England with a light heart.

    Every incident connected with the behaviour of our troops in the memorable Peninsular campaigns has been laid before the public, and I do not mean to trouble you with any repetitions.  I will not boast of my own conduct; I shall merely say I did my duty, and obtained promotion.  My mistress kept her promise of often writing to me, and the perusal of her letters was my chief source of delight.  My military duties were of short duration.  Ere I had attained my twenty-first year, my father died, and my presence was required at home.  I returned, was warmly welcomed by my first love, sold my commission, and took possession of my estate.

    I now commenced my career as a man of fashion, and attended my mistress to balls, concerts, and parties innumerable.  We went through an eternal round of visiting, waltzing, quadrilling and singing.  Preparations were set on foot for our marriage.  I sold my estate in the country, to purchase another which was more to my taste.  The title deeds to the property were prepared, and a day was fixed for their execution and the payment of the purchase money.  I was seated by my mistress, at a party held by a lady of birth, speaking of the wedding dress which was intended to grace my future bride, when a note was delivered to me by a servant.  I was going to thrust it into my pocket without looking at the contents, but the words "Read it immediately" met my eye on the outside, and apologizing to my mistress, I broke the seal.  I saw the import of the communication at a glance — it was to inform me that a rumour was in circulation that the bankers in whose hands my whole fortune was lodged, had stopped payment.  I sat for a moment motionless as a statue, then the room appeared to whirl round with me; I felt almost suffocated, and large drops of perspiration burst from my forehead.  I uttered some indistinct words, seized my hat, and rushed from the house.  Oh, ill luck flies apace — the news was true, and I was a beggar!

    The next day I called at the abode of my mistress, but my progress was checked by a servant, who coldly repeated "Not at home," though I knew the fellow lied, and I had previously been a welcome visitor at all hours.  This was even a greater shock than my loss of fortune.  I thought I had known her heart too well; I had deemed that if all the world besides looked coldly on me, she would be unchanged.  It was not so; I was a bankrupt both in love and fortune.  I sought my lonely home, and retired to my chamber, muttering curses on her perfidy.  I took from my bosom her long-cherished miniature, and dashed it to atoms.

    I succeeded in rescuing a few thousands from the wreck of my wealth, but it mattered not — the restoration of all would have availed not now.  I had trusted in woman, and had been deceived — fool! — woman's faith — write it on the waves of ocean.  My mother was dead, and I felt glad that she had not lived to witness my fall.  I sought the gaming-table, as a relief from my mind's anguish.  I played recklessly, and my thousands were soon diminished to hundreds.  I drowned the remembrance of my losses in wine, and thus my days were spent in dissipation, and my nights in gaming.  I was to sink still lower.  It was said my mistress was to marry a baronet, a fool, but wealthy.  In an obscure part of the church I witnessed unseen the ceremony, for I was determined to let my eyes avouch the cursed fact.  I saw it, and I vowed revenge; I cared for nought, would stick at nought — no, not even MURDER.  I furnished myself with a pistol, and stopped the carriage of my rival on his wedding-night.  I would have discharged my weapon at his head, but it missed fire.  I regretted I had not another.  I was seized but my MERCIFUL rival would not urge my committal for the crime; he simply accused me of madness, and caused me to be confined in a hospital for idiots.  Here, the brooding over my miserable fate, and the horrid sights and sounds I saw and heard, drove me really, desperately mad.  I made the whole building echo with my howls.  Stripes and chains were my daily portion.  When I became too weak to indulge in those paroxysms, I was discharged.

    Where to go I knew not.  All shunned me, all avoided my path; they were right — why should they NOT?  I was a ruined, friendless, miserable being, blighted in my hopes, broken in health and spirit, and destitute of a penny wherewith to buy a morsel of food.  They were right to shun me then, for "what advantage could they hope from me?"  For a day and night I was without sustenance, and that day and night I spent near the dwellings of those who had known I me in other times, and bitterly did I smile to see them pass by me without deigning to cast a glance on the starving beggar.  The second day I directed my steps towards the abode of my false mistress.  I had not lingered long near it when I saw her husband, the hated destroyer of my reason, come into the street.  My heart bounded with revived hope.  I tracked his steps until we reached a lonely spot.  I then sprung upon him — I saw he knew me not — I breathed my name in his ear.  "Am I mad?" I said, —"if I am, who made me so?  Villain, the curse of my madness be upon thee!"  I grasped him convulsively by the throat.  He called aloud for help, and consigned me to a prison — not because I had attempted his destruction, but because I was homeless and a beggar.

    During my misery and my madness, I had never parted with the letters which I had received, when abroad, from my mistress.  I always bore them about my person, for I felt a wild delight in thinking that so abject a thing as myself possessed tokens of love, and words of burning affection inscribed by the hand of a proud and well-born beauty.  I now prevailed on my gaoler to forward to the faithless woman a packet containing the memorials of her guilt.  I told her that I had been mad, that I was now the inmate of a prison, and the companion of felons.  I told her that I exulted in my degradation, for she had been its author and the vengeance of heaven would crush her for it.  I bid her read the damned scrolls I sent her, in the brilliance of a luxurious drawing room, to her titled husband, and tell him that he to whom she once plighted her faith was the mate of the vilest criminals, the tenant of a dark and loathsome cell — PLACED THERE BY HIM.

    She procured my release, and when my dungeon-gates opened for me, the keeper deposited a purse of gold in my hands, the produce of her bounty.  I took the money — I was without a coin or a friend in the world — I knew not where to get a morsel of bread; but I hastened towards a river, with the vile dross in my hand, and cast it into the water.  I would starve, die, perish in the public streets, rather than exist on HER CHARITY.  Thus did I live for three days, unsheltered by a roof, and without food; but, oh, nought subdues the soul like hunger — none but a wretch like me can conceive the craving, the gnawing agony of a famishing man.  You saw me — you offered me the means of relief; and nature triumphed — I accepted your offer, you know the rest — I am now what you see me, an outcast dying in an obscure tavern, my very bed of death furnished by a stranger."


――――♦――――

 
THE RESTORATION
OF CHARLES THE SECOND


A high born and a beauteous crowd
    Fills balcony and tower,
To look upon the gay and proud,
    On England's banish'd flower ;
Strange sounds of joy are on the air,
And many a plighted maiden fair,
With throbbing heart and smother'd sigh,
Gazes with an expectant eye,
And waits for him to her most dear,
Her brave and courtly cavalier.

Banners are streaming to the breeze,
    And brazen trumpets ring,
And shouts — yet not alone of these
    Thinks the returning king:
His thoughts are straying from the scene,
From what IS NOW to what HATH BEEN;
When death hung o'er the royal head,
And far from throne and home he fled,
His sceptre but a broken brand,
A rebel ruler o'er the land!

And where is he whose arm of might
    Rul'd with an iron sway?
Gone like a troubled dream of night
    Before th' approach of day;
The feeble heir he leaves behind,
Reft of his father's giant mind,
Lost, dead to glory and to fame,
Inherits but his father's name:
Like a small water's hidden course,
Obscure, though ocean be its source.

They come, they come, a noble throng,
    The loyal and the true,
And now the monarch glides along,
    Girt by his chosen few:
But many eyes will look in vain
To find, amid that splendid train,
The kindred forms that left their home,
With banish'd royalty to roam,
That clung to him they could not save,
Their recompense — an exile's grave!

Spring-buds on every path are strew'd,
    A sweet and lovely group,
As virgins brought from solitude,
    In the world's gaze to droop;
And prancing chargers paw the ground,
Scattering those pale young blossoms round,
And snowy plumes are fluttering by,
Pure as the white clouds of the sky;
And nod, and smile, and wave of hand,
Are welcoming that joyous band.

All, all is bright and glorious now,
    No traces of the past;
But thus it is with all below,
    Where nought is doom'd to last:
One moment dark, the next all bright —
Alternate bloom, alternate blight;
The son of sire struck headless down,
Now call'd from banishment to crown:
A fitting type of human state,
Sad record of a monarch's fate!


――――♦――――

 
ON THE DEATH OF A YOUNG LADY


The star we gaze on, from our sight may fade,
The loveliest flower be blighted and decay'd,
The joyous fawn may perish in its glee,
The dove be stricken in its wanderings free.

Weep, beauty, weep! thy fairest form hath fled;
Mourn, Virtue, mourn; thy favourite child is
            dead;
Weep ye for innocence, weep ye for truth,
Mourn ye for loveliness, mourn ye for youth.

Sleep, gentle girl, WHY should we MOURN thy
            doom?
WHY wear to lay thee in the silent tomb!
Vain are our tears, vainly do we repine —
Grief still is ours, but happiness is thine!

Sweet saint! yes, gone from earth, such is thy
            fate,
Whilst here we linger, sad and desolate;
FRAIL are the things that claim our earthly
            love —
Thy joys are LASTING in thy home above.

Oh! never! never! did a brighter form
Seek the cold dwelling of the loathsome worm!
Resign'd and pure — when pass'd thy last faint
            breath,
A sinless virgin sought the arms of death!

The household group assemble round the hearth,
Where late uprose the sound of laughing mirth;
And thou art wanting, with thy voice so glad —
Thy kindred miss thee, and their hearts are sad.

Full many a tear hath dimm'd thy mother's eye,
That thou the young and dearly lov'd should die;
And droop'd in woe the spirit of thy sire,
To see the daughter of his hope expire.

Thy sister, too, the fair and graceful one,
Long will she miss thee, long in musings lone,
Think of the form that by her side did stray, —
The good, the beautiful, the kind, the gay!


――――♦――――

 
CANZONET


THERE is a place where the forest boughs
    Bend down to a quiet stream,
And, so lovely it looks in its bright repose,
    That it seems as 'twere wrapt in dream;
The water-lily uplifts its head
    In that sweet and pleasant home,
Like a living pearl in a silver bed,
    Or a bell of the wave's white foam;
There comes not a sound on the passing air,
    Save the young bird's cheerful call —
Beloved one! wilt thou meet me there,
    When the shadows of even fall.

There is a bower in that peaceful spot,
    Which some fond hand hath wrought,
Where the feet of the worldling enter not,
    Sacred to love and thought;
Full many fair flowers beside it sigh,
    And the myrtle around it creeps,
The breeze becomes sweet as it floateth by,
    And the bee in its roses sleeps;
The stars alone will our secrets share,
    Unseen and unheard by all,
Beloved one! wilt thou meet me there,
    When the shadows of even fall?


――――♦――――


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