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A hooded, caped woman standing by a monument or grave, over which hangs a tree. An inscription on the lower part of the grave reads “Sacred to Simplicity”.

Sacred to Simplicity

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Sonnets,


and other
Poems:


To Which Are Added
Talesomitted
omitted
In Prose.
omitted


“Rura mihi, et rigui placeant in vallibus amnes,
Flumina amen sylvasque inglorius.”

Virgil.


London;
Printed For Blacks and Parry,
Leadenhall-Street.
18051805. .

A2v omitted


T. Plummer, Seething-Lane.
Tower-Street
.

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To
Her Dear Sons,
The Author
Most Affectionately
Inscribes This Volume,
as
a Small Memorial
of
Maternal Love.

A3v A4r

Preface.

The following pages were written rather as an
amusement in those hours of leisure, which a retired life
afforded, than with any view of publication; but, having
gradually increased in number sufficient to form a volume,
in compliance with the repeated solicitations of some partial
friends, and with the utmost diffidence I now submit
them to the inspection of the world. Some few of the
pieces were inserted several years ago, in the periodical
publications of the day; they have since been revised, corrected,
and, it is hoped, considerably improved: but bearing
in mind this advice of Madame Genlis, Tales of the Castle, vol. iii. page 47. “A woman
ought never to suffer a man to add a single word to her
writings; if she does, the man she consults, be he who he
may, will always pass for the original inventor, and she
will be accused of putting her name to the works of A4v vi
others,”
I have not suffered them to pass thro’ any
other hands; of course the beauties (if any should be
discovered) and the blemishes are all my own.

To attempt exploring an untrodden path on the parnassian
mountain, would argue both folly and presumption;
and I hope I shall not be considered as guilty of
either, in following, at humble distance, that which a
favourite Charlotte Smith. writer of the present day has chosen. As it
has not been with the extravagant idea of disputing the
palm with one, who, in sonnet-writing, stands unrivaled,
but, to speak metaphorically, rather with a design of gathering
a few of those straggling wild-flowers she may
have passed by unregarded.

Born in the country and ever enthusiastically attached
to rural scenes, and rural pleasures, it will not excite
wonder, that many of the subjects are of a descriptive
kind: my fondness for flowers commenced in childhood; A5r vii
and I well remember the infantine joy with which, in
early spring, I paced the green slopes of my father’s
gardens, watching the first unfolding buds of the yellow
aconite, and red hepatica. In maturer years I have
derived much pleasure from botanical studies; which,
however despised and derided by those who have no taste
for them, (and consequently cannot form a competent
judgment of a science they do not understand) certainly
afford a pure and innocent amusement, which tends
to enlarge the mind, and elevate it “from nature up to
nature’s God.”
—Thus much I thought proper to premise,
as an apology to those who may censure the redundancy
of rural description.

I am not conscious of having been guilty of plagiarism,
in any of my performances; tho’ on this subject
I speak cautiously, knowing how difficult it is for those
who are much conversant with books, to steer clear of
that error. Mr. Sheridan remarks, that “Faded ideas
float in the fancy like half-forgotten dreams; and the A5v viii
imagination, in its fullest enjoyments, becomes suspicious
of its offspring, and doubts whether it has created, or
adopted.”

To the respectable synod, whose fiát crowns the labours
of the bard with immortality, or consigns them to
oblivion, I dare not look up with higher hopes or expectation
than that this little volume, as inoffensive, may
escape the severity of criticism; tho’ the Age of Chivalry,
we are told, is no more, the author appeals to their
gallantry as men, not too rigidly to censure the light
effusions of a female pen; and to their humanity, not to
“Break a butterfly upon a wheel.”

B. F.


Duncroft Cottage, 1805-06-21June, 21, 1805.
A6r A7r

Errata.

  • Page 17, line under Sonnet XV. for Marquerite, read Marguerite.

  • Page 34, line 6, for the, read this.
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Errata.

  • Page 17, line under Sonnet XV. for Marquerite, read Marguerite.
  • Page 34, line 6, for the, read this.
A8v
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Sonnets

and
Other Poems.

“A Muse that lov’d in Nature’s walks to stray, And gather’d many a wild-flower in her way.”
Langhorne.
B B1v
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Sonnets, &c.

Sonnet I.

Descriptive Of Morning.

Morn’s rosy light breaks o’er yon eastern hill,

And faintly mingles with the twilight grey;

The shepherd thro’ the valley bends his way,

Waking soft echo with his carrol shrill:

Printing with tim’rous step the dewy lawn,

Light from her couch of fern, the lev’ret springs;

And the high-soaring lark his matin sings,

Primeval songster; while the dappl’d fawn,

In antic gambols, thro’ the forest bounds;

And hark! the loud blast of the huntsman’s horn,

On the fresh breezes of the morning borne,

O’er the tall cliff, and cavern’d rock, resounds.

While his fleet hounds their sylvan chace pursue,

And from the tangling thickets brush the dew.

B2 B2v 4

Sonnet II.

As fades the rain-bow of a summer’s sky,

So fade the pleasures of life’s early day;

So swift the fairy forms of hope decay,

E’en as the purple clouds of evening fly!

And sable night will soon in deepest gloom

Involve the smiling landscape now so fair;

And the tir’d pilgrim, in this vale of care,

Soon seek the refuge of a peaceful tomb.

But morn shall chace the murky shades of night,

With rosy fingers, and ambrosial breath;

And, once dissolv’d the frozen bands of death,

Th’ awaken’d spirit soar to realms of light,

Where joy’s celestial beam no griefs shall shroud,

Where day perpetual reigns, undarken’d by a cloud!

B3r 5

Sonnet III.

The Carnation.

(From Gessner’s Idyls.)

Fair flower! by Doris lov’d, shall I presume

With savage grasp, thy silken form to spoil?

To waste, with lavish hand, thy choice perfume,

Thy crimson-streaked leaves in dust to soil?

No—she shall place thee on her snowy breast,

And thy delicious odours thence arise,

As incense, when with love’s warm hopes impress’d,

To the fair Paphian Queen we sacrifice.

Ah happy flower! those coral lips to kiss,

And thence thy bright vermillion tints to steal;

Would, I like thee, might taste such nectar’d bliss,

And there my vows of tender passion seal:

Like thee, beneath the sunshine of her eye,

To live, and there, like thee, sweet flower! to die.

B3 B3v 6

Sonnet IV.

To Fortune.

O Fortune! changeful as the varying wind,

Why should the human heart in thee confide?

Thy brittle chain, alas! no virtues bind,

Light as the froth that floats upon the tide.

Thy smile, the sunbeam of an April morn,

And transient as the drops of dew that swell

The cowslip’s cup, and tip the blossom’d thorn;

Or, quivering, glitter in the lily’s bell.

Go, fickle goddess, and essay to cheat

Some heart that never trusted thee before;

But I so oft’ have witness’d thy deceit,

Thy syren song shall ne’er delude me more:

Nor will I at thy wayward frowns repine,

While the superior joys of health and peace are mine.

B4r 7

Sonnet V.

Bright rose the sun upon my natal hour,

Repose and Peace the downy cradle spread;

While Pleasure strew’d my path with many a flower,

And rose-lip’d Health her choicest blessings shed:

Then, fondly to a mother’s bosom press’d,

The blissful days on rapid pinions pass’d;

And, in a tender father’s arms caress’d,

Each morn beheld me happier than the last.

But scarcely seven short years had roll’d away,

’Ere destin’d one lov’d parent’s loss to mourn;

And now, (more exquisite the pang) to pay

The tribute of my grief o’er a dear father’s urn!

And with sad tears the hallow’d earth bedew,

That hides his honor’d form for ever from my view.

B4 B4v 8

Sonnet VI.

Addressed to the Village Children of Kent, who present Travellers, passing
the road, with Nose-gays.

Sweet, smiling train! your pleasing task pursue,

The mountain-pink and spotted orchis bring;

Violets and hyacinths, of azure hue,

And the first snow-drops of the infant spring:

Tho’ venal minds the simple tribute scorn,

Or pride, disdainful, view with brow austere,

These blossoms spangl’d with the dews of morn,

To sensibility shall still be dear,

The artless off’rings of the blameless hand,

And mild benevolence shall pleas’d bestow

Her meed, to bid your little hearts expand,

And spread your dimpl’d cheeks with pleasure’s
glow.

Then, gentle village babes, your task pursue,

And may life’s thorny paths, be strew’d with flowers,
for you.

B5r 9

Sonnet VII.

Amid some gothic Abbey’s solemn gloom,

Which seems on human vanity to frown,

Why asks the pride of man a pompous tomb,

With blazon’d ’scutcheons hung, and trophies of
renown?

Yields not the daisy’d turf a softer bed,

Where the poor peasant’s clay-cold ashes rest?

At morning’s dawn with liquid pearls o’erspread,

And by the setting-sun, in golden splendor dress’d:

There springs the scented thyme, the primrose fair,

And blue-bells there the slender stem shall rear;

And thither oft’ the village swain repair,

O’er his departed friend to drop a tender tear;

The sweet memorial of affection dear,

Transcending far all praise that sculptur’d marbles
bear!

B5v 10

Sonnet VIII.

To Miranda.

Why fade the roses of Miranda’s cheek,

And from her bosom whence that deep-drawn sigh,

While from her lips, the faltering accents break,

And tears obscure the lustre of her eye?

Was it that hope portray’d too perfect joy,

That fancy’s visions fade by reason’s light?

Why should ideal ills her peace annoy?

Not ev’ry morn arises calm and bright!

As in the ether some white clouds appear,

So, in the chequer’d maze of life, we find

Grief mixed with happiness, and hope with fear,

By turns to gladden and subdue the mind;

But why should virtue droop? with steady ray

Religion’s sacred lamp illumines her votary’s way.

B6r 11

Sonnet IX.

To A Wood In Hampshire.

Dear favourite haunt! where oft, with sportive glee

And frolic step, I’ve press’d the mossy ground;

Searching each flower-enamel’d dingle round,

For orchis, Orchis Fuciflora, or Bee-Orchis: This beautiful and rare plant grows
abundantly in Ackendar Wood.
crested with a pictur’d bee:

As oft’ the briar’s soft tufts, with crimson crown’d,

My fancy pleas’d; and still thy hazle shade,

Sweet Ackendar! its wonted charm retains;

For there the black-bird pours his mellow strains,

And spring’s first violets purple every glade;

Still o’er thy sloping banks the hawthorn spreads,

And horn-beams wave their boughs of shining green;

While strawberries hide beneath their nectar’d heads:

Pleas’d, I again survey the sylvan scene,

Where many a summer’s eve my infant footsteps
stray’d.

B6v 12

Sonnet X.

To Love.

Supposed to be written by Delamere, during his illness in France.
Vide Mrs. Smith’s Emmeline.

Go, sly deluder! break thy poison’d dart;

Go steep in bitter tears thy fatal bow,

And tear those rosy bands, which, wreath’d with art,

Conceal the heart-corroding thorns of woe:

’Ere those tormenting bands my bosom bound,

Joy o’er my head his glittering banner wav’d,

Blythe health, and dimpl’d mirth, play’d sportive
round,

No care oppress’d me, and no fear enslav’d:

But now a group of hideous spectres rise:

Anxiety, with visage ghastly pale,

Grim Jealousy uprears his jaundic’d eyes.

And fell Despair unfolds a sable veil:

Then, traitor, tear those bands, which wreath’d with art,

Conceal th’ envenom’d thorns that lacerate the heart.

B7r 13

Sonnet XI.

Occasioned by the death of an intimate Friend.

Sweet is the pastoral sound, when evening still,

Spreads o’er each closing flower her humid veil,

Of sheep-bell tinkling on the health-clad hill;

Sweet the wood-pigeon’s melancholy tale,

And sweet the murmurs of the purling rill:

Ah! that these dulcet melodies might cheer

The sorrowing heart, expel sad memory’s thorn,

Arrest the sigh, and check the falling tear,

That bathes in friendship’s dews thy sable bier,

Belov’d companion of life’s blissful morn!

Ye Muses! to Eliza’s tomb repair,

Funeral wreaths of yew and cypress blend;

And strew the fading rose and lily there,

Pure emblems of my dear departed friend.

B7v 14

Sonnet XII.

Written on the Sea shore.

O’er the blue bosom of th’ unruffl’d deep,

The sun declining, spreads a saffron ray;

Hush’d in their caves, the stormy whirlwinds sleep,

And dove-ey’d Peace assumes her gentle sway:

Come, then, thou minister of soft repose,

And round my brows thy verdant olive bind;

With downy hand my aching eyelids close,

And soothe the throbbings of my tortur’d mind;

And woo thy mild associate, balmy Sleep,

His poppies o’er my couch of straw to shed,

In dews lethean all my senses steep,

And o’er remembrance sad oblivion’s pall to
spread;

So shall this breast a mental calm regain,

But ah! the magic spell I court in vain!

B8r 15

Sonnet XIII.

Written on Visiting Arundel Castle.

Mantl’d in ivy, see this mould’ring tower,

On whose time-shaken walls the moon’s pale light

Throws a faint lustre, cheering oft’ the sight

Of the lone wanderer at the midnight hour,

As slowly toiling up the hill’s steep side,

With pensive retrospective glance, he dwells

On days long past, and fancy’s magic power

Recals the morn when gallant Springet Sir William Springet died of a Calenture, in Arundel Castle,whilst
on military duty, in the reign of Charles the First.
died,

Whilst all his manly heart with sorrow swells.

O venerable fortress! now no more

War’s crimson banners o’er thy turrets wave,

To stain thy courts with streams of human gore;

But peace resides on Arun’s classic Alluding to the Poets who have resided in the neighbourhood, viz.
Otway, Collins, Hayley, &c.
shore,

And thy green meads his lucid waters lave.

B8v 16

Sonnet XIV.

Yes, I will range the deep romantic dell,

The tangl’d coppicecopses and unfrequented glade;

Where the tall fox-glove hangs its speckl’d bell,

And pale clematis weaves a tufted shade:

Culling with care, each fragrant flower that blows

On the rude cliff, or paints the dewy mead;

To the wild woodbine, join the blushing rose,

And bind my garland with a flexile reed;

Nor, sweet Simplicity! the boon disdain,

If bending duteous, at thy rustic shrine,

I lay these lovely blossoms of the plain,

Or the white bind-wythe, in light wreaths intwine

Around the moss-grown pillars of thy fane;

And dedicate to thee, fair nymph, my doric strain.

C1r 17

Sonnet XV.

Supposed to be Written by Marquerite.
Vide Godwin’s St. Leon.

Where are those scenes that brighten’d on mine
eye?

What adverse cloud has darken’d them in shade?

What noxious blast has bade the blossoms fade,

And forc’d the weeping loves on languid wing to fly?

’Tis cold Indifference—her love-chilling dart,

With aim unerring, the dire fiend has thrown;

Her freezing influence oft, too oft, I’ve known

Repel affection’s stream fast flowing from the heart:

Not openly she meditates the blow,

Not suddenly her cruel shafts destroy,

Unseen they tear the rip’ning buds of joy;

But sure the poison works tho’ its effect be slow:

Thus on the damask rose the canker preys,

And thus the stricken heart in secret grief decays.

C C1v 18

Sonnet XVI.

Written on the Return of Spring.

Once more awaken’d by the balmy gale,

Enchanting spring resumes her genial reign;

Spreads her luxuriant carpet on the plain,

And hangs o’er every shrub her green translucent veil:

Now on each sunny bank the pile-wort spreads

Its golden stars, mingling with ale-hoof blue,

And frail veronica’s Veronica Chamædrys, wild Speedwel, or Germander: This delicate
little plant is one of the most beautiful, as well as most common ornaments
of our banks and hedges, in April and May. Rousseau observes, “The
short duration of its flowers furnishes a proper emblem of the fleeting nature
of female charms.”
cerulean hue;

While crimson-spotted cowslips rear their heads,

And lady’s-smocks, and cuckoo-flowers adorn

The meads where milk-white lambs their gambols play.

Soft music breathes from every blossom’d thorn,

That hides the thrush and woodlark’s moss-clad nest;

Sweet minstrels! while ye greet the length’ning day,

May no unhallow’d foot your tranquil haunts molest.

C2r 19

Sonnet XVII.

Written in the Height of Summer.

From flowery lawns, and fields of new-mown hay,

Where odours float on every sighing gale;

And vagrant butterflies, on painted wing,

Sport in the sunshine of their transient day;

And humming bees ambrosial sweets inhale,

From fragrant jess’min, and syringa pale,

Or to the bell-flower’s purple clusters cling:—

From these I fly to some sequester’d vale,

Which chesnuts shade, and sycamores embower;

Or by the margin of a lucid stream,

Where flag-flowers blow, and water-lillies spread,

And alders thick exclude the solar beam,

On some moss-cover’d bank recline my head,

And in poetic vision waste the noontide hour.

C2 C2v 20

Sonnet XVIII.

Written in a Shrubbery towards the decline of Autumn.

See, o’er its withering leaves, the musk-rose bend,

And scarce a purple aster paints the glade;

Yet, cease awhile ye ruffling winds! to rend

This variegated canopy of shade.

Here, autumn’s touch the rich dark brown bestows,

There, mix’d with paler leaves of yellow hue,

The shining holly’s scarlet fruitage glows,

And crimson berries stud the deep-green yew.

Thou radiant orb! whose mild declining ray

Now gilds with gayer tinge this lov’d retreat,

Yet, ling’ring, still prolong the golden day.-

How vain the wish! no more thy glories meet

My dazzl’d eye; but from the lakes arise

Blue mists, and twilight grey involves the blushing
skies.

C2 C3r 21

Sonnet XIX.

Written in a Winter’s Morning.

Tho’storms and tempests mark thy gloomy reign,

Stern winter! still the poet’s eye shall find

Full many a charm to linger in thy train—

Spread round thy frozen panoply of snow;

In icy chains, each brook and streamlet bind;

Still unappal’d the christmas rose Helleborus Niger. This plant, in mild winters and a proper soil,
sometimes blows in December.
shall blow,

And beauteous crocuses their golden bloom

Disclose, ere yet thy ruthless reign be past;

And bright mezereon breathe its faint perfume,

Amid the rigours of thy northern blast:

Whilst on the leafless lyme pale miseltoe

Its wax-like berries hangs, and green of sickly cast.

And the sweet redbreast, from his laurel bower,

Warbles his vespers clear, at twilight’s sober hour.

C3 C3v 22

Sonnet XX.

The breeze is hush’d, nor thro’ the willow plays,—

Its lank green branches float upon the stream,

In whose clear mirror Hesper’s silv’ry rays

Reflected glitter—hide, fair star! thy beam;

On this sad breast, no cheering ray must shine;

And, rise ye winds! for ill this tranquil scene

Accords with anguish so severe as mine:

Ah! more congenial, were the blast so keen

That rudely rages round some sea-beat shore;

The dashing billow, and the roaring wave;—

And better far than all, a quiet grave,

Where the afflicted heart shall throb no more:

But each dark cloud of human sorrow past,

The suff’ring spirit rest in peace at last.

C4r 23

Sonnet XXI.

Scene.—The Ruins of an Abbey.

Mark, o’er yon fir-crown’d rock, the last faint gleam

Of evening into dusky twilight fade,—

And now the full-orb’d moon, her rising beam

Darts thro’ this ivy’d arch and mould’ring colonade,

Shedding mild radiance where the mossy tomb,

A mutilated sculptur’d form displays,

With tangling brambles hung, where thistles bloom,

And the pale briony enwreathes its gadding sprays.

Now thro’ the cloister’d aisle and grass-grown court

On swift revolving wing the bat flits round;

And from the ruin’d tower, (her lov’d resort,)

The lone owl’s melancholy notes resound:

While deep embower’d amid the beechen grove,

The tender nightingale begins his lay of love.

C4v 24

Sonnet XXII.

To the Dryads of Windsor Forest.

Nymphs of the sylvan shade! may no rude swain,

With desolating axe, your bowers deform;

Nor the wild fury of the wint’ry storm

Lay waste the honours of your green domain;

Long may your monarch oaks their branches spread,

Your lofty elms, and verdant beeches rise;

To whose thick boughs the ’frighted squirrel hies,

And safe reposes in his leafy bed:

Long may your chestnut groves with blossoms crown’d,

Your plane and birch their graceful foliage wear,

Your aspins quiver to the summer air,

And pines majestic shade the mossy ground:

While herds of spotted deer wide scatter’d round,

The fresh-sprung herbage crop, or thro’ the vistas
bound.

C5r 25

Sonnet XXIII.

To a Nightingale.

Sweet chauntress of the groves! prolong thy strain,

So softly trilling on my raptur’d ear;

Thy melting melody my spirits cheer,

O tune that wild melifluous note again!

As my tir’d footsteps linger in the dale,

Thy song shall soothe me, and the wild rose spread

Its blooming boughs luxuriant o’er my head,

And with rich odours, fill each sighing gale.

Sweet chauntress of the groves! thy strains renew,

And greet the partner of thy sylvan bower,

With tender warblings charm the midnight hour;

Now ev’ry shrub is bath’d in balmy dew,

And the soft moonlight silvers o’er the vale,

Sweet chauntress of the groves! repeat thy soothing
tale.

C5v 26

Sonnet XXIV.

Oberon’s Invitation To Titania.

Arise, my queen ! thy tulip bower forsake,

Resplendent Venus sheds her silver ray

On the calm surface of the crystal lake,

And the bat circles thro’ the twilight grey.

Arise, and on the night-moth’s mottl’d plumes,

With me, o’er fields of breathing bean-flowers sail,

Or mid the apple-blossom’s mild perfumes

Imbibe rich essence from the nectar’d gale:

Meantime, our sportive elfins shall prepare spring,

Beneath yon pine-wood, where broad mushrooms

The moonlight banquet; sprightly Robin Robin-good-fellow, or Puck; a merry sprite, whose feats are celebrated
in Milton’s L’Allegro, Shakespeare’s Midsummer-night’s Dream,
and an old song attributed to Ben Jonson; and preserved in Dr. Percy’s
Reliques of Ancient English Poetry, vol. iii. page 202.
there

His spells shall weave, and merry ditties sing,

While thickly scatter’d o’er the mossy ground

Pale glow-worms pour their lambent light around.

C6r 27

Sonnet XXV.

On an Unfortunate Suicide.

Ill-Fated being! did the whelming tide

Of mis’ry sink thy soul in deep despair;

That, rashly venturing on a world untired,

Thou sought’st a refuge from thy feelings, grown

Too keen th’ intolerable load to bear?

O! could the poignancy of woe atone,

Or plead for pity at the throne of grace,

Could the recording angel’s Vide Sterne’s pathetic Story of Le Fevre. falling tear,

The unrepented crime of suicide efface,

Then might a dawn of hope thy spirit cheer,

When the last trumpet echoes thro’ the tombs

That thy distracted soul should pardon meet;

And cherub-mercy, veil with hov’ring plumes,

The awful splendors of the judgment seat.

C6v 28

Sonnet XXVI.

Let not proud man ungratefully repine,

If doom’d the path of life obscure to tread;

Whilst others in superior station shine,

And wealth and pow’r their splendid boons combine,

To grace a more distinguish’d fav’rite’s head:

The lofty cedar, on the mountain’s brow,

The tempest rends, and ruffling winds deform;

While humble violets, in the vale below,

Diffuse their odours, and uninjur’d blow,

Protected from the ravage of the storm:

Nor useless in their sphere: the hand that rear’d

The cedar, strew’d these blossoms o’er the plain;

For diff’rent virtues, diff’rent states prepar’d,

Nor made the great Creator ought in vain!

C7r 29

On a
Beautiful Child Sleeping.

Angels guard, and heav’n protect thee!

Ev’ry blessing gracious send;

Save from evil, and direct thee

At pure virtue’s shrine to bend.

Soft, the lovely babe reposes,

Wrap’d in slumber’s downy wing;

Soft, as zephyr breathes o’er roses,

In the sweetest morn of spring.

Gentle dreams! that hover round him,

Led by fancy, youth, and joy;

With your gayest scenes surround him,

And in sleep amuse my boy.

C7v 30

Health, fair queen of earthly pleasure!

Round his brows thy garlands bind;

Dove-ey’d peace! still dearer treasure,

Ever bless his infant mind.

Innocence and virtue lighting

With their brightest rays his morn;

Truth and wisdom these uniting,

Shall his riper years adorn.

O! if ev’ry bliss possessing.

Equal to my fondest pray’rs,

Sweetest Boy! each precious blessing

Thy thrice happy mother shares.

C8r 31

To Atticus,

With A Manuscript Volume Of Juvenile Essays.

Friend of my heart! whose smiles more pleasure
yield

Than fame’s loud praise, this simple gift approve;

O! be its want of merit kindly veil’d

By the dear mantle of indulgent love.

The liliea of the vale obscurely blow

In some lone dingle, or sequester’d glade;

And modest violets hide their purple glow

Beneath the moss-clad bank and hazle shade.

Yet, Phebus sheds his spirit-cheering ray,

On these retiring children of the dale;

And, at the tranquil hour of closing day,

Mild evening round them wraps her dewy veil.

C8v 32

Then let the sunshine of thy favor gild

Thy Laura’s heart with joy,—her gift approve;

And, be its numerous blemishes conceal’d,

By the dear mantle of indulgent love.

D1r 33

To The Same,

With a Pair of Gloves.

One glove, in token of defiance,

To his proud foe, the champion sends:

A pair, the symbols of alliance,

Are given by lovers, and by friends.

Tho’ small the boon, yet true affection

Is oft’ in trivial acts express’d;

A tender look can chace dejection,

And calm the sigh of grief to rest.

And humble gifts, by love presented,

By love sincere shall sweet be deem’d,

While those, with rubies ornamented,

At pomp’s proud shrine are less esteem’d.

D D1v 34

And Atticus may wear with pleasure,

This tribute borne him by the Loves; The Author’s two youngest Sons.

Laura, his smile accounts a treasure,

For she is blest when he approves!

My dearest friend! with eye propitious,

The idle bagatelle survey;

The muse, I woo’d, but she, capricious,

Refused to harmonize the lay.

D D2r 35

Stanzas,

Written in an Hour of Affliction.

Toss’d on the waves of a tempestuous ocean,

The drooping sailor hails his port in view,

Escap’d each jarring element’s commotion,

He joyous bids the stormy seas adieu!

Not so the mariner, who gaily steering

His painted bark o’er pleasure’s silver tide,—

No joy his bosom warms when near appearing

An unknown harbour, and a clime untried:

Bright shines the sun, soft blow the summer breezes,

Smooth glides the vessel o’er the dimpl’d stream,

His blithesome heart the tranquil voyage pleases,

But when, as waking from a soothing dream,

D2 D2v 36

Appal’d he sees the blissful shores receding

On which with transport rov’d his vacant eye;—

Fair were the scenes,—but ah! the scenes succeeding,

Unprov’d, in chilling mists and darkness lie.

And care’s worn pilgrim, in this vale of sorrow,

Delighted views his weary journey’s close;

To-day he labours, trusting that to-morrow

He shall enjoy his mansion of repose.

But the gay wanderer in the maze of folly,

By fashion’s breath, in airy circles borne,

Surveys, with deep oppressive melancholy,

“That bourne from whence he never shall return.”

Then, O my soul! tho’ high the tide of anguish

Rises, and mountain billows o’er thee roll,

Confide in Heav’n, nor let thy virtue languish,

But cherish hope, and coward fear controul:

D3r 37

What, tho’ the storm this vital thread dissever,

And to the dust my sinking head decline,

Heir of immortal life! thou’lt live for ever!

And paradise, with all its joys, be thine!

D3 D3v 38

To Miss W.

With the Passionate Shepherd to his Love, and the Nymph’s Reply. These elegant little Ballads are inserted in Dr. Percy’s Reliques of Ancient
English Poetry
, vol. I, page 220
, the first is ascribed to Christopher
Marlow
, who was killed by a stab in a Brothel; the last to Sir Walter
Raleigh
, as a juvenile production of his pen.

Like this wise nymph’s, be your reply,

When flatterers breathe the artful sigh;

Nor, lovely maid, his suit approve,

Who seeks with gifts to win your love.

The tinsel coxcomb’s lures beware;

Light as the breath of summer air,

This gay ephemeron of an hour,

Despises love’s subduing power.

Nor, yet a list’ning ear incline

To the insidious libertine,

For his unhallow’d breast the glow

Of chaste affection ne’er can know.

D4r 39

The venal sycophant withstand,

Who seeks, for wealth, to gain your hand;

His heart to ev’ry passion cold,

Except th’ insatiate love of gold.

But, should a graceful youth appear,

Wise, generous, tender, and sincere,

Who boasts a fair unblemish’d name,

Whose conduct malice dares not blame;

Who, like your sire, delights to bless,

And succour virtue in distress;

Whose soul celestial truth informs,

And pure devotion’s spirit warms:

Should such a youth, dear Fanny, sue,

O! be his flame approv’d by you;

His worth your mind may justly move,

“To live with him, and be his love.”

D4 D4v 40

With him before the altar bow,

With him exchange sthe sacred vow,

Nor let the awful word, obey,

Your doubting heart with fear dismay.

In love’s soft hand, the nuptial chain

Becomes a gentle silken rein,

Enwreath’d with flowers, whose vivid bloom

Thro’ every season breathe perfume:

And, trust me, Hymen’s genial ray

Can gild with bliss life’s wint’ry day,

And o’er encircling plains of snow,

Bid lilies spring, and roses blow.

Then let no rising doubts annoy

The sun-beam bright of promised joy;

As wisdom bids, the swain approve,

“And live with him, and be his love.”

D5r 41

Lines Addressed to E— C—, Esq.

On returning him Smollet’s Ferdinand Count Fathom.

Your injunction, you see, sir, I’ve strictly obey’d,

And return you Count Fathom, tho’ scarcely half read.

In the critic’s high throne, for a female to sit,

And censure what Smollet, or Fielding has writ’,

May presumptuous be deem’d; yet permit me to say,

The mind where chaste virtue holds absolute sway,

No author, however facetious, can please,

(Tho’ his style be the model of classical ease)

If decency’s barrier he rudely disdains,

And to fancy licentious delivers the reins.

True wit, like the dew-drop that spangles the thorn,

And gems the white blossom on May’s rosy morn,

Is brilliant and pure, without cloud, speck, or stain,

In a word, like Miss A—n’s delicious champaigne.

D5v 42

St. Andrew’s Eve.

A Village Legend.

“The Spinsters and Knitters in the Sun,And the free maids that weave their thread with bonesDo use to chaunt it.—” Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.

Keen the winds of November swept over the wold,

And stripp’d the dry leaves from the grove;

But, Mabel, regardless of danger or cold,

Softly stole from her cot, when the curfew-bell toll’d,

Mutual vows to exchange with her love.

From the ivy-clad abbey the screech-owl’s shrill cry,

Fill’d each pause of the deep-swelling blast;

Blue tapers funereal, Corpse-Candles, a vulgar tradition in Wales.——Pennant. pale gleam’d on her eye,

And meteors portentous shot thro’ the dark sky,

As on to the church-yard she pass’d.

D6r 43

Long ere she approach’d it, a form cross’d her way,

In the garb of a pilgrim array’d,

(Tho’ dimly descry’d by the moon’s clouded ray)

Who thus in low accents, well-skill’d to betray,

Accosted the credulous maid:

“Sweet Mabel, a cordial, thy spirits to cheer,

By thy true-love commission’d, I bring:

Drink a health to thy Alleyn, so fond and sincere,

This pledge of his faith too, he begs thee to wear”

He said, and presented a ring.

The maid took the chalice—

“Most grateful to me

Are the gifts of my swain,” she reply’d:

“Love hallows the tribute, O blest may he be!

And peace, courteous stranger, attend upon thee,

Where fortune thy footsteps shall guide,”

D6v 44

Then the path-way pursuing, at length, to her view,

The wall of the church-yard appear’d,

Where spleen-wort, and maidenhair luxuriantly grew;

And within its inclosure a wide spreading yew,

For a century its huge trunk had rear’d.

There her love she beheld, as athwart the deep shade

The moonlight soft chequer’d the place;

The pilgrim, at distance, had follow’d the maid,

And, now by a tombstone conceal’d, he survey’d

The fair in her Alleyn’s embrace.

“Thrice welcome, my dear one! enraptur’d I press

The treasure so lov’d to my heart.”

The damsel with fondness return’d his caress,

But her voice sunk, and, falt’ring, could scarcely confess

The emotions she sought to impart.

D7r 45

At length, “O my Alleyn! thy cordial, she cry’d,

By turns chills my blood and inflames”

“What cordial?” the lover, astonish’d reply’d:

Then the counterfeit pilgrim his garb cast aside,

Rush’d forth, and thus wildly exclaims:

Revenge, thou art mine! now attend, haughty fair,

And prepare to resign thy last breath;

No longer my soul thy indifference shall bear,

But my rival, in turn, feel the pangs of despair,

For the draught that I gave thee was death!

No more, with soft wishes, thy bosom shall heave,

Or love dart his fires from thine eye;

No more hope’s gay visions thy fancy deceive,

And whisper that Mable for Alleyn shall live,

For Mabel with Hubert shall die!

D7v 46

With a ring I’ve espous’d thee, look round and behold

The bride-bed made close by thy side—

My hands have prepar’d it, tho’ narrow and cold,

With a winding-sheet only, our limbs to infold,

’Tis there I would sleep with my bride.

Then, frantickly laughing, a dagger he drew,

And sheath’d the keen point in his breast.—

Poor Alleyn, distracted, his arms fondly threw

Round his now dying Mable, kind, lovely, and true,

And his lips to her cold lips he press’d:

On his bosom, so faithful, her breath she resign’d

And her eye-lids his trembling hand clos’d.

Two moons the sad lover in solitude pin’d,

Ere the third rose full-orb’d his pale corpse was consign’d

To the grave where his Mabel repos’d.

D8r 47

At the end of the hamlet, where four roads unite,

The suicide’s relicks are laid;

A stake marks the spot, half conceal’d from the sight

By nightshade and hemlock; and adders delight

To lurk ’mid the poisonous shade.

Now traditions report, when the year has roll’d round,

And Saint Andrew’s vigil returns,

The death-bell is heard, deep and solemn to sound,

And Hubert’s thin shade thrice encircles the mound,

Where the lovers are buried, and mourns:

But, on May’s earliest morn, the fair maids of the
vale,

O’er the green-sward, bespangl’d with dew,

(While they weep at rememb’rance of Mabel’s sad tale)

Strew bright purple pansies, and primroses pale,

With hare-bells, and violets blue.

D8v 48

And at midsummer oft’, by the star’s silver light,

Love-spells o’er the cold earth they weave;

The oracular herb, Telphium roseum. Orpine. Vulg. Midsummer men. with each mystical rite,

On the yew-boughs suspending, to augur aright

If their lovers are true, or deceive.

There too, village brides, with their bridegrooms repair,

Ere at Hymen’s pure altar they bow;

Join their hands o’er the turf which conceal the fond
pair,

Whilst a soft tear to pity, from rapture they spare,

And plight the reciprocal vow.

E1r 49

An Invitation to the Cuckoo.

Summer’s herald! come away,

See, our fields with flowers are gay,

Yellow crowfoot, bugle blue,

And hare-bells of cerulean hue:

Primrose tufts each bank adorn,

Shelter’d by the blooming thorn;

Near thy name-sake plant Arum Cuckoo-pint, commonly called Lords and Ladies. up-rears

Its spotted leaves, and purple spears:

Where the marshy meadow spreads,

King-cups lift their golden heads;

Buck-bean, fring’d, in silver pride,

Decks the winding river’s side.

E E1v 50

Sweetest cuckoo! come away,

See, our woods and groves are gay;

Nature clothes the sylvan scene

In her robe of freshest green.

On the breeze soft music floats,

Linnets chaunt their sprightly notes;

And the love-lorn nightinglae

Warbles sweet his melting tale.

’Mid the elm-boughs, high in air,

Rooks their straw-built nests prepare;

Deep embosom’d in the grove,

The fond turtle woo’d his love.

Merry minstrel! come away,

Much I love thy mellow lay,

When wand’ring thro’ the dewy glade,

Or resting in the hawthorn shade.

E2r 51

Myriads of the insect class

Creep among the springing grass;

Beetles as the emerald green,

In the op’ning buds are seen.

Clustering bees, on busy wing,

To the cherry-blossoms cling,

Or their cells with honey fill,

From the fragrant daffodil.

Sweetest cuckoo! come away,

Why should’st thou so long delay?

Shepherd-boys, in every vale,

They return shall joyous hail.

E2 E2v 52

Written a few weeks after the death of the Duke of H*******, on seeing
a Porte-feuille of his Drawings.

Cold is that hand which trac’d with so much skill

The sloping valley, and the vine-clad hill,

The gothic grandeur of the mould’ring tower,

The Isle of Pauline, and the woodbine bower;

The straw-roof’d cot, the consecrated fane,

Where cloister’d monks rehearse the holy strain,

And vestals meek a white-rob’d train appear,

Sigh o’er their beads, and drop the frequent tear;

Or prostrate at the cross, and sacred shrine,

Relinquish earthly love, for love divine.

Cold is that hand which sketch’d, with happiest skill,

The sylvan scenery of St. Leonard’s hill;

The grand chateau, once H*******’s princely seat,

The winding wood-walks of his lov’d retreat.

E3r 53

O sainted shade! long with deep suff’rings tried,

And by the fiery ordeal purified;

No more thy heart a martyr’d king shall mourn,

Or sorrow o’er thy royal pupil’s The Duke was preceptor to the late unfortunate Dauphin of France. urn;

No more lament, that, nipp’d in beauty’s bloom,

Thy darling daughter found an early tomb;

Thy spirit soars their spirits to rejoin,

Where, thron’d in bliss, as morning stars they shine.

What! tho’ no pageantry, no vain parade,

Mock’ry of grief! thy obsequies display’d,

No blazon’d ’scutcheons round thy hearse were hung.

No requiem chaunted, and no dirges sung,

Yet love and friendship o’er thy sable bier,

Breath’d the warm sigh, and dropp’d the tender tear;

Thy sad domestics round the coffin press’d,

And thy pale form with sweetest roses dress’d;

E3 E3v 54

Whilst one distinguish’d boon thy sovereign gave,

Was borne in mournful triumph to thy grave;

There, while the last funereal rites were paid,

The cordon bleu The blue ribbon, or string belonging to the order of Knighthood
of S. Esprit.
across the pall was laid.

Blest shade! escap’d the coil of human strife,

Now crown’d with glory, and immortal life,

Tho’ no proud monument, no marble urn

(Where sculptur’d angels weep, and cherubs mourn,)

Record thy titles, and thy deeds relate,

In all the cold magnificence of state,

The plain white tablet, with thy name impress’d,

Which marks the spot where thy cold relics rest,

More interest in the feeling breast shall raise,

Than pompous eulogy, or venal praise:

And often, when the sun’s departing beam

Gilds the green valley, and the winding stream,

When evening twilight sheds its pearly dews,

(That hour so dear to fancy, and the muse,)

E4r 55

My footsteps shall thy fav’rite paths pursue,

And all thy virtues rise to mental view:

Thy heart, which bled for others in distress,

And felt those miseries it could not redress;

Thy temper mild, benevolent, and kind,

Thy courteous manners, and thy taste refin’d,

Memory shall cherish, and the rich perfume

Embalm thy ashes, and survive the tomb.

E4
E4v E5r

Myrtle-Wood.

A Tale.

“Here Love his golden shafts employs, here lights His constant lamp, and waves his purple wings.” Milton.
E5v E6r 59

Letter I.

Miss Starbridge to Lady Julia Portland.

You will be pleased, dear Lady Julia, when I
tell you that a journey to the Spa, which was at first
proposed by the physicians, is not now thought necessary
to the perfect restoration of Mrs. Walpole’s
greatly mended health; as much air and gentle exercise
as the delicacy of her constitution would bear,
were however, strongly recommended, and determined
us on a tour to Bath. We arrived at this elegant
city last night; our journey was extremely pleasant,
my sister’s indisposition abating every day, and Mr.
Walpole’s
spirits, of consequence, becoming more
and more lively: add to this, a charming country, diversified
with almost every beauty in nature, and
glowing in all the rich luxuriance of summer; extensive E6v 60
prospects, thick hanging woods, flowery plains,
and hills covered with the freshest verdure; nor was
the happy shepherd, with his oaten pipe and faithful
dog, guarding his snowy flock of sheep, wanting to
complete the pastoral scene. I intended to have descanted
very particularly on the pleasures of travelling,
and perhaps have tired your patience, but an
adventure, in which much of the pathetic is interwoven,
engrosses (I would say, but that I dread your
brother’s frown) all my waking thoughts, and even
my dreams are full of Athenia. A day or two after
we began our excursion, the weather being sultry, and
my sister rather fatigued, we stopped some miles
short of the town where we had intended to rest, at a
very pretty village. You know how fond I am of a
summer’s evening ramble, and when I mention a
fine shady wood, at a small distance from the inn,
you will suppose inclination led me thither. I had
followed a winding path only far enough to lose sight
of the entrance, when I met a lovely child, of four E7r 61
years old, with a little basket full of wood-strawberries
in her hand; she was attended by a female
servant, and the expression of her countenance was
peculiarly sweet and engaging; I regarded her attentively
till a small gothic gate, in one corner of
the wood, almost covered with laurel and wild roses,
at which she entered, concealed her from my view:
my steps were involuntarily turned to follow. Approaching
the gate, I discovered a thick shrubbery,
enclosed from the wood by green paling: it extended
a considerable way, and was grown too luxuriant
to afford one opening for the eye of curiosity;
but whatever beauties it might conceal, there were
sufficient in the spot to which I had strayed to invite
a longer stay: the blackbird and thrush serenaded
me with their dulcet notes, and I was pursuing my
former path when, stooping to gather some woodstrawberries,
I saw something shine among the leaves;
it was a gold clasp; I could easily guess to whom it
belonged, and, pleased with so good an excuse for E7v 62
gratifying my wish of surveying the retired spot,
which I supposed the residence of the little beauty,
I was again advancing to the gate, with an intention
of restoring to her the lost ornament, when the
sweetest notes of harmony, proceeding from the garden,
detained me in silent rapture; in a few moments
the music ceased, and a voice, exquisitely soft, but
mournful, repeated the following stanzas:

O dear departed shades! in peace repose;

Your praise in fame’s bright volume shines confest;

’Twas your’s with glory honor’s race to close,

To sink from peril to the bowers of rest.

Around this urn, your lov’d Athenia’s care,

Unfading laurels, and sad cypress spread;

The weeping loves hang wreaths of myrtle there,

And there the zephyr’s mingled odours shed.

O dear E8r 63

O dear departed shades! in peace repose,

Nor let my sorrows your soft rest invade;

But may the sigh that from affliction flows

Expire, unheard, amid this gloomy shade.

Ah me! too far remote your peaceful grave—

Then o’er this urn each morn I’ll flow’rets strew;

And when the sun descends in ocean’s wave,

My tears shall mingle with the falling dew.

O dear departed shades! in peace repose;

Receive this tribute to your mem’ry due;

And when the hand of death these eyes shall close,

My free unfetter’d soul shall speed to you.

You will beter conceive, than I can describe my
perplexity; curiosity was indeed powerfully excited,
but that respect which should ever attend the dignity
of sorrow held me for some moments suspended,
whether I ought to interrupt its indulgence by an
unwelcome intrusion: at length, in hopes of seeing
only the gardener, (believe me, or not, Lady Julia
upon my word, I was sincere in my wish; and you E8v 64
will please to consider, that ignorant of the dispostion
of the grounds, I had no means of knowing that
the pensive musician might not be hid in some arbour
or embowering grove,) I ventured to open
the gate, when the first object that attracted my
notice was a lady, dressed in the garb of woe;
her robes, of thin black silk, were without ornament,
but, flowing in a long train on the ground, seemed to
give additional elegance to her tall and graceful figure
her beautiful hair, of the palest brown, was partially
concealed by a simple fold of crape, which fell veil-
like on her shoulders; black bugle bracelets formed
a striking contrast with the snowy whiteness of her
arms, and the dejected look, which overspread the
fairest and most delicate face I ever saw, interested
my heart in her favour before she spoke. Advancing
to meet me, and expressing in the politest terms her
acknowledgements for what she called the trouble I
had taken, she invited me to rest, after my walk, in
her cottage, (for such she stiled her retired dwelling.)
the parlour into which I was conducted, was
furnished with taste; on one side, a piano-forte, on F1r 65
the other, a number of shelves, prettily ornamented,
and filled with books; several landscapes, very
finely painted, adorned the apartment, and the jessamine
and Italian honey-suckles, now in full blow,
that embowered the green treillage work of the windows,
which opened to the ground, filled it with the
most delicious fragrance. My eyes were irresistibly
drawn to the gardens, which seemed to environ the
house; every thing was so uniformly elegant, that I
could not forbear expressing my admiration. The polite
mistress of this charming solitude, with that grace
and polished ease, which is all her own, asked me,
if I thought a nearer view of the grounds would repay
me for the pains of walking round them; I accepted
her invitation with a pleasure allayed only by
the apprehension of becoming a troublesome visitor.
It is a delightful spot, and reflects honour on
the taste of the designer. I was particularly struck
with a kind of dell, more deeply shaded than any
other part of the garden; a rustic building, dedicated F F1v 66
to the dryads, decorates one corner; a plain urn of
white marble is placed at a small distance from it,
and at the foot of the pedestal lay a lute. Tears filled
the eyes of my fair companion as she turned towards
the grove; I was afraid she saw that I perceived her
emotion, and stepped hastily forward to the borders of
a noble stream, which flowed in gentle windings thro’
a lawn planted with larches, pines, and cedars, till its
clear surface was broken by falling down a rough descent
into the valley below. Near the edge of this
cascade, among the weeping willows which hung
over it, I observed another urn with a wreath of
faded flowers twined round it, inscribed with the
name of Selina. Our walk was terminated by a
grotto, where the stream, being conveyed thro’ an
arch of rock-work (overgrown with a variety of
mosses, lichens, and the long green leaves of the
harts-tongue) disappears; the situation is very retired,
and tho’ at no great distance from the house is
entirely hid from it by a plantation of evergreens F2r 67
on one side, and a fine orangerie, which reaches a
considerable way, on the other. We seated ourselves
in the grotto, and little Selina, with the smiles of a
cherub, placed her basket of strawberries on the
table before us, a footman following, by his lady’s
direction, with cream.

When I rose to take my leave, my heart prompted
me (for it was not the impulse of cold insipid ceremony)
to say, how much satisfaction it would give
me, if an accident, from which I had already derived
great pleasure, should prove the basis of a further
acquaintance with a lady who engaged my
esteem and admiration. Taking my hand with an air
of courtly breeding, she replied, “There is certainly,
Miss Starbridge,”
for I had previously told her my
name “a magnetism which attracts some minds,
even in the first interview: I am aware of the compliment
I make to myself, when I tell you I felt it
strongly impel me to express the same desire, had F2 F2v 68
not a reflection on the pensiveness which has habitually
clouded the natural cheerfulness of my disposition,
and renders me unfit for society, kept me silent;
yet the solitude I have embraced has not caused me
to become a misanthrope, and those sorrows that induced
me to seek it, tho’ most poignant, have tended
to soften yet more the susceptibility of my nature, and
powerfully impel me to seek still sweeter consolation
in the bosom of sympathy: to some, the recital
of my past life would be uninteresting, but if I judge
aright, you, madam, are not of the number of those
who refuse a sigh to the unfortunate; and if you will
condescend to grace my lowly roof this evening, it
will give me pleasure to relate my short history: sad
as are some of the events which compose it; they
were blended with moments of delight from which,
in recollection, I shall derive a portion of that happiness
I witnessed ere they fled for ever.”
I will not
tell you my answer to this obliging invitation; but I
asked permission just to dispatch a card to Mr. and F3r 69
Mrs. Walpole
, who I now, for the first time, thought
would be alarmed at my absence. This letter is extended
to immoderate length, and my brother will
not excuse me from walking with him on the parade
before sunset; so your ladyship must wait patiently
till next post for the sequel of my visit to the lovely
recluse. Adieu! tell my lord Belmour, I do not forget
him, and let his charming sister assure herself
how much I am her’s, &c. &c.

Emma Starbridge.

F3 Let- F3v 70

Letter II.

My Dear Friend,

Are you anxious to receive the promised narrative?
well then, without further preface, I lay it
before you. When Miss Melville had led me to her
dressing-room, and given orders that we should not
be interrupted, she addressed me as follows:

“My parents both left this world of sorrow and
and disappointment before I was sensible of their protecting
care, or capable of lamenting the loss of it.
The Earl of Castlebroke, (my father’s most intimate
friend) was my guardian, and never were the duties
of such a charge more studiously attended to; in his
lordship’s family I constantly resided till my brother,
who was three years older than me, had possession
of his fortune. Of the numerous visitants at Castlebroke F4r 71
Lodge
, Mr. and Mrs. Clifford, with their lovely
niece, claimed the largest share of my esteem: Selina
was, like myself, an orphan; the similarity of our
fate, inspired a mutual attachment between us, which
increasing years ripened into the truest frienship,
and most unreserved confidence. You will pardon
me, Madam, if I so far digress from my story as to
give you a short description of my amiable friend.
Her form was in a peculiar degree delicate and feminine;
and she had received from nature that grace
more attractive than beauty, as I have often observed
many women who were in reality much handsomer
had very little attention paid them when she
was present; her modesty and diffidence, which were in
the extreme, prevented the very superior qualities of
her mind from being discovered, except on an intimate
acquaintance: to her personal charms, and a
splendid fortune, therefore, she was indebted for
numerous train of suitors; of these the most distinguished,
as well as most importunate, was Count F4 F4v 72
Almado
, from whose family Mr. Clifford had received
every mark of politeness, and hospitality, when at
Madrid; and this induced him to solicit that young
nobleman to pass part of the summer he spent in England,
at his villa, which was within a mile of Castlebroke
Lodge
; a circumstance highly pleasing to me,
as it afforded me frequent opportunities of seeing my
dear Selina. Often have we by appointment passed
whole mornings together in a gothic temple, which
was situated in the most retired part of the park;
books, embroidery, and music alternately beguiled
the fast flying hours; my noble guardian, delighted
with our growing friendship, would frequently, when
more important affairs required not his attention,
condescend to share in the amusements of his children,
as he always called us. To his conversation,
ever instructive, we owed much of our knowledge
in geography, and natural philosophy; his lessons
being delivered in a more familiar style than our
teachers were accustomed to use, we comprehended F5r 73
them more clearly. These scenes are dear to my remembrance;
the years in which I enjoyed them,
passed in tranquillity. Ah! surely, Miss Starbridge,
they were the happiest of my life. The last interview
I had with my sweet friend, alone in our favourite retreat,
was one summer’s evening; I had waited for
her near an hour; and supposing some unexpected incident
had prevented her coming, I had just closed
the volume, with which I was amusing myself, and
was going to return to the house, when I met her on
the steps of the temple, her own, and Mrs. Clifford’s
footman at a small distance; as soon as she saw me
she dismissed the servants, and with a look of anxiety,
which alarmed me, threw her arms about me, and
burst into tears. I was too much struck to break
silence, but she soon recovered her voice: ‘In your
society, my Athenia,’
said she, ‘I trust I shall find
a refuge from my own disquieting emotions; the
Count has left us:’
‘His departure is not the
cause of your uneasiness, my dear; he has many F5v 74
shining qualities but I always thought them alloyed
with a fire and impetuosity, little calculated to win
the gentle heart of my Selina.’
‘Yes,’ resumed
she, sighing, ‘love is indeed a stranger to my bosom
but, had Almado given me leave, I could have respected
him; his virtues might have inspired esteem,
unmingled with a softer sentiment, had not the violence
of his passions absolutely changed it into terror.
I was enjoying the sweetness of the air, and contemplating
the beautiful effect of the moonlight in the
cypress walk, rather later than usual, last evening,
secretly congratulating myself on being likely to be so
soon freed from the Count’s importunities, when I
saw him at the further end of it; determined to
avoid him, I turned down a path leading thro’ the
wilderness and went directly to the saloon, where I
found my uncle and aunt, with Sir George and Lady
Sydney, who were just arrived. Almado did not appear
till supper time; he tried to dissemble, but excessive
anger was marked on his glowing countenance; F6r 75
he withdrew as soon as he could with politeness, on
pretence of writing some letters of importance. At
breakfast he was visibly discomposed; and notwithstanding
his avowed pupose of quitting Oakley-
Grove
immediately, prolonged his departure till
noon. It so happened that I did not go into my
dressing-room till an hour before dinner; the first
thing that caught my eye was this billet, laid on the
toilet.’
She took it out of her pocket-book; it
contained, as nearly as I can remember, these
words:
‘“I thank you, Madam, for that contemptuous
behaviour, which has conquered love in raising a just
indignation; I shall, as soon as possible, be in my
native country, and it is uncertain how long those
circumstances which precipitate my return, may detain
me there; you think you shall not see me again;
but know, the resentment your conduct has awakened
shall never sleep more.
Almado.”’
F6v 76 ‘I trembled excessively on reading this note:
how weak to be so much affected! The man who
wrote it will soon be many leagues distant:—but,
my Athenia, I could not sufficiently compose myself
to venture from home so early as I longed to be
with you; my ideas were full of horror; I fancied I
might be insulted by the Count, who, perhaps, had
concealed himself near, with some desperate design,
and only feigned the necessity of his speedy departure.
I imparted my fears, and their motive, to
Mrs. Clifford, who kindly tried to dispel them, and
indulged my folly, by permitting her servant, with
mine, to attend me.’
I was prevented making a
reply by the approach of Lord Castlebroke, with a
gentleman, whom I soon discovered to be my brother,
tho’ he ws grown very tall, and five years travelling
in different climates had greatly embrowned
his complexion. I flew to welcome his return to
England, and he returned my sisterly embrace, with
the warmest affection; in the meantime. my lord F7r 77
stepped forward, and taking Selina’s hand, presented
her to my dear Lionel, as my most intimate friend,
and his other daughter. My brother purchased this
house soon after his arrival, and resided wholly at
the Lodge till it was ready for his reception. He
had frequent opportunities of seeing Miss Clifford,
and the nearness of his relationship to me rendered
her less reserved in conversation with him than she
usually was in general society. You will not wonder,
that he loved a woman so truly lovely with the
tenderest affection, nor, had you known the worth of
Lionel, that it should create in her bosom a mutual
attachment. Our guardian approved what had long
been my ardent wish, and in a few months my happy
brother received his Selina from the hand of the almost
equally happy Mr. Clifford. They united their
entreaties that I would live with them, but my lord
would not consent to my leaving Castlebroke-Lodge:
it was at last agreed, that my time should be equally
divided between the two houses: I accompanied my F7v 78
sister to this sequestered abode, and was for some
weeks her visitor, a witness to the felicity of an union
which rose on the permanent basis of virtue. Of
those who paid their personal congratulations to my
brother, on his marriage, Colonel Fortescue was
among the foremost; they were educated at an
academy together, but no particular friendship subsisted
between them, till they chanced to have apartments
under the same roof at Florence. Congeniality
of virtues changed the common civilities of acquaintance
into the more delightful attentions of
sincere esteem. Lionel insisted on unceremonious
visits from Mr. Fortescue, and the Colonel obeyed
his injunctions with evident pleasure. I will not pay
so poor a compliment to my brother’s friend, as to
attempt a description of his personal, or mental accomplishments;
it is sufficient to say, the latter would
have reflected lustre on a diadem; of the former
you may form some idea from the painter’s skill.”

As Athenia spoke she rose, and took from one of F8r 79
the drawers of an indian cabinet, a miniature set
with brilliants. “It is a good resemblance,” said
she, putting it into my hand, “but not a flattering
one.”

I could have gazed on it for hours; the features
were extremely handsome, but the expressive
turn of the whole countenance most attracted my admiration.

I am again interrupted—let me confess, most welcome
is the interruption; you will forgive this avowal,
dear Lady Julia, when I add, that it is the arrival of
Lord Belmour, which bids me relinquish the pen.

Ever your’s,

Emma Starbridge.

Let- F8v 80

Letter III.

In Continuation.

“Mr. Fortescue’s visits to Myrtle-Wood,”
resumed Miss Melville, “were frequent, during his
stay in England. I blush not to confess how much
his merit endeared him to me; but it was not till
one evening, nearly two years after our first acquaintance,
that I became sensible how essential
his society was to my happiness: the day having
been very warm, we were sitting under the colonade
fronting the lawn, and listening to the melody of my
brother’s German-flute, when the colonel’s servant
brought a packet to his master; he asked our permission
to break the seal, and as he read, I thought
a degree of concern was impressed on his fine open
countenance; to conceal the inquietude this supposition
inspired, I took up some geraniums, which lay G1r 81
on a table by me, and was disposing them in boquets;
when my brother, perceiving his friend’s discomoposure,
eagerly said, ‘I hope you have no bad news,
my dear Raymond;’
‘I ought not, Sir,’ he replied,
with a sigh, ‘to call the voice of duty such; yet
the felicity I have enjoyed in your hospitable mansion,
(bowing very low) I cannot resign without regret,
and I own this summons to join my regiment
is unwelcome, as it enforces my departure early
to-morrow.’
The remainder of the evening was
spent in unsuccessful endeavours to amuse each other;
the interval between supper and the hour when we
usually retired to rest, was painful, but no one
seemed to have the resolution to shorten it; at length
Colonel Fortescue rose from his seat, and with a
graceful politeness, which I never saw equalled, made
his acknowledgments for what he stiled the honours
he had received at Myrtle-Wood, and bade us adieu.
We immediately repaired to our apartments, but not
to rest; at least all my efforts to woo the ‘sleep compellingG G1v 82
power’
were fruitless; I therefore rose, and,
invited by the beauty of the night, wrapped my robede-chambre
round me, and went into the garden: all
was still, not a breath trembled on the leaves of the
myrtles; the dew hanging thick on the blossoms,
sparkled in the moon-beams, and heightened the fragrance
of the orange grove: I entered the grotto,
and, judge how great my surprize,—beheld Mr. Fortescue!
he started at my approach, but as I was
hastily retiring, stepped forward, and taking my hand
in the most respectful manner, led me to a seat, and
besought me to indulge him with my presence a few
moments.

‘I should,’ said he, ‘be most happy had I cause
to believe, that sentiments consonant to those which
impeded my repose, actuated you, my dearest Miss
Melville
, to seek this retreat; but I dare not flatter
myself with a hope so presuming, so infinitely beyond
my pretensions; yet be not offended if I implore your G2r 83
pity: O that my merits were such as might authorize
me to change that word for friendship—friendship
did I say! cold inexpressive epithet! for love!—
Be not offended if I plead the ardour of a passion inspired,
sweetest and most beloved of women, by your
perfections! the disclosure I had once determined
should never be made, because my love was without
hope, but in this parting hour resolution forsakes
me; perhaps it is the last time I shall ever behold
you, if so—’
Then, sinking on his knees, he breathed
a fervent prayer for my happiness. O Miss Starbridge!
words could but ill describe how much I
was affected; I gave him my hand, and kneeled in
silence beside him; my tears flowed unceasingly,
and spoke the language of a heart which sought not
to disguise its feelings. The dawning day reminded
us of the necessity of our separation:—the noblest,
most beloved men, led me thro’ the orange grove,
then tenderly pressing the hand he held to his lips,
bedewed it with a tear.—Pardon my weakness, madam,G2 G2v 84
I am unable to dwell longer on the scene.”

I cannot not, dear lady Julia, forbear mingling some
sympathetic drops with those which fell from the
lovely blue eyes of Athenia: she soon wiped them
away, and thus, but in mournful accents, continued
her story.

In less than two months after the colonel’s departure
my sister was brought to bed of a second
daughter, which lived but a few hours; as soon as
she was sufficiently recovered to bear the fatigue of a
journey, we set out for the house of Mr. Clifford,
where I intended staying till Lord Castlebroke, who
was absent on some affairs of moment, returned to
the lodge, where he was expected in a few days.
When we were within seven miles of Oakley-Grove,
my brother, who was on horseback, rode forward, and
soon after a servant, in a very rich livery of crimson
and silver, bowed obsequiously as he passed the chariot:
Mrs. Melville immediately recognized him for G3r 85
one of Count Almado’s attendants. Selina’s pleasure
at revisiting those scenes where her infant years were
passed was extreme. The day after our arrival, as
soon as we were disengaged from company, she was
inclined to walk in the gardens; I attended her; she
looked remarkably lovely, the evening air had given
her lips a coral hue, and tinged her delicate complexion
wiht an unusual bloom; her dress too was
simply elegant, and as such particularly became
her,—a robe of the palest straw-coloured lustring,
confined to the waist with a broad purple sattin girdle,
and tassels of pearls. Inclination led our steps
to a building at the extremity of the pleasure-grounds;
it was erected on the model of a Turkish mosque, and
stood in the center of a grove of aspins: the blue
silk curtains were drawn before the windows opposite
the garden,—gracious heaven! for what a purpose! to
conceal the Count Almado, whom we discovered on
our entrance sitting in a musing posture, with pen
and paper on the table before him: a faint scream, G3 G3v 86
which escaped from Mrs. Melville, broke his reverie,
and he hastily advanced to meet us; O let me forget
that look of horror which overspread his features,
as he thus, in a voice some times rendered almost inarticulate
by rage, and often interrupted by convulsive
sobs and smothered sighs, addressed my trembling
sister. “Selina, my misery is complete; I
cannot see you the wife of another and live: this spot,
so frequently the witness of your tyranny, and of my
sufferings, is destined as that in which both shall
know a period: my resolution was fixed; and one
hour later you had beheld me lifeless at your feet,
equally insensible to your beauty, and your scorn:
why then, by your presence, did you rekindle these
distracting, these fatal emotions? Yes, my insulted
love shall yet be accomplished.”
Tears dropped from his
eyes as he uttered these words; I was terrified beyond
expression, and endeavouring to support my
sister, who leaned, fainting, and almost motionless on G4r 87
my bosom, when the count drew his sword! What
at that moment became of my reason? I shrieked
aloud, but we were too far from the house for
any one to hear me: phrenzy then surely seized the
brain of Almado; he traversed the apartment with
rapid step, then coming up to us, both thro’ terror,
having sunk down together on the marble floor, he
repeated with stronger emphasis, “O Selina! Selina!
I cannot live, and see you the wife of another, neither
can I die in peace while my rival is blest.”

Miss Starbridge, I saw the cruel instrument of death
pierce her beauteous bosom, and then a happy insensibility
relieved me from the ensuing scene of augmented
horror. When I recovered my senses I
found myself on a sopha, in the drawing-room, my
own maid, and Mrs. Clifford’s woman, attending with
the proper restoratives: from them I learned that
the count had stabbed himself, and was without anny
signs of life, when my brother and Mr. Clifford entered
the mosque, whither they had walked in search G4 G4v 88
of Selina and me. I enquired anxiously after my dear
sister, and desired them to support me to her chamber;
the surgeon who arrived a few minutes before,
was dressing the wound; he pronounced it not dangerous,
but expressed his fears, lest, from the very
delicate state of her health, the shock she had received
might prove fatal. We nourished, however,
the sweet delusion of hope; alas! the next rising
sun evinced it to be vain! the fever which had seized
her the preceding night was indeed abated, and reason
resumed the seat of delirium, but her countenance
was impressed with the palid hue of death;
“My Athenia,” said she, extending her hand, as I
approached her bed, “dearest sister of my heart! I
am sensible of my danger, and whilst able, wish to
make one request to you, which I know you will not
refuse: supply the loss of maternal care to my sweet
child, and may her infantine gratitude, and growing
virtues repay your affectionate attention. To you,
most fondly beloved of my soul!”
turning to my afflicted G5r 90
brother, “she will, I trust, prove a comfort:
and, O my Lionel! by that love which has rendered
us so happy, I conjure you not indulge immoderate
sorrow.”
—Her voice failed; she had only the power
to clasp her arms around his neck; and pressing him
feebly to her bosom, expired. O Miss Starbridge!
but what right have I thus to wound your sympathetic
feelings? The paper which the desperate
Almado left on the table was an unfinished letter,
addressed to Mr. Clifford; it spoke the language of
ungovernable passions: he had accidentally heard
of Selina’s marriage, soon after he landed in England;
and, having enquired the place of her abode,
was on his way to Myrtle-Wood, when the servant,
who was sent forward to give the necessary orders
for his master’s accomodation that night, in the
next town, knowing Mrs. Melville, informed the
Count of his meeting her on the road, as he supposed,
going to Mr. Clifford’s. This intelligence determined
him to return early in the morning to the village near G5v 90
Oakley-Grove; but how could he enter the mansion
of his friend, as an assassin! despair at length absorbing
the desire of revenge, he left the inn, in
search of some solitary spot, where unseen he might
execute his dreadful purpose of suicide: wandering
near the wall of Mr. Clifford’s gardens, he recollected
that a small gate which opened into the adjacent
meadow, was frequently left unlocked; by this means
he found admission to the mosque, and there, unhappily,
we found him. The poignancy of that sorrow
which filled every breast that knew the worth of
our dear lamented Mrs. Melville, it is impossible to
describe: my brother’s rose to little less than distraction;
when we returned to Myrtle-wood, the sight
of his infant daughter, renewed his grief. Lord Castlebroke,
who honoured us with his company, tho’ a
sincere mourner with us, sought with unremitting
assiduity to withdraw his mind from so fixed an attention
to melancholy ideas. Lionel acknowledged
with gratitude his friendly intentions, “but,” said he, G6r 91
“it will not do; every thing here reminds me of the
happiness I once enjoyed with my Selina, and which,
with that dear angel, took an everlasting flight; I
have formed a design which I will now impart to
you, my noble friend; it is to enter his majesty’s
service as a volunteer; your lordship knows Colonel
Fortescue
, now with his regiment in Germany; you
are no stranger to the intimacy subsisting between
us; perhaps, in his society, remote from those scenes,
which too painfully recal the remembrance of my
lost felicity, tranquillity may be brought once more
to dwell in this affflicted bosom. Dearest Athenia,
you will fulfil the dying request of your sainted sister;
to your care I entrust my little Selina, and both
to the protection of you, my houred guardian, who
will more than compensate to them the absence of
their Melville.”
My unhappy brother staid in England
only so long as the arrangement of his affairs
required his presence. When he took leave of me my
heart foreboded a final separation, and a few months G6v 92
verified its prediction: a letter from Colonel Fortescue
to Lord Castlebroke contained the sad tidings, that a
fever, occasioned by excessive fatigue, in the performance
of military duty, joined to the grief which
incessantly preyed on his constitution, had deprived
him of his beloved friend: the news of conquest followed
soon after, and a ray of hope penetrated the
clouds of involving woe; alas! I anticipated a visionary
joy; that day which crowned with wreaths
of palm and laurel the brows of victorious heroes,
saw one of the most distinguished fall on the plains
of Minden! A young officer distantly related to
Mrs. Fortescue, waited on that lady, with the melancholy
information, that Raymond, in the final engagement,
received three wounds, which the surgeons
apprehended were mortal; and indeed, he
added, when he left the tent, it was the opinion of
one of those gentlemen, from the great effusion of
blood, which rendered him extremely faint and languid,
the colonel would scarcely survive the night: G7r 93
he lamented the necessity he was under of leaving
the place before the event was ascertained, to which
he said nothing but indispensible circumstances
should have compelled him. Yet, in reality, it
could have administered no consolation to us. I
own for sometime I indulged the dawning of a faint
hope, but it can deceive me no longer; ten months
have passed, and changed a state of uncertainty to
absolute despair. My beloved brother, in a will,
made a few weeks before he went abroad, bequeathed
this little retreat to me, as a memorial of his affection;
a solitude so suited to my disposition, I determined
not to quit, tho’ repeatedly importuned by my
generous guardian, to bring my sweet orphan girl, and
reside with him at the Lodge; but it is my wish to
avoid promiscuous society: our visits to my lord are
not unfrequent, and he has several times had the
goodness to spend a week with us; excepting his
lordship, Mrs. Fortescue (who soon after the loss of
her son, took a small house in the neighbourhood,) G7v 94
is almost the only person with whom I have any
intercourse; the sympathy of sorrow first formed that
chain of friendship which unites us, and I trust will
never be broken.

Here the fair mourner closed her affecting history;
I will not lengthen my letter with a vain attempt to
paint my feelings, or that reluctance with which I
left the sweet retired abode, of which Athenia is the
grace and ornament.

Adieu!

Emma Starbridge.

Let- G8r 95

Letter IV. In about a month from the date of the preceding letter, the Earl of
Belmour’s nuptials with Miss Starbridge, took place, and they immediately
set out on a tour to Italy; the following was written after their return.

The Countess of Belmour, To Lady Julia Portland.

Congratulate me, my dear sister, that
after eight months’ absence, I am returned safe to my
native country; you had an account of our tour in a
multitude of letters, if they all came to your hands,
so that your curiousity, I think, can have no further
claim of that nature, on my pen; and to speak the
truth, I am a little tired of the subject: but I have
another to enlarge upon, which I believe you will be
delighted with, at least it has been productive of
more pleasure to me than I can express. You remember,
a few weeks before I become the happy bride G8v 96
of your dear brother, the accident which brought
me acquainted with Miss Melville, and how much
I was interested by her melancholy history; I had
often wished to repeat my visit to her, when distance,
and the sea between us prevented me from enjoying
that gratification. Lord Belmour’s politeness, you
need not be told, renders him ever studious to promote
my pleasures, and often to anticipate my very
wishes: As we were returning to the Abbey, from
our foreign expedition, he proposed our taking Myrtle-Wood
on the road, as it would be only a few miles
round: I rejoiced at the proposal, and we reached
that delightful solitude the next morning. The footman,
on my enquiring for his lady, conducted us
thro’ the hall into a back parlour; the charming
Athenia was sitting by the window, in an elegant
dishabille, embroidering violets on a white sattin
sword-knot, and listening with delighted attention,
to a gentleman who was reading Milton. She rose
and welcomed me to Myrtle-Wood, with her accustomed H1r 97
grace, and a lively pleasure, easily accounted
for, when she introduced me to Colonel Fortescue.
They pressed us, with all the warmth of friendship, to
stay with them at least till the next day: It was impossible
to refuse. After taking chocolate we walked
in the gardens till near dinner-time: My Edgar was
absolutely enchanted with the style of beautiful simplicity
in which the grounds were disposed, and says,
he shall not rest till he has raised such a rustic fane
to the Dryads, among the venerable oaks and beeches
of Southcote Park. When we rose from table, the
conversation turning on literary subjects, the gentlemen
retired to the library, to consult an ancient
author on some event in history. I took that opportunity
to felicitate my fair friend, on the happy
change in her situation, and begged, if my wishes
were not impertinent, she would gratify them, by informing
me of those circumstances which had occasioned
so long a suspension of her felicity. She replied,
she was eager to impart them, as they must H H1v 98
appear mysterious. The evening was very warm for
the season, and inclination drawing us abroad to
enjoy its beauties, we seated ourselves on a green
bench, shaded with laburnums, and purple lilacs in
full bloom, by the side of the canal, while Athenia
thus complied with my request.

“When your ladyship left Myrtle-Wood, I was a
prey to sorrow and despair; the cup of joy seemed
exhausted, and nothing was left me even to hope;
could I then have thought it possible to experience
such a reverse! You now see me the happy wife of
the most amiable and generous of men! A few
weeks after you honoured me with a visit, as I was
one morning standing at my dressing-room window,
in that state of mental abstraction from outward objects,
which the wretched often feel, a carriage, driving
up the avenue of chestnut trees in front of the
house, roused me from the indulgence of melancholy
ideas: It was Mrs. Fortescue’s, but I hardly H2r 99
knew her, as she alighted with almost youthful
gaiety: her dress surprized me,—she had exchanged
the sables of mourning, for a brocade of peagreen
with silver flowers. As I advanced to meet
her, she said, ‘Come, my Athenia, that pensive air
must give place to smiles; and those black robes to
bridal ornaments; I happily possess an infallible
talisman, to restore the native roses to your cheeks,
my own beloved daughter.’
Folding her maternal
arms about me, she tenderly saluted me, and gave
me a letter; I knew the writing, and sudden joy for
a few moments overcame me; when I had at length
power to break the seal, I want words, Lady Belmour,
to express the emotions of my soul, as I read
the welcome lines, which told me that my Raymond
was perfectly recovered from a long and dangerous
illness, and would be with me in a few hours after his
letter. I asked Mrs. Fortescue when this invaluable
treasure was conveyed to her hands. ‘As I was at
breakfast this morning,’
she replied, ‘a servant rode H2 H2v 100
up to the door on horseback, and, enquiring if I was
at home, delivered a packet to Maurice, saying, his
master had ordered him to wait till I had opened it,
as probably I might have a message for the lady to
whose house he was going. I sent for him into the
parlour, and asked him how my son had heard of my
removal from L――? he said, the colonel knew not
but that I still resided there, and had sent him thither,
but finding another family in the house to which he
had been directed, he enquired of them the place of
my abode, and came with the utmost expedition;
adding, as soon as he had carried a letter to Miss
Melville
at Myrtle Wood, he should make all possible
haste back, to prevent his master’s going round
by L――, which was many miles out of the way. I
told him to give me the letter, which I would take
care to convey to you; and after some suitable refreshment
to return without delay. I assure you,
my love, I gave immediate orders for the chariot,
and only staid to make such an alteration in my attire, H3r 101
as I thought would in some degree prepare you for
the reception of joyful tidings; and with your permission,’
continued the good lady, smiling, ‘I will
receive Raymond here, or I shall but just get a
glimpse of him, for I know how impatient he will be
to see you.’
The day was spent in a truly social
manner, but I believe Mrs. Fortescue, as well as
Athenia, thought old Time had shook off his plumes,
and crept rather than flew, till five o’clock, when the
colonel arrived. Our reception of him evinced our
joy, which he shared in a manner bordering on
transport; his long indisposition had not made so
very great an alteration in his looks as I expected;
tho’ he was much thinner, and his complexion had
not regained that fine glow of health which now overspreads
it. His mother’s anxiety was no less than
mine to know the reason of her son’s having never
written to us, when returning health permitted; and
was beginning to make enquiry. This the colonel
prevented by drawing his chair between ours, and H3 H3v 102
taking a hand of each, which he alternately pressed
to his lips, said, ‘I am almost afraid to ask my
dearest friends what their sentiments of me have
been within the last few hours, since my letters informed
them I was still in existence; but be assured
I have felt distress’
Mrs. Fortescue interrupted
him, by saying, ‘If I had thought of any thing but
the blessing of again seeing you, I might, perhaps,
have been displeased; but that delightful consideration
absorbed every other; and I dare say, whatever
you deserve, you have no reproaches to fear from
Miss Melville.’
‘No, sir,’ I replied, ‘never, even
in thought, has my heart accused you of unkindness,
or neglect; my reliance was too firmly established,
on your generosity, and that honour which you make
the criterion of your conduct, to permit the very shadow
of suspicion; yet fears for your safety, I scruple
not to confess, were to me a perpetual source of sorrow.’
He thanked me with a look of ineffable tenderness
and affection, saying, ‘It only then remains H4r 103
for me to account for that long silence, by which I
was myself so deep a sufferer.
‘Soon after Captain Drayton, who informed you,
madam,’
to Mrs. Fortescue, of my being wounded,
had left the tent, Mr. Stanley, an English gentleman,
whom I had freguently visited, came to enquire after
me, and insisted on my being carried to his house,
which was much nearer than my own lodgings; I
believe the surgeons at that time apprehended imminent
danger; but at my hospitable friend’s repeated
importunities, I was placed on a litter, and conveyed
very slowly, and with the utmost care, to his dwelling.
Extreme languor from loss of blood, reduced
me for several hours to a state of insensibility; when
I opened my eyes, the first object they rested on was
a young lady, sitting by my bedside, the sister of
Mrs. Stanley. She was handsome, and accomplished,
and during my illness attended me with an
attention and assiduity, which I imputed to the nativeH4 H4v 104
benevolence of her heart. As I was for a long time
unable to hold a pen, and you, my beloved friends,
were ever in my thoughts, I asked the favour of Miss
Rochelle
to be my amanuensis. As I dictated a few
lines to my Athenia, I observed her face suddenly
suffused with a blush of the deepest crimson, an universal
tremor seized her, and she twice dropped the
pen as she copied my expressions: When I was so
far recovered, as no longer to need her friendly
assistance, I passed as much of my time in writing
as the physician would allow: It soothed and cheered
the tedious hours of absence, and I fondly anticipated
the pleasure of hearing from you in reply:
but month after month wore away, and not a line
either from my mother, or Miss Melville blessed my
longing eyes. Lost in conjectures, my anxiety hourly
increased, and sometimes my imagination presaged
the worst of all that could befal me; the two dearest
of human beings, I feared, had found their way
before me to the grave. My kind friends united H5r 105
their efforts to enliven my spirits, by every amusement
in which my unsettled health admitted of my
participating. Miss Rochelle exerted all her skill to
relieve my dejection; she tried the efficacy of music,
accompanying her guittar with her voice, which was
uncommonly fine. She often sought to engage my
attention to some favourite author; she was particularly
fond of Shakespeare; and one day taking up a
volume of his works, began reading Twelfth
Night,
but when she came to these lines, “She never told her love,But let concealment, like a worm i’the bud,Feed on her damask cheek,”
She burst into tears, and instantly left the room. I
was surprized at the sudden emotion, and to your
partiality, which will acquit your Raymond of
vanity, I may confess an apprehension (indeed
fatally true) that Miss Rochelle cherished an affection H5v 106
for him which he never wished to excite, except in
the gentle bosom of his Athenia. This painful idea
adding yet more to impatience of returning to
England, I daily wearied my doctor with importunities,
to consent to my embarking, and constantly
received the same answer, that as soon as he judged
my health sufficiently re-established to warrant his
sanction to such a proceeding, I should certainly
receive it; but it was more than two months from
my first solicitation, before he gave his consent, and
then not without the utmost caution, and the concuring
opinion of another of the faculty. The evening
previous to my quitting Mr. Stanley’s, he happened
to be particularly engaged for an hour or two; and
the air being remarkably clear and serene, I retired
to the observatory; attracted by the singular brilliancy
of one of the planets, I was surveying it thro’ a
reflecting telescope, when somebody stepped softly
along the apartment; I turned my head, and Miss
Rochelle
threw herself on her knees at my feet. H6r 107
Astonished beyond expression, I would have raised
her, but she refused my assistance. “No, Mr. Fortescue,”
her voice faultering as she spoke, and her
eyes never once lifted from the ground, “this attitude
best becomes a suppliant, and I will not rise till you
pardon a fault of which you are at present ignorant,
but which has been the hidden source of all your
sorrow. Under the influence of an unconquerable
passion, which not all your diffidence could prevent
you from perceiving, infatuated, and blind to the
future, I considered not that the thorns I planted in
those bosoms most dear to you, would, thro’ your sufferings,
pierce my own.”
Perfectly stupified, I could
not understand a syllable; I thought her reason was
affected. The following words undeceived me:
“I am not surprized that my address appears mysterious;
I cannot express myself coherently; but
this,”
putting into my hands a packet, containing all
the letters I had written to you, with those Miss H6v 108
Rochelle
had written for me, “will explain my
meaning. You know my weakness, sir, but can you
pity and forgive my want of resolution, to promote
the happiness of Miss Melville, while I was so
wretched? I wished her to believe you lost to her
for ever; and this was my motive for detaining those
letters addressed to Mrs. Fortescue; as they were to
be inclosed under the same covers with mine, to
my beloved Matilda, it was an easy task to deceive
my brother, to whom you always gave yours,
and he delivered them into my hands. Hope deluded
me into a belief of improbability;—surely, I am the
first of my sex that ever flattered herself with a prospect
of happiness from the usual inconstancy of
man! But Athenia was absent; she had never been
your nurse in sickness; and my assiduous attentions,
joined to that resentment I thought the idea of her
unkindness in not writing to you must kindle in your
breast, I vainly hoped would have taught you to forget
her charms: but when no reflection, awakened by H7r 109
anger, or suspicion of fickleness in her affection,
mingled with your grief, I wept the futility of my expectations;
and when I beheld that sorrow, which at
times, appeared insupportable, I lamented my meanness
and duplicity, with bitter tears of contrition and
unfeigned repentance. Believe me, sir, I despised
myself, even more than I envied Miss Melville, and
would gladly, had my fortitude equalled my inclination,
have disclosed the secret that would, in a great
measure, have restored your peace.—But how could
I bear the thoughts of losing your esteem? Life
itself is less dear to me; yet at this hour, I feel your
happiness to be dearer still! think what you have
suffered, in comparison of what I shall do, in the
conscious review of my own littleness, will be trifling,
and let that consideration induce you to forgive an
offence for which I have now made all the atonement
I am able, before I bid you an eternal adieu!
and when you remember the unhappy Gartha, endeavour
to repel those painful ideas, which I fear will H7v 110
too often mingle with the recollection.”
Struck
with the earnestness of her manner, nor less so with
the confession she had made, I stood for a few
minutes unable to reply, and it was a difficult matter
to frame a proper one. I repeatedly offered her my
hand, intreating her to rise, and expressing with
ardour, those sentiments of gratitude for her many
kind attentions to me during my tedious illness, with
which my heart was impressed. “I cannot, sir,”
said she, “accept acknowledgements of this nature;
I was more than recompensed by the pleasure
of your conversation, for what you call a trouble:
nor will I receive your offered hand, till you give it
as the pledge of amity and forgiveness.”
I could not
use the latter word—degrading to a lady from one of
my own sex. It would have conveyed an idea of superiority
highly unbecoming any man to assume, and
so I told Miss Rochelle, at the same time adding, if
to know that I could never harbour any resentment
towards her, and that her felicity was one of my H8r 111
heart’s first wishes,—I did, with the utmost sincerity,
assure her of both. She then rose, and retiring a
few paces, fixed her eyes on me for a moment.
“Most generous of men! be happiness uninterrupted
the portion of you and your Athenia!”
Sighs rendered
her voice inarticulate, and she hastily withdrew.
After a sleepless night, for the crowd of different
ideas that filled my thoughts, banished repose
from my couch, early on the following morning I
took leave of the benevolent Mr. and Mrs. Stanley:
Miss Rochelle, as I expected, did not appear. I obtained
the promise of a visit from that gentleman, to
whom I am under such great obligations, but I could
not prevail on his lady to give me any expectation
of seeing her in England, as she is extremely averse
to crossing the sea, always suffering severely when
on that element.’”

My charming friend’s narration was concluded by
the approach of little Selina, with an invitation from H8v 112
the gentleman, to spend an hour in a sail on the water
before the evening closed. We kissed the rosy cheeks
of the smiling messenger, and instantly prepared to
attend them. At supper I reproved Mrs. Fortescue,
for not informing me of the colonel’s return; asking
her if it was possible she should have forgotten how
much I was interested by the recital with which she
had formerly obliged me; it is true, had she honored
me with a letter, (which by her not mentioning it, I
supposed she had not done) I should have been in
Italy when it arrived, but that was no apology for her,
because she did not know it. She replied, with a
sweet expressive smile, “Rather let me ask Lady
Belmour
, how she can be so forgetful of her own
consequence, as not to imagine the newspapers
would apprize me of her tour? But indeed I engaged
my Lord Castlebroke, who I knew would have very
early intelligence of your return, to acquaint me with
it; for I longed to communicate that event to your
ladyship, which has made me the happiest of women.”

I1r 113

We could not prevail on Mr. and Mrs. Fortescue
to accompany us to Southcote Abbey, because of a
promise they had given Lord Castlebroke, to carry
Miss Melville the next day to the Lodge; his lordship,
who is extremely fond of her, insisting, since
Athenia’s marriage, on having her frequently for a
few weeks with him; and she constantly spends the
three winter months at Mr. Clifford’s; but in a
fortnight, our friends of Myrtle-Wood, engage to be
with us.

And now, Lady Julia, you expect a description of
the colonel.—I positively will not say a word; come
and see for yourself; and yet it may be dangerous,
unless (which I sincerely hope) ere this some man of
merit may have taught you to look on the graces of
every other with no sentiment more lively than approbation:
in this wish, my dear lord unites most
cordially with his and your

E. Belmour.

I
I1v I2r 115

The Birth of Sensibility. This little effusion of fancy was suggested by Miss Aikin’s beautiful
Allegory of The Birth of Pity.—It was written at a very early age, and
as such, claims every indulgence from the reader.

An Imitation.

“Celestial spring! to nature’s favourites giv’n, Fed by the dews that bathe the flowers of heav’n; From the pure chrystal of thy fountain flow The tears that trickle o’er another’s woe.” Jerningham.

One beautiful serene summer’s evening, after
rambling in a shady grove till the sun had sunk behind
the western hills, and twilight, in robes of palest
grey, threw a softened light on every object around,
I seated myself on the bank of a winding river: A
weeping willow spread over me its branches, which,
drooping, floated on the stream: An antique turret,
partly in ruins, thickly mantled in ivy, and surrounded
with yew and cypress, was the only building
to be seen. I had been reading a melancholy tale, I2 I2v 116
which in strong colours impressed itself on my memory,
and led me to reflect on the strange pleasure
we derive from tragedy, and narratives of woe.
What, thought I, can cause this seeming inconsistency
in the feelings of a benevolent mind! Can
one human being rejoice in the misfortunes of another?
—Forbid it heaven! The pale beams of the
moon, now risen in unclouded majesty, silvered o’er
the surface of the water on which my eyes ere fixed,
and all nature seemed hushed to repose, when a gentle
slumber stole upon my senses, and methought a
being of angelic form stood before me. A mantle of
the palest sapphire hung from her shoulders to the
ground, her flaxen hair fell in waving curls on her
fine neck, and a white transparent veil shaded her
face; as she lifted it up, she sighed, and remained for
some moments silent. Never did I behold a countenance
so delicate, or features so expressive; and tho’
a smile played on her coral lips, her lovely blue eyes
were suffused with tears, and resembled violets bathed I3r 117
in dew: beneath her veil, she wore a wreath of rosebuds
mingled with lilies of the valley. “Wonder
not,”
said she in accents soft as the breath of zephyrs,
“that tales of woe can please: I am called Sensibility,
and have been from infancy your constant
companion: by me you were taught to protect the
linnet’s nest, to nurse the bleating lamb which had
lost its mother, and shelter the affrighted woodpigeon
which took refuge in your bower. My sire was
Humanity, and my mother Sympathy, the daughter
of Tenderness; I was born in a cavern, overshadowed
with laurels and myrtles, at the foot of Parnassus
and consigned to the care of Melpomene, who fed
me with honey from Hybla, and lulled me to rest
with plaintive songs, and the melancholy music of
the Eolian lyre. Down oneside of the cavern ran a
stream from Helicon, and in the trees around it
doves and nightingales built their nests. I make it
my sole care to augment the felicity of some favoured
mortals, who ungratefully repine at my influence, I3 I3v 118
and would gladly be under the dominion of Apathy.
Alas! how inconsiderate! if the rose has thorns,
has it not also vermil tints, and ambrosial sweetness?
If the jessamine droops, laden with the dew-drops of
morning, when the sun has exhaled them will it not
be refreshed, and breathe richer fragrance? So if
the heart be touched with a story of sorrow, it will
at the same time experience a delicious sensation;
and if tears often flow, say, can you call it weakness?
Can you wish to be divested of this genuine test
of tenderness, and desire the departure of sensibility?”

Ah no, fair nymph! still deign to be my attendant;
teach me to sigh with the unhappy, and with
the happy to rejoice. I am now sensible, that the
pleasure arising from legends of woe, and the trials
of virtue, owes its origin to the finer impulses of
the mind; these teach me ever to cherish, while my
heart expands with the certain conviction; that we I4r 119
have “some generous joys, and generous cares beyond
ourselves.”

Scarcely had I pronounced these words, when the
loud tolling of the village bell broke the fetters in
which Morpheus had bound me, and dispelled the
airy illusion.

I4 On
I4v I5r 121

On Gratitude.

“The little rose that laughs upon its stem, One of the sweets with which the gardens teem, In value soars above an eastern gem, If tender’d as the token of esteem.” Cunningham.

There is not among the virtues one of lovelier
aspect than gratitude. The woodbine that
closely entwines the decaying tree, by which it has
long been supported, is its proper emblem; for the
truly grateful never forget past favours; and it is the
first wish of their hearts to repay them, not simply
in words, or by the tender of those gifts, which are
acceptable only to the venal mind, but by the richer
tribute of esteem, and those nameless endearing attentions
which soften the hard pallet of poverty,
relieve the languors of sickness, and sweetly smooth
the “down-hill of life,” to the feeble steps of hoary I5v 122
age:—Attentions dear to the susceptible soul, and
more delicious than the incense of Persia, offered to
the rising sun.

But as the happiness of a man is not to be estimated
by the wide extent of his domain, or his virtue
by the number of vassals who call him lord; so
neither are splended oblations at the shrine of gratitude
to be considered as infallible criterions of the
giver’s liberality. Ostentation, pride, and a desire
of praise, are not unfrequently the actuating tho’
invisible motives to seemingly noble and generous
deeds: and, in most instances, the truly delicate
and feeling mind will receive superior gratification
from more simple acknowledgments; nay, in some
cases I believe it possible, that a flower may be
prized more highly than a diamond: agreeable to the
idea of a late charming poet, and sweetly expressed
by him in the motto prefixed to this paper.

I shall I6r 123

I shall close these few reflections on Gratitude,
with the following fragment of a pastoral tale, not
wholly inapplicable to the subject.

Amaryllis had now completed her seventeenth
year; the shepherds of the neighbouring hamlets admired
her beauty, and Echo, responsive to their pipes,
filled every valley with her praise; but her heart
was replete with innocence, and her rosy cheeks
ever dimpled with smiles, for the arrows of love had
never invaded the repose of her bosom. Her happiness
was centered in her duty, and she seldom quitted
the cottage of her sire, Palemon, the venerable woodman
of the forest, but when her snowy sheep demanded
her care; and as they bounded along the
velvet turf of the meadows, or cropped wild-thyme
and daisies on the brow of the hills, the artless shepherdess,
reclined under a spreading maple, or bush of I6v 124
white-thorn, her favourite dog couched at her feet,
would listen with delight to the woodlark’s warbled
song; or gathering primroses and violets to deck her
cottage window, and interweaving the flexile stalks
of the cowslip, and hare-bell, to form chaplets,
chaunt in wild, yet sweetest strains, the joys of pastoral
life.

But this tranquillity she was soon to resign; for at
the wake she attracted the notice of Mirtillo, the
most graceful young shepherd of the plain; and
when on May-morning, at sun rise, the band of youthful
villagers assmebled round the flower-encircled
pole, to celebrate the glad return of spring, he sought
her for his partner in the dance, and presented her
with garlands of the freshest flowers: From that
time, often at the close of day would he assist in
guiding her fleecy charge to the fold; nor unfrequently,
when moonlight illumined the dewy vale,
and the tired peasants were sunk in balmy slumber, I7r 125
did the soft notes of his flagelet, from the hazle coppice
behind Palemon’s dwelling, steal sweetly on the
air, in concert with the nightingale’s plaintive lay.
He told her his love; Amaryllis believed, and
secretly vowed to give her hand only to Mirtillo.

Soon after, an accident happened which cost her
many tears: her favourite lamb had strayed from the
pastures; she sought it all day in the woodlands, but
in vain. When the first rosy ray of morning glanced
thro’ the eglantine which embowered her casement,
reflecting its narrow diamond panes on the whitened
wall of her chamber, she arose and renewed the pursuit,
but without success. Passing a flowery brake
in her return, she espied some wild pinks newly
blown, and gathering them, said, “My ramble has
not been useless this morning, tho’ my lamb is still
unfound; these are the first pinks I have seen this
summer; I will make them into a garland for Mirtillo.”
She sat down under a clump of young birch I7v 126
trees, and had just accomplished her pleasing task,
when Corydon, passing to his daily labour, thus accosted
her: “Amaryllis, why so pensive? has any
misfortune, sweet girl! befallen thee?”
She told the
cause of her inquietude, and the attentive shepherd
replied: “Had the little wanderer a blue ribbon
tyed round its neck?”
Amaryllis blushed, (for Mirtillo
had bestowed that ornament on her lost favourite)
“if so, I found it yesterday in the stream that runs by
my orchard, and was fortunately just in time to save
it from perishing?”
He brought the lamb to the delighted
shepherdess, who thus addressed him: “Had
I aught more worthy his acceptance I would not
offer so poor a tribute to Corydon; but, gentle shepherd!
refuse not to accept my crook, and this chaplet,
wove indeed for another, but gratitude dedicates
it to thee.”


Finis.