Kneeling woman in a dress holds an open book out to a standing woman in armour.
Being a Collection
Humbly Dedicated by Permiſsion
To His Royal Highneſs
By His Grateful
& Obedient Servant
Printed for T. Hookham Junr.
& E.T. Hookham,
15. Old Bond Street.
by Knevett, Arleſs & Co Bartholomew Close
To His Royal Highness, The Prince Regent.
May it please your Royal Highness,
Deeply impressed by gratitude, and a sense of the very great condescension of your Royal Highness, in the honor received, by permission to inscribe this work to your Royal Highness; with all due submission, I respectfully acknowledgevi A3v ii ledge it. It is an additional instance of that benevolence and goodness of heart, which, on all occasions, so eminently distinguishes the actions of your Royal Highness; and which causes admiration to unite with duty in all ranks of society.
With the most profound respect and gratitude, I beg permission to subscribe myself
Your Royal Highness’s Most Dutiful, Most Obliged And Most Obedient Servant,
Georgiana Caroline Maxwell.
Warren Street, Fitzroy Square.
Inscribed to a Friend.
This little tale, so strange, so true,
Dear friend, I dedicate to you;
Your kindness, sure, will not refuse
This little offering of my muse:
If you approve her humble lays,
Her utmost wishes are your praise.
In Gallia’s kingdom, near a forest wild,
There liv’d a peasant, and his only child;
A female, to whom Nature, most unkind,
Had given a form uncouth, tho’ active mind;
Deform’d her body, fiery red her hair,
Distorted eyeballs, with a frightful stare:
Yet cheerful was she, to her father kind,
No envy touch’d her heart, no grief her mind;B 2 B1v 2
But gaily singing, did she often stray,
Thro’ the wide forest’s variegated way:
She pac’d its inmost mazes o’er and o’er,
For well could she its winding paths explore.
It chanc’d, as wand’ring thro’ the ’tangled shade,
Which interwoven boughs impervious made;
Sudden she saw a youth of beauteous mein,
Attended by a numerous hunting train.
Their sports concluded, slowly they retire,
Whilst Rosetta doth the graceful youth admire:
With eager gaze she watches his retreat,
And listens to his sinking accents sweet—
Traces the steps which he had trac’d before,
And in her mind counts all his beauties o’er.
From that sad hour no comfort warm’d her breast,
From that sad hour she knew no balmy rest.
Listless and lonely in the wood she strays,
And now for wealth, and now for beauty prays;
Now marks the way she saw the youth retreat,
And fancies still she hears his horse’s feet:
Once lost in thought, and sank in deepest woe,
Heedless the length her wand’ring feet did go;
Till, faint and weary, she surpris’d did find,
How far her father’s cottage was behind.3 B2r 3
But as she turn’d to reach it, e’er ’twas night,
A man, gigantic, met her wond’ring sight;
Black were his garments, and his eyes were bold,
And round his neck he wore a ring of gold;
His step was solemn, and his mein severe,
And every gesture fill’d her soul with fear:
From his dread presence she unconscious flew,
Till his mild words her fix’d attention drew.
Rosett, he cried, in me behold a friend,
Who to your good will every effort bend;
For well I know your bosom’s inward woe,
Full well the cause which makes your tears to flow;
Say at what price the blessing you would buy,
To be the most lovely in your favorite’s eye?
Tho’ now deform’d, let not Rosett despair,
She shall be fairest ’midst a thousand fair;
The youth you love shall then admire each grace,
And be enchanted by your lovely face:
Yours he shall be; but when complete the whole,
What will you give? entranc’d, she cried, my soul.
Enough, he said, e’en now the change is made,
Be thy fair form in yonder stream survey’d;
View thy bright eyes, thy skin more white than snow,
Thy cheeks, in which the new-born roses blow;B2 4 B2v 4
The flowing ringlets of thy golden hair,
And shape surpassing every earthly fair;
Speak my reward when you survey the whole;
Again she clasp’d her hands, and cried, my soul.
And now advancing to the limpid brook,
With eager haste she cast an anxious look;
Joy flush’d her cheek, and sparkled in her eye,
As she her numerous graces did espy.
True had her friend defin’d the amazing change,
Her beauty wond’rous, as its manner strange;
But e’er she’d satisfied her eager eye,
She hears the sound of hounds and hunters nigh:
Unusual transports play about her heart,
One moment thinks she’ll stay, the next depart.
But e’er resolve determines flight or stay,
A numerous band obstruct the narrow way;
And now the object of her hopes, her fears,
Foremost amongst the lengthen’d train appears.
Involuntary, she to shun them tried,
But sunk near fainting by his horse’s side;
Sudden as light’ning did the youth descend,
The readiest aid her drooping form to lend:
But oh! what beauties met his ardent gaze;
He clasp’d her to his heart in fond amaze;5 B3r 5
And as he strain’d her to his beating breast,
In these soft accents he the fair addrest:
Oh! speak fair creature, what can be the cause,
Which to this dreary wood thy footstep draws?
Say, art thou Goddess of the Silvan chace?
For ne’er could mortal boast so fair a face.
Oh, speak! thy accents sure must be divine,
And let my ears be bless’d by sounds like thine.
With timid look she modestly replied,
My father lives close to this forest’s side,
A lowly peasant he, unknown to fame,
His only child am I, Rosett my name.
Oh! said the youth, had’st been my happy lot,
To live with Rosett, in her humble cot:
To claim her love amidst this rustic scene,
And call her mine, how happy had I been:
But Fate for me a different care hath shewn;
Behold the monarch of the Gallic throne,
Of which a royal partner long hath been
My wedded consort, and of France the queen.
But will Rosett accept my faithful heart?
Accept my love, for never must we part.
Be thou the solace of each happy hour,
Be sharer of my joys, my wealth, my power:B3 6 B3v 6
Oh! give consent to live in silken bands,
See, ’tis a lover sues—no king commands.
Mute was her tongue, tho’ well her eyes exprest
The thrilling raptures which now fir’d her breast;
Mute was her tongue, for ill it had explain’d,
The various transports which her heart contain’d.
A suppliant king! her vainest hope exceeds,
And every rising passion for him pleads,
Blushing, she gave her hand, and faintly said,
By me my prince must ever be obey’d.
And now behold her in a splendid court,
Of every luxury, the gay resort;
Her blooming charms surpassing all that’s there,
She being fairest ’midst a thousand fair:
Pleasure, and love, and joy, are in her train,
Who banish all the family of pain.
Years roll on years, and yet doth time forbear
To touch the ringlets of her flowing hair—
To fade her roses, in unvarying bloom,
Or rob her ruby mouth of its perfume.
A concert now she gives her numerous friends,
For at her summons all the court attends;
With magic art she touch’d the trembling strings,
And to the mind, a saint Cecilia brings.7 B4r 7
Equal to Philomel’s her syren tongue,
On every ear a fix’d attention hung;
When, lo! a servant enters, in affright,
As though a spectre struck his aching sight;
Fault’ring, he tried to speak, fear tied his tongue,
Rosetta on the half-form’d accents hung;
A sympathetic fear her breast alarms,
And ashy paleness creeps o’er all her charms.
Oh speak! she cried, why thus alarm’d declare;
Why fix on me your eyes with frightful glare?
At length he said, a man of monstrous size,
His robes are black, terrific are his eyes;
Severe his aspect, and his mein is bold,
And round his neck he wears a ring of gold,
Demands to see you at your castle gate;
He says you know him, and he will not wait.
Oh, go! she trembling said, oh! go, and say,
I cannot, must not, see him on this day;
But beg, that on to-morrow he will come,
I then will see him, and must know my doom.
Scarce had the servant o’er the threshold past,
Then these fierce words her every hope did blast;
Deny’d to me! denials are in vain;
The hour is come, in which we meet again.B4 8 B4v 8
Thus saying, he the door wide open throws,
And the dread demon up to Rosett goes;
As he advances thro’ the gilded hall,
A chilling fear does every heart appal:
But who can paint Rosett; convulsions dire
Seiz’d her frail frame, in which she doth expire.
Now said the demon, now completes the whole,
Be yours the dross—be mine the precious soul:
Struck dumb, all gaze on him in wild affright,
Whilst with loud laughs he vanish’d from their sight.
Now round the body of Rosett they press;
But who their horror, their amaze, can guess,
When there an old and wrinkled hag they found?
With homeliest garments was her body bound:
A monstrous hump upon her back appears,
And every feature bears the stamp of years.
Shock’d and confounded, they to earth consign’d
All of Rosetta they could ever find:
To earth consign’d, without e’er name or date,
Tho’ still remember’d well, is Rosett’s fate.
The Lamentation of a Canary Bird in His Cage.
Oh! happy kindred, tenants of the air,
Ye wing’d inhabitants of boundless space;
I view your floating circles in despair,
Your sweetest notes my sorrows cannot chace.
Confin’d, a prisoner in a narrow cell,
What, tho’ its bars are made of gilded wire;
Here by misfortune I am doom’d to dwell,
Tho’ gay it looks, it is my prison dire.
Doth it atone to me, that daintiest grain,
And water in a crystal vase is giv’n;
Can these my anxious bosom ease of pain?
Can these repay the richest gift of heav’n?
Fair liberty, for thee in vain I mourn,
For thee, most priz’d, doth sorrow rive my mind;
Blest freedom’s happy days can ne’er return,
From ambient air, from every joy confin’d.
Happy, thrice happy, inmates of the grove,
Whose joyful warblings tremble on my ear;
’Tis yours, to share the bliss of mutual love,
’Tis yours, a beauteous progeny to rear.
Even tho’ want may visit thy warm nest,
And drive you forth to seek precarious food;
On your return, with rapture you are blest,
In the gay chirpings of your darling brood.
Not so with me; in solitude I pine,
And sicken ’midst of luxuries a store;
The joys of love can never more be mine,
For health, and hope, and freedom are no more.
Oh! had kind nature giv’n the sparrows plume,
And not have ting’d my wings with burnish’d gold;
This sad confinement had not been my dome,
Nor would these bars my drooping body hold.
They praise my notes, tho’ nought but heartfelt woe
Swell the sad accents of my trembling throat;
And did unfeeling man their purport know,
They could not on his ear unheeded float.
The kind compassion of each feather’d breast,
Oh! dearest kindred, let my woes engage;
Tho’ soon, I trust, this beating heart shall rest,
Which dies a captive in a golden cage.
The Sparrow’s Address to the Cook Maids.
Ye gentle cookmaids, oh! in pity spare,
The various fragments from your plenteous board;
The smallest pickings from your sumptuous fare,
To us a splendid dinner would afford.
Full many a feather’d songster of the air,
Languid and drooping, seeks your shelt’ring door;
Made tame and confident by scantiest fare,
They hope to taste a little of your store.
Oh! do not in the dust-hole’s ample waste,
Those danties empty with a careless air;
And do not for excuse say, that in haste,
To save these trifles you’ve no time to spare.
For oh! reflect, that many a hungry cur
Is watching, with a pity-moving eye;
Which turns, imploring, every way you stir,
And trusts his craving wants you will supply.
And many a starving cat, with mournful mew,
And anxious purrings to attract regard;
In which, perchance, she sings forth praise of you,
And hopes a little fragment as reward.
And many a child would gladly eat the crumbs,
Which from the great men’s table daily fall;
Haply, a bit of pudding fill’d with plums,
Which would rejoice him, were it e’er so small.
And lastly, many a wan and feeble man,
Whose life-time’s labour still hath left him poor,
And now, when nearly run his earthly span,
Is come to beg his morsel at your door.
In time, reflect, what may be e’en your fate,
When coachman John becomes thy wedded love;
From this wide kitchen, ah! how chang’d thy state,
To lofty attic story you remove.
There, when your children shall around you stand,
For whose provision you so careful save;
All drest so neatly by industrious hand,
Tho’ hard you work, this comfort shall you have.
When plenty grac’d the board you’ll smiling say,
And daintiest cakes it was my lot to share;
I never turn’d the indigent away,
For every bounteous table some can spare.
Yet never did I wrong my honor’d lord,
Or squander aught committed to my trust;
Tho’ well my pantry it was always stor’d,
I never wasted, I was ever just.
And then shall every warbling songster’s note,
Most sweetly carol near thy window high;
And on the air shall praises of you float,
Ascending upward, till they reach the sky
The Heir of Tyrconnel;
or, the Threatening Spectre.
Now seated secure round this bright cheery fire,
A ditty from me why so earnest require?
A tale full of horrors, you say, tell to me;
Then a tale full of horrors my story shall be.
Behold yonder turrets, so high and so fair;
Of them was lord Edmund the fortunate heir:
Lord Edmund was valiant, lord Edmund was gay,
And he lov’d a fair lady more blooming than May;
With hair of light auburn—whose ringlets of gold,
Resembled the tresses of Venus of old.
Her eyes they were blue as the hyacinth’s bell,
And the fairest of virgins did Ellen excel.16 B8v 16
Long lov’d our lord Edmund this beautiful maid;
And now for their nuptials, with costly parade,
All things are arranged, and rich jewels he buys,
Which sparkle less brightly than Ellen’s soft eyes.
Not far from lord Edmund there liv’d a rich dame,
Her birth it was noble, her beauty had fame;
A brunette was she, with eyes full of fire,
And she brook’d no restraint, when once fix’d a desire:
And forth as lord Edmund a hunting did ride,
His fine graceful form this lady espy’d.
Ah! who is that hunter? (to Alice her maid)
Ah! who is that hunter? she eagerly said:
The earl of Tyrconnel, then Alice reply’d,
Who marries next week, and fair Ellen his bride.
Oh, no, said proud Margaret, this thing must not be,
Lord Edmund shall never wed any but me;
And never shall mortal have Margaret’s hand,
but Edmund, the boast of Hibernia’s bless’d land:
By arts and by spells, I will soon make him mine,
And the pale languid Ellen he’ll gladly resign.
Her arts and her spells then did Margaret provide,
That Ellen might never be Tyrconnel’s bride;17 C1r 17
For a witch once had promis’d to grant any boon,
Which she ask’d by a spell, on the full of the moon.
Tho’ the process was horrid, and made her blood cold—
’Twas to rake from the newest made grave all the mould;
The coffin to wrench, and the heart to obtain,
Of the victim the latest reliev’d from all pain;
And words of strange import, which made nature start,
She was to repeat as she pluck’d out the heart.
Then the heart in a fire of charcoal must burn,
Which would make the grim witch a kind answer return.
This task, tho’ so arduous, by magic made light,
Could be quickly perform’d in the dead of the night.
Now swift thro’ the church-yard did Margaret fly,
And the newest made grave soon attracted her eye.
In silence, at midnight, she tore up the ground,
And the screech-owl, alone, broke the air with a sound.
The full moon now darted its lustre so blue,
And the wan-haggard corse was expos’d to her view.
She shudder’d with horror, but could not retreat,
And the words the witch taught her she now did repeat:
She thought on lord Edmund—that strengthen’d her arm,
And she built her fond hopes on the force of the charm:C 18 C1v 18
To gain her lov’d Edmund the breast open tears,
And from the cold bosom the colder heart bears.
Then threw it on embers of charcoal’s bright flame,
And thrice she repeated her dear Edmund’s name:
’Twas awful and solemn—the warm-glowing rays
Threw o’er the wide church-yard a dazzling blaze.
The wind now rose high, and many a shade
Seem’d to dance round the fire which Margaret had made:
The clock then struck one—dismal sounds reach’d her ear—
And the heart of firm Margaret now trembled with fear.
Lord Edmund is your’s; but his love to obtain,
He must never see gentle Ellen again:
’Tis your’s to secure her; and, for that bold deed,
Your love with lord Edmund shall surely succeed.
Return to your chamber, but rise with the sun;
Your rival secure, and your wish shall be done.
Lord Edmund was restless, no sleep clos’d his eyes,
He thought, near his casement, he heard dreadful cries;
Then the soft voice of Ellen seem’d him to cry,
Oh! save me, dear Edmund—dear Edmund, I die.
In dread for his Ellen, who thus did complain,
He jump’d from his bed, nor could slumber again;19 C2r 19
’Twas fancy, he found; but the morning was fair,
The sky so serene, and so balmy the air;
It inclin’d him to walk; and, whilst on his way,
He saw from her window, firm Margaret so gay.
He gaz’d, and he thought he had never yet seen
A form so complete, with so noble a mein;
He bow’d; she return’d it; and soon ’twas his lot
To love lady Margaret, whilst Ellen’s forgot.
I cannot love Ellen, lord Edmund he cries,
My heart to sweet Margaret is yielded her prize:
I’ll send her a letter, by which she may see,
That never, fair Ellen, my bride you can be.
Then he sent forth his page; but soon he return’d;
For Ellen was missing, and all her house mourn’d:
Fair Ellen had wander’d, no one could tell where,
Which rejoic’d the false bosom of Tryconnel’s heir.
Now gaily the bells in the parish church ring,
And garlands of flowers the villagers bring:
Lord Edmund is married—his heart swells with pride,
As he clasps lady Margaret, and calls her his bride:
But for the lost Ellen, so gentle and kind,
No thought, no distress, enters into his mind;C2 20 C2v
The allurements of Margaret had twin’d round his heart,
And glad was lord Edmund with Ellen to part.
But not so her parents, they, filled with despair,
To find their lost Ellen employ every care;
On fickle lord Edmund they look with disdain,
Tho’ both are too proud of their wrongs to complain;
Yet they doubt not that Ellen, refus’d for his bride,
Had wander’d heart-broken, then laid down and died.
Three months now had pass’d since the bells’ lively sound,
Had proclaim’d to the peasants and villagers round,
The marriage of Edmund with Margaret so true,
Whose tender affection more strong daily grew:
One night, when soft slumbers had seal’d her lord’s eyes,
In vain for composure firm Margaret tries;
Her conscience reproach’d her for Ellen’s sad fate,
And an anguish she felt, which no time could abate.
Ah! Ellen, she sigh’d, thy blood calls from the ground,
Oh! why did I ever thy pure bosom wound;
But haughty and jealous, I never could see
The meek gentle Ellen preferr’d before me:
And fearful lord Edmund to her would prove true,
I hir’d an assassin, and Ellen he slew.
A request, as from Edmund, I artfully fram’d,
Entreating she’d come to a place which I nam’d:
To this she consented, and took for her guide
The false cruel wretch by whose poinard she died.
No more could say Margaret—for, strait to her eyes,
A spectre of horrible form did arise.
The night it was still, and the taper’s faint gleam
Did full on the face of the pale spectre beam:
A shroud wrapt its limbs, which, in part, open laid,
When the deep-mangled breast she observ’d of the shade;
But bloodless the wound was, and unstain’d by gore,
And she thought the sad visage she had seen before.
Then soon recollected, with fear and dismay,
’Twas the corse from whose breast she the heart tore away.
Behold me, it said, and by me hear your doom,
Whilst the deep hollow sounds echo’d harsh thro’ the room;
You murdered fair Ellen, that poor hapless maid,
And soon for her blood shall your own be repay’d:
You tore from my breast my heart, lifeless and cold,
And, completing your spells, you to demons are sold:
Six months you are spar’d, for the child which you bear,
Whose innocent life in your guilt must not share:C3 22 C3v 22
Your child now protects you; but, heed what I say—
Six months—then I seize you, and bear you away.
Ah! who the deep sorrows of Margaret can tell,
Or what dreadful afflictions her bosom now swell.
Lord Edmund, astonish’d, beheld her strange grief,
And, in kindest expressions, he offered relief.
He said, dearest love, why this mourning and woe?
Why from thy bright eyes do the tears daily flow?
Oh! cheer thee, my dearest, for soon shall we see
A sweet little babe sit on Margaret’s knee.
Then droop not, my love, nor do not repine,
For know you not, Margaret, your sorrows are mine.
Too fast for poor Margaret hours, weeks and months flew,
And her horrors increas’d as her time nearer drew.
At length ’tis complete, and Margaret sustains,
In addition to mental, dread bodily pains.
And now thro’ the castle and village ’tis spread,
That fair lady Margaret’s confin’d to her bed;
And soon doth a maiden to lord Edmund run,
To say that his lady hath born him a son;23 C4r 23
And quick by the bed-side of her lov’d so dear,
With heart full of joy, doth lord Edmund appear.
But Margaret’s anguish increas’d every hour,
To keep her in bed they scarcely had power;
And fixing her eyes, with expression so wild,
Intent on her husband, and next on her child—
Oh! leave me not, Edmund, dear husband, she cry’d,
And stay with me, Alice, good Alice, beside;
And all my attendants, stay with me, I pray,
A spectre this night, else, will fetch me away.
Then they sat round her bed, and they heard her complain,
But they thought it the ravings occasioned by pain.
Now twelve struck the clock—all were falling a-sleep,
But Margaret call’d to them, and sore she did weep.
Oh! rouse you, my husband, and rouse you, each friend,
And do not neglect me, but closely attend;
And drive away sleep for this one night, I pray,
Or the spectre will bear me for ever away.
Then they all did their best, but the effort was vain,
And fast did they sink into slumbers again;
And, as one struck the clock, each bow’d down their head,
And as sound was their sleep as tho’ all had been dead.C4 24 C4v 24
They woke not till morning, when, strange to declare,
They look’d for their lady—no lady was there;
And never from that time was Margaret found,
Tho’ the infant it lay in a sleep most profound.
Lord Edmund was horror-struck, griev’d and amaz’d,
And round the apartment with wonder he gaz’d;
And never more comfort did lord Edmund know,
For Margaret and Ellen’s fate fill’d him with woe.
A few years he did in his castle reside,
But a Monk in a monastry, lately he died.
His son now inherits his title and name;
And, if we may credit the rumour of fame,
The youthful lord Edmund is good as he’s fair,
For great is the promise of Tyrconnel’s heir.
Doom’d by my fates, unhappy star,
Dear maid, I seek the dang’rous wave;
Condemn’d by thee to wander far,
To love and Julia’s charms a slave.
Yet e’er thy balmy lips I leave,
And quit thy bosom’s snowy white;
Oh! nymph, my sighs, my vows receive,
And grant me thine, my last delight.
On each bright tear shall fancy dwell,
And memory thy soft sigh restore;
Thus doating on the last farewell,
Like misers on their treasur’d store.
But when to Julia’s arms again,
Thy faithful lover (from his toil,
From all the dangers of the main,
And sultry India’s burning soil)
Shall safe return, by fortune crown’d,
To claim the promise often made;
Then shall his heart with transport bound,
And every grief be overpaid.
If Julia, constant and sincere,
Doth to his arms with rapture fly,
Then shall no more descend the tear,
No more be heard the parting sigh.
When Emma, in my humble cot,
Her smiles bestow’d on me;
Ah! then I thought, a happier lot
Than mine could never be.
The gentle maid was fair as morn,
And blithe as opening flowers;
Such sweetness did her breath adorn,
As roses after showers.
In wavy rings her auburn hair
Did o’er her shoulders spread;
No goddess had a breast more fair,
Or cheeks a softer red.
With temper like the mildest dove,
And silver warbling voice;
Would melt the sternest soul to love—
The coldest heart rejoice.
When sorrow told its tale of woe
To her attentive ear;
How would her heart with pity glow
So tender, so sincere.
With all these charms ’twas me she lov’d,
On me kind glances threw;
I little thought she e’er had prov’d,
More beautiful than true.
But, ah! a wealthier swain than me,
Came from some foreign part;
He saw my Emma with my eyes,
But not with my fond heart.
He ask’d, he gain’d, the lovely fair,
With all her beauteous charms;
He heeded not my sad despair,
But tore her from my arms.
Her parents urg’d the harsh decree,
Subdued by conquering gold;
For that, my love was forc’d from me,
For that, their child was sold.
But, dearest Emma, how could you
Forsake this peaceful plain?
How leave a heart which lov’d so true,
To sorrow, grief, and pain?
But soon cold death shall close my eyes;
That slow but surest friend:
For you shall waft my latest sighs,
When all my sorrows end.
The Old Man in Blue.
A little old man, who was cloathed in blue,
Whose wants they were many, and friends very few,
And whose grief at his heart heavy lay;
Was wand’ring alone in the forest’s dark gloom,
Reflecting full sore on his pitiful doom,
’Till it grew towards the close of the day.
On grandeur and riches he thought o’er and o’er,
And he curs’d his hard fate, which had made him so poor,
And he long’d that in wealth he might roll;
Oh! give me but money, but money, quoth he,
And for twenty long years let my body be free,
Then Satan might feast on my soul.
But now the winds whistle, and soon the winds roar,
And the sea’s distant wave beats so fierce on the shore,
And the thunder and light’ning appal;
The rain gush’d in torrents, no shelter was near,
And the little old man he was dying with fear,
And for help he so loudly did call.
But no answer return’d to the old man’s loud cry,
No answer return’d, for no succour was nigh,
And midnight it came on apace;
Protect me, he cried, ye invisible powers,
From thunder like this, and such terrible showers,
And I’ll never more come to this place.
But soon the storm clears, and the moon’s cheerful light,
Restor’d the old man to the blessing of sight,
As he sat at the foot of a tree;
But what was his wonder, when lifting his eyes,
A man stood before him of horrible size,
And of fierce looking aspect was he.
So black were his robes, and so black was his hair,
And so black were his eyes, and so wide he did stare,
And his look was so striking and bold;32 C8v 32
A mantle of scarlet fell flowing behind,
And a girdle of scarlet his body did bind,
And his hand clench’d a bag of bright gold.
Ah! little old man, who sits cloathed in blue,
Full well do I know all thy sorrows so true,
And am come with this gold to thine aid;
Only swear to be mine when twice ten years go,
And during that time you all pleasures shall know,
But then this great debt must be paid.
The old man he ponder’d not long on this case,
But, looking the giant so full in the face,
For the sake of this gold he did say;
I’ll swear, and I’ll bargain, to be only thine,
The moment this bag of bright guineas is mine,
And I’ll serve thee by night and by day.
A bargain, a bargain, then said the black man,
So sign me this parchment as soon as you can,
And for twenty long years happy be!
A small drop of blood will suffice for your name,
Which again when you see, you will own for the same,
And your summons to wait upon me.
Now so quick pass’d each night, and so quick pass’d each day,
And the twenty long years were fast wearing away,
When the old man began for to sigh;
Oh! what is this gold, or these riches, to me?
How fain would I give them to set my soul free!
But to heaven in vain do I cry.
The old man he studied by night and by day,
By what means to drive this sad devil away,
When he paid him his visit so dire;
He thought and he studied again and again,
To avoid the sad torment, the horror, and pain,
Of being roasted and broiled by his fire.
At length he bethought on his bible so true,
Whose pages before had scarce e’er met his view,
And he read it with hope and with joy;
He read it all over, with wonderful might,
By the sun’s early ray, and the taper’s dim light,
In hopes the foul fiend to annoy.
At length, whilst thus reading by candle’s faint gloom,
A sulphurous smell he perceiv’d in his room,
And the dull bell of midnight did toll;D 34 D1v 34
When Satan before him personified stands,
And shews him the writing, the work of his hands,
Saying now I am come for your soul.
The old man he trembled, but thus he did say,
Pray grant me your patience, just only to stay
’Till this candle exhausted shall be;
And then I’ll attend to your regions below,
And shall not resist, for full well do you know,
Your truest of servants you see.
The spirit, as civil as civil could be,
And willing at first with his friend to agree,
Consented quite soon with a nod;
Thanks, quoth the old man, as he blew out the flame,
And into his bible the candle did cram,
I am now protected by God.
I now, Master Satan, defy you so bold,
For over my soul you no power can hold,
And so you had best to retire;
Pray go, with your black and your horrible look,
And ever to guard me I’ll keep this dear book,
And stand not in dread of your fire.
Oh! how doth this happen, the demon he said,
I conquer’d a little old woman in red, Ireland and Southey’s Poems.
And cannot this old man in blue;
And have I not conquer’d, the devil did say,
Another old woman, whose cloathing was grey,
And must I be conquer’d by you?
Then had you but heard how this spirit did roar,
And every sad oath which the reprobate swore,
Your hair would have started upright;
How he stamp’d and he rav’d when forc’d to away,
Without the sad victim he meant for his prey,
I’m sure you’d have died with the fright.
An hurricane blew as he flew o’er the wall,
And with dreadful loud crush it so sudden did fall;
Tremendous it lay to the view:
The old man repented his sad wicked way,
And vow’d he would ever be good from that day,
And his turbulent temper subdue.
Now readers, so gentle, so tender, and kind,
This lesson, I pray, you will keep in your mind,
And do not be tempted by gold:36 D2v 36
Resist its temptations, and shun its bright charms,
And think on this old man’s most dreadful alarms,
For to demons so dire he was sold.
For had he not thought on so cunning a plan,
Most certain proud Satan had had the old man,
And consign’d him to tortures so great;
So do not repine for jewels or gold,
But content with the station in life which you hold,
Be happy, and trust to kind fate.
Harsh Poverty! why dost thou lour
On this my dwelling place?
Why cast on me thy looks so sour?
Have I not always own’d thy power?
Yet shrunk from thy embrace.
Why didst thou on my steps attend,
And haunt me night and day?
Thy presence banishes each friend;
At thy approach e’en love doth end,
And pleasure flies away.
Why bring’st thou care and pining grief
To visit my lone bed?
Why drive away soft balmy sleep,
And make my eyes sad vigils keep,
And tears so bitter shed?
Thy icy hand doth genius cool,
And damps its rising fire;
And in thy rough and rigid school,
In which with iron rod you rule,
Doth meek-ey’d peace expire.
Fancy, so warm, so glowing, bold,
And rich in promis’d joy,
When thy stern aspect doth behold,
Her rose-ting’d cheek turns wan and cold,
Thou dost all bliss destroy.
Thy presence, dire, did I invite,
Or ought thee to expect?
Did I with indolence unite,
Or, with extravagance so light,
Domestic cares neglect?
’Twas not indifference brought thee here,
To starve me in the face;
Filling my soul with anxious fear,
Thou let’st no joy my bosom cheer,
No comfort find a place.
Yet industry and hope divine
Shall drive thee from my sight;
These dreadful enemies of thine,
Will still, I trust, be friends of mine,
And free me from thy spite.
But should success prolong her stay,
Nor visit with her friends;
And should encouragement delay,
And drive each blessing far away,
In death thy triumph ends.
Delusive Hope, thou flattering fairy,
I will not thy soft tales believe;
Fill not my mind with dreams so airy,
Of thee I surely should be weary,
For well I know thou canst deceive.
Oft hast thou promis’d joy and treasure,
And lull’d my mind with visions bright;
Insinuating, health and pleasure,
And friends and favors out of measure,
In thy fair train did all unite.
Didst thou not paint, in early youth,
Ideal joys which never came?
And fortune promis’d, when in sooth,
’Twas wandering strangely from fair truth,
Yet still dost wish to do the same.
And hast thou not, thro’ life’s whole race,
With wild chimeras fill’d my brain?
Allur’d by thee, I credence place
On faithless friends; a common case,
Yet hard, continual to sustain.
Cold disappointment still o’ertakes,
Castles thou makest me build in the air;
Joys, which fond hope doth brightest make,
Delighted fancy will partake,
’Till they are crush’d by black despair.
This spectre makes thee wing thy flight,
Like ev’ry other fickle friend;
In vain I turn my aching sight,
Sorrow doth every effort blight,
And thy delusions end.
The Suppliant.Stop, lady stop, my wretched tale attend, And to my wants your kind assistance lend: So may kind fortune e’er propitious be, And smile on you—tho’ sore she frowns on me. A hapless child—(false-nam’d of love) was I, And at a rich man’s door, expos’d did lie; But no kind pity warm’d this great man’s breast, He no compassion for my fate express’d; But tearing hastily, with scorn and pride, A paper which about my waste was tied, To a church-warden had me thence convey’d, And no attention to my cries he paid. The harsh church-warden, never one was worse, Consign’d me to a cruel parish nurse: 43 D6r 43 No tender mother dried my infant tears, No father’s fostering hand my childhood rears; But meagre want, and negligence combin’d, To a spare growth my puny limbs confin’d; To early misery and sadness doom’d, The rose of health upon my cheek ne’er bloom’d: No wavy ringlets wanton’d in my hair, For barbarous scissars cropp’d each ringlet there. And, soon almost as I could lisp a sound, To a rough chimney-sweeper I was bound. In ceaseless misery my hours are spent, Stranger to hope, to comfort, to content: A wretched sustenance I seek to gain, Tho’ every moment is an age of pain. Lady, I see soft pity in your eye, And from your bosom bursts the tender sigh; Is it a tear I see upon your cheek? And does it kind compassion for me speak? Ah! sure that heart must good, must generous be, Which feels thus warmly for a wretch like me.
Oh! answer quick, the anxious hearer said,
Doth on your arm appear a mark of red,44 D6v 44
Ah! if it does, expose it to my view,
Perchance I meet a long-lost son in you.
The arm is bared, the mark appears in sight,
The eager parent views it with delight;
Then springing forward, with a frantic joy,
Her out-stretched arms embrace the sweeper-boy:
Which he returns, unconscious and amaz’d,
Whilst his expressive eyes upon her gaz’d.
Ah child, she said, abandon’d and forlorn,
Oft have I rued the hour when you were born,
How oft, for you, have flow’d the bitter tears,
For you what horrors suffer’d, and what fears;
But heaven, in pity, hath restor’d my son,
And now whate’er befals, its will be done.
And here, my son, attend my story too,
A simple tale it is, but strictly true:
Ah! that my sorrows may a warning be,
And never maiden be deceiv’d like me.
A rustic damsel, in my mean attire,
I drew attentions from our village squire,
Whose handsome person, and whose manners mild,
Conceal’d a heart deprav’d and passions wild.45 D7r 45
The village maids with pain his presence see,
Not thinking what a victim I should be;
They envy’d me, alas! they little knew,
The scene of misery I should go thro’:
Fatal to me, was the distinctions paid,
Fatal to me each faithless vow he made;
For when my fullest confidence was won,
He triumph’d o’er me, and I was undone.
To a Gentleman,
Who Disliked Cats.
You blame me, dear friend, for admiring of cats,
Which (except for destroying of mice and of rats)
You say is a creature you cannot abide,
That it is the opinion of hundreds beside.
The beast is ungrateful, you scornfully add,
And what is ungrateful must surely be bad;
And well is it known, that amongst the cat kind,
No symptom of reason illumines the mind.
And next you assure me, which truth you will prove,
That a scratch or a bite’s the return for my love.
All this I acknowledge, good reasoning elf,
But say, can much better be said of yourself?
Since thro’ the whole course of creation’s vast plan,
What creature exists so ungrateful as man?51 E2r 51
I know my cat’s failings, yet these I excuse,
For her beauty I like, and her gambols amuse:
But the wand’ring caprice of man’s fickle mind,
Can friendship, can love, can compassion e’er bind?
Of scratches and bites, how transient the smart,
To what man, cruel man, can inflict on the heart;
When regardless of gentle humanity’s ties,
From the victim he’s made, he unfeelingly flies.
What cat more ungrateful, I beg you to say,
Tho’ she murders her victim, she does it in play.
Yet such is the goodness with which we abound,
And such the soft kindness in females that’s found,
So gentle in mind, to forgiveness so prone,
We excuse all your faults, as we pardon our own.
And tho’ we of man shocking instances prove,
And know you ungrateful, yet still women love:
Like me with my cat, when I say the poor creature,
Only follows exactly the best of its nature.
To a Friend,
With a Present of a Purse.
This purse which you see was intended for you,
In its nature is firm, in its principle true:
And when the same qualities meet in a friend,
’Tis sure the best blessing which heaven can send.
Whene’er from your pocket this purse you draw forth,
If to ease the afflictions of merit, and worth,
If to cheer the sad heart, that’s by anguish oppress’d,
To raise the dejected, or help the distress’d,
Oh! think that you see me with pleasure attend,
And echo the praises bestow’d on my friend.
But never by passion or prejudice sway’d,
Let this be the slave to those principles made:53 E3r 53
No gold to seduce may it ever contain,
Or bribe to deceive its bright beauty e’er stain;
But this caution is needless, your generous breast,
No passion that’s base can ever molest;
Then pardon the freedoms which from the pen flow,
Of her, who’s your friend, most sincerely you know.
A Gothic Ballad.
Mourning muse, record a ditty,
Of two tender lovers dear:
A heart of marble sure must pity,
The woes of lovers so sincere.
A knight so valiant was Sir Stephen,
So bold and noble was his mien,
That had you rode from morn to even’,
You scarcely such a knight had seen.
Lov’d was he by all his neighbours,
And prais’d was he the country round,
In feats of brave and martial labours,
Who so great as he was found.
Generous, free, and open-hearted,
Courteous, elegant, and gay,
From truth and honour ne’er departed,
For virtue in his heart bore sway.
The noble Stephen lov’d a lady,
With passion pure, as it was strong,
And her dear name full often made he,
The theme of many a love-lorn song.
She was a noble baron’s daughter,
Eliza was the virgin nam’d;
And many were the knights who sought her,
For far her beauty it was fam’d.
Fair was her skin as is the cold snow,
Her form in charms did well accord;
And warm and kind did her soft heart glow,
Which own’d Sir Stephen for its lord.
His tender suit so warm he pleaded,
A suit which could not be deny’d;
With a fair Eliza he succeeded,
Who promis’d to become his bride.
And now all parties had consented,
The priest attends to join their hands;
And pleasant pastimes were invented,
To celebrate these joyous bands.
When, lo! Great Edward’s royal orders,
Which would admit of no delay;
Commands him to the Scottish borders,
And quickly must he haste away.
Vain, vain, alas! was all repining,
And naught avail’d the hero’s woe;
He buckl’d on his armour shining,
And in the air his plumes did flow.
Farewell, he cry’d, my heart’s best treasure,
Dear object of my truest love;
Away from thee, my only pleasure,
Shall be my constancy to prove.
Thy ardent prayer to heaven ascending,
Shall shield me in the battle’s heat;
And love, his votary defending,
Will guard me till in joy we meet.
But sadly sank Eliza’s fond heart!
Forbodings dire oppress’d her brain;
Alas! she said, if now we must part,
Too sure, we never meet again.
And, oh! she added, much-lov’d Stephen,
Should my prophetic fears prove true;
Judge my despair, my grief, and even
My death itself—if I love you.
With tenderest hopes he cheer’d Eliza,
Saying he quickly should return;
To bear with fortitude, advis’d her,
An absence which they both must mourn.
Then springing on his prancing courser,
A stately steed of silver white;
From further converse time did force her,
And soon Sir Stephen’s out of sight.
Now sad and slow with solemn paces,
She wanders thro the castle’s courts;
Sighing as she the scene retraces,
Where silence reigns, instead of sports.
Come mourn with me, my maids so duteous,
Come mourn with me, my knight so bold;
Alas! I fear his face so beauteous,
These eyes again shall ne’er behold.
Sir Stephen on Eliza pond’ring,
Wrapt in love’s chimeras bright;
Heeded not his proud steed’s wand’ring,
Nor the fast approach of night.
Till passing by a forest gloomy,
Silent, dismal, dark and dreary;
Where never zephyr’s breath perfumy,
The weary traveller did cheer.
Amaz’d he finds he’s unattended,
And wonders where his people stay;
Is with their negligence offended,
For letting thus their master stray.
Sudden a scream his ear surprizes,
Of a female shrill and clear;
Which fill his mind with strange surmises,
Tho’ his firm heart admits no fear.
Could a knight so fam’d for glory
Shrink, when danger loudly calls;
Fame must immortalize the story,
When a gallant hero falls.
Forward he springs in the direction,
Whence proceeds the distant groan;
Eager to offer his protection,
Heedless to danger of his own.
And soon did he a sight discover,
Which did move his mind to rage;
For two fierce ruffians strove to smother
The cries, which did his ears engage.
A beauteous female they were tying,
On a steed so proud and bold;
Whilst every effort she was trying,
To escape their grasping hold.
And near beside them one superior
Stood to urge their speedy flight;
That they might reach the wood’s interior,
Where stood his castle, fair and bright.
Oh stop! Sir Stephen cried, descending
From his foaming coarser’s side;
Oh stop! thy own life now defending,
For here thy prowess must be try’d.
Behold a knight, whose arm is stronger,
Who will protect that lady fair;
Do not delay a moment longer,
To yield her to my tender care.
Thus urg’d, the other knight surveying
Sir Stephen with disdainful glance;
Reply’d, you need not fear obeying,
E’en now thy fate doth quick advance.
Thus saying, on Sir Stephen springing,
With vengeance darting from his eyes;
The hapless lady from him flinging,
Which late he seem’d so much to prize.
Then like two tigers fierce engaging,
With mutual hate, their swords they drew;
Fell passion in their heart was raging,
Whilst light’ning from their weapons flew.
Long were these rival knights contending,
For each did play a hero’s game;
With little prospect of its ending,
As each in valour were the same.
’Till one dire ruffian, stern, approaching,
One fit for an assassin’s part;
On laws of knighthood, bold encroaching,
Stabb’d Sir Stephen to the heart.
Fast his life’s blood was now flowing,
Fast approach’d the shades of death;
Dim his sparkling eyes were growing,
And soon was stopp’d his vital breath.
Eliza, melancholy lying,
Thinking on her absent swain;
Whilst gentle hope in vain was trying,
To banish from her bosom pain.
When, lo! a ray her room’s illuming,
With a glow of radiant light;
A figure then, the form assuming
Of Sir Stephen, met her sight.
Pale and wan was every feature,
Fix’d and haggard was his eye:
Faint was the voice which then did greet her,
And hollow was his heavy sigh.
Frantic with grief, her maids loud calling,
She tells Sir Stephen’s story dire;
Then into strong convulsions falling,
Calling on him, did she expire.
Attendants seek the murder’d Stephen,
In the forest dark and drear;
And found his mangled body, even
As the spectre did declare.
The cold, deep, grave receives the lovers,
The grave instead of bridal bed;
Green is the sod their bones which covers,
And white the stone where rests each head.
But long shall they survive in story,
Who now rest free from all alarms;
Sir Stephen fam’d for truth and glory;
Eliza, matchless for her charms.
The Lily of the Valley.
Soft, gentle flower, of silver pale,
Retiring lily of the vale;
Graceful thy trembling blossoms blow,
Fair rivals to unsullied snow:
Secure within their leafy cells,
Profusely drop thy pearly bells;
Shunning the common gaze so rude,
On thy retirement few intrude.
O’erlook’d thy charms by vulgar eyes,
Thy fragile form they would despise,
And more the gaudy tulip prize;
Which, rich in gaudy, numerous rays,
Stands foremost to attract all praise.
The hollyoak next, in towering height,
Awhile delights the wand’ring sight;67 F2r 67
And Pione’s deep blushing red,
The warmest tint, by Nature spread.
The poppy’s colours, bright and bold,
And the gay sun-flower’s burnish’d gold;
The aster, of unnumber’d hue,
The flag-flower’s glowing shades of blue.
All these so rare in beauties bloom,
Boast not thy fragrant, soft perfume;
They strike the eye, unus’d to trace
Thy chastness, innocence, and grace;
For meek-ey’d modesty is rare
An object of the public care.
And oft doth genuine worth, I ween,
Like thee expand, and die unseen;
Unheeded by the breath of fame,
Unknown in merit, as in name.
Addressed to Friends,
Who Requested the Author to Write Some Songs.
When friendship’s voice so strongly pleads
To raise the dormant muse,
Howe’er my humble lay succeeds,
Can I the task refuse?
Too partial friends—why urge the verse,
Whence no soft strains can flow?
For my sad pen can nought rehearse,
Unting’d by early woe.
Full pensive must your music prove,
Untun’d to mirth and glee;
For joy, and hope, and smiling love,
Have taken flight from me.
But sacred friendship yet remains,
That name for ever dear;
Accept it for your generous pains,
’Tis ardent, ’tis sincere.
Written at a Time of Great Mental Distress.
And art thou he? said Saul, so young, so fair,
Stripling, can’st thou to face this giant dare?
When strongest veterans, of the noblest fame,
Tremble when they but hear Goliah’s name.
Tell me, what rashness prompts thee to this deed?
What hope sustains thee, that thou shalt succeed,
’Gainst him, whose ponderous body, and whose mind,
As yet, no equal on the earth can find?
The youthful David meekly bow’d his head,
And unto Israel’s king, these words he said
(Whilst soft timidity, its crimson tide
Spread o’er his cheeks, as he to Saul reply’d):
Let my desponding soul this lesson view,
And feel how strong the doctrine, and how true:
Long has affliction fallen to my share,
Destructive as the lion and the bear:
But heaven supported me and brought me thro’
By this best aid, despair I must subdue.
The giant’s sorrow which approacheth now,
By this assistance, shall before me bow;
That bounteous Providence, that Power Supreme,
Whose sacred influence doth around me beam,
Shall still protect me in this hour of need,
And cause my anxious efforts to succeed;
Shall guide me still thro’ this sad veil of woe,
And I, like David, God’s protection know.
To a Poetical Friend,
Who Declared an Intention of Leaving Off Writing in Future.
Oft’ doth the mournful muse complain,
And will, I wean, as oft again,
That man, ungrateful man, hath prov’d,
Least tender where he’s fondest lov’d.
The charms, to-day so highly priz’d,
Next—lose all magic in his eyes;
And tho’ implor’d, with winning air,
With sigh of love or tear—of care,
His heart more cold, more hard will grow,
Than polish’d steel, or mountain snow.
But you, my friend, I thought would ne’er,
The faults of common mortals share;
And griev’d am I, that you inherit,
The same inconsistant, fickle spirit;
For even now, the gentle muse,
Who courts your favor, you refuse,
Aside you turn, nor need her smile,
Who once did many an hour beguile
On you she lavish’d every grace;
’Tis yours her richest stores to trace
But all her favors you despise,
And care not if she lives or dies.
Port Royal Shore.
Six months had William absent been,
From fair Jamaica’s Isle;
Six months had pass’d, and few had seen,
His lovely Janet smile.
But now, joy lighted up those eyes,
Which William did adore;
For plainly she his vessel spies,
From off Port Royal shore.
William, whose heart with ardour beat,
And tenderness sincere;
Beheld his Janet’s form so sweet,
Upon the beach appear.76 F6v 76
Quickly he leap’d his vessel’s side,
(His duty now was o’er)
In hopes to clasp his destin’d bride,
Upon Port Royal shore.
Ah! fatal haste, a shark unseen,
In wat’ry ambush lay;
Who, fast his dreadful teeth between,
Seiz’d William for his prey.
A sudden crimson dy’d the wave,
Which was so green before;
And William found a wat’ry grave,
Far from Port Royal shore.
His piercing shriek reach’d Janet’s ear,
His fearful end, her eye;
Each limb was then convuls’d with fear,
Her heart broke with her cry.
Ill-fated were this youth and maid,
She never spoke word more;
For instantly a corse she laid,
Upon Port Royal shore.
On Port Royal Shore.
Six months had William skulking been,
About fair Britain’s Isle;
Six months—and scarce a friend had seen,
Poor William all that while;
For deep in debt he could not pay,
His mind it griev’d full sore;
And oft’ he wish’d himself away,
Far from fair England’s shore.
William, whose heart with terror beat,
And penitence sincere,
When he a stranger’s looks did meet,
That heart it sank in fear;78 F7v 78
I’ll fly, he said, and quit this place,
I’ll shew my face no more.
Why stay, and suffer this disgrace,
Upon this happy shore?
Ah! fatal haste, bailiffs unseen,
In watchful ambush lay;
Who fast their griping paws between,
Seiz’d William for their prey.
A sudden crimson dy’d his cheek,
Which were so pale before;
And not a word could William speak,
Tho’ on his native shore.
Ill-fated was poor William then,
To bailiffs thus a prey;
Who dragg’d him to a dismal den,
Where he lay many a day.
At length a friend his ransom paid,
And clear’d off every score.
And William jump’d for joy, ’tis said,
Upon Great Britain’s shore.
On The Death of an Amiable and Accomplished Young Gentleman.
Could soundest judgement, tho’ in manhood’s prime,
Could truth or merit ward the stroke of time;
Could genius, science, worth, or virtue save,
Thou hadst not tenanted this dreary grave;
How great thy loss, too evident appears,
In thy fond parents’ sighs, thy widow’s tears;
In the affliction of each tender friend,
Who to this sacred spot their footsteps bend:
Where, tho’ no titles deck the modest stone,
No blazon’d arms, no trophied pomps are shown,
It yet records a greater, nobler fame,
Unblemish’d honor, and a spotless name.
To A Friend,
On His Poetical Productions.
The glow-worm with its glittering light,
Bright shining on a moonless night,
Attracts the traveller’s ardent gaze,
Who stop, admire, inspect, and praise:
But when the morning sun appears,
And with his radiance nature cheers;
The hapless glow-worm hides his head,
And sinks within his leafy bed.
Cannot you judge, my gentle friend,
Where this comparison will end?
’Tis due to you; your charming lays,
Excite my envy and my praise:
Mine is the glow-worm’s trembling ray,
And your’s the sun’s meridian day.
As Scotland’s monarch forth did go
To hunt in Falkland’s wood;
Then Ruthven Gowry, bowing low,
Before the king there stood.
This youth was of a noble race,
Courteous, yet brave, was he;
And for a more engaging face,
No one could hope to see.
The king he gaz’d in much surprize;
In Ruthven plain was seen,
The varying colour, downcast eyes,
And agitated mien.
His finger on his lips he laid,
And with mysterious air;
Soft whisp’ring to king James he said,
I’ve something to declare.
Withdraw my sire, a little while,
And listen to my news;
The kind reply’d, with gracious smile,
Loath am I to refuse,
Then over hill, and over dale,
The king did joyous ride:
And never did young Ruthven fail
To keep by James’s side.
And as the bounding deer did fly,
And as the king pursu’d;
Still close kept Ruthven, whilst his eye
The royal hunter view’d.
But now the buck o’ercome by foes,
And press’d by cruel hounds,
Falls; whilst the trickling life blood flows
From all his fatal wounds.
Then whilst the eager huntsmen crowd,
Around the hapless deer,
Whose shouts of triumph long and loud,
The distant peasants hear.
Ruthven again address’d the king,
My liege, make no delay;
Of strange import you’ll own the thing,
Which I have got to say.
Say on, reply’d the king, my lad,
And this strange business tell;
But be the news— or good, or bad,
In sooth thou ridest well.
Then courteous Ruthven thus began:
This day, my royal sire,
In Perth’s fair town I met a man,
In foreigner’s attire.
Oh! oh! quick answer’d royal James,
A traitor vile is he;
And with his base abettors’ names,
Acquainted will I be.
Ruthven reply’d—my noble lord,
A different way I’ve try’d;
In Gowry’s Castle’s strongest ward,
Full safe doth he abide.
The courtiers mark the earnest speech
Of Ruthven to the king,
Apparently he doth beseech
For some important thing.
The Gowrys were two brothers bold,
Of rarest worth and fame:
And Scotland did no nobles hold,
Who bore a greater name.
Yet their own fathers did engage,
In many a fatal feud
Till fierce he felt the royal rage,
Whose vengeance him pursu’d.
A traitor’s fate Earl Gowry found,
His head the forfeit paid;
But deep within the hollow’d ground,
His sons the body laid.
In silence fell the filial tear,
On their dear father’s grave;
For none to mourn him dar’d appear,
Except those youths so brave.
Now wonder much the waiting lords,
What doth the king amuse;
And what are Ruthven’s tempting words,
Or subject he did chuse.
For tho’ the king was toil’d and tired,
And weary faint his horse;
He still road on, whilst they admir’d
To see him bend his course.
To Gowry’s castle, large and strong,
Where gates now met their view;
And where the draw-bridge, dark and long,
Gave entrance but to two.
Two at a time could only go
Across the moat so deep;
And ’fore its walls, still marching slow,
Did watchful centries keep.
This Gothic structure rear’d its head,
Adorn’d with moat and tower;
From which had many a chieftain led,
His bands with feudal power.
The massy portcullis was raised,
As James approached near;
The courtiers now were more amaz’d
And followed quick from fear.
But none were suffer’d to pass o’er,
But twenty of his train;
The rest without the castle door,
Were order’d to remain.
The heavy gates are now unbarr’d,
And James admitted thro’;
Yet those who follow as his guard,
In number were but few.
Earl Gowry next, came forth to meet
The king and lords so gay;
But faintly he his sire did greet,
And little did he say.
A mean and frugal meal was spread,
Before the royal guest;
No sooner done than blushing red,
Ruthven the king address’d.
Thro’ lonely passage, long and damp,
He paces with the king;
Which dimly lighted by a lamp,
Doth dismal shadows fling.
Now they ascend the spiral stairs,
Which to the dungeon leads;
Whilst every thing around declares,
A scene for horrid deeds.
And is he here confin’d? said James,
Approaching towards a door;
Thy care; whoe’er it be that blames
Ill judges, I am sure.
The door unbarr’d—wide open flew,
When to his wond’ring eyes,
A man in armour, to his view
Appear’d, of monstrous size.
Altho’ in armour clad was he,
A burnish’d suit of mail,
In trembling shook his palsy’d knee,
His hollow cheeks were pale.
But Ruthven quickly clos’d the door,
The arm’d man’s sword he drew;
Your life is gone, he loudly swore,
If word escapes from you.
Still silent did the arm’d man stand,
Amaz’d, and full of fear;
To Ruthven’s aid he lent no hand,
No word, his king to cheer.
But royal James, tho’ unprepar’d,
Resists the traitor strong;
Who thus to use his king had dar’d,
And offer him such wrong.
With frequent calling loud, and clear,
His courtiers hear his cries;
And every one is fill’d with fear,
And each to aid him tries.
Sudden they force the castle door,
Their monarch to defend:
Sudden as torrents, in they pour,
To save their king, their friend.
Lenox, and Marr, two noble men,
Rush’d forward thro’ the hall;
Young Ruthven his reward met then,
He was the first to fall.
Earl Gowry enter’d next the place,
Where rag’d contention dire:
Tho’ nobly arm’d, in little space
Did this young earl expire.
Amazement fill’d each present there,
For what could urge this deed;
None ever knew, none could declare
From what it could proceed.
But thus died both these brothers brave,
In strange unequal strife;
Both buried in one wretched grave,
That hour they lost their life.
Yet many griev’d, when it was said,
How both the Ruthvens fell;
And two such noble youths were dead,
Whom all had lov’d so well.
Thus James he triumph’d o’er his foes,
And join’d his faithful friends;
Whilst Ruthven’s, as the story shows,
Came to untimely ends.
Hush, see you not my true love sleeps,
Oh! cease that noisy bell:
For see you not how much my love
Doth other youths excel.
And know you not they seiz’d my love,
To send him o’er the main?
And heard you not they seiz’d on me,
And bound me with this chain.
Oh father! cruel and unkind,
Why said you, Henry died,
To triumph o’er the faded hopes
Of Henry’s destin’d bride?
But freshest flowers shall deck my love,
Sweet roses, mix’d with rue;
For bitter rue denotes my fate,
The rose my love so true.
But hush! make not the least reply,
With me let silence dwell;
For see you not how much my love
Doth other youths excel.
They heeded not his beauteous form,
His heart so good so brave;
But far away my Henry sent,
To find a wat’ry grave.
But when you told the fatal news
That Henry was dead;
Vain was your care, your wealth was vain,
For Rosa’s senses fled.
With wildest ravings for my love,
I rent the midnight air;
And when exhausted nature droop’d,
I sank in deep despair.
’Twas then you said, that madness reign’d
Thro’ every vital part;
It was not so—but hopeless love,
Which broke poor Rosa’s heart.
Fierce gaolers now my limbs confine,
And cut my flowing hair;
Protect me from their horrid look,
See how their eye-balls glare.
But they shall not disturb my love,
Tho’ me their force compel;
For even they must own my love
Doth other youths excel.
Long pin’d I in this dismal cell,
To black-ey’d grief a prey;
Till Henry’s shadowy form appear’d,
And chas’d my cares away.
His icy arms have me embrac’d,
His pale cheek, mine hath press’d;
And he hath laid his weary head
To slumber on my breast.
And often hath this clay-cold hand,
My burning forehead bound;
And often hath he pac’d with me,
My dreary cell around.
And he hath promis’d to be mine,
When this frail life is o’er:
Full soon shall I be Henry’s bride,
And we shall part no more.
Thus the soft accents of his tounge,
Hath bless’d his Rosa’s ear;
And vows of tenderness and love,
Have sooth’d each anxious fear.
Ev’n now, he sleeps upon my straw,
Nor heeds yon dismal knell;
Then own you now, how much my love
Doth other youths excel.
The sun had ting’d the sky with red,
Fast sinking to his wat’ry bed,
When Colin touch’d the trembling strings,
Of her he loves so fond he sings;
So sweet the music and the lay,
The raptur’d nymphs are charm’d to stay.
The maid he sang, to Colin dear,
Is tender, gen’rous, and sincere;
Adorn’d with all the charms of youth,
With innocence and purest truth!
Devoid of every artful wile,
And does on faithful Colin smile.
How sweet is the breath of the morn,
And the flowers all spangled with dew;
But I’m a poor wanderer forlorn,
And I sigh whilst these beauties I view.
Ah me! when I think on the day,
E’er sorrow invaded my breast;
I was joyous as lambkins at play,
And by all my companions carest.
But love and misfortune combine,
To rob my poor heart of repose:
For ever I’m doom’d to repine,
And time cannot alter my woes.
For Silvia, so beauteous and fair,
For another has flown from my arms;
She has left me to grief and despair,
And a rival enjoys all her charms.
My lute shall be set to sad strains;
But to music in vain do I fly,
For bound in affection’s strong chains,
Forsaken, I droop, and I die.
A Skein of Thread,
On Seeing it Entangled on the Table of a Negligent Female.
On Celia’s toilet, spread with trinkets gay,
A skein of thread had long neglected lay;
Tumbled and soil’d, o’erlook’d by Celia’s glance,
For kind of protection standing little chance:
I took it up, when, in a mournful lay,
Methought I heard it softly whispering say:
Ah! hapless skein, unheeded and abus’d,
With form disfigur’d, and with threads unus’d;
By servants’ dirty hands about I’m thrown,
Till my fine shape is to the eye unknown.
Was it for this I bloom’d in fields so fair,
And spread my leaves luxuriant in the air?
Was it for this, cut down in beauties pride,
Me and my kindred were in bundles tied?H3 102 H3v 102
Immers’d in water till we near expire,
Then scorch’d in sun, more fierce than raging fire?
Next beat with mallets, till our tender skin
Dividing, shew the fibres that’s within:
Then spun on wheels, until the finest hair,
With our slim texture cannot sure compare?
All this we suffer for a future fame,
Like dying martyrs who expire in flame;
And all my kindred happy in their lot,
Shall live for ages, unlike me, forgot.
For some of them the useful loom supplies,
And from their threads, the finest cambrics rise;
Some form the richest, the most costly lace,
Which e’er did shade the charms of beauty’s face:
Others have fallen to the housewife’s care,
And all but me, Industry’s honors share.
Ah! cruel Celia, think, e’er ’tis too late,
On all the horrors of my wretched state,
That I alone, of all my happy kind,
Should idle lie, which heaven ne’er design’d.
Oh! had the dames of Yore seen me disgrac’d,
And all my threads thus tumbled, thus misplac’d,
Their patient fingers would each maze divide,
Restoring neatness would have been their pride;103 H4r 103
Their skilful genius would have me employ’d,
And I the honors of my race enjoy’d:
A sad reverse, ah, Celia, is my doom!
My threads shall form no lace, supply no loom;
I serve a slattern, can a fate be worse?
A slattern to herself, to all a curse.
Look on her clothes, where pins supply my place,
Alike to her and me, a dire disgrace;
Observe her stockings, they’re below her care,
She feels not for the wounds created there,
So she can coax them slily to conceal
Those wounds, which time, alas! can never heal:
I being the only balsam to apply,
To hide the fractures from the public eye;
What will she do when all her money’s spent,
Whilst on her gown, still wider grows each rent?
Whilst thus proceeding, with a frisking bound,
A playful kitten toss’d it to the ground;
With ruthless claws, and many a circling maze,
With the entangled thread she jumps and plays;
Celia beheld, without the lest regret,
The antic frolics of her favorite pet;
She view’d its gambols, till these gambols tire,
Then threw the hapless skein into the fire
When forc’d to leave my lovely Sue,
What sorrow tore my heart;
How did I ever bid adieu?
How could I ever part?
Still present is the silent tear,
Fast falling on her cheek;
How beautiful it did appear,
And more than language speak.
Fear not, my love, I often said,
The foe we shall subdue;
And in the battle, dearest maid,
My thoughts will rest on you.
Thy sailor, when his duties call,
And fierce invading foes,
Must freely for his country fall,
And free—his life expose.
For Susan would not wish her dear
To bear a coward’s name;
Shrinking wherever danger’s near,
To sully his bright fame.
But love shall safely guide my way.
To cheer thee gentle Sue,
And from my thoughts shall never stray
The girl I love so true.
’Twas thus I strove to sooth the mind
Of her so dear to me;
And I shall Susan constant find,
When I return from sea.
Edwin and Isabel;
or, The Nabob.
Hark! heard you not yon mournful bell,
Slow sounding thro’ the gloom;
A lovely victim’s fate to tell,
Call’d early to the tomb.
’Tis Isabel’s, whose hapless fate
Full many a heart doth rue:
Her’s should have been the highest state,
For equals she had few.
Such beauties o’er her charming face,
Had bounteous nature spread;
Less lovely were the flowery race,
Within their fragrant bed.
Her breast, in which each virtue glow’d,
Now lies so cold and dead;
Her voice, which with soft music flow’d,
And every charm, is fled.
Ah! had but fortune’s smiles adorn’d
This fair, this tender flower;
Young Isabel had not been scorn’d,
Nor I have mourn’d this hour.
A haughty Nabob, rich and great,
Liv’d near her mother’s cot;
Who, wrapt in India’s pompous state,
Had love’s soft claims forgot.
Not so his son, a graceful youth,
Of manner most refin’d;
Replete with honor and with truth,
And stor’d with gifts his mind.
He Isabel beheld with joy,
And lov’d with faith sincere;
Unconscious of the sad alloy,
Too soon to interfere.
For when the Nabob heard it said,
(As village news expands)
That Edwin, by a rustic maid,
Was held in Cupid’s bands;
With fiercest rage his bosom glow’d,
He tore him from her arms;
No pity for his youth he show’d,
No pity for her charms.
To India then was Edwin sent,
In honor’s rank most high;
But sure harsh parent to repent,
The hour approacheth nigh.
For captive, in a dreary cell,
Oppress’d with grief and care;
Thy son an hapless victim fell,
Tho’ brave beyond compare.
That gentle youth on India’s plains,
His precious breath resign’d;
Consum’d by fever’s raging pains,
And by a wounded mind.
When tidings came to Isabel,
Of his disastrous fate,
In dreadful fainting fits she fell,
And piteous was her state.
For sorely did this maiden grieve,
And heart-felt tears she shed;
Till slow disease and grief confine
Fair Bella to her bed.
Her aged mother, full of fear,
Consults the doctor nigh;
She trusts his word her heart will cheer,
And stop the heavy sigh.
The doctor skill’d disease to trace,
Its varying forms to tell;
Anguish and death saw in the face
Of beateousbeauteous Isabel.
But when she mark’d her mother’s grief,
She said, do not despair,
This worthy man will bring relief,
And mitigate your care.
The doctor silent, shook his head,
No comfort could he give:
Which to the wretched mother said,
’Tis past—she cannot live.
And true did this prognostic prove,
And true the mother’s fears;
She’s gone to join the blest above,
From this sad vale of tears.
But see—with solemn, silent tread,
Advance the funeral train:
The flowers they strew, the tears they shed,
Thy story shall explain.
And oft’ the village maids shall meet,
To visit thy lone tomb;
They’ll deck thy grave with flow’rs so sweet,
For there shall flowers bloom.
And oft’ shall they in rustic verse,
Thy piteous tale relate;
Thy love, thy constancy rehearse,
And mourn thy hapless fate.
Ah, Nabob! what avails thy wealth,
Of gems—thy glittering store?
For Edwin, could they purchase health,
To Bella, life restore.
Now childless shall you rue the day,
And childless mourn your pride;
That Edwin was sent far away,
And this fair maiden died.
Late was the hour, and hush’d each sound,
When Egbert sought his downy bed;
Tho’ silence reign’d, yet balmy sleep
Had from his weary eyelids fled.
For long upon his noble heart,
Had sorrow prey’d without controul;
Which drove away the soother hope,
And from his eyes their lustre stole.
Rage, grief, and ever-pining care,
Were inmates of his tortur’d breast;
And now, tho’ past the midnight hour,
Resisted was every thought of rest.
In highest rank was Egbert born,
Fortune on him had fondly smil’d;
And Nature, in her fairest mould,
Had form’d him for her favorite child.
It chanc’d that on a summer’s day,
He wander’d near a mountain’s side;
Near whose broad base impetuous ran,
A foaming river, deep and wide.
Whilst pond’ring on its rapid course,
And on its bright translucent wave,
Which, rushing on with headlong force,
Forbids (tho’ sultry warm)to lave.
Sudden—a horse’s swiftest steps,
And female screams, alarm his ear;
And soon he saw a bounding steed,
Whose back a beauteous maid did bear.
The beast advanc’d in wild affright,
And rearing with a dang’rous spring;
Was disengag’d from his light load,
And to the ground her form did fling.
Young Egbert flew as quick as thought,
And seiz’d the horse’s flowing rein:
In happy time to save the maid,
Whose fainting form his arms sustain.
A rustic timorous nymph was she,
Who now requir’d his tender care;
No splendid robes the maid adorn,
Yet ne’er beheld he one so fair.
Soft love (now first) his breast assails,
He view’d her charms in sweet surprize;
Anxious he watch’d returning life,
And joyful saw her raise her eyes.
From that fond hour he Mary woo’d,
Tho’ humble was her rank in life:
And, guided by strict honor’s rules,
He soon call’d lovely Mary wife.
But bad her heart, altho’ so fair,
No sense of gratitude had she;
And ill did her illiterate mind
With Egbert’s elegance agree.
And Mary, heedless of his worth,
As undeserving of his care;
Favor’d a lover’s guilty suit,
And to encourage it did dare.
Too late he mourn’d his hasty choice,
Where beauty only sent the dart;
For where’s the charms which can supply
The noble virtues of the heart.
Now jealousy, with baleful sting,
Fix’d its fell venom in his breast;
And in reflections on his fate,
Was banish’d every hope of rest.
For he would not with pointed steel,
Draw on himself a murd’rer’s name;
But prudent, calm, and ever just,
He left her to an endless shame.
Confiding love and peace now fled,
Of these can he no more partake;
Depriv’d of all his fondest hopes,
His noble heart will shortly break.
Nor long shall be the wicked reign
Of Egbert’s false, ungrateful wife;
Sorrow, repentance, toil, and pain,
Shall terminate her wretched life.
Knevett, Arliss, and Baker, 87, Bartholomew Close, London.