Printed For Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, & Brown,
Paternoster-Row. 18151815. iiA6v
E. Blackader, Printer.
Took’s Court, Chancery Lane, London.
To his Royal highness The Duke of Kent,
This Little Volume, which has been honoured by the patronage of his royal highness, graciously bestowed in testimony of esteem for her father, late surgeon to his royal highness, is most respectfully inscribed by the most grateful and obedient servant of his royal highness,
The Writer of the following pages could only account for their having been collected into a Volume, by relating a tale of domestic sorrow, which would sadden the humane, and weary the attention of the indifferent Reader. The poetical attempts now offered to the protection of the Public were, however, all written previous to the circumstances which may excuse the form of their publication, and while Hope, and the frequent gratification of the social feeling, among persons of taste and vivacity, gave wings to the fancy, and buoyancy to the mind.
The feelings of gratitude for the generous patronage which this little Book has already received, are too deeply felt and too intimately connected with a recent affliction, to allow of the ornaments of verse.
Should the charge of presumption be affixed to the undertaking, it may perhaps be admitted in mitigation of the severity of judgment, that as this is the first, so, should encouragement be with-held, it will certainly be the last trespass upon the attention of the Public.
Original Poems.2 B1v 3 B2r
What have we here!—half solemn and half gay,
Not quite a Pantomime—nor quite a Play,
This something—nothing—full of noise and shew,
Anomalous display of Mirth and Woe,
Full of Confusion, bustle and surprizes,
Escapes, encounters, blunders and disguises!
Is this a Comedy! where lies the wit?
In vain I’ve watched to catch one lucky hit.
A Tragedy! Say where is pathos shewn?
Can the spectator make the grief his own,
Hang with mute earnestness on ev’ry line
And own the touch of Sympathy divine?
Feel virtuous Indignation fire his breast,
And his cheek glow for Innocence opprest;
Does he one moment steal from self away,
And lend his whole existence to the Play?
Such was the scene, when o’er her barb’rous foes.
By Learning’s triumph first the stage arose,B2 4 B2v 4
Her empire o’er the polished world when gain’d,
The Tragic and the Comic Muse maintain’d;
Enchanting sisters! as by Reynolds’ art
Pourtray’d, so graven on each feeling heart,
Each with attraction all her own, is fair,
And Garrick stands suspended ’twixt the pair,
With doubting face he seems to pause between,
Yet wins them both, like Shakespeare and like Kean:
But who is she, with pompous air and gait,
And dwarfish stature clad in mimic state?
She sings—she dances—and she speaks—but hark!
Ere you the meaning of her words can mark,
Trumpets and neighing steeds her accents drown,
And who is she—the fav’rite of the town?
Enquire not of her pedigree or race—
Some likeness to her sisters you may trace;
But such a kindred as she dares not claim,
Degen’rate branch—and Melo-Drame her name.
Addressed to a Gentleman who severely reprobated the Introduction of this Dance into private Parties of Friends.
Forbear the Waltz if in your mind
You but one spark of frailty find,
Forbear the Waltz if in your heart
One lurking devil plays his part,
Forbear the Waltz if you would shrink
From telling all you feel and think;
But if the bosom’s closest fold
Might be to honour’d eyes unroll’d,
Nor blushes tinge the guilty cheek
Could Conscience find a tongue to speak,
Then ask confiding Beauty’s arm,
(Who not deserving, fears no harm)
Then yield the prop by Nature meant
For woman’s weaker fabric lent,
Then pace the room with agile bound,
Or whirl in rapid mazes round,
Then fearlessly the Waltz begin,
Nor harmlessly pastime link with Sin.
Addressed to the Baronne de Staël-Holstein.
Lady, though rival France may boast thy birth,
Yet not to France alone confin’d
The treasure of thy mighty mind,
A glorious gift from Nature to the World.
’Tis not a Country nor an Age
Which claims alone thy precious page;
For Genius when he deigns to visit Earth,
Beams upon ev’ry clime his ray,
And pours the intellectual day,
More wide than Faction’s brand was ever hurl’d.
Lady, thy Tuscan lyre has caus’d the tear,
For woman’s sorrows oft’ to flow
In all the luxury of Woe;
All see Corinne as Nelvil saw her first,
’Ere by Inconstancy’s foul Dæmon curst,
The slave to Habit, Prejudice and Pride,
Too late he wept upon her sable bier,
Whence from her Car triumphal he had brought
Her, who to him resigning ev’ry thought,
For him alone had lived, and loved—and died!
Lady, thy magic pen has lov’d to trace
In many a rich and glowing line,
The land where still in fitful shine7 B4r 7
The embers of a sinking state are strew’d,
Where marble ruins scatter’d wide,
The vines in purple clusters hide;
And Silence, and Oblivion rule the place
Where once the voice of Tully spoke;—
—Now crush’d beneath a tyrant yoke,
Art dies on Nature’s lap, and all again is rude.
Lady, to thee Germania’s sons shall owe
The moral hist’ry of their state,
By thee they live—by thee are great,
And De l’Allemagne shall rouse full many a sage,
Their brilliant fictions to explore,
And revel in Teutonic lore,
To soar with Klopstock, melt o’er Goëthe’s page,
But wilt thou not another wreath bestow?
Lives there not yet a nation which may claim
Thy pen, to trace the records of its Fame?
To bid it’s glories live at thy command,
And veil its errors with indulgent hand?
Is there not yet a People bold andfree,
Worthy of Immortality and thee!
A People prompt to ev’ry gen’rous deed,
At home to cherish, and abroad, to bleed!
Oh! let this favour’d land thy notice share;
And give th’expecting world De L’Angleterre.
What call we Beauty? not the hue
Which in the gaudy rose we view,
More delicately rare;
For when was ever cheek of snow
Ting’d with so exquisite a glow
As blooms in the parterre?
And when were ever lids of light,
So pure, so elegantly bright,
When gemm’d with pearly tears;
As lilies bending on the stem,
The dew-drops clear bespangling them
When morning first appears?
Thus in a frail and fleeting flower
The God of Beauty shews his power,
In ev’ry tint and shade;
Nor yet the most minute defect
Can Science with her glass detect
In all that Hand has made.
But spare the microscopic gaze
On her whose loveliness we praise,
It will not stand the test;
Where then is Beauty, if it fly
From too exact a scrutiny,
In angry blushes drest?
’Tis in the eye which glist’ning tells
How much of Mind within it dwells,
(No matter black or gray)
’Tis in the cheek whose mantling hue
From feelings warm its colour drew,
And must those feelings say.
’Tis in the brows that meekly bend,
’Tis in the lips that mute attend,
When honour’d voices praise;
’Tis in the cheek which turns to hide
The blush of modesty or pride,
And by that turn betrays.
Nor is it Grace which wins the eye
To dwell on it in ecstacy,
And deem it half divine;
The form the same,—the passion fled,
The soul of admiration dead,
In vain may Beauty shine.
’Tis like the bow which paints the sky,
Seen various by each varying eye,
Tho’ all its presence own;
For while we gaze—the charm we make,
The dear illusion that we take
We owe to self alone.
Addressed to the Rev. Dr. Valpy, on Occasion of his Birth-day. 1807-12-10Dec. 10, 1807.
Though much too late to grace the natal day
The tribute of this humble verse I pay,
And dare in strains unpolish’d, but sincere,
Wish ev’ry good, to one I much revere;
Long be that life on which so many rest,
Clear be that head, and undisturb’d that breast!
Long be remembrance grateful to that mind
Which inward turn’d, such treasur’d stores may find,
Which can with honest pride its course renew,
Look back approving, and with Hope pursue!
And till all human glories fade and cease,
Its well-earned fame may each new year encrease!11 B6r 11
Long may that nervous voice assist the cause
Of Freedom, Learning, Wisdom, Virtue, Laws!—
Long may that hand for future ages write,
For unborn readers treasure up delight,
And gratify by many a learned task
Our claim, where much is granted, much we ask!
Long may those spirits live whose steady flow
No art can imitate, no skill bestow!
Long may that patience last which stoops to read
These tuneless lays, which from the heart proceed!
To Miss Nooth, who presented some elegant This epithet is preserved not from vanity in the person to whose attempt it is applied, but from gratitude for the indulgent partiality of so eminent a judge of literary composition: If it provoke in the reader a smile, let it be one of complacency. Verses to the Author, on his Birth-day.
When the hoarse blasts of wild commotion roar,
And steep whole nations in their children’s blood,
When a fell Tyrant bars each subject shore,
From Helle’s strait to Scandinavia’s flood:12 B6v 12
When Danger’s forms on every side arise,
And party feuds fair Union’s ties unbind;
When Bigotry her numbing power applies,
Invites Invasion and enchains the mind,
Say, Charlotte, what can soothe the sense of care,
Bid Terror cease, and every fear allay?—
Thou, thou canst chace the phantoms of despair,
And from life’s roses tear the thorns away:
Thy strains diffuse the balsam of Relief,
Trim hope’s expiring lamp, and smooth the brow of grief.
Written after being shewn the Magdalen. Correctly copied from the engraving from an Italian master, and executed in pencil with great delicacy and spirit: this drawing obtained a prize from the Society of Arts. Drawn by Samuel Cousins. This interesting boy, at the time these lines were written (1814-09Sept. 1814), had not attained his twelfth year, nor received any instruction in the art in which he promises to excel.
Ye sons of Art, whose bold unerring line
The product of laborious years must shine,
Who by slow steps to eminence must reach,
Matured in all the graphic schools can teach!13 B7r 13
Look from your hard-earn’d heights of tardy Fame,
And own with gen’rous zeal, a brother’s claim!
Not his the Tyro’s hesitating hand,
The faint attempt, by frequent measure scann’d,
No learn’d professor bade his pencil trace,
Correct, revise, renew, and then———efface:
No classic studies gave his Fancy play,
Or Science beam’d upon his early day,
Dark is his humble dwelling, cold and drear,
Perplex’d with sounds to vex the studious ear:
The House of squalid Poverty supplies
Few forms of Grace to charm a painter’s eyes;
No harmonies of Sister Arts befriend
The struggling spark, and inspiration lend,
Nor by reflection could one ray be shed
Of Taste, on his unnotic’d, unknown head;
Yet ’neath the shade of Penury and Toil,
The seeds of Genius find a kindred soil,
High with spontaneous vegetation climb,
And hang their blossoms on the fane of Time:
Still, must their bright luxuriance fall and fade,
Without some friendly prop, some shelt’ring aid,
That hand which guides the crayon with such skill,
Debas’d by Want, the stubborn clod must till;
Or to mechanic toil, inglorious chain’d,
Forego the praise its early efforts gain’d.
Forbid it, Sons of Opulence, your care
Another Opie to the World may spare,14 B7v 14
Oh! bid your well-directed bounty flow!
Some portion of that precious wealth bestow,
Whose magic touch unlocks the gates of Art,
Bids lofty Science all her stores impart,
Lifts the free mind above the cares of life,
Low calculations, petty, sordid strife;
And gives th’aspiring thought to range at will
Unfetter’d by the chains of selfish Ill.
To the Memory of Doctor Henry Moyes, the Blind Philosopher.
What! and not one to pour the plaintive lay,
To tell of Worth departed, Learning fled,
To sing the Sage too early call’d away,
Shall Moyes then rest among th’unhonour’d dead!
Beats there no heart with fond desire to tell
How proudly once it claim’d in Moyes a friend!
How from his lips sublimest Wisdom fell,
With how much grace his lofty mind could bend.
Though firm himself, indulgent to the weak,
His precepts mended while his converse cheer’d,
E’en pratling childhood hush’d to hear him speak,
He fix’d the light, the feeling heart endear’d.
In narrow bounds, for us his chemic skill
Condens’d the treasur’d lore of many an age,
’Twas his with just pursuits our minds to fill,
Prompt the quick thought, and point the learned page.
How charming is divine philosophy,
Each would to each exclaim, while bright and clear,
His glowing diction bade our Reason see
Through Nature’s works the Guiding hand appear.
Charm’d by his words, e’en female hearts aspir’d
From Science’ torch some glimm’ri ng light to catch,
With zeal for intellectual pleasures fir’d,
Our ready pens each passing lesson snatch.
Once, and but once he made himself his theme,
With voice that almost trembled spoke on light,
In alter’d tones explained the solar beam,
And mourn’d but not bewail’d his loss of sight.
Thee, Milton, then he quoted, still I hear
Th’impressive lines in solemn cadence flow;
Still Memory brings that passage to my ear,
Sublime in sorrow, eloquent in woe.
I see him still—his slender cane precedes
His guarded step,——his face compos’d in thought,
With head erect he cautiously proceeds.———
—One guiding hand the sole support he sought.
I hear him still awake the trembling string,
To Burns’ wild muse, or Ramsay’s plaintive strain,
O’er his dark hours a gleam of gladness fling,
And drown in jocund notes the voice of pain.
Remembrance still retraces many a kind
And salutary lesson taught by him,
To earn his valued praise my childish mind,
Oft’left th’unfinish’d game; the puerile whim.
But whither strays my pen!———Ye chosen few
Who shared his converse, ’tis to you I plead
Forgive that self intrudes while thus I strew
Some wild flowers o’er the sod where Moyes is laid.
If Ellen, we indeed must part,
I wish we ne’er had met,
For well I know, this throbbing heart,
Can ne’er our loves forget.
My thoughts will ever rest on thee,
On happy moments fled;
And I the sole example be
Of Love when hope is dead.
How much less wretched are the blind,
Who never knew the light,
Than those who on a sudden find
Their Day obscured in Night!
Love and Chemistry.
Ah! not to those who light and vain
Dare Love’s phænomena to feign;
My Ellen, turn thy list’ning ear,
But read it’s rationale here;
My heart, of metal pure and true,
Was fus’d by one bright glance from you,
And by your lineaments imprest,
On the reverse your name exprest:
While Hope amalgamates the mass,
For Cupid’s coin may current pass.
Alternate strata fill my mind,
Of tender words, and works unkind,
Yet oft’a vein of true delight
Pervades with Love’s effulgence bright.
Thou brilliant as the diamond art,
But not inflammable thy heart.
Yet still I breathe in Hope to see
Thy pride evaporate from thee,C 18 C1v 18
Sublim’d to ether ev’ry thought,
Which so much woe to me has wrought.
Thy breath as vital air I own,
Azote is in thy killing frown,——
Galvanic combinations rise
Whene’er I meet thy beaming eyes.
To thee connected, all my days
Would pass in happiness and praise,
Oh! may’st thou insulated be
From ev’ry other one but me;
To none beside attraction give,
And I thy sole conductor live!
Suggested by seeing an Engraving from a Picture by Raffaelle, representing a dying Pope, surrounded by Mendicants and Cripples, who crowd to the Bed to touch him in his last Agonies.
Whoe’er thou art, who o’er this tablet bend,
Thy serious thought, thy calm attention lend,
Not for ideal forms of fancied grace,
This transcript from the mighty Raffaelle trace;
His pencil, scorning all the tricks of Art,
Bids not one figure from the canvas start.19 C2r 19
With o’erstrain’d muscles in a flood of light,
Glare on the view, and pain the aching sight;
No artificial grouping here displays
The pyramidic boast of later days,
Not this to that part, too subservient made,
Nor one to gild another cast in shade.
The women, not like rose-fed nymphs appear,
Nor all the men dark-featur’d and severe,
Antinuous’ sweeping brow, with lavish hand
Is not bestow’d on one and all the band.
No studied pathos o’er the scene is shed,
No weeping relatives surround the bed,
And tell, in varied attitudes of woe,
What buskin’d heroes only seek to show,
For with fictitious woes to melt the heart
An actor must exaggerate his part,
Something beyond what real life affords
We ask, as well in action as in words.
How few like Siddons can by mute despair,
Wring ev’ry nerve, each finer feeling tear!
When Beverley’s lost wife nor moves nor speaks,
Entranc’d we gaze, nor breathe until she shrieks.
No individual scene from Hist’ry’s page
Or Fiction’s lore, can here the mind engage,
A nameless prelate, stretch’d upon his bier,
Wakes no remembrance, claims no pitying tear.
Yet, on the wreck of Humankind to gaze,
Must fill our thoughts, our hopes or terrors raise,C2 20 C2v 20
Nor profitless can observation fall,
On Death who comes with viewless strides to all;
A few short moments past, th’ immortal soul
Spoke from those lips, did from the those eye-balls roll.
Now, that clos’d mouth, what eager hand profanes?
Who grasps with iron touch the stiff’ning veins?
What motley groupe infests the House of Death,
With barb’rous haste, disturbs the parting breath,
And hears each groan that dissolution wrings?——
——This mortifying bevy greatness brings.———
How much more blest the poor man parts with life,
Sooth’d by the cares of a beloved wife!
While no cold list’ner marks each feeble tone,
And querulous lament we blush to own,
For call it dignity, or call it pride,
Our pangs, our weaknesses we strive to hide;
The lofty mind at common pity spurns,
And but to one fond breast confiding turns.
But in those charities that mend the heart
The papish clergy are denied a part.
Can, when the heart in isolation chills,
And broods alone o’er un-imparted ills,
The pride of sanctity supply the void
Of all the ties of kindred un-enjoy’d?
No,—but when Superstition fires the soul
She can each feeling and each thought controul.
See, from his home the weary cripple brought,
Urg’d by the tale of former wonders wrought,21 C3r 21
By the cold corpse of him who living wore
A Pontiff’s robes,——Altho’ his reign be o’er,
Still on his death-damp brows the mitre bound
Gleams as the hallow’d tapers blaze around.
Oh! Vanity,—which decks the mould’ring clay
With emblems of departed Pow’r and sway!
Oh! Vanity! which to the creature lends
That healing aid, which but from God descends!
A Manks Elegy.
Alone at even’, to the sea-beat shore,
Where ancient Mona’s craggy mountains rise,
Young Edward pac’d the sandy margin o’er,
While tow’rd the east he gaz’d with gushing eyes.
Far in the offing, dimly seen, a bark
For England swiftly steer’d before the wind,
With mixt emotions, Edward pauz’d to mark
Her course, then spoke the feelings of his mind.
Ah, happy bark! ah, happy ye who sail
By fav’ring breezes wafted o’er the main!
Soon the blue land at distance ye will hail,
And soon your native homes will see again.
Some hope of friendly greeting warms each breast,
Some scenes belov’d await each eager eye,
These, long from perils past to be at rest,
Those, nerv’d with vigour other plans to try.
But I, forlorn and sad must here remain,
Nor dare I venture once to leave the shore,
Life I consume, but no experience gain,
I just preserve existence, and no more.
The coarse companions of my exile try
In rosy wine to drown intrusive thought,
But ever from the noisy groupe I fly
To this lone beach, for silent musing sought.
Here oft’ Remorse brings all my faults to view,
Of fatal projects, mad profuseness tells,
Too late I find the rigid maxims true
Which ardent Youth form hoary Age repels.
Where now the flatt’rers whom my folly fed?
Where now the friends whose hearts I held my own?
The tribe of needy parasites is fled,
And I to sad Repentance left alone.
E’en She whom more than light or life I priz’d,
Whose image in this heart unchang’d remains——
——Perhaps by her (avert it Heav’n!) despis’d,
Cold Pity all the feeling she retains.
Perhaps when first my ruin reach’d her ear,
Some tender recollections caus’d a sigh,
’Twas not perhaps too much to shed a tear,
Then send me from her thoughts as one gone bye,
Injurious Edward, from behind, a sound
Thrill’d to the mourning exile’s beating heart;
He turn’d,——his Mary——all he lov’d, he found,
They met in rapture, never more to part.
She came with faithful love to share his fate,
Content with him mid’ boorish Manks to dwell,
Nor e’er in after times she thought too great
The sacrifice for one who lov’d so well.
Meditation on a Guinea,
Oh! money! thou the bane to Virtue nam’d,
In ev’ry nation worshipp’d, tho’ defam’d!
Thou, on whom all the joys of life depend,
Whose pow’r with social laws alone can end!
Thou lamp to Genius, in whose splendour drest,
Words, thoughts, and actions shine and shew the best.
Oh! be thou ever mine! of thee bereft,
What but contempt, and sad privation’s left!
When did the poor man look or move with ease?
When did his wit, his sportive sallies please?
When did his presence spread enjoyment round?
Where was he yet a favour’d inmate found?
Though full conviction flash from ev’ry speech,
When will his words the ear of Affluence reach?
Though from his lips sublimest Wisdom flow,
Who dares the well-earn’d meed of praise bestow?
No, ’tis in thee, thou pictur’d coin to give
Fame, friendship, learning, all for which we live.
Sole test of Merit! thy possession tells
Where all we cherish, all we covet dwells,
And when the loftiest pile of gold is found,
There honour, genius, wisdom, wit abound.
You think my friend, my heart is gay
Because I laugh, and talk, and play,
And seem I to be well at ease
Because I have the wish to please,
Because I’ve learnt to trifle well.
With careless air a story tell.25 C5r 25
To suit my carriage to the place,
And deck with ready smiles my face,
You think that all within is right,
Ah Mary!——at the hour of night,
When no exertions can avail,
My pow’rs decline, my spirits fail,
I court in vain the aid of sleep,
And oft’ in tears my pillow steep,
Recal each happy moment fled,
And brood o’er joys for ever dead;
Look backward on departed days,
And meet with more to blame than praise;
Then anguish fills my heart, and sighs
That seem to rend my bosom rise,
Then fev’rish dreams oppress my brain,
And ev’ry sense and nerve is pain,
Yet I, the veriest wretch alive,
With morning can again revive,
Can play again the jocund part,
Nor heed my lacerated heart,
Can hush th’imperious voice of woe,
And bid the tide of laughter flow.
Sabina’s slender form is fair,
And meek her azure eye,
Light gleam her locks of silver hair,
And seems her polish’d cheek to share
The rose and lily’s dye.
No frown deforms her seraph brow,
Of pure and perfect white,
Her words in dulcet accents flow,
And seem her timid glance to show
A mind as pure, as bright.
But oh! ’tis deception all,
She bears a specious form,
That heart is steep’d in bitt’rest gall,
That voice inflames the noisy brawl,
That eye provokes the storm.
Those locks in frantic fury torn
The wind deriding bears,
That face no smiling loves adorn,
But all convuls’d with rage and scorn
A fiend-like aspect wears.
These eyes the wond’rous change have seen,
And swift have seen restor’d.
Her well-dissembled angel-mien,
And men have hail’d her Beauty’s queen,
Have trembled and ador’d.
Yes Arthur, I smil’d in your absence ’tis true,
But then it was only when thinking of you,
Yes, pleas’d with Orlando’s discourse I might seem,
But then it was only when you were his theme.
Then hush your suspicions, dismiss all your fears,
Each moment of absence your image endears,
For the heart once possess’d by affection like mine
May in fondness encrease, but can never decline.
Occasioned by the Loss of a Spy-glass, by a Friend of the Writer, while walking through a Hay-field.
Oh! ye whose hearts are cast in Pity’s mould,
Give ear unto the saddest tale e’er told,
A tale which might draw tears from marble eyes,
And call from brazen bosoms, breathing sighs:
Time was, in former days, supremely blest,
When three bright eyes my luckless friend possest,
Two in his head for ornament were plac’d,
The more important third a ribband grac’d;
Whene’er a distant object rose to view,
Their union prov’d the social compact true,
These strain’d in vain the right contour to find,
Till this one help’d, for clearer ken design’d,
And this its telescopic pow’r to try,
Without it’s brethren, prov’d a sightless eye.
Thus intellectual vision oft supplies,
And makes amends for dim or poring eyes.
Ye muses!——no, ye mowers! lend your aid,
Ah! search the fields where pensive Damon stray’d,
With anxious heed, look thro’ the tufted grass,
To catch the argent beam, the lucid glass,
Oh! this one, may no pond’rous footstep bend,
Nor that the tranchant scythe to shivers send!29 C7r 29
Oh! may········but see, through yonder cloud, what light
Breaks on my startled eyes, serenely bright?
What constellation till this hour unseen,
Fair Berenice’s tresses, gleams between?
Say, can it be!······its form, its silver hue,
(Away the clouds)····the glass, the glass I view!
Some nymph unseen, perceiv’d the glitt’ring prize,
Caught ’ere it fell, and bore it to the skies,
High mid’ the burnish’d zone her treasure plac’d,
And then with graceful arm its orbit trac’d
And bade it shine for ever as a mark,
For wand’ring youths bewilder’d in the dark.
The Jarvey. It may be expedient to inform such readers as are happily removed from the slang of the metropolis, that the word Jarvey is used to denote a hackney-coach.
Oh! ye to whom the God of wealth has giv’n,
To be at ease in your own chariots driv’n!
Little ye know the sorrows that await
Those, who (perchance with minds as delicate)
With feelings as refin’d, as nice a sense
Of taste, and comfort, neatness, opulence,30 C7v 30
Are doom’d to wade thro’ mire the weary street,
Or in a Jarvey rest their aching feet,
A Jarvey! sound abhorrent! with what care
To pass unnotic’d, mounts the sulky fare!
How, while the coach draws up, you stiffly stand
Nor dare to cast your eyes on either hand,
’Lest some acquaintance should untimely greet,
Or well-known equipage drive thro’ the street,
And see,———Oh! most calamitous event!
The waterman his tatter’d arm present,
Hold by the step while you collect your pence.
While swings the open portal, no defence,
Then, with Stentorian lungs proclaim the place,
Where you intend to finish your disgrace.
These ill attend your entrance, but when in,
What greater ills, what mightier griefs begin!
The greasy lining glistens black with dirt,
You sit erect, (by practice made expert)
And tho’ the posture puts you on the rack,
You dare not touch the filthy sides or back,
One window won’t draw up, the other shakes,
The shatter’d step a ceaseless clatter makes,
The ill-closed door admits the rain or sleet,
And deep in musty straw you plunge your feet.
The coachman drives you wrong, you seek in vain,
To pull the check-string and his course restrain,
In vain each blacken’d corner you explore,
Where was a string, is now a string no more,31 C8r 31
You see indeed the hole thro’ which it past,
But long ’ere this the string had pull’d its last.
One only mean remains, you sink the glass,
And half you person thro’ the op’ning pass;
Three times perchance you’re doom’d to bawl in vain,
Ere you succeed your meaning to explain,
Then, as you inward draw you luckless head,
You see,——Oh! sight of agony and dread!
Some booted beau, some captain in the guards,
Who all acquaintance with your face discards,
Or gives a condescending nod at most,
——This fatal chance has an admirer lost;——
Sunk to the level of the vulgar herd,
To call you now an Angel were absurd,
And in whatver place you may approach,
You still will bring to mind the hackney-coach.
Since fretting in this case avails you nought,
From the lost captain to divert your thought,
Suppose you turn your fancy to the past,
And guess who occupied your Jarvey last,
You have not far to seek,——the squalid wight
Who drives you, rested in the coach last night,
Pillow’d his drowsy head upon the seat,
While dangled from the open door his feet;
Here have Virginia’s smoky volumes roll’d,
Here has the frequent dram repell’d the cold.
Here wrapt in blankets oft’ perchance is laid,
The fever’d wretch, thus are the dead convey’d.32 C8v 32
Oft ’neath the mantle of concealing night,
The buried corse is brought again to light,
The rifled sepulchres give up their dead,
And fails the hop’d security of lead,
A hideous gang, of Galen’s sons the slaves,
With ruthless weapons violate the graves,
And give what once had feeling, once had life,
Remorseless to th’ unsparing surgeon’s knife.
Perchance this coach to prison has convey’d
Some ruin’d man, by other’s guilt betray’d,
Some surety for a false, perfidious friend,
Who within Newgate wall his life must end;
Here were his bitter tears of anguish shed,
Here heav’d his sighs for hopes for ever fled.
Here may the moping maniac have been pent,
His rage exhausted, and his fury spent,
Consign’d to that tall house of aspect drear,
Whence frequent shrieks assail the passing ear,
Where oft’ the massy doors for ever close
On the sad victim of inflicted woes,
Where never voice of Pity!—but no more
The cells of hopeless anguish I explore,
Nor think there needs another trait to shew
We may worse ills than dirt or meanness know.
That want of comfort is not real pain,
Nor should we dare our destinies t’ arraign,
Or load our wayward fates with loud reproaches,
E’en tho’ through life condemn’d to ride in hackney-coaches.
Written On the Sea-Shore,
At Garston, near Liverpool.
Mersey, I love to rove thy banks along,
And watch thy swelling tide’s encreasing flow,
To form unheard, unseen, my artless song,
To taste the fresh’ning breeze thy waves bestow.
To see the Cestrian hills of vivid green
Shine in the fervid ray of noon-day light,
And Cambria’s lofty mountains dimly seen,
That rise sublime, and bound the verge of sight.
And as they yielding sands, my feet impress
With silent tread, no sound invades my ear,
Save that the various notes of birds express,
Their joy in Spring, and rippling waves I hear.
Ah Mersey! long may Commerce bless thy shore,
Success attend the barks that leave thy stream!
And may it oft be mine thy banks t’ explore,
And lose the past, in Hope’s delicious dream!
On the Death of a Young Nobleman.
Fair smil’d the morn on Edwy’s op’ning day,
Ancestral honours deck’d his ancient name,
Genius illum’d him with his fervid ray,
And just Ambition mark’d each noble aim.
Ah! that so bright a promise should decay,
’Ere Time matured the kindly sparks to flame,
Ah! that his valued life should pass away,
’Ere yet his virtues their reward could claim.
The sluggish idiot oft’ his date exends
E’en to th’ extemest verge to man assign’d,
Till bow’d by Age his torpid life he ends.
But when with gen’rous feeling glows the mind,
Too soon the vital principle it spends,
And the gem burns the casket whhich enshrined.
Written in the Bay of Dublin, on leaving Ireland.
Farewell green Erin! to thy shores adieu!
Thy shores which never guest could joy to leave,
Farewell!——the wand’rer’s parting wish receive,
May Art and Commerce Erin’s fame renew.
May Peace internal bless thy fertile plains!
Dark Superstition’s shades be chac’d away,
Bright beam the Sun of intellectual day,
And Truth and Reason guide Hibernian swains!
What tho’ thine ardent sons to error prone!
Yet native Honour glows in ev’ry breast,
Wit turns each phrase, in ev’ry glance exprest,
And prompt good-nature makes each ill it’s own.
Thy daughters, gay and artless, fair and free,
Long may they live, and live to smile on me!—
To Contradiction. ――――――
Dear Contradiction! oh! thou best resource
To waken into life the dull discourse!
When vapid Conversation seems to flag,
When words move slowly, when ideas lag,
Thou, with electric force canst rouze the mind,
New energies provok’d by thee we find,
Our fancy warms, our rapid diction glows,
And the full tide of talk impetuous flows.
Thou giv’st a scope for reas’nings just and clear,
For eloquence that charms th’ attentive ear,
The pointed raillery, the mirthful jest,
The argument well turn’d, and well exprest:
How dull, monotonous and tame were life
Without some sprinkling of this civil strife!
How wearisome is the assent, the smile,
Of those who think you erring all the while!
Yet too politely servile to oppose
Those words, which in your absence they expose,
Perhaps pervert their meaning, or invent,
Some circumstance which changes their intent,37 D3r 37
Then all your tones and gestures mimick’d o’er,
They make their jest of what they prais’d before.
For ever hated be th’ insidious ear
Whose malice is restrain’d alone by fear,
Which lurks th’ unguarded sally to detect,
Lives to revile, and glotes upon defect.
Give me the friend whose frank, ingenuous mind,
Stampt on each honest accent I may find,
Who, slave to no mean prejudice dares think,
Nor from a free avowal e’er will shrink,
But firm to sacred Truth will never bend
To be that thing, a tame, subservient friend,
One, who will suit th’ occasion forms the phrase,
And as his patron wills, can blame or praise.
Among the bland assentors are my foes,
He loves me best who ventures to oppose,
Corrects my erring judgement, mends my mind,
And in well-meant severity is kind,
Tells me my faults, ’ere yet too rooted grown,
And holds my fame as precious as his own,
Who loves the germ of virtue to observe,
Joys to commend, but blames without reserve.
A Dish of Tea!
Of all the ills that Fate can hurl at me,
This most I dread, a friendly dish of tea,
Think not a meeting of true friends is meant,
To those they hate, the self-same words are sent,
And Friendship (heav’nly goddess) never yet
Was found among the gossip-making set;
Sinks my sad heart when I prepare to dress,
And murmurs at my fate I scarce suppress;
The early hour enjoin’d, augments the wrong,
The penance is not only sharp but long;
For e’er the rites of dinner are complete
The formal trains of ancient madams meet,
Their choice of seats the first half-hour employs,
The window here, and there the door annoys,
Then frequent repetitions tire the ear
Of meanless speeches, dull and insincere.
Enquiries made by those who little heed,
And, in the tedious answer, judg’d indeed;
Though for their neighbour’s health none care a pin,
They ask, not knowing else how to begin.
In all the pride of idleness, sedate,
They sit erect,——in stiff and stupid state,39 D4r 39
Her company demeanour each assumes,
Folds down her lace, and smooths her gauzy plumes.
Then each her stock of public news details,
Woe to the absent, when the topic fails!
Yet I remain in philosophic doubt,
If those can suffer less who hear them out,
Then dull Ill-nature deals the leaden death,
And slander kills with pestilential breath;
No sportive satire glances bright and keen,
Amusive Fancy shuns the courts of Spleen,
Insulted Truth the room indignant flies,
Faint with repeated wounds, poor Grammar dies.
E’en Common Sense, of firm and sturdy frame,
Is chac’d by Cunning, who assumes his name,
Dullness with flagging wing the groupe o’ershades,
And the fair form of Social Pleasure fades.
At length arrives the equipage of tea,
Oh! welcome sound of clatt’ring cups to me!
All interruption I must deem a treat,
And for employment merely sip and eat.
I care not if imperial or souchong,
It serves to help the weary hours along,
For time on crutches seems to move while I
Am doom’d in noisy solitude to sigh,
While oft’ the wordy torrent sweeps away
The fairy fabric Fancy form’d so gay.
The tea withdrawn, a solemn pause ensues,
Portentous Silence reigns.——I sit and muse40 40
What great event the hand of Time prepares,
When lo! the mighty Pow’r of frauds and cares,
Important Whist, with furrow’d brow stalks in!
His eager worshippers their rites begin,
The hostess brings the talismanic card,
By chance the willing votaries are pair’d.
Now ev’ry passion, sense of joy or pain
Is lost in one, the anxious hope of gain,
Hence the shrill voice in eager scolding sounds,
And hence the rude retort or sneer abounds.
Oh! sad the fate of those who list’ning sit
Where vulgar pertness holds the place of wit!
Sad, when so short our date of life assign’d,
To prove so dire a waste of Genius, Heart and Mind.
Larne Water. These lines were written in the summer of the year 18061806, and sent to—Farrell, Esq. of Larne (a sea-port town on the romantic coast of Antrim) on the occasion of that gentleman having formed a plan to rescue a hundred-and-seventy acres of ground from the sea, enclosing all within the Curran,(which is a semi-circular strip of land, stretching out into the bay, and has its name from the resemblance it bears to a reaping-hook). Mr. Farrel also proposed when the land was secure and fit for culture, to cut a canal through it, that vessels of burthen might come up close to the town.
’Twas night, and busy Larne was hush’d in sleep,
And dark and undefin’d each mountain rose,
Faintly the moon-beams ting’d the tranquil deep,
And Nature seem’d to pause in calm repose.
When from the Curran point, my startled eyes,
A lofty form of human shape beheld,
Slowly from out the sea majestic rise
Then half-reveal’d recline, by waves upheld.
Thus spake the Spirit of the Sea, what handShall dare to fix my limits, or confine My range of waters, o’er th’ accustom’d strand, Wash’d by my tides, from time primæval mine!
He ceas’d,——a deep and hollow blast began,
And curl’d with whit’ning foam each breaking wave,
When on the new-made fields, in shape a man,
A wond’rous figure stood erect and grave.
Quick was his piercing eye, and firm his tone,
As thus his speech began: Too long this land
A dreary waste remain’d, with wrack o’ergrown—
A profitless extent of barren sand.
He ceas’d——nor answer made th’ offended sprite,
But sank in sullen silence ’neath the sea,
And all again was hush’d in stillest night,
Save Fancy’s voice which spoke alone to me.
Sophronor, why that sombrous air?
And why that wrinkled brow of care?
Why such solicitude bestow
Your future lot of life to know?
Why spend the present hour in pain
For that you never may attain?
Why let anxiety oppress?
Why sink the victim of distress?
Not all this waste of sighs and tears,
Not all these earnest hopes and fears,
Can move the first decrees of Fate
Or change one atom of your state;
Necessity’s imperious law
Must have it’s course, and to withdraw
One link from the eternal chain,
Is all the pow’r of mortals vain;
Events must have their course assign’d,
And all their due succession find,
When destiny impels··············
My friend, when sick, when ill at ease,
In vain you urge with sophist art
The stoic moralizer’s part,45 D7r 45
What solace can my sorrows find,
By hearing they were all assign’d
By Fate’s immutable decree
Long ’ere existence dawn’d on me?
It is because I seek in vain
To alter Fate, that I complain,
The future still more dread appears
When certain, and these gushing tears
Your arguments but tend to shew
For woes inevitable flow.
Ciencia es locura Se buen senso no lo cura.
Oh! spare my friend, the midnight oil,
Nor thus consume your nights in toil,
No more these dusty volumes scan,
Fair Pleasure flies the bookish man;
Whatever pains you may bestow,
With certainty you little know;
Why wander thro’ the paths of doubt
To seek——what you were well without?46 D7v 46
Why spend the jocund days of youth
In search of philosophic truth?
While you the laws of Nature scan,
I follow her extensive plan;
I snatch at bliss where’er ’tis found,
And love to emanate it round,
And think the wisest man is he
Who can with all his race agree;
In harmless pleasure spend his days,
And lift at night his voice in praise.
Vergiss Mein Nicht. The Writer is aware that, to the nice ear of a German student, not any word in the English language can exactly echo to the guttural sound of nicht; but if slight verbal inaccuracies were to be allowed as an exclusion to any of these metrical attempts, few of them might perhaps be admitted.
Forget me not.
When friends who could have lov’d for ever,
Are doom’d too suddenly to sever,
And see dispers’d the dreams of joy
Which did their mutual hours employ,47 D8r 47
What words can then of consolation tell,
In all the bitter anguish of farewell!
Then this, and this alone is sweet,
The parting, fond request,—vergiss mein nicht.
When stands the widow’d bride deploring,
Near the dark wave of Ocean roaring,
Those waves her hero once controll’d,
But now wash o’er his relics cold,
What thought can soothe the madness of Despair?
What hope beyond the grave, still promise fair?
Oh! this,—that they again shall meet
To part no more and cry—vergiss mein nicht.
What brigns that stain of crimson over
The brow of the perfidious lover?
What stops his pulses healthful beating,
And wrings his heart at friendly greeting?
These, writ by Shame, and with a burning brand,
These letters ineffacable shall stand;
And wheresoe’er shall rove his feet,
His mind’s-eye still shall read—vergiss mein nicht.
Oh woman! ready at believing,
Too soon each tender tale receiving,
With quick perceptions never wise,
And seeing with Affection’s eyes,48 D8v 48
Would you from disappointment safely steer,
Avoid regret, and no repentance fear:
Oh! never let your lips repeat
The claim so seldom kept—vergiss mein nicht.
The Poor Man’s Soliloquy.
Oh, Poverty! thy chilling hand destroys
All, all my hopes, and withers all my joys,
Palsies my heart, must ev’ry wish control,
And blasts each gen’rous purpose of my soul,
Checks ev’ry glowing impulse, bids me live
Without the pow’r to bless, the means to give,
To turn from asking Want the gushing eye,
Spare a scant’ boon, then from the conflict fly.
And when I view the gulph of Mis’ry, think
Perhaps my steps but tremble on the brink.
Soom may’t the niggard gift my hands assign,
To ask with tears and not obtain, be mine;
To bend beneath the frown of monied Pride,
And sink by sure degrees to ills untried.
Written At Sea,
Off the Isle of Man.
Isee the white waves that dash over the prow,
I hear the sails shiver, and rend from the mast;
Once my bosom knew fear, but I heed it not now—
I have said Farewell Emma, that look was the last.
I see danger menace from each darkened brow,
I hear all alarm’d that the gale freshens fast,
Once I dreaded the mariner’s warning, but now—
I have said Farewell Emma, that look was the last.
I feel the ship labour and rock in the sea,
And I list to the breakers, and loud-rushing blast,
Once the voice of the tempest had terrors for me——
I have said Farewell Emma that look was the last.
Let others in places for their safety agree,
My time of heart-piercing solicitude’s past,
What I am, I enjoy not, nor care what to be,
I have said Farewell Emma that look was the last.
Farewell the brilliant hopes my fancy fed,
Farewell the air-built castles I have rear’d,
Farewell the gleam that fond illusion shed,
When ting’d with radiance future days appear’d.
Now the dark night of disappointment lours,
Now walk the gloomy ghosts of murder’d joys,
Now the chill dews of grief benumb my pow’rs
And mute Oblivion ev’ry trace destroys.
My pleasures are departed, and their knell
Was Ella’s parting word; their silent grave
This heart which lov’d and trusted but too well,
Which ev’ry pledge of Faith and Honour gave.
I lov’d without suspicion, nor believed
That Av’rice lurk’d beneath a form so fair,
My ignorance how happy, while deceiv’d!
Too soon came sad discernment and despair.
My richer rival now beholds those eyes
Beam the return of fondness due to me,
She smiles!——nor heeds the desp’rate man who flies
Where Ella chang’d, his eyes may never see.
Her voice——that voice of fascinating tone
Which oft’ my throbbing heart has thrill’d to hear,
That voice which murmur’d love to me alone,
In softest accents feeds his greedy ear.
In tender musings oft’ I lose my pain,
Live o’er my former days, new pleasures find,
Till madd’ning anguish stings in ev’ry vein,
As dread conviction flashes on my mind.
Yet may those eyes which turn’d from me with scorn,
Ne’er shed the scalding tears of deep regret,
Nor that hard heart by keen remorse be torn,
No,——let her, if she can, our loves forget!
Address To Time.
Oh Time! thy feather’d feet I prithee stay,
Arrest thy course and pause with me awhile,
Now, while I bask in Fortune’s sunny smile,
But should her frowns return, then speed in haste away.
While doom’d the weary hill of Want to climb,
How seem’d thy pace by leaden Sloth delay’d!
How long the ling’ring hours Impatience made!
How oft by toil opprest, I rail’d at lazy Time!
But now, when Pleasure’s soft enticing charms
Shed their mild lustre o’er my down-hill way,
And Wealth and Honours gild my closing day,
I dread thy length’ning stride, thy sounding scythe alarms.
Oh! for a moment rest thy rapid flight!
’Twixt me and Death a moment make thy stand,
Ah! not so swiftly urge the ebbing sand!
Nor shroud my Sun of life so soon in thickest Night!
Translations.54 E3v 55 E4r
From the Spanish of Quevedo.
Since I thine angel-face have seen,
All other things have changed been;
The sun no longer brings me day,
Nor roses do I seek in May.
Aurora need not blush for me,
Since it has been my lot to see
A tint that makes her colour pale,
And beams that o’er her light prevail.
Let others thro’ the silent night
To mark the glitt’ring stars delight,
I gather from Orinda’s eyes
The dear astronomy I prize.
Let others dig the orient mine
Where undetected metals shine;
The gold of my Orinda’s hair
Is all my treasure, all my care.
For me the wonder-hiding deep
Its pearls eternally may keep;
Since pearls more precious far than those
My charmer’s op’ning lips disclose.
Both Time and Fortune are to me
As nothing, Love has set me free;
Since one can ne’er an ill impart,
Nor can the other change my heart.
E’en Death is vanquish’d by thy charms,
And, sighing renders up his arms;
Thy smile can bid us ever live,
Thy frown annihilation give.
Dissentions must for ever cease,
And all the world adore in peace;
Since even heretics agree
With one accord to worship thee.
On the Statue of Moses, sculptured by Buonaroti, from the Italian of .Chi è costui, &c;
What form is this, that of majestic size
And mien august, in sculptured marble stands?
Whose lips seem prompt to speak, and eye commands,
Where Art surpassing Nature seems to rise?
’Tis Moses, by the flowing beard I know
The rev’rend chief, and by the parted ray,
’Tis he, when from the Mount he bent his way,
With more than mortal radiance on his brow.
Thus look’d he when with holy ardour fir’d,
When by the present Deity inspir’d,
The host he led, from Egypt’s land retir’d.
’Twas thus in sacred dignity array’d
He stood sublime, while Pharoah’s heart dismay’d,
Cold as this marble, felt it’s force decay’d.
Lines From the French,
Quand le Temps aura sillonné.
When Time shall have furrow’d that fair polish’d brow,
When those locks shall be silver’d by Age,
Thy spirits will sink, tho’ their buoyancy now
Seems for years of delight to engage.
When tow’rd the cold tomb man with sorrow descends,
How by griefs does he number his days!
He begins life in weeping, In weeping he ends,
And the debt of mortality pays.
Make friends then, my son, bring to sorrow relief,
Chace the tears from Affliction’s dim eye;
To relieve it, seek Woe, be familiar with Grief,
And the paths of Benevolence try.
If a father’s fond name soothe thine ear with delight,
Ah! become thy son’s guardian and friend;
The love of fair Fame in his bosom excite,
And his mind to true excellence bend.
These resources will mild resignation bestow,
These pursuits thine affections engage,
When Time shall have furrow’d that fair polish’d brow,
When those locks shall be silver’d by Age.
Haller’s Elegy on the Death of His Wife,
From the French Translation.
Beloved wife! to thee my song of woe
Warm from the heart, in tuneless grief I pour,
Oft’ check’d by tears, my broken numbers flow,
And strains unsought my heart-felt loss deplore.
Yet shall I not my bosom’s pain encrease
While I retrace my joys for ever fled?
This bleeding heart it’s anguish ne’er can cease,
Which lov’d thee living, which adores thee dead.
But when I call thy virtues all to mind,
Thy charms, thy graces, I must ever sigh;
Some solace for my grief in tears I find,
Tears which the hand of Time can never dry.
For while in plaintive notes I tell my pain,
Thy form, my best belov’d, I seem to see,
The dear illusion oft’ attends my strain,
The only good that life has left for me.
Ah! yet I see thee in that awful hour
When to thy bed with shudd’ring haste I drew,
Thine eyelids feebly rais’d with all thy pow’r,
While thy brow glisten’d with a death-like dew.
My arm sustain’d thy dear, thy honour’d head,
(Thy dying look e’en now I seem to see)
My rising sobs I hush’d, no tears I shed,
Faintly these words were then pronounc’d by thee:
Oh Haller! thou by bounteous Heav’n bestow’d
To bless my youth, my pride, my good supreme!
Tis past, the tide of life so fast that flow’d
Now ebbs, I sink, and ends my happy dream.
Yet throbs my heart with gratitude to find
Thy tenderness can soothe the pangs of Death,
Still in this hour of anguish Fate is kind,
Since in thy arms exhales my parting breath.
Oh! best beloved, adieu! the light of day
Pains the dim eyes that see thy form no more;
No longer thine, Death beckons me away,
A mortal numbness steals my senses o’er.——
Where shall I fly!——here all distracts my sight,
This house of mourning,—once my Anna’s home,——
Her tomb——ah! shroud me, shades of thickest night,
Her children,——Wretch! ah! whither can I roam!—
Their infant charms a father’s fondness claim,
Their tender age requires a parent’s care;
But when they smile and lisp their mother’s name——
From their faint hold I burst in wild Despair.
Not all the tears these widow’d eyes can pour,
Thy life of tender cares can e’er requite;
My happiness was thine, and treasur’d more
Than all beside, thy children, thy delight.
And when I ask’d thy hand with anxious fear,
(For low my fortunes, far beneath thy own)
My richer rival sought in vain thine ear,
Thou gav’st thyself to me, and me alone.
For grateful Mem’ry still the scene recals
When to a stranger clime thy steps I led,
Far from thine earliest friends, thy native walls,
When in thine arms a sister’s tears were shed.
To me thy voice these cherish’d words addrest,
Oh Haller! all I priz’d I leave for thee,
No fears alarm, no sorrows swell my breast.
In thee I trust, thy love is all to me.
No, this oppressive sadness ne’er can cease,
This heart can never beat to joy again,
For while I muse, my deep regrets encrease,
And fond remembrance sharpens ev’ry pain.
For to thy loss eternal tears are due,
The mournful hommage fills up all my mind,
And when to gloomy shades remote from view,
Unheard I ’plain, my sole relief I find.
Dear object ever present to these eyes,
Thou who beneath thee seest the planets roll,
Oh! from thy throne supernal hear my sights,
And let my sorrows touch thy sainted soul.
I see thee now,——thy seraph smiles invite,
Thou bidst me leave this house of mortal clay;
I come,——with thee to taste unmix’d delight,
Mid’ heav’nly choirs, in everlasting day.
From .Ecco quel’ fier’ istante!
The fatal hour is come, my heart
To thee must say—adieu!
Dear Ellen, forc’d from thee to part,
What charm has life in view!
No bliss my absent hours can know,
My joys will fly with thee,
And thou——Say, wilt thou e’er bestow
One sigh, one thought on me?
On thee my thoughts will ever rest,
And shape their course by thine,
That path thy footsteps love the best
Shall in idea be mine;
My fancy still with thee shall go,
And thine attendant be,
But thou——Say wilt thou e’er bestow
One sigh, one thought on me?
Thro’ silent shades my weary frame
I drag, from thee away,
And oft’ to sullen rocks exclaim—
Oh! where does Ellen stray!
From dawn to dawn, forlorn and slow
I rove and ask for thee,
And thou——Say, wilt thou e’er bestow
One sigh, one tear on me?
How oft’ the fields by thee endear’d
My steps will fondly trace!
How sweet with thee each scene appear’d!
How alter’d now the place!
My tears at ev’ry vestige flow
Of happy love and thee,
And thou——Say, dost thou e’er bestow
One sigh, one tear on me?
Here, at this crystal fount (I’ll say)
Thy cheek with anger burn’d,
But with thine offer’d hand, a ray
Of hope to me return’d.
Here did our hearts in rapture glow
In each our world to see;
But wilt thou ever now bestow
One sigh, one thought on me?
How many blest with happier fates
May now thy dwelling seek!
What crowds of suitors round thy gates,
Of faith, of love will speak!
Oh! Heav’n! while each with zeal shall show
A heart enslav’d by thee,
Say,—can thy constant mind bestow
One sigh, one thought on me?
Think Ellen, on the barbed dart
My bleeding bosom bears;
And Ellen think how pines my heart
With unrequited cares:
Then think of this severest blow,
This leave I take of thee,
And think——but wilt thou e’er bestow
One sigh, one thought on me!
From the Spanish of Quevedo.
How long, oh Love! will last thy cruel reign?
Scarce had my childhood fled on hasty wing,
’Ere I began of Lisa’s charms to sing,
’Ere I in fault’ring accents spoke my pain.
In ardent youth, thou Love, wast still my bane,
Thou o’er my mind romantic hues didst fling,
Thou bad’st me to the dear perdition cling,
No thought had I, nor voice but to complain.
In age maturer, still thy potent spell
Cast o’er my heart the charm of willing woe,
Thy chains I felt, but lov’d them still too well.
E’en now, in life’s cold winter, still I glow,
And tho’ white locks my lengthen’d being tell,
Still beats a heart of fire beneath their snow.
From the Spanish of Quevedo.
Oh! thou bright maid to whom Orlando sighs!
Oh! thou on whom his fine eyes fondly turn!
Believe him not, there’s treach’ry in those eyes,
Nor heed that tender tone of deep concern.
His voice, his looks, his words are all disguise,
Nor does a love sincere his bosom burn;
Yield not thy heart, his fleeting passion’s prize;
Reject his vows, his perjur’d homage spurn.
Not yet a month has pass’d, since at my feet
Orlando lay, and vow’d unchanging love,
And I believ’d the tale nor fear’d deceit;
But soon his fickle fancy long’d to rove,
And for the first fair face he chanc’d to meet,
This heart he left where love and anger strove.
Quand ou aime rien n’est frivole,
Un rien sert ou nuit au bonheur,
Un rien afflige, un rien console,
Il n’est point de rien pour le cœur,
Un rien peut aigrir la souffrance,
Un rien l’adoueit de moitié,
Tout n’est rien pour l’indifference,
Un rien est tout pour l’amitié.
To a heart loving truly can trifles be known!
Half our sorrows arise but from trifles alone;
A mere trifle may grieve us, a trifle console,
For that cannot be trifling which touches the soul;
A trifle may keentest anxiety raise,
A trifle a sweet consolation betrays,
To th’ indifferent trifles are trifles indeed,
But in friendship a trifle may make the heart bleed.
From the Spanish of Quevedo.
Yes Anna, you’re obey’d, this voice no more
Shall tell my tale of sorrow to your ear,
From me, of sleepless nights, no more you’ll hear;
My sighs are hush’d, and all my ’plainings o’er,
Not now for words of pity shall implore;
The timid glance that spoke my bosom’s fear,
My altered form, wan face, and starting tear
No more your heart’s cold rigour shall deplore.
Long time I hop’d that heart which feels for none
Would feel for me, a weary pilgrimage
I long endur’d,’ere this repose was won.
What time, what absence, loss of charms, what age
Could not effect, your chill disdain has done;
My suit I cease, my faith I disengage.
Giuseppe riconosciuto. Parte Prima.
Se a ciascun l’interno affanno
Si leggesse in fronte scritto,
Quanti mai, che invidia fanno,
Ci farebbero pietà!
Si vedria che i lor nemici
Anno in seno; e si reduce
Nel parere a noi felici
Ogni lor felicità.
If ev’ry man’s internal care
Were written on his brow,
How many would our pity share,
Who raise our envy now!
The fatal secret when reveal’d
Of ev’ry aching breast,
Would shew that only when conceal’d,
Their lot appear’d the best.
The Restless Lover.
From Quevedo. Esta la ave en el aire.
Air is allotted to the feather’d race,
The jocund tenants of etherial space,
Fish dwell in waters, and the vivid flame
Their own the frigid salamanders claim;
While man, creation’s lord, on earth alone
Presiding dwells, yet calls the globe his own:
But I, the most unhappy of my kind,
Myself in ev’ry element can find;
Air, is the breath of my incessant sighs,
Water, the gushing torrent of my eyes,
O’er earth my wretched body wanders wide,
With scorching flames my glowing heart is dried.
Written during a Residence of some Months in the Counties of Down and Antrim, in the Summer of the Year 18071807, and in the Dialect spoken by the lower Classes of People in the northern Parts of Ireland.74 F5v 75 F6r
Thou wert false to thy king! oh! my Thady O’Connor,
But ever most true and most tender to me;
And was I not thy choice, when thy choice was an honour?
So my heart, my fond heart must be ever with thee.
Sure ’twas Folly not Vice that impell’d thee to Error,
By the phantom of Freedom seduc’d to thy fate;
Now betray’d and subdu’d, the pale victim of Terror,
The illusion thou find’st, but thou find’st it too late.
Yet that heart whose mad pulses inflam’d thee to Treason,
Oft’ with Pity has melted———oft’ Friendship inspir’d;
Ah then! had but it’s feelings been govern’d by Reason,
How all Erin had wept when my Thady expir’d!
On thy corse deck’d with flow’rs, then a parent’s tears flowing
Had embalm’d thee, their treasure, their glory, their pride;
At the thought of thy virtues, their hearts had been glowing,
For then lov’d and lamented their soldier had died.
But oh! now——thy old father weigh’d down by distresses,
Sits silent in shame ’till Death comes to relieve him,
His heart-gnawing cares to no friend he confesses,
But bids them by signs to pass on and to leave him.
Thy mother!———how lov’d and how loving a mother!
She died———and her lips left no blessing for thee——
From a home render’d wretched, away ran thy brother,
And oh, Thady!——no friend now remains thee but me.
But I’ll not forsake thee, my Thady O’Connor,
Thou repentest——and all is forgotten with me;
In this world thou could’st never find comfort nor honour,
But the God of all mercies has pardon for thee.
Oh! Barbara, tell me, where is it thou’rt going,
In such haste o’er the shingle and wrack?
Why o’er thy wan face are thy tresses loose flowing,
Why dost thou not heed the cold winter-blast blowing,
And the tide that gains over the track?
At the sound of a voice the wanderer started,
And look’d round her in fearful distress,
Then the long locks that hung o’er her dark eyes she parted,
And in accents low, hurried, with tones broken-hearted,
She began her heart’s woe to express.
They’ll shut me up fast, and with cords they will bind me,
If they hear from the cabin I’m flown;
And Dennis! I never will hope more to find thee;
Oh Lady! a friend to the wretched and kind be,
Don’t be saying you met me alone.
Here oft’ have I waited his net while ’twas hauling,
By the rocks where the barnacles build,
And hark! ’tis his voice, o’er the strand loudly calling,
He bade me come here when the night it was falling,
—’Twas his voice—but how sudden it still’d!
Oh Dennis! once more to poor Barbara speaking,
The dear sound let me hear ’ere I die!
Ah! no, ’tis in vain that my lover I’m seeking,
No sound meets my ear save the curlieu’s loud shrieking,
And the sea-gull’s sharp, wearisome cry.
I was fond to believe that my Dennis could call me,
Don’t I know he lies under the wave!
Then I’ll go back with thee, and no harm shall befal thee,
I will not be frantic nor wild to appal thee,
I’ll be silent and calm as the grave.
Good A common salutation among the Irish. luck to you, said Rose Magee,
Ah! go you till The word till is generally used instead of to. the hills of Morne! A chain of mountains in the county of Down, perhaps some of the highest ground in Ireland.
Ah! bid my Barney come till me,
And tell him Rose is all fornlorn.
I cannot want I cannot want means I cannot do without. Je ne puis me passer le. . . . . his eyes so bright,
I cannot want his voice of love;
I cannot want his precious sight,
Oh! why did Barney honey rove!
If till the hills of Morne you go,
Ah! bear me with you on your car,
But don’t be letting us be slow,
For I’m in haste, the way is far.
They tell me I’ve been lying long, Lying in this sense means bed-ridden.
They tell me I am wild and mad,
But I will be both stout and strong
When I will be at ease and glad.
I’ve set The word set instead of let is universally in use. my cabin, sold my cow,
Nor childer Children. but this bairn This Scotticism is very frequent. have I;
And who is after thinking now
To bury Rose, if she should die? The peasants of Ulster are very superstitious and solicitous about the place and manner of their burial.
Then let the thanks of Rose Magee
Go with you till the hills of Morne,
And Barney life shall bless with me
The day your honour’s grace was born.
Och! Dennis M‘Kirtie.
Your brogues are so dirty,
You can never come into the hall.
Sure, Judy O’Grady
I’ll spake to my lady,
Will I stand in the lobby and bawl.
Barring Barring signifies except. whiskey and whey,
I’ve ate nothing to-day,
No gossoon Gossoon, errand-boy; from the Frenchgarcon. in the land could go faster.
No man, bairn or baist
Could be making more haste,
If he ran to the wake Wake, funeral, which it is considered a great piece of disrespect to fail attending. of his master.
Now, to tell you my case,
Clane and out o’ the face, From beginning to end.
A small accident happen’d me now,
To make no more pother,
I’ve kilt Kilt signifies bruised or wounded, sometimes to death. my own brother,
And I’d best hide away from the row.
Poor cratur! and did ye?
Who was it that bid ye?
Ah? now Dennis, you’ve not kilt him dead?
Sure myself Myself for I is very common. does not know,
’Twas the deuce of a blow,
And it somehow fell right on his head.
How came ye to fight?
Ye were friends t’other night,
Och! sure I can’t tell you my honey,
One wordbroughtword brought another,
Then came such a pother,
Murtagh bother’d like mad for his money.
Sure (said I) be contint,
The thirteens are all spint,
And, bad luck to me, Bad luck to me is synonimous with the English phrase of More fool I. laugh’d in his face;
So he out’s with his knife,
And I thought on my life,
He’d have left me for dead on the place.
By the holy The holy poker of Hell, see the Essay on Irish Bulls. ’tis true,
So then what could I do!
Shillela soon bade him be quiet;
So I thought it my best,
To come here without rest,
And be hiding away from the riot.
So Judy O’Grady
I’ll spake to my lady,
Swate soul! she was nurst by my mother,
And she’ll make me to stay
Till it’s all done away,
Don’t she know I’m her own foster-brother.
Come live on potatoes, swate lady wi’ me
(Cried the poor Irish lad who was crazy)
How blest but to lie at thy feet should I be!
Sure an egg-shell The Irish cotters generally contrive to procure whiskey, though they may not be able to make the purchase of a cup. of whiskey were nectar wi’ thee!
In a cabin wi’ thee I’d be aisy.
I’ve been round by the bog, at the porter-house waiting,
All to catch but a beam of thy beauty,
And I’ve said ten Ave-Maries to gain but a mating
Ah! feel how my heart, my poor heart it is bating
Don’t be killing poor Paddy Ahmuty!
Och! bright is the sun when it shines in the morning,
And awakes my poor eyelids to sorrow,
Far brighter the locks your fair forehead adorning,
But grief turns them gray, look on mine for a warning,
It was done ’twixt the night and the morrow.
We were eight, and there’s not one, save me, that is living,
’Twas the Orange-boys kill’d all my brothers,
And the deaths of that day I can ne’er be forgiving,
I ne’er see a soldier without some misgiving,
They’ve destroy’d all the sons of our mothers.
Bad luck to the man who first wrong’d our swate nation,
And bad luck to the great London traders!
Since the Union was past, we’ve found nought but vexation.
We’re crush’d down by the weight of a cruel taxation,
And the land is ate up by invaders.
When I think on our wrongs, my poor brain it is burning,
Were I quiet, the dead would accuse me;
Och! ne’er will I see Erin’s glory returning,
There’s no comfort for Paddy whichever way turning,
Och! then do not thy pity refuse me!
Sir Dennis and the Banshee. The Banshee is a female spirit, remarkable for her attachment to the descendants of the ancient Irish, and her melancholy wailings, which presage death or misfortune to the families she attends: she most frequently appears in the figure of a little old woman in a red mantle, with long silver hair, which floats in the wind, and falls over her face, which since she comes to announce calamity is bathed in tears. If it be objected to the above ballad, that it is a tale full of noise and fury, signifying nothing, the writer’s apology must be, that it is not invented by her, but merely versified from oral tradition, and she hopes that consciousness of its deficiency of connections may prove that it is not told by an idiot. The colouring only is hers; the outline was supplied by a County-Down Sybil, an old woman of Newtown-Ardes, who seemed to hold every circumstance of at least equal authenticity with her creed.
It was night, and Sir Dennis was sate in his hall,
And his pointers were sleeping around,
When a strange voice was heard at his porter to call,
And Sir Dennis arose at the sound.
He gaz’d with attention, no form met his eye,
But the portal was shrouded in shade,
He heard not the words, but the wind it was high,
And the branches a loud rustling made.
O stranger, come tell me your tidings I pray,
Cried Dennis, And sit by my fire.
He paus’d, and he listen’d in anxious delay,
And again did an answer require.
The strange voice repeated his name, but no more,
Nor replied to his courteous request;
But Sir Dennis impatient the court to explore,
Went to rouse his attendants from rest.
Come Ryan, Gommel, Murphy, Patrick, O’Niel,
He repeated, but not one would wake,
He shook them, he sounded his horn, blew a peal,
But their slumbers no efforts could break.
Are they drunk? quoth Sir Dennis, When morning appears,
They shall rue the return of the light,
But my pointers, I trust, still have voices and ears,
They shall ’tend me as servants to-night.
He calls, and he whistles each favourite dog,
But not one makes an effort to stir,
Each lies by the fire like a motionless log,
And the lash sounds in vain on each cur.
By St. Patrick ’tis strange, quoth Sir Dennis, I’ll try
If my horses are fast lock’d in sleep,
Even then I’ll the force of enchantments defy,
And alone issue forth from the keep.
He op’d the wide door, when a palfrey appear’d,
And he vaulted in haste on his back,
He travers’d the court whence the voice he had heard,
And he glimps’d a dim form on the track.
’Tis the stranger Sir Dennis exclaim’d, I will hear
All the tidings he came to impart;
Now my eyes shall behold him, and not till my ear
Is inform’d will I let him depart.
His horse gallopp’d well, and he soon brought him nigh
To the figure he long’d to behold,
When a woman’s pale visage astonish’d his eye,
She was meagre, and wither’d, and old.
Her mantle was red, and her long silver hair
Wav’d wildly, as borne by the wind,
Her eyes swam in tears, and her brow mark’d by care,
Seem’d a warning to Dennis design’d.
Her voice froze his blood, as these accents she spake,
Oh Sir Dennis! thy terrors I see,
But cannot my child of adoption forsake,
For behold thine attendant—Banshee.
Mysterious protectress! Sir Dennis exclaim’d,
I will follow where’er thou shalt lead,
My ancestors all were for enterprize fam’d,
And I dare the most desperate deed.
Then follow me now quoth the beldame, and fast
O’er the furze-cover’d mountain she ran,
With a speed more than human, as borne by the blast,
And close follow’d the resolute man.
She led him thro’ ditches, thro’ hedges and lanes,
Down a steep rocky fall, to the sea,
Nor the breaker’s white surf her mad purpose restrains
——She plung’d in, and cried out Follow me.
Sir Dennis’ heart fail’d as he stood on the brink,
But he thought on his forefather’s fame,
He plung’d in the wave, arm’d with courage to sink,
’Ere disgrace the O’Callaghan name.
But his horse swam with ease, and he soon gain’d an isle,
Where appear’d his attendant Banshee,
Her hand wav’d in triumph, her face wore a smile,
And she said, thou art worthy of me.
And observe the same path, now Sir Dennis, farewell,
And a white mist involv’d her from sight,
While Sir Dennis amazed, on the brink scarce could tell
If his heart beat with wonder or fright.
But he watch’d there till morning, and gaz’d on the tide,
When a boat drifted close to the shore,
First plung’d in his horse, then he sprang by his side,
And with transport he seiz’d on the oar.
He landed, he mounted, he rode on in haste,
And he travers’d his way back again,
He trac’d the same path, thro’ the wood and the waste,
Thro’ the wild rocky pass and the plain.
At length the white keep of his castle appear’d,
Dimly seen on the edge of the moor.
At the sight of his home was Sir Dennis’ heart cheer’d,
And he now thought his hopes were secure.
When he reach’d the wide portal, what sight met his eye!
His attendants lay stretch’d on the ground,
Pale in death were their faces, their weapons lay nigh,
And the blood gush’d from each gaping wound.
What dismay smote his heart! he rush’d forward to find
If the foe held possession within,
But ’twas silent and desolate all, and his mind
Was oppress’d by the fate of his kin
O Patrick! had I been at hand to preserve
Thou had’st not thus ingloriously died,
O Gommel, he exclaim’d, but he paus’d to observe
That Gommel heav’d him up on his side.
O Sir Dennis, the dying man faintly began,
Do I see then thy sweet face once more!
Thy kindred were true, for we fought man to man,
And Sir Phelim repuls’d o’er and o’er.
But our efforts were vain——for by numbers o’ercome—
――O Sir Dennis――oh! pray for my soul――
Blessed Jesus receive me!—he ceas’d, and was dumb,
And his eyes did in agony roll.
He gasp’d, and he struggled, then gave up his breath,
And Sir Dennis hung o’er him in grief,
Then gaz’d on the court, spread with carnage and death,
And a full flood of tears gave relief.
Then he rous’d, and by Fate and St. Patrick he swore
That Sir Phelim should die by his hand,
That their plunder his free-booting clan should restore,
And their blood should empurple the strand.
or, The Nuns of Charity:
A Tragic Play, in Five Acts.94 G7v 95 G8r
Clara; or, The Nuns of Charity:
A Tragic Play, in Five Acts.ThisPlayThis Play is founded on the story of the Siege de Rochelle, a novel written by Madame de Genlis, but with the introduction of several original characters, and some alterations, to bring the various incidents into the compass of five acts. The time supposed to pass during the representation, is one evening, and the entire day succeeding. During the two first acts the scene is in the Castle of Valmonsor: it changes afterwards to a prison, a convent, and part of the woods of Valmonsor. The scene is laid in France, on the banks of the Rhone, and the period of time supposed to be the sixteenth century. 96 G8v
The Count of Valmonsor.
The Count of Rohan.
Soldiers, Servants, and Peasants.
Julio (a Child.)
Scene I.The Scene represents a Room in the Castle of Valmonsor. Enter Morel and Annette.
Well, Mr. Morel, it is all very true that you say, and you are quite in the right of it, to speak up for your master, and I am sure I have nothing to say against him, he is a fine young gentleman, that is the truth of it; and he has behaved hinmself very genteely to me; I am sure I should be sorry to say any thing to the prejudice of a gentleman who has such a pretty fancy in rings shews her finger and gives away a purse so genteely shewing a purse but all that I say is this, my young lady might have done better.
What! you mean she might have married some prince or a duke, I suppose, and had a litle court of her own, and guards and maids of honour, and been called Your Serene Highness at every word――I think My Lady the Countess sounds every bit as well.――
Aye, aye, but she might have done better.
Done better! That is just as people think, you know; every one to his fancy; why, when I tell people that you and I are going to make a match of it, every body tells me that I might do better.
You do better indeed! Fine assurance, truly!
That is just what I tell them. Look you, says I, it is not because I am a fine young fellow, with a good purse of sequins in my pocket; and it is not because my father was a musqueteer, and my mother own woman to the first H 98 H1v 98 lady of the bedchamber to the Princess of Bavaria; and it is not because my relations have made some figure in the world, not to say a word of my own talents and qualifications, that I am to give myself airs, and look down upon a good little girl who is so very fond of me.
I fond of you!
To be sure you are.
Not I, believe me.
No! Then you are not the sensible girl I took you for.
Why, to be sure, Mr. Morel, I do not pretend to more sense than my neighbours; but then the best of me is, that I have not a bit of pride.
I wonder at that, when you have had me for your humble servant so long; and I am sure that is honour enough to puff up the pride and vanity of any little girl in the province.
Ah! but for all that, I am not a bit proud; for I always say, when my Lady, or the Count, or the General, or any of the great people say to me Annette, why do you throw yourself away upon that silly fellow Morel?――
What! Do they call me silly fellow?
To be sure they do. Annette, why do you throw yourself away upon that silly fellow Morel? That is what they say.
Silly fellow!—Ah! that must be for want of knowing me better.
I don’t think it is, I have known you for five years now;——but then, when they say that, I always make answer, To be sure your Excellency, or To be sure your Lordship, or To be sure your Ladyship, just as it happens to be, you know, it is not, but that I have much better offers, for not to mention the scores and scores of letters that I have sent back, without ever so much as breaking the seal···············
Ah! but you peep’d in at the sides.
Without so much as breaking the seal. There was the Duke of Parma’s head-man, and there was the first violin in my lord’s band, Mr. ··············Oh! dear! I can’t think of his name.
Never mind his name.
Oh! Lord, I must remember his name, or else I shall stick here for ever,—can never get on without it.
Well, well—I know his name—it was Angiolini, or Diavolini,—or some such thing.
Angiolini——No, I did not mean Angiolini, though he was in love with me too; he was very near shooting himself, because I would not have him.
Really now——what a silly fellow!
What! because he liked me?
No, no, I must not say that, lest I should hit myself a slap in the face over this Mr. Angiolini’s shoulder; but I must needs say, he was a very silly fellow, to think of posting out of the world—while such a sweet girl as you remained in it.
La! Mr. Morel—you are so complaisant!— Well, really, if you always keep in the same mind, I won’t be sure that I could do better.
No, to be sure not, nor your lady neither.
Oh! yes, my lady might, for between you and me, your master is no great fortune.
The more shame for his father, the old Count that is gone, for he took offence that his son should marry his first wife, without asking his consent, and left all his estates to his grandson, little Julio.
Ah! that was a shame, but Julio is a sweet boy; I dare say his father had rather have him than all the money.
To be sure he would; but since children do die sometimes, it is some comfort to know, if any thing happened to Julio, he would get all his estates back again.
And the title.——He can’t be a Marquis unless he gets the land.
And then, over and above all that, to make the matter worse, what does the other old Don, my first lady’s father do! but take amiss some nonsense that his daughter put in his head, and then do just the very same, and leave every thing to the boy, and not one livre to the Count!——
Well, to be sure, that is strange; why this child seems to be a sort of elder brother to his father, for he comes in between him and all the good things.
Aye, but his father thinks him the best thing of all, for he loves the very ground he walks upon.
And my young lady too, she takes to him as if he were her own son. Here he comes, sweet fellow!
Annette, where is my mamma?
Your mamma, my love! and who is she?
My mamma Clara. Papa and mamma will be married to-morrow, and I am to go to church, and then we are all to go in a coach, and see the soldiers, and hear the guns go—bang!—bang!—
Aye, it is a hard thing for a man to go fighting, just after he is married.
That’s my mamma.
Here comes my lady.
Well, I will stay and have one look at her; I know she likes to see me, because I put her in mind of my master.
Very like she may, just as I like to see your monkey, because he puts me in mind of you.
Monkey truly!—however, you have us both in a chain, so let it pass.
Annette, bring me my veil; I must go out with Julio. Exit Annette. Is there no one in the hall, Morel?
No, my lady; my master bade me say he could not come home till a late hour.
Has he arms with him?
Yes, my lady.
And attendants?———How many?
Oh! yes, papa has got one, two, three, five men with him.
to Morel. You may depart,——Stop! Did you not hear a carriage in the court? Fly and see who it is. Exit Morel. Surely it must be the Baron!——How awful is this meeting with a father whom I have never beheld since my infancy! While I remained in my convent, how did I languish from year to year, in expectation of seeing my only remaining parent! I am sure I shall love him; my heart throbs whenever I name him.——And yet, how singular has been his conduct! How oft, while his magnificent presents made me the envy of my companions, have I shed tears in secret at the coldness of his letters! Scarcely sometimes he owns the filial tie. Instead of beloved daughter, or my daughter, he addresses me with the cold formality of Madam, or Lady Clara.—Oh! if such be the fathers of the great world, would to Heaven that mine had been a peasant!
Don’t you love my papa?
My Julio! more than life I love him!—Dear child, in whom all our fondest mutual wishes center! Sweet boy! thou art the living portrait of Valmonsor; the same expression, the same features, more delicately touched,—thou art more dear to me than I have words to tell.
Oh! I hear somebody coming. Don’t let them see me; I want to frighten them.
Merciful Heav’ns! it is my father!
Oh! it is aunt Amelia; hide me, hide me.
I breathe again. Enter Countess Amelia. Dearest Amelia!
Clara, you are as much devoted to that child as if he were indeed your own; but you must prepare for an important interview; the Baron de Montalban is arrived.
My father! Where is he? I must fly to ask his blessing; let me go, Julio.
Stop, he is not yet at leisure.
Not at leisure to see his child!
No; he is shut up in the library, with the persons who conduct my brother’s affairs, and is looking over the old Count’s will.
Have you then seen him?
Yes, he was announced to me on his arrival.
You may go, Julio; go and play, my love. Exit Julio. Did he not ask for me?
Oh! tell me every thing—How did he look?
Why,—like a nobleman;—he is very richly drest.
But his countenance.——Is he gracious?——
He is very polite.
Did he seem grave or merry?
Rather serious, than gay.
Did he speak much?
Yes, he asked many questions.
No, thy were about my brother.
Happy subject to a sister whose every answer must delight a father! Envy itself cannot find any thing to 103 H4r 103 blame in the character, the manners, the person of Valmonsor.
The Baron did not speak of his character, or manners.
Of what then?
Of his fortune, of his expectations, of the deeds which give every thing to Julio.
Why should that grieve my father? we have enough for comfort, and if pride must be gratified, will not the magnificence of our child beam a reflected splendour upon us? I would not change our destiny for his, if I could do’t by holding up a finger.
Aye, but my brother soon must join his troop; the Saxon force advances every hour, and should he fall—— what then remains for you?
Could wealth console me in a grief like that! No: in a cloister’d cell to weep my lord, I should have little use for worldly riches.
Madam, the Baron begs to be admitted.
Tell my dear father I attend him here.
Rise, my daughter, that posture suits only slaves and criminals. To Amelia Madam, you will excuse the tenderness of a father; my first hommage should have been to you; it is to your care that I owe the graces and accomplishments of my daughter. However brilliant her career in life may prove, it is to you solely that I shall ascribe the merit.
Rather Sir, to that Power whence flows every gift, which our weak endeavours can merely cultivate and improve.——I would not make a Higher Name familiar in my speech; but allow me, Sir, to say, that from Nature 104 H4v 104 your daughter has received a mind of the first order, and a feeling heart;——her person———
Is every thing I could desire.———I trace in her countenance the characteristic features of the family of Montalban; a house no less renowned for the beauty of its daughters, than the bravery of its sons.—It would be im possible for a moment to doubt of her descent.
Yet Sir, her countenance bears no similitude to yours.
The difference of age, of sex, of climate.—I have spent several years in the hot latitudes; yet, if I know myself, we are still very much alike. WhatsayWhat say you, Hoffman?
Oh! yes, my lord; very much alike indeed.——
Yet, at the moment of re-union with a child deservedly so dear to me;—after a separation so cruel to my feelings, so contrary to my intentions, how can I part with her again! Nothing less than the high veneration I have for the House of Valmonsor, the personal respect I feel for your brother, Madam, could induce me to resign the rights of a parent over this beloved child, by giving her up to the authority of a husband.
Oh! Sir, if you knew Valmonsor, you would feel that your rights will not be diminshed, they will be extended —they will not be lost, they will be doubled; you will not lose a daughter, but you will gain a son.
When Sir, my brother first declared his love for Lady Clara, your consent to the alliance was openly demanded, and was freely given.——I cannot now suppose that the Baron de Montalban would wish to retract his promise.
With Montalban, Madam, to wish and to perform are always one; a mind determined in itself, and equal to any enterprize, neither finds, nor allows of obstacles. If I give my daughter to your brother I give her freely.
If!—Oh! my father! what mean those cruel words?
Why, nothing!—nothing!—what mean half the idle words we hear and speak, but nothing!—and to make something out of nothing is the fool’s pleasure and the madman’s privilege.
Sir,—are you angry?
I angry? Never was angry in my life; you never saw me angry, did you, Hoffman?
Oh! no, my lord, never angry at any thing—never.
Why, Clara, you look heavily. Did you receive those presents I sent you; those gems, and the rich crucifix?
Oh, Sir! why have you robbed yourself, to shower profusion on your child? take back your jewels, they are too rich for me;—convert them into money for yourself.
Money for me!—Do you suppose I want it?
Forgive me, Sir, but busy tongues will talk.
Aye!—And what say they?
They say, Sir—but forgive me what I speak;—they say your ruined fortunes have compelled you to sell your lands, your castles,—nay, more—your very equipage—your horses, dismiss your followers, and obscurely dwell, with one poor servant ’neath a borrowed roof.
Say they no more?
More than I dare to utter.
Speak freely—this is sport to me—go on—
Ah! not to me;——my midnight pillow has been often steeped in tears this tale of grief wrung from me— almost unknown, Sir, as you were—I lov’d, I honour’d, and I pitied you.
I charge you on your duty to go on.
Sir, you command, and I am bound to obey. They say, Sir, that your debts threaten you safety; your liberty, I mean; that while you walk abroad fear and suspicion haunt your dangerous steps. Nay, that e’en now. . . . .
Enough.—Now fix your eyes upon your father— Dare you speak truth?
Oh! Sir; since first I learned to lisp your honour’d name, falsehood has never dwelt upon these lips.
Then, as you fear an angry father’s curse, answer me truly—Knows Valmonsor this?
Sir, tho’ displeasure darken on your brow, I must declare Valmonsor knows it all.
Why, then, he knows a very idle tale of one who cares not what the world says of him. We who stand high above the busy and the sordid crowd are but the loftier marks for Slander’s bolts to aim at.—The marvellous, the terrible, the strange, women and children hear with fond delight; but for the gallant Count Valmonsor!——I must something wonder that a soldier of his promise should lend his ear to such a gossip’s tale.——Go, lady Clara, sort your bridal dresses; look out your choicest jewels for to-morrow; the hours move slowly till I see your bridegroom. Health and prosperity wait on your choice!——farewell!
Comes forward. Is this a father?
Is he not mine?
What have I done to cross him? and yet sure
He left me in displeasure; for tho’ smiles
Play’d on his lip, and tho’ his words were gay,
Yet angry scorn flash’d from his eyes, as tho’
He loath’d to see me.
Perhaps he deems my brother not deserves you.
He not deserve me!—I have often wished
His name were less illustrious, or his genius
Not so o’ertopping to all other mens’,
I am too far beneath his wond’rous merit;
Yet, if to love can make equality,
Then only can I be Valmonsor’s equal.
See where he comes.
Here is mamma.
My life, my Clara, on the wings of love
Whose haste allows no pause, feels no fatigue;
Breathless and eager I am come to greet you.
You have outstripped the wind; what haste you made!
I have brought one you will be glad to see.
Who then, my Lord?
Your father confessor.
The good Anselmo! Peace is on his lips.
Is not your father come?
But now he left us.
Where is he? I must pay my duty to him.
I will conduct you to him—this way come.
Take me between you, for mamma loves Julio.
Montalban, I have mark’d thee well;
There is a gloomy craft upon thy brow,
There is a silent sneer upon thy lip—
A smooth and studied manner in thy words:
No honest man will love, no wise man trust,
If right I spell the legend on thy face,
(For an experienced eye can read the soul
Writ on the table of the countenance.)
Treason and cruelty have rul’d thy mind;
Cultur’d by low self-interest alone,
Till every finer feeling rooted out,
It spreads a frightful wilderness of guilt
Which bears to flow’r to Hope, no fruit to Heav’n.
Clara has ev’ry virtue, ev’ry charm;
I love her as myself, and yet I wish
My brother had not match’d with a Montalban.
Too oft’ the scion from a canker’d stem108 H6v 108
Betrays the promise of its early bloom,
Fair tho’ it seem, and lovely to the eye.
But let me not anticipate distress;
’Tis Folly, and not Prudence, which impels us
To pierce Futurity, and o’ertake Time.
End of the First Act.
Scene I.Time—the early Morning. Scene the same. Enter Clara and Father Anselmo.
I shall remember your instructions, Sir.
Let them sink deep into thy heart, my child;
Life opens fair upon thy early course,
Hope swells the canvas, Pleasure gives the gale;
Let not Discretion slumber at the helm.
Full many a day which dawn’d as bright as thine,
After a noon of storms has clos’d in sorrow:
Give not thy soul to joy, without reserve.
Father, should sorrow come, I’ll think on you,
And call your pious lessons to my mind.
Should sorrow come——ah! then I know thou wilt;
But I beseech thee to regard them now,
While thy full heart is buoyant with delight,
And ev’ry pulse beats high with Hope and Joy,
Now offer up a willing sacrifice.
Bring not to him who gave thee ev’ry good,
The meagre off’ring of a broken heart—
A spirit harass’d with the world’s distresses.
Oh! father! guide me—tell me how to live.
This do:—When Conscience speaks, attend her voice,
Start at no sacrifice, however great,
Commit no willing sin, however small.
—And now let my paternal blessing guard thee,
Till I shall meet thee in that solemn hour,
When I shall join thy hand to thy Valmonsor’s.
Thou excellent old man! I love thee much;
Yet am I scarce deserving of thy cares;
For e’en while I attend thy admonitions,
My rising spirits, only half subdued,
Fling from my mind each thought of sombre hue,
And give me all to Love and to Valmonsor.
My father loves him too, he loves his child;
I saw him fondle Julio on his knee,
Gaze on his little palm, and say it told
Long life and happiness.——
Why did I fear he would repine to know
Julio had all the wealth, Valmonsor nothing;
He is too generous.——Sure I did him wrong;
Yet he has suffer’d from unfav’ring Fortune;
Only for him I mourn our straighten’d means.
Enter Servant with a packet. What bring you here?
Madam, from Germany. I think for you.
Oh! ’tis from my mysterious unknown friend,
Who sends me ev’ry year a precious gift;
How shall I cut these cords? Oh! now ’tis open,
What have I here! merciful Heav’ns! a knife! Takes out a great knife, a rope ladder, and a silk-handkerchief.
And this,—and this—what mean these horrid things!
This handkerchief for me! these ropes! this knife!
Are these the precious gifts I looked to see!
Stay,—once again to look upon the cover——
What have I done! it bears my father’s name:
How shall I meet his anger! how conceal
My knowledge of this strange mysterious package.
Ha! some one comes! No,—twas a fancied noise;
How cowardly must guilty creatures feel!
When I, who do but fear I’ve made a fault.111 H8r 111
Tremble and shake, and fear each passing sound!
It was not Fancy—Surely some one comes,——
Quick let me gather up these fearful things.
Clara, my love, will you not come to me?
Oh! yes,—just now—immediately—not yet.
Come, what detains you? by a lover’s watch,
Moments of expectation are as hours.
What have you there you seem to wrap, and fold, and
muffle in your veil?
Why—nothing—but my veil——
Aye, but beneath your veil?
Why—there is nought
But my embroidery—that is all indeed.
Well, I am answered.—Come without delay.
What have I said! a poor unworthy falsehood,
A pitiful, prevaricating lie,
And to Valmonsor! to that heart of Truth,
Without whose faith, life were a blank to me!
Oh! father Anselmo! truly might’st thou tell,
How storms may blast the fairest opening day,
Since Shame and Fear at once oppress my heart,
But now to lay these in my father’s sight,
And close this odious package from all eyes.
Scene II.The scene changes. Enter Montalban and Amelia from opposite sides.
Countess Amelia risen at this hour!
Is it your custom, lady?
No; but last night sleep did not visit me.
Were you disturbed?
Only by thinking on that near event,
Which touches you more deeply than myself—
My brother’s marriage with your daughter, Sir.
Have you no fear of robbers in this castle?
Oh! no, for we are guarded by a bulwark.
Indeed! where is it?
In our people’s hearts.
No vassal train, no sordid band of slaves,
Writhing beneath the lawless iron rule
Of feudal Tyranny, surround our walls;
Our peasants, free and happy, love their lords.
I pledge myself that ev’ry one of those
Brave, hardy mountaineers would risk his life,
For me, or Valmonsor, or his child.
Oh! that is fond enthusiasm on your part,——
Trust me, I know the world, and well I know
The rich are ever hated by the poor.
And who is poor? Not he who daily earns
His bread by daily toil, and reigns at night
The master of his shed. Not he, the man
Who carves his hardy fortune for himself,
Who asks no favor, and incurs no debt;
What though his meal be coarse, his drink the stream;
What tho’ his rude, unfashionable garb,
Serve but to shelter and to clothe his limbs,
Yet he is independant,——he resists113 I1r 113
The lash of Tyranny, however named,
Stands firm against Oppression, nor is he
So mean, so abject, or so poor a thing,
To sell his thoughts, opinions, actions, words,
To swell the party of a favor’d courtier.
You speak with warmth——
I speak then as I feel,
Yet hear me, and I’ll tell you who is poor—
The man who riots in luxurious waste,
Who spends his lavish life amid a tribe
Of thankless parasites, who crowd his board,
Who flatter, play on, laugh at, and despise him;
He who with ceaseless vigilance must fly
His lawful creditors.—Yet more than they,
Than angry Justice, or the dungeon’s gloom,
He fears two enemies, his daily care
Cannot destroy, his Conscience and his Time——
We’ve no such poor men in Valmonsor Woods.
And never may you! Live your vassals long,
Wise and contented, loyal, brave, and happy.
And lady, long live you to think them so!
No more I tax them with last night’s alarms.
Alarms, my lord!
Aye, Madam, at the silent hour of night,
When Nature seem’d to pause, and not a leaf
Curl’d in the breeze, I heard a sullen sound
Which seem’d as feet beneath my casement passed;
Soon voices too——in consultation deep,
I thought perhaps, for such your state requires,
You posted sentries on the terrace-walk;
I rose and called aloud——no voice return’d
A friendly answer,——but in seeming terror,
Quick they dispers’d.
Why this is strange indeed!
asideWhat! does it work!
I’ll to my brother, and relate your story.
Do so; I will confirm it on my oath,
Oh! Sir—your word—your word, Sir, is enough;
Oaths are for ordinary men, my lord.
Proud lady! by no ordinary man
Your spirit shall be curb’d, your fears arous’d;
You need no barrier but your people’s love――
Their love shall not preserve that hated child
Who stands between me and the wealth I covet;
Not on his baby brow shall fall the prize,
I for my own have mark’d thro’ Clara’s means.
He dies to-day——a well dissembled tale
Shall make it seem that ruffians bore him hence,
And drown’d him in the streams that wash the walls.
What if they seek him there!——the rapid Rhone
Runs too impetuous to detain his body;
Then my last night’s banditti shall be thought on,
And all be laid to their account and Fate.
Soon will their tears give way to bridal joy;
I, with a ready face for either hue,
Improve the time, but seem to give it way,
Till the long-wish’d for wedding come at last,
And I’m restor’d to freedom and to favor,
My Princes’ smiles, and all the world’s delight.
I tell you that I don’t know, and if I did know I would not tell you.
So then, you don’t know any of your master’s secrets; Lord, what a shame to be so close and reserved, when he has such a civil, discreet young man for his valet!
Ah! very true, Mrs. Annette, but it is not every body who knows how to distinguish merit as you do.
Why, Lord bless me, only to see now! as soon as ever you came into the house, I said to myself——
from withinHoffman! what Hoffman!
Hush! there’s my master calling.——
Well, and what then! what has that to do with what I was saying?
from within Hoffman!
Oh! Lord, I must be off.—I’ll hear the rest another time.
Go your ways for a stupid unmannerly dolt as you are. Well, if ever I demean myself to talk any more to a gentleman’s gentleman, who has so little manners as to cut a lady off short in the middle of her speech!——I would as soon be cut off in the middle of my dinner, or lose deal with the game in my hand. Oh! dear! dear! what will this world come to!——
Scene III.Scene changes to a Gothic Pavilion, with high Windows. Enter Julio.
I wonder where every body is? nobody comes to play with me; they are all going to be married, I suppose. Mamma promised to bring me some fruit, and now she does not come: I won’t love her if she tells fibs. Oh! here she is. Enter Montalban from the Forest. Dear me! who are you? pray don’t hurt me. Montalban seizes him. Ah! pray don’t pinch me so, I will be good—indeed, indeed, I will—oh! pray—oh!—
Stops Julio’s voice. Why, yes—your future sins I think I may take upon my own conscience. Ha! some one comes.—Now Fortune be my own.
Julio! why, Julio! ah! he has hid himself, the little rogue;—I’ll serve him with a trick as good as his. She puts the basket upon a table, and hides herself behind a canopy. Surely I hear his little feet approaching!—No, it was fancy;—but he’s not far off.——How will he smile and dimple when he sees me! Ha! now he comes.
I could not kill him:—When his crimson blood
First stain’d my blade, my foolish heart gave way,
And Nature seem’d to plead for Infancy.
I gave him to the waves, which hurried past,
And mock’d his cries, more pitiless than I.—
Thou evidence of ruffian feet, hang there,
And give a lively colour to the deed. Hangs the rope-ladder on the window.
Now to hide these, and I’m myself again.
Merciful Powers! was that my father’s voice!
Or all a fearful dream of horrid things!
Did he not speak of murder, wounds, and waves!
Can he be mad?——Or am I then so curst
To have a lawless murd’rer for my father?
Sure ’twas a horrid dream which crept upon me,
And some one waked me with a sudden shock! Looks round her.
Was there not somewhat thrown at me? Oh! Heav’n!
A knife, a bloody knife, and see, oh! horror!
Poor Julio’s cloak——the fatal handkerchief.——
Oh! for a sudden night to close my eyes!
My father murders Julio!——Curst Ambition!
This is thy work, these are thy bloody deeds.117 I3r 117
Can I call Vengeance on the murd’rer down,
And see it strike upon a father’s head!
Yet can I bow the knee, and ask a blessing,
From hands yet reeking with an infant’s gore?
Direct me Heaven.—I have no guide but thee.
Sound the alarm-bell, fire the castle guns, go arm the peasants, and arrest all passengers; go search the river, seek the forest round.
What, Julio!—Julio!—oh! distraction! Julio!
Clara, what mean you with these bloody spoils?
Know you the child is lost? Clara hides her face. What have you done?
Your hands are stain’d with blood. Speak to me, Clara;
Have you not seen the child? is the child killed?
Oh! that he were not!
Clara, tell me all.
How have you borne to see such horrid sight.
Ask me no questions, for I dare not speak.
You dare not!—Horror has bereft your mind.
To the Peasants. None from the forest!—None without the walls!
Some one within the house! accursed lie!——
Who in the house but lov’d the darling child,
So lately here—but now a saint in Heav’n.
Oh! gracious Power, by whose divine permission
This bolt of wrath has fall’n upon my head!
Oh! grant me strength to bear it, and direct
Full on the criminal head the ray of swift detection!
Forbid it, Heav’n!
What do I hear!—my life—thy tender spirits118 I3v 118
Are all o’erwhelm’d by this too horrid scene,
Retire, and leave this gloomy hall of woe.
Mysterious Heav’n! what mean these fatal signs?
What signs, my Lord?
Can I believe my eyes? Can this be real?
Oh! let me die, ’ere full conviction come,
Which now breaks slowly on my stagger’d sense.
Why do you gaze so earnestly on these?
Can they give back our darling Julio’s corse?
Can they direct you to the murd’rer’s haunt?
Look to your wife, see Clara faints and dies.
My wife! who is my wife?—I have no child.—
Oh! my young master! oh! my precious babe!
We hop’d he would have reigned over our sons,
And our grandchildren dress’d his honour’d grave.
Coming to the front of the scene, and speaking low.
Did I not surely see them in her hands?
Did she not seek to hide them from my sight?
Did she not answer with a poor evasion?
Why her voice falter’d, and her crimson’d brow
Shewed that a horrid secret fill’d her mind.
’Twas some one from within who threw this ladder;
Some one who knew the house has done this deed;
Some one who knew the child would be alone
Just at this early hour.
My Lord, Valmonsor.
Speak not to me, thou murdress of my child,
Thy hands still reeking with his innocent blood;
Hence from my sight! ’ere with this very arm,
Which would have brav’d the world in thy defence,
’Ere I knew thee, thou fiend; for what thou art,
I send thee unrepenting to the shades.
Oh! thou hast kill’d me with those cruel words;
Hear me, in pity hear me.
But one word;
Name but the wretch, and at thy feet I fall,
To worship thee, and sue for thy forgiveness.
Aye, tell us that, and you are cleared at once.
Know you not then who shed this infant’s blood?
Oh! my dear lady, speak, for Mercy’s sake.
If you will kill me,—take my life at once;—
The author of this crime I cannot name;
I bow to your decree.
Prevaricating wretch! thy curst Ambition
Has lost me happiness, and lost thee Heav’n.——
Oh! what an angel-face conceals that heart,
So black, and so perfidious?—While I gaze,
My spirit disavows this full conviction.——
Clara! beloved Clara! speak one word,—
And I’ll believe thee guiltless;—do but look—
Hold up thy hand, and thou are still a saint.
She killed our young lord, the strange lady killed him:
Away with her! away with her! a wicked stepmother;
Away with her!
What sounds of discord shake this happy house?
Is this a bridal train! What mean you all?
Why do you fix your eager looks on me
As you would read my soul? What has been done?
Why stand you thus amaz’d?
Oh! wretched father!
Oh! unhappy sire!
Speak for my lady, Sir,-- you know her heart.
Our young lord’s kill’d, Sir; see his bloody cloak,
And see the wicked knife that did the deed!
Our lord, our good lord’s son, and that most wicked
Woman must have done it.
Who dares assert it! ’Twas the nightly crew
Of fell banditti who infest these shores.
No, ’twas no robbers; we kept constant watch, to dress the country for our good lord’s wedding; all last night and all this morning we have been in the woods; no thief could escape us, were he as swift as thought.
Hide me; let me not see him.
My father;—let me die, but not see him.
Canst thou see me, whom thy detested crimes
Have rendered fatherless! unhappy girl!
Disgrace to Nature! horror to thy sex!
Oh! father! you can clear me; speak in pity.
Call not on me, thou alien to my blood;
Hence I renounce thee!
Take her hence away!
Away with her! away with her!
Oh! my dear lady, I will go with you.
Stop.—Not to bands of angry vassals leave her.
Walter and Pierre,—I give her to your charge;
Give her to Justice, and let none, except
Her Father Confessor have access to her.
Sir,—I respect your sorrows;—but my brother—
Oh! Julio! hadst thou died by sudden sickness,
I could have hail’d thy early flight to Heav’n,
And shed the tears of soft affection o’er thee;——
But thus to lose thee!——Soft!—How did he die?
Who shed his blood? oh! speak!——am I not mad?
Speak to me, sister, —tell me all the story.——
Stop,—not a word to harrow up my soul.—
Oh! Clara, Clara, thou hast rent my heart.
Oh! from this hour let no one trust to hope!
Or say—This dawn begins a happy day!
I thought this hour t’have drest his bridal board,
With festive faces smiling by his side;
Now must I give his frantic sorrow way,
Or call him back to Reason which distracts him.
End of the Second Act.
Scene I.A Hall in Valmonsor’s Castle. Enter Amelia with a Letter, a Servant following her.
Why does my brother send these lines to me?
Madam, he sends this letter to inform you of his purpose.
Did he attend the sad procession far?
Madam, he saw the lady Clara safe;
Then, sudden turning with excessive haste,
Spurred back his horse until he reach’d the wood;
Then he dismounted, and to me alone
Made signal to approach: I came in haste
To hear his will, but not a word escap’d
His lips, which seemed to quiver in despair;
But from his bosom he those tablets took,
And penn’d in eager haste what you will read.
The Count of Rohan leads the force against us,
And ’ere to-morrow I must give him battle.
I fear Montalban gave him some advice,
Since he is known as his familiar friend.
Speaks. Time was I shudder’d at the sound of arms,
The clashing sabres made me pale with fear;
And ’ere my brother left me for the field,
I held him to my heart in speechless woe,
And rais’d my gushing eyes to Heav’n, in pray’r,
To shield the precious head so dear to me.123 I6r 123
Have I forgot the perils of the field!
Or do I lightly prize a brother’s life!
Ah, no! but I am now grown old in grief,
Worn out by horrors deeper, nearer still;
Death is familiar to my harass’d mind;
The fiend of guilt glares hideous to my sight,
And sears the source of ordinary tears.
Thou couldst not speak Valmonsor!—ever thus
Man’s stronger nature shuns the pitying voice,
While woman’s weaker frame still clings for help,
And asks support in ev’ry trying hour.
What says he further? Reads.
Sister, if I fall,
And you should find the body of my son,
Lay us together.—That unhappy girl,
Whose name my trembling hand forbids to write,
Do not neglect her; should her life be spared,
Let her not know temptation by distress;
Give masses for her sinful soul. If shame
Move her to penitence—say, I forgave her!
There spoke the Christian and the soldier! Live
My Valmonsor, guardian—brother—friend,
Sole object of my cares, my fondest love!
Dearer than ever, since poor Julio’s death,
For sorrow ever doubles tenderness.
These lonely walls no longer own their lord.
I dare not seek thee—but would fly myself.
Scene II.Scene changes to an open Place. Enter Morel in Uniform, and Two other Servants.
Why, what’s the meaning of all this, Morel? Where are you going?
Where am I going? Why, to the wars, to be sure. Where is the Prince gone? and where is my master gone? And where ought you to be going, you clod-pate?
Oh, Lord! Oh, Lord! don’t take me for the enemy.
You would be safe enough, if he did, for he would run away from you:
I run!—A soldier never runs but when he runs up to the charge; that’s it; push on my boys!—How we shall drive these rascally Saxon fellows before us!
A likely story that! And pray why should not they fight as well as you?
Because we are all volunteers, to a man of us. We fight for a prince we love, and a cause we glory in. We are not invaders, d’ye see, like the Saxons, grasping at other folks’ land, and leaving our own to be till’d by the women and children. We fight every man for his own home, and his own laws, and his own——Bless my soul! where can Annette be?
Why, she went to see the last of her young lady that was——
Well, she’s done for by this time; I’ll never trust to a pretty face again, for her sake.
If there is not the drum, and I’ve not seen Annette, to bid her good bye, and tell her to remember me at vespers!
Come, come, we’ll remember, and tell her how you thought on her the last thing; and how you did nothing but call upon her name just before you were shot.
Who!—I shot! Why sould I be shot, pray?
And why not you, as well as another?
Why because—Faith, I don’t know—but that is the last thing we soldiers ever think of; it is time enough to think about Death when he comes; if we mind and do our duty, why then, come when he will, we are ready.—There is no help for it, we must all die one time or another, and to die in defence of our country is the best death of any. Aye, you may look as you please, but it is more honour than you will ever come to; poor pitiful, pantry-fellows as you are— knife-cleaning, boot-blackening, trencher-scraping scoundrels, who know no more how to handle a pike than lets the pike fall faith! than I do
1st and 2nd Servants.
Ha! ha! ha!
Well, I shall do better to-morrow; this is my first day’s soldiering.
Aye,—but sometimes to-morrow never comes to you gentlemen in red.
Why then we must make the most of to-day, and I’ll begin by teaching you better manners.
Morel, Morel, here is my Lord coming.
Heaven bless him! and confusion to all his enemies, say I.
Will he go out to fight with us?
I say no; his heart is quite broken already.
See where he comes. Ah! he is not the man he used to be.
Come back, come back; let us leave him to himself.
Comes forward. If I were free to choose; if I could blot
Myself out of the world, and leave no chasm;
If no one held to my arm for support;—
If I had neither vassals, sister, friends;
No tie to bind on me the load of life,
Which crushes me to Earth,——then would I fly
The Sun, the Day, the sight of Social Man;——
For ev’ry object in this beauteous world
Brings keener sense of Agony to me;—
Me miserable——’reft of all I lov’d.
But when I see this faithful, honest tribe,
Assembled in my cause, look up to me
With long-establish’d privilege of Right,
I feel the force of duty nerve my arm;
I feel my heart responsive to the claim;
Alas! I feel—that I am still a Father.
To the Peasants.Come near, my children,——Hear your master speak
Words which no light event could wring from him:
My friends, if any of you value Life,
Or hold respect to Safety more than Honour;
If ye repent that ye have joined with me,
And feel an earnest longing to return;
If ye are not prepar’d for ev’ry change
Of doubtful War, cold, hunger and fatigue;
Nay, worse than these, for loss of limbs and health.
Come not with me,—for I am full resolv’d
Never to sheathe the sword which now I draw;
Never to put aside the garb I wear;
Never to sleep beneath a shelter’d roof:
Never to see these native walls again,
Till I have freed my land from this usurper,
Or till I fall beneath his traitor-host.
We’ll follow you, my Lord, we’ll follow you.
Then to the field, no longer vassal slaves;
Brothers in arms, and countrymen—away!
Scene III.Scene the Interior of a Prison. Jailor, and his Servant.
I have waited two hours to receive the prisoner; there must have been a rescue, to my thinking.
A rescue! Lord help you! why the mob are all furious against her; they are ready to drag her out of the carriage;—there was a possy of the servants who came up from the estate, on purpose to see her executed.—I never saw such a riot, not I; if it had not been for me, and my Lord Valmonsor, who rode in among them, I think it is odds but they had torn her into a thousand pieces.
Valmonsor! why, that was the very man whose child she kill’d!
Aye, and for that reason he could not bear the sight of her; and yet it seem’d, he could not keep his eyes off her, neither. To be sure, she is a wicked wretch;—but one would never suppose it, to see her, for she is a very angel to look upon: she has such a sweet look with her eyes, somehow, that for my part—
Hark! A noise heard.There’s a noise of shouting; she is come. Go, bring her in: let her not be insulted by the prisoners. Exit Servant. We are the guardians of the culprits, not their judges. Enter Servant, with Clara, Walter, and Pierre. Is this the prisoner?
Aye, and hard work we’ve had to bring her, too; she may thank me that she’s alive.
Clara.Shakes her head, and offers him money.
No, no, none of your money for me; it would never go well with me if I took it—the bread that I bought with it would stick in my throat; I should always think that I saw my young master’s blood upon it.
Clara.Clasps her hand in agony.
We shall leave you alone now, and that is best for you; pray to God, and repent, and may he have mercy on your wicked soul, and turn your heart before to-morrow.
Madam, I have orders to render you all service and attendance in this cell;—there is a couch in the next.— I leave this book and hour-glass for your use.—I now retire, and Heaven direct your prayers.
Alone! Why yes, that suits my state the best;
Degraded outcast, scorn’d by ev’ry eye,
Cut off from ev’ry comfort, ev’ry hope;
Did I say ev’ry Hope! unthinking wretch!
Of ev’ry earthly hope, I should have said;
For I have hopes beyond this mortal life. Kneels.
Oh! thou Unseen, who know’st my inmost thoughts!
Give me but courage to sustaiu my trials;
Thou know’st my innocence, support my strength,
Nor let me impiously accuse a father. Starts up.
My father! with those bloody hands! oh! Heav’n!
Why was I made his daughter!—but I rave— Looks at her dress.
What, do I bear these bridal trappings still!
These gems that shine as if to mock my sorrow!
Off!—off! ye gaudy ornaments;—my weeds
Should be of black, to suit my darken’d fate;
Away ye dowers—down to the dust—like me.129 K1r 129
Like me be trampled on, degraded, lost;
But ah! not this——not my Valmonsor’s image!
I vow’d to wear it till mu dying hour,
But did not look to see him hasten it.——
Dear pledge of happy love!——’Tis like a gleam
Which shoots across the night of my Despair.——
Alas! ’tis but a lightning in the storm
Which crashes round my poor devoted head.
Oh! my Valmonsor! could I think thee cruel!
Could I believe thy hands could act a crime!
Not if each circumstance were doubly strong,
Not if I saw the poniard in thy grasp,
Not if I saw thee stand beside the corse,
Not if I heard the universal cry
Proclaim thee guilty——I would doubt it all;
Doubt!—I would pledge my life upon thy truth,
And yet thou couldst believe I murder’d Julio!
There is no Love, no Friendship, Pity left,
And here I cast me down to wait my death.
Arise, unhappy child, and see a friend.
Then thou art Death, I know no other friend.
Do you not know me, then?
No, nor myself.—
Leave me——in pity hence——I cannot think.
If thou didst do this deed, the gates of Heav’n
Stand ever wide to Penitence and Shame.
Rising. If I did do it! Hear me Heav’n and Earth!
And Father, hear me, hear your daughter swear;
These hands are pure as when they first were rais’d
In infant pray’r to God at your command.
If thou didst not, who caus’d this fatal deed?
Ah! no, imperious duty seals my lips.——
I am the victim—mine the forfeit head.
And thine the bright reward which Heav’n bestows.
Heroic girl!—I read thy silence now;—
Martyr to filial piety! this world,
And all its transient glories sink before thee;
But Paradise shall open to thy view;
Yet if thy courage fail thee, if thy heart
Faint in the race, altho’ the goal be Heav’n,
Repose in me the fatal trust—and live;
It is no sin to speak the murd’rer’s name;
Nay, public justice calls on thee to do’t.
What! shall I drag a father to the block!
Oh! never, never, tho’ unnatural, cruel;
Tho’ he could see me sinking at his feet,
Could hear Valmonsor blame me, and be silent,
Nor speak one word to save my life and fame,
Yet not his crimes absolve me from my duty.
Then dearest daughter, soon a saint in Heav’n;
Let us prepare for Death, and yet not Death,
That is a momentary pang—to thee immediate.
Oh! holy Father, say not so,——immediate!—
Aye, for the gates of Heav’n, eternal stand
Wide open to receive thee.
Looking at the hour-glass. Father, see
How fast the sand sinks!——must I die so soon?
Are we not born to Death?—is it not sure?
Can it be strange to hear that thou must die?
Aye!—but the axe! to leave a mangled corse,
Denied the decent privacy of burial;
Expos’d to the insulting croud,—I hear
Their barb’rous cries—their shouts—their execrations.
Father, support me, for I die with fear.
Giving her the book.
Take that support, I am but mortal man;
These gushing tears declare me all unfit
To speak of comfort, or to hush thy fears;
Read in the sacred volume, calm thy mind;131 K2r 131
Silence and thought befit this solemn hour. Clara retires to the back of the scene, and reads.
Oh! born with graces to adorn the world!
Must I then see thee torn untimely from it!
Yet thy transcendant virtue fills my soul;
I blame, admire, and pity and deplore thee.
Let me come in, I say; take all my money, but
I will come in.
Oh! Father, if they come, I am prepared.
Oh! my dear lady! my unhappy lady!
Why art thou come to seek distress and horror?
To the Jailor. Is it the time?
Madam—I grieve to say—.
Why then, a very little time be past,
And I have done with life and all the world;
Farewell to all the jocund hours of youth!
My age is ended ’ere my days be full;
Farewell, the kindly offices of friendship!
All I can ask will now be soon perform’d;
Farewell the beauteous Earth, and all its treasures!
The cold, dark grave must now be my abode.
To Annette. Farewell! poor girl, my faithful, fond attendant;
Farewell, Amelia!——and a long farewell
To him whose name——I cannot speak for tears;
I must not think that way.——Heav’n bless them all!
To the Jailor. Sir, you have been humane to me; take this:
In after times perhaps it may have value.
When you shall know——but now of that—no more.
Annette, wear thou this for thy mistress’ sake.
Where is the mourning garb I should put on?
Madam, it is within.
Sir, I am ready; Father your arm.
Oh, lady! lady!—have they torn thee from me?
But she’ll be a blessed saint in Heav’n:
She kill a child!—She dip her hands in blood!
Confusion on the wicked tongues that said it!
When she is gone they’ll find out the assassin,
And then their hearts will ache, when ’tis too late
To save this precious angel.——Ha! what’s that! Acclamations heard.
Sure they’ve repriev’d her!——Yes, it must be so;
What, ho! there,——let me out for Pity’s sake.
Who keeps this rack and riot in the prison?
Is she reprieved?
Why, very like she may.
She may! All gracious Powers, accept my thanks!
Oh! my dull eyes, to cry at happy news.
Now they are coming—stand aside and see them.
Oh! happy Annette, to have seen this hour! Enter Father, Clara and Jailor.
Dear lady, joy, a thousand, thousand times.
No, not for me,—talk not of joy to me,
Annette, I am but pardon’d, not acquitted;
Why, when my mind was fitted for the blow,
Why was I thrown again upon the world,
To bear abroad this heavy load of shame,
And sink beneath the scorn of ev’ry eye!
Not ev’ry eye—there is an Eye above
Which reads the close recesses of the soul,
Which oft reverses erring man’s decision,
And makes the Badge of Shame, a Crown of Glory;
He knows thee guiltless, and he tries thy strength.
Madam, you are at freedom to depart;
And glad am I, that I may tell you so.
Depart! but whither! who will take me in?133 K3r 133
The poorest roof were sullied by my presence.
O cruel friends! why did ye ask my life?
And cruel judges, wherefore did you grant it?
It was the Duke in mercy to thy youth,
(That power to pardon from the King he holds);
Blame not his royal clemency,—a time
May yet arrive when thou shalt bless that gift,
Which now thou dost not tender worth the taking.
Oh! my dear lady, I am still your servant;
Let me live with you, and attend you still;
My labour will provide us with our food,
And when my work is ended, I’ll sing to you;
I’m but your servant, yet I love you dearly.
Excellent creature! from this hour my friend.
Let’s leave this gloomy place.
Yes, daughter, come;
I know a convent of kind-hearted nuns,
Sisters of Charity, that is their order;
Their office is to tend the sick, when plague,
And dire infectious fever rage around,
Friends desert friends, and ev’ry kindred tie
Seems lost in the immediate fear of Death,
When e’en the mother flies her sick’ning babe,
And from the gasping sire his children run,
When ev’ry breath is dang’rous, and the touch
Conveys a deadly poison to the blood,
These holy sisters leave their convent walls,
And fearless walk amid the ranks of Death;
Kneel by th’ unwholesome couch, and by their aid,
Full many a life is sav’d to bless its Maker:
Nor only to Disease their cares confin’d;
These timid maidens, whose uncover’d face
No man shall gaze on, seek the field of battle,
Bind up the soldier’s wounds, and oft’ recal
The fleeting spirit, by their med’cines, home.134 K3v 134
Speak words of comfort to th’ expiring hero;
Bind his damp brows, and close his dying eyes:
These are their duties.
Father, bring me to them,
I for myself have nothing left of life,
Let me then live for others.
Come, my child,
Cherish this pious impulse in thy soul,
Heaven shall sustain thee, tho’ the world despise.
End of the Third Act.
Scene I.A Convent. Several Nuns appear; some at Prayers, some telling their Beads. Enter Clara. Speaks to a Nun who crosses the Stage.
Say, holy sister, where is she who first
Received me when I pass’d your iron grate?
I think you said her name was Isabel?
Will you not speak to me?—What! not yet full
The cup of wrath ordain’d for me to drink!
Bitter, indeed, and mortal is the draught!
Will charitable sisters be so cold,
To turn from my petition in disdain,
Nor grant the poor benevolence of words?
Does pride then lurk beneath this holy garb?
The badge of meekness and of sufferance.
Yet there was one, who, with a mother’s gaze,
Read in my face my innocence of heart;
Shed tears of pity, as she bade me welcome,
And clasp’d me in a fond embrace. With her
I could be well content to tarry here.
She looks as she had learn’d in Sorrow’s school
The sweet, the soothing lesson of compassion.
Where is my daughter?
Sister, I am here.
Call me not sister, ’tis the common tie,
The hacknied phrase, the cloister’s compliment,
The greeting which I ev’ry day receive,136 K4v 136
And give with lips, altho’ my heart be silent.
Call me thy mother—oh! beloved name!
Why hast thou pow’r to open all my wounds,
And call me back to memory and pain!
Mother, are you unhappy?
Oh! those eyes!
Speak to me; call me mother once again.
Didst thou not say Montalban was thy father?
Did you know him then?
Yes, I know him well;
A close, designing, and relentless man,
Prodigal, yet rapacious, mean, yet proud;
He, by his artifice obtain’d the trust
Of one, alas! too lavish of his faith,
The Count of Rohan.
I have heard, the Count
In secret married with a Saxon princess,
Whom having left, she, with a broken heart,
Retiring to a convent, took the vows.
I am that princess, that unhappy woman,
Whom Rohan sought within her father’s court,
Prevail’d on her fond heart, with many vows,
By secret, solemn ties obtain’d her hand;
Yet would not own the marriage to her sire,
But sacrificed her love to policy.
I was a wife, yet never claim’d as such;
I was a mother, yet these longing arms
Did never clasp my infant to my breast.
By Rohan ’reft of all!—my peace—my child—
My fame—my bosom’s quiet—and my hopes!
What had the world for me! I liv’d forlorn—
I had no husband, and I had no child;
The one forbade to own the nuptial tie,
The other ravish’d from me at it’s birth.
Had it been living——Speak! what is thine age?
I am eighteen.
And eighteen years ago,
I heard my child’s first cry, and heard no more;
They say she died——but ’twas Montalban’s work,
That curst adviser of my bosom’s lord.
But I forget my state and holy garb——
Why am I mov’d thus to confide in thee!
None of the Sisters know this fatal story;
For fifteen years I breathe within these walls
Nor once have spoke the Count of Rohan’s name.
Oh! mother, since you bid me call you so,
Think that you pour within a daughter’s ear
A story ever sacred to her lips.
I never knew a mother’s tender care;
Nurst in a convent, and my dream of bliss
So soon destroy’d—once more a convent life
I come to prove—and ask the holy veil.
Beware!—beware th’ irrevocable vow!
Nature and Reason warn thee to beware;
But in our holy duties thou may’st join,
Yet make no vows. Impell’d by wild despair
I rashly bound myself by fatal ties,
—I dare not tell thee more—I hear a step. Enter Two Sisters from without.
Sisters, whence come ye?
From a scene so sad,
Words cannot paint it, nor description tell;
Forth as we went our charitable round,
An old man met us, bending ’neath the load
Of one he carried, ’twas his only son!
His head all mangled in the first affray
Betwixt the Counts of Rohan and Valmonsor.
What have they met?
High Heav’n assist his cause!
Now, at this moment, on the nearest heights,
Smokes the wide battle, and without the walls
The heavy sound of cannon fills the ear.
But, Sister, had you seen the poor old man
Kneel down beside his dying son, and bless him,
For that he died in service of Valmonsor!
Sister, the soldiers all have left the hill;
’Tis said that Count Valmonsor has been hurt;
I know not who are victors—but the field
Is strew’d with fainting wretches, while the sun
Glares, as to mock them, on their gaping wounds,
And clouds of dust and smoke obscure the air.
I’ll penetrate them all.——Clara, dare you,
With me, now venture to the field of Death,
And leave your timid womanhood behind,
To act the holy office of our order?
That is my duty;—Mother, lead the way.
Then come with me—and Heav’n shall be our guide;
But first—this veil I throw upon your face;
You must not raise, nor speak to any man—
That would bring scandal on the sisterhood.
My face, alas! is scandal to myself;
I am best pleas’d to hide it from all eyes.
Sister, ’ere yet the hour of pray’r arrive,
What if we chaunt a solemn hymn to those
Who have so nobly fall’n in Freedom’s cause?
I call our sisters to the pious work;
Begin—the song is due to Valour’s sons:—
What tho’ around the Warrior’s bed
No trophies wave of high renown;
What tho’ he leave his humble shed
To pull th’ invading banners down:
Mourn we the brave, with solemn knell,
Who sank beneath a Tyrant’s sword;
Mourn we the men who nobly fell
To guard us from a stranger lord:
Mourn we the brave.
Mourn we the youths who died to save
Their native land from lawless force;
Mourn we the mother, when she gave
Her all, to stop th’ invader’s course:
Mourn we the brave.
Scene II.Changes to a Wood. Enter Walter, Morel, and Soldiers, running.
What, ho! where are you running to?
Why, there’s a party of the enemy coming, and the Count of Rohan at the head of them.
Aye! you always fancy the enemy at your heels.
Nay, look out yourself, an’ you’ll not take my word.
’Tis the Count, sure enough; I have seen him in Flanders; but is not that Lord Montalban along with him?
The very same. Now, were it a good deed to fire on him, for his treachery, if you will ony be firm, and stand by me.
Stand by you—run by you, I think.
To the Soldiers. Wait ye at distance, and keep well the ground;
Let none break on our privacy. Away! Exeunt Soldiers.140 K6v 140
Now Lord Montalban, what you ask of me,
Within my power to grant, let it be said,
Time presses, and each moment that I lose
An hour gained by the enemy——your suit.
Knowing the love I bear your person, Sir,
My ardour in your cause.——Sir, do you smile?
A wayward trick; a habit learnt at court.
Pray, Sir, go on.
Can you demand my suit,
Which stands so evident in my desert?
Your trust, Sir, of a company, I claim.
Excuse me, Baron—name some other boon.
No; this I ask, and ask till I obtain;
You cannot hold it from me—’tis my due.
No more, no more; you urge me, Sir, too far.
Too far, for me, my lord! I think you know me.
I know thee well, Montalban, for a man
Of steady purpose, and of deep resolve,
Of ready wit, and fertile in expedient,
One who has serv’d me too with zeal and skill,
But yet I do not know thee for my friend.
Not for thy friend! my lord; recal to mind
All I have done for thee.
You serv’d my love,
My headlong, fatal passion; was that kind?
You thought so then.
Aye, when my reason slept,
You led me to the precipice, hood-winked;
I did not fall myself, but threw her down—
Her whom I swore to cherish and protect.
Yet that not all my fault—her child, alas!
Why didst thou urge me to that fatal step!
My lord, this is no time to talk of Fate:
Now, while we snatch a hasty breathing space
’Ere we return to lead th’ impatient troops
Up to the walls, they shall ’ere long o’erthrow.141 K7r 141
One word decides, my lord, ’twixt you and me,
Am I your captain?
Sir, am I your slave!
That thus with saucy arrogance you press
What I but now refus’d to better men?
To better men!——this word, Sir, in your ear—
There ask’d not one so dang’rous to deny.
What! do you menace me? Go tell the world
All that you know, and mark me out for scorn,
As one that trusted on Montalban’s faith,
And should have known him better for a villain!
Go to the Prince, and bid him take my head,
For having dar’d to rob him of his child;
Then to the cloister’d Isabel and tell her,
(Unworthy of the noble heart she gave,)
I sacrific’d her love to policy;—
Then to my child——Go spread my ruin wide,
Then clap thy hands and say—I caus’d it all!
You charge your lawless passion’s course on me,
When you should rather blame your heat of blood,
Which caus’d you to reject all good advice,
And favor ev’ry counsellor to guilt;
But tardy prudence follows ill-success—
And you are wise, and you will grant my suit.
Make thee a Captain! would my soldiers fight!
With such a noted coward for their guide!
Go take a hatchet, and hew out their way,
Thou hast been ever good at crooked paths.
I gave thee all my gold,—and have no more
But my Remorse and Shame, and that I leave thee.
Remorse and Shame! that were a bitter cup;
Yet there is something I’ll infuse therein,
To make it wond’rous sweet, that is Revenge.
Revenge! Imperious lord!——run out thy line,
I, with a golden hook, will bring thee back,
And play thee up and down the stream of Fate,142 K7v 142
Till thou shalt beg thy death in mercy of me.
Thou gav’st me gold indeed, that very gold
Shall pluck thy silly troops from their allegiance,
And bring them over to Valmonsor’s cause—
Then will I be their Captain——Hark! they shout.
Victory! victory! we drive them on.
Aye,—but we’ve lost our Captain, that’s the worst.
I’ll be your Captain—vic’try and Valmonsor!
Long live the Count, the noble Count Valmonsor!
Hurra! lead on, we drive them hence to-night.
Turn back, my lady, further as we stray
More faint you seem, and falt’ring in your steps;
Nay, lean on me, for you look wond’rous pale.
’Tis that my blood, all hurrying to my heart,
Throbs high with wild anxiety and fear. firing.
Heard you that sound?
Oh! Madam, fly in haste;
The troops are coming to this very spot; firing.
Again, again—where shall we hide ourselves?
Did I not see a lonely hovel near?
The gallant Rohan spares the lowly shed;
He wars with palaces, -- go seek thy way,
I’ll follow thee as fast as I can walk. Exit Annette.
How dreadful are these moments of suspense,
When on the high momentous poize of Fate
Hang Life and Death! Oh! should my brother fall,
There falls my only trust and hope in life,
The sole support of my poor widow’d heart!
That is too dreadful for my thoughts to shape—
I close my eyes upon that gulph of woe.
Is it my lady Amelia, then?—Heav’n bless her; sure my lady shall be as welcome as light; I thought it had been our good-man, for it is a long while since he left me, and, in these terrible times, one is not safe from one hour to another; but here he comes, sure enough. Enter Man, carrying something wrapped in his cloak. So Gaffer, what are you bringing home to me?
A treasure rescued from the dang’rous flood,
A bloody piece of work, but left unfinish’d,
As if the wretch had thought on God in time
To stop his cruel hand, ’ere ’twas too late.
Can I believe my eyes!
My sweet young lord!
Oh! Annette, I have been deep in the water;
That naughty lord Montalban threw me in.
Montalban! Say again, Montalban, child!
Yes, Lord Montalban, and he cut my hand;
See here, and then he threw me in the river;
And then, this good man pull’d me out again;
And I am very cold, and very hungry.
Come in with me, young lord, quick, quick, the soldiers.
Haste, haste, my lady.
Clara! sainted Clara!
How have we wrong’d thee!
Haste, away! away!
End of the Fourth Act.
Scene I.A Part of the Wood. A skirmish between the soldiers of Valmonsor and the Count of Rohan; the former are defeated, and Montalban is left on the ground. Valmonsor’s party is pursued off the stage; re-enter fighting, Valmonsor with them, and drive off the other party.
My Lord Montalban!
Yes, Sir, I have ta’en
Some trifling hurts, while fighting in your cause.
My cause! against your old and bosom friend!
Him who I saw you meet with outstretch’d arms,
And talk apart with, a few hours ago!
Can such great love be sunder’d in such time!
So long a friendship! and that too sustain’d
By all you ask’d, and all the Count could give!
The Count and I, Sir, are no longer friends.
No; I believe it.—Thou art friend to no man;
Not even to thyself.
Had I a sword———
Base renegade! thou wouldst not dare to draw.
I will proclaim it thro’ the ranks, whoe’er
Shall give thee up to Rohan I’ll reward.
Deserters shame the cause of honest men.
Rage on, Valmonsor! thou hast felt more hurt
From me, than ever thou canst give again.
I’ll to the Count, I know his humour well,
I’ll flatter him, and give his passion way,145 L1r 145
And rule him, as I’ve rul’d him twenty years,
While he has simply thought himself my master.
We that have cunning make the world our own,
And for each turn of fortune are prepar’d.
My lord! my lord! my lady, Sir—your daughter!
Speak of the dead with caution.
Save you, Sir!
She is not dead, nor is she like to be;
She’s in the convent, Sir, hard by the town;
The Duke forgave her, and ’tis said abroad,
Another hand was cause of Julio’s death.
Silence, thou caitiff fool!—be mute for ever!
Who dare with lies to brazen out the day,
And give their vile inventions to the winds,
To poison honest fames?
My lord, indeed——
I tell thee she is dead; she shall be dead!
What mutter you between your teeth, you knave?
Down on thy knees—if ever thou shalt dare
To breathe one word of that thou now hast said,
Know this—I’ll tear thee limb from limb, and make
Each sep’rate fibre feel a sep’rate death.——
Go, crawl away, thou reptile, from my sight;
Go, hide thee in the wood——Begone! I say. Exit Hoffman.
Had I my sword he should not so have ’scap’d.
Now to find entrance to the convent gates,
And buy security with Clara’s life.
While she survives, my fate is in her power;
But I’ve expedients yet, and dare the worst!
Fear nothing, Clara, for our holy garb
Is sacred in the eyes of either force;
This veil a more secure protection lends,L 146 L1v 146
Than steel-defying armour could bestow—
Let not thy spirit fail.
I’m sick of life:
What has it yielded me but grief and tears?
What have I now in prospect but Despair?
Valmonsor falls!—there dies my only hope—
Valmonsor lives!—but will not live for me!
Stop! ladies—holy sisters—Stop! I pray;
One word with one of you, and that in haste.
Speak to me freely.
Then, if the Lady Clara
Dwell in your convent, tell her to beware
Of Baron Montalban; that’s all—from me.
What! of her father!
Yes; he’s so enrag’d,
To think she brings a shame upon his house,
That, for the present, not to say too much,
I think it were as well they did not meet.
Heard you his words?
Why, this surpasses all!
I see—oh! Heav’n! the Count of Rohan comes.
Valmonsor with him!—
Now, Count of Rohan, on my arm depend
The Fate and Fortune of this busy day.
I call on Heav’n to animate my strength;
This is my land, whereon to reign or die!
Draw—if thou canst, in a dishonest cause.
Valmonsor, tho’ thy taunts become thee not,
Nor shall I answer thee with words, but deeds;147 L2r 147
Yet, thus much, ’ere my sword shall speak for me—
That cause I hold the best which wins the day!—
And in that cause I plant my foot and draw.
That was no sound of earth,—It was a voice
Floating in air, sent by some evil fiend,
To shake my soul, and wrong me in the combat!
Sir, this again! this to your heart—this from a desp’rate man,
And this, and this——he falls. Oh! my poor people! oh!
Death has no pang but that I leave you slaves.
What! have I conquer’d! has Heav’n smil’d at last!
Spite of my trust, and of Montalban’s guilt!
My sword, I honor thee for this thy deed!
Be wreath’d with laurel, and these ruddy drops,
Shine they like precious rubies on thy blade!
Gems dearly bought, and purchas’d with my blood;
But first, these trophies will I bear away,
And animate my foll’wers with the sight.——
Come off.—proud helmet! for thy nodding plume,
Dabbled in blood, shall rise to higher post,
Than when it wav’d upon Valmonsor’s head;
For I will set it on my castle gate,
Amid the proudest banners I have won—
Come off, I say.
Hold! hold that impious hand!
Who bids me hold? a nun! to scenes like these
Do holy sisters from their convents stray!
And leave their quiet cells and rosaries,
To teach victorious warriors how to act!
With meddling zeal disturb the Victor’s spoil,
And dash the cup of Triumph from his lip!
Retire, I pray.
You shall not touch his head,
Nor yet insult him, o’er his warm remains.L2 148 L2v 148
Nor yet unbind his helmet from his brow,
Unless you dare, with sacrilegious hand,
To pierce me first—my body is his shield.
There’s something in the strangeness of thy zeal
Which strikes my soul with wonder!—Speak again;
I swear upon a soldier’s word, my hand
Shall not approach Valmonsor while thou stay’st.
Then here I stay for ever.
Shew thy face;
If it be like thy voice——but I will see it.
What, would thy impious haste——Augustus, hold!
Another! Gracious Heav’n! another voice!
Which thrills with keener anguish to my heart,
Reminding me of all my guilt and love.
If thou art not a vision of the mind,
Brought by distemper’d Fancy to my view,
To chasten me of sin, speak once again—
Or let me see thy face.
I may not both;
Our holy order bids me veil my face,
Or else be silent:—But you ask of one
Who never yet refus’d Augustus’ pray’r,
And she obeys you still—Behold me, then;
Approach me not—respect my holy garb.
My life!—my Isabel!—nay, fly me not;
Hear my repentance—listen to my pray’r!
What! wilt thou fly me!—But a moment pause—
Nay, then, I follow to thy convent walls.
Clara.Kneeling by the side of Valmonsor.
Why, this is well, he dies in Honor’s cause:
To die is good—for life is wretchedness.149 L3r 149
’Tis well indeed, ’tis very well, but oh!
That pallid brow! those eyes for ever clos’d—
Those eyes from which a soul immortal shone;
Those lips, which only spoke to utter truth;
Horror! Distraction!——he is gone for ever!
Valmonsor is no more!—for what lies here
But a poor heap of dull and senseless clay?
Yet this was once Valmonsor!—Had he life
How would he shudder at this touch of mine!
Choosing to die, rather than live by me.
How high this heart in gen’rous impulse beat,
Now hush’d for ever.——Angels hear my pray’r!
Sure there is breath!—but now he seem’d to gasp,
And his eyes open.—Oh! Immortal Powers!
Look down, and aid my efforts for his life!
Let me bind up his wounds and staunch his blood. Binds his neck with her sash.
Now to revive the dying lamp of life—
I fear to leave him—but I soon return.
What charitable hand revives my strength
But now departed?——Sure I was alone,
Deserted, and expiring on the dust.
’Tis very dark; did we pass thro’ the night?
A woman’s hand?—my sister?—my Amelia?
A sainted nun!—thy cares will Heav’n reward;
I have not breath to thank thee; lend thy hand,
Raise up my head—there now—I breathe more free:
But speak to me, and let me hear thy voice.
I know your order, but a dying man
Claims some indulgence—let me see your face. Clara shakes her head.
Well, be it as you will, I owe my life,150 L3v 150
If yet I am assur’d of life, to you;
I thank you for my people;—to myself
Death had been welcome——I am very faint;
One drop of water.Clara is going. Stop, a moment stop;
There’s something I would say; and I may die
Before you can return.—Your holy garb
Speaks you of Charity.Clara bows. Within your walls
Is there not one call’d by the name of Clara? Clara wrings her hands.
Well may you mourn over a sister’s shame.
Her father is a villain—It may be
That he compell’d her to the horrid deed.
They tell me she is penitent—if so
Give her this ring—Say I forgive her crime;
May God forgive her too.
Where is he? oh! my brother—still alive!
But I have news that would recal thee back,
Hadst thou been number’d with the dead—See here!
Clara was innocent, and Julio lives!
Clara! once more—oh! say the word again!
Was Clara innocent?—Can Julio live?
Here am I dearest father—you look pale.
Come to my arms, beloved child again—
Clara was innocent!—Oh! let me die—
Let me not think how I have wrong’d her love.
She never can forgive me.
Still veil’d. Oh! she does.
That voice—that form—can this be death or life!
Is it illusion all? Where, then is Clara?
Unveils. Here my Valmonsor; here my only love;
I, that have watch’d in silence by thy side,151 L4r 151
Nor dar’d to speak, lest I should shock thy soul,
Now claim thee boldly—now embrace thy son,
Restor’d to love and happiness and thee.
Canst thou forgive me? Oh! return the ring;
’Tis mine to sue for pardon at thy feet.
Talk not of pardon—Julio lives again!—
Child of my heart, come to these happy arms.
I know not what to ask, or what to tell;
I’m quite distracted with excess of joy.
To Valmonsor. But thou art wounded?
Yes, an angel’s hand
Bound up my wounds, and cheer’d my fainting heart;
But I am very weak from loss of blood. Clara and Annette talk apart.
Walter, how goes the fortune of the day?
My lord, some of the Saxon troops are fled;
Some lurk within the wood, and some are slain;
We scarcely hop’d to find you living, Sir.
I think the Count suppos’d me dead, and he
I know must have sustain’d some desp’rate hurts;
Since he escap’d me all the work remains—
Another day begins another fight;
But now ’tis dark, and I must give this hour
To Julio, and Clara——See that way——
Some one with torches.——
’Tis a pris’ner bound;
A priest attending, bears the holy cross.
They bring him here—but slowly they advance.
To the women. Retire a moment, these are scenes of blood,
Befit not gentle natures;——go, my love. Exeunt the Women and Julio. Enter a Soldier of the Count of Rohan’s Party, unarm’d.
How now! what make you here?
I come unarm’d;
The Count, my master, sends me to enquire
If it be true that Count Valmonsor lives?
Go, tell your master, that I live to try
Another time the fortune of my blade.
He will attend you.
I shall wait him here.
Health to the Count Valmonsor! Peace and Joy,
Peace in the very front of armed War;
Health to the mind diseas’d with foul Despair,
And Joy for Innocence at length display’d.——
Count, you are wounded——but I come to heal
Wounds which have rankled deeper than the sword;
I bring confession from a guilty wretch
Now writhing in the penalty of crime.
Shall he advance?
Whate’er you will.
Who is he? Whose concerns does he affect?
Your’s, mine, and Clara’s, Virtue’s, all the world’s
Your sister’s.———Soldiers, bring Montalban forth.
Amelia, Clara, see Anselmo here.
To Anselmo. Oh! father, this indeed is my reward.
Daughter, prepare to hear a wond’rous tale;
Stand by my side—Montalban, raise thy head,.
As thou hast hope pf Mercy, speak the Truth.
I have no hope of Mercy, and no Fear,
Since I am brought to this extreme of Fate,
Wounded and dying, pinion’d and subdued:——
This is the day which ends my short career,
And gives me back to Nothing whence I sprang.
Obdurate sinner! nourish not that Hope,153 L5r 153
There is an after-reck’ning for thy soul,
And not one sin will be forgotten there;
Speak, if thou valuest thy immortal part,
Make that atonement, ’ere thy life decay.
What do I see! the child alive again!
The child these hands in vain essay’d to kill!
Thy hands, thou monster!
Yes, the deed was mine;
Speak, Clara, for no duty binds thy tongue;
Speak, I absolve thee from all filial ties,
For I declare thou art no child of mine.
Oh! Happiness! inestimable Joy!
Not thine! To whom then does she owe her birth?
To one as hateful to thee as myself—
The Count of Rohan.
Oh! most happy news;
Then I have yet a mother—Oh! my heart!——
The Count of Rohan did in secret wed
The Princess Isabel of Saxony.
This is her child,——I took her as my own;——
The mother thought she died in infancy.
Indeed, the secret had its price with me,
For while I held the Count’s life in my hand
I did not spare his purse:——It was agreed
If I could find a wealthy match for her,
Riches and honours should reward my care;
But if I gave her to a needy man,
No recompense nor thanks awaited me.
But I should sink··········I waste my dying breath,
Which I should rather save········but can I pray,
Whose life has been a libel on my faith?
I cannot pray—for oh!—my sins—my sins.—
How dreadful is the death of wicked men,
Whose angry passions struggle with their fears,
And Penitence has had no time to work154 L5v 154
To any consolation on their state,
But Shame, Remorse, and Agony confound!——
He was my bitter enemy; but tears
Must flow for him whom I believ’d my sire.
Whom have we here! what now! the Count of Rohan!
Oh! Heav’ns, the Count.——
Disarm’d, and by his side
A holy nun.
My mother! oh! my mother.
My lord, I come disarm’d, my forces all
Dismiss’d, but not subdu’d, have left your wood;
The last shot fir’d has clear’d the world of one
Whose tool to Wickedness too long I’ve been—
Accurs’d Montalban! let his name expire——
Shame and Dishonour wait upon the sound.
My lord, I come to speak of high concerns;
But first—your leave, Sir, to embrace my child.
Take her, my lord——a treasure that the World
Cannot repay or equal—she is yours.
I am not worthy of her; I believ’d
The story of her guilt; a father’s heart
Should have repell’d all efforts to deceive.
My lord, as pledge that I withdraw my force,
Receive her as my hostage, she is yours.—
You seem surpriz’d, Sir, at my quick resolve,
Since I so lately sought your life in arms;
But I am guided by a sainted hand,
Which leads me back to Virtue,——See it here!
She may not speak—but she may raise her veil,
And see if any present know her face.
It is the same—the royal penitent,——
The princess Isabel—I blush to own155 L6r 155
I married her in private to the Count,
Against her father’s will; that was a sin,
That action leaves a stain upon my life;
But now, that she has chos’n a holy spouse,
She is no longer bound by human ties.
Oh! Isabel, my penitence——too late, alas!
For Happiness, for thee, or for myself;
How shall I shew it? shall I take such vows
As hold thee in a life of holy bonds?
Give up for thee the World I have disgrac’d,
And ask Heav’n’s mercy on my alter’d days!
Change not thy garb, but change thy inward soul;
Vex not thy limbs with stripes, but scourge thy mind;
’Tis not the bending of a supple knee,
Hands raised in prayer, and eyes that seek the ground,
The pageantry of Piety I ask.—
Let thy soul bend in humble thankfulness,
Be thy hand open to the call of Want;
Creation is a Temple—serve therein,
And consecrate each day to Charity;
Look to thyself, examine well thy heart.
Does no Ambition lurk within thy soul,
No thirst for wider range of conqu’ring Power?
Or does the dove-like influence fill thy breast
Of Peace, mild-springing from its source divine?
Words are but weak to speak my alter’d mind,
My actions shall approve it. Isabel,
Canst thou forgive a man, who, loving Virtue,
Has been thro’ life the wretched tool of Vice:
Whose passions, once indulg’d, led on to Guilt;
And who, abhorring Falsehood, banish’d Truth;
Canst thou forgive the errors of my Youth,
Shine like a friendly beacon on my path,
And save me from the dark’ning gulph of Shame?
Now Rohan, with my hand, my friendship take,
Not lightly pledg’d, nor easily obtain’d,
But firm to hold, nor to be chang’d by Time.
You give me Clara, and you give me more
Than all the treasures of the world in her.
Come to my Castle—rest you there awhile,
For I have much to tell, and much to hear;
Yet, ’ere we leave this spot, where late we strove
In mortal combat, Father, give us here
Your holy blessing.
Thus receive it all;
Blest be this hour, which does on Virtue’s head
The radiance of Success and Glory shed;
Which bids us from this day’s experience learn,
How guilty friends to bitt’rest foes may turn;
How Falsehood ever works it’s own distress,
And Time at length strips off the borrow’d dress.
Thus, while we shudd’ring mark a brother’s fall,
May the important warning serve us all;
As in our Sorrows, we should shun Despair,
So calm Reflection in our joys should share.
May all assembled here, depart in Peace,
Discord, and Tumult, and Dissention cease;
May all in friendly harmony unite,
And Mercy be the attribute to-night!