Images de page
[blocks in formation]


The crackling boughs that in the forest fell, The cawing rooks, the cur's affrighten'd yell;

The scenes above the wood, the floods below, Were mix'd, and none the single sound could know;

Loud blow the blasts, they cried, and call us as they blow.

In such a night-and then the heroes told What had been done in better times of old; How they had conquer'd all opposed to them, By force in part, in part by stratagem; And as the tales inflamed the fiery crew, What had been done they then prepared to do; "Tis a last night! they said-the angry blast And roaring floods seem'd answering 'tis a last!

[blocks in formation]

For if suspected they had soon been tried
Where fears are evidence, and doubts decide:
But these escaped- Now James companions

Sturdy and bold, with terror-stirring look;
He had before, by informations led,
Left the afflicted partner of his bed;
Awaked his men, and through plantations

Deep woods, and trackless ling, had been
their guide;
And then return'd to wake the pitying wife,
And hear her tender terrors for his life.
But in this night a sure informer came,
They were assembled who attack'd his game;
Who more than once had through the park
made way,
And slain the dappled breed, or vow'd to

[blocks in formation]

Why this? he said, for Rachel pour'd her tears
Profuse, that spoke involuntary fears:
Sleep, that so early thou for us mayst wake,
And we our comforts in return may take;
Sleep, and farewell! he said, and took his way,
And the sad wife in neither could obey;
She slept not nor well fared, but restless dwelt
On her past life, and past afflictions felt;
The man she loved the brother and the foe

Of him she married!—It had wrought her woe;
Not that she loved, but pitied, and that now
Was, so she fear'd, infringement of her vow:
James too was civil, though she must confess
That his was not her kind of happiness;
That he would shoot the man who shot a hare
Was what her timid conscience could not bear;
But still she loved him-wonder'd where he

In this loud night! and if he were afraid. More than one hour she thought, and dropping then

In sudden sleep,cried loudly: Spare him, men!

And do no murder!-then awaked she rose, And thought no more of trying for repose. 'Twas past the dead of night, when every sound

That nature mingles might be heard around; But none from man,-man's feeble voice was hush'd,

Where rivers swelling roar'd, and woods
were crush'd;
Hurried by these, the wife could sit no more,
But must the terrors of the night explore.
Softly she left her door, her garden-gate,
And seem'd as then committed to her fate;
To every horrid thought and doubt a prey,
She hurried on, already lost her way;
Oft as she glided on in that sad night,
She stopp'd to listen, and she look'd for light;
An hour she wander'd, and was still to learn
Aught of her husband's safety or return:
A sudden break of heavy clouds could show
A place she knew not, but she strove to know ;
Still further on she crept with trembling feet,
With hope a friend, with fear a foe to meet:
And there was something fearful in the sight,
And in the sound of what appear'd to-night;
For now, of night and nervous terror bred,
Arose a strong and superstitious dread;
She heard strange noises, and the shapes
she saw

Of fancied beings bound her soul in awe.

The moon was risen, and she sometimes | Since this their morals have been more


Through thick white clouds, that flew tumultuous on,

Passing beneath her with an eagle's speed, That her soft light imprison'd and then freed; The fitful glimmering through the hedgerow green

Gave a strange beauty to the changing scene; And roaring winds and rushing waters lent Their mingled voice that to the spirit went. To these she listen'd; but new sounds were heard,

And sight more startling to her soul appear'd; There were low lengthen'd tones with sobs between,

And near at hand, but nothing yet was seen; She hurried on, and: Who is there? she cried. A dying wretch!--was from the earth replied. It was her lover-was the man she gave, The price she paid, himself from death to


With whom, expiring, she must kneel and pray,

While the soul flitted from the shivering clay That press'd the dewy ground, and bled its life away!

This was the part that duty bade her take, Instant and ere her feelings were awake; But now they waked to anguish; there came then,

Hurrying with lights, loud-speaking, eager


And here, my lord, we met-And who is here?
The keeper's wife—Ah! woman, go not near!
There lies the man that was the head of all-
See, in his temples went the fatal ball!
And James that instant, who was then our

Felt in his heart the adverse shot, and died!
It was a sudden meeting, and the light
Of a dull moon made indistinct our fight;
He foremost fell!-But see, the woman creeps
Like a lost thing, that wanders as she sleeps.
See, here her husband's body-but she knows
That other dead! and that her action shows.
Rachel! why look you at your mortal foe?—
She does not hear us-Whither will she go?
Now, more attentive, on the dead they gazed,
And they were brothers: sorrowing and


correct, The cruel spirit in the place is check'd; His lordship holds not in such sacred care, Nor takes such dreadful vengeance for a hare; The smugglers fear, the poacher stands in awe Of Heaven's own act, and reverences the law; There was, there is a terror in the place That operates on man's offending race; Such acts will stamp their moral on the soul, And while the bad they threaten and control, Will to the pious and the humble say, Yours is the right, the safe, the certain way, 'Tis wisdom to be good, 'tis virtue to obey.

So Rachel thinks, the pure, the good, the meek, Whose outward acts the inward purpose speak;

As men will children at their sports behold, And smile to see them, though unmoved and cold,

Smile at the recollected games, and then
Depart and mix in the affairs of men:
So Rachel looks upon the world, and sees
It cannot longer pain her, longer please,
But just detain the passing thought, or cause
A gentle smile of pity or applause;
And then the recollected soul repairs
Her slumbering hope, and heeds her own

[blocks in formation]

No letters, Tom? said Richard -None to-day,
Excuse me, Brother, I must now away;
Matilda never in her life so long
Deferr'd — Alas! there must be something
Comfort! said George, and all he could he lent;
Wait till your promised day, and I consent;
Two days, and those of hope, may cheer-
fully be spent.

And keep your purpose, to review the place,
My choice; and I beseech you do it grace:
Mark each apartment, their proportions learn,
And either use or elegance discern;

On all a momentary silence came,
A common softness, and a moral shame.
Seized you the poachers? said my lord-Look o'er the land, the gardens, and their

They fled,

And we pursued not,—one of them was dead, And one of us; they hurried through the wood,

Two lives were gone, and we no more pur


Two lives of men, of valiant brothers lost! Enough, my lord, do hares and pheasants cost!

So many thought, and there is found a heart To dwell upon the deaths on either part;


Find out the something to admire in all;
And should you praise them in a knowing
I'll take it kindly-it is well—a smile.

Richard must now his morning-visits pay,
And bid farewell! for he must go away.
He sought the Rector first, not lately seen,
For he had absent from his parish been;

Farewell! the younger man with feeling cried, Farewell! the cold but worthy priest replied; When do you leave us?—I have days but two!

'Tis a short time-but, well-Adien, adieu! Now here is one, said Richard, as he went To the next friend in pensive discontent, With whom I sate in social, friendly ease, Whom I respected, whom I wish'd to please; Whose love profess'd I question'd not was true,

And now to hear his heartless: Well! adieu! But 'tis not well-and he a man of sense, Grave, but yet looking strong benevolence; Whose slight acerbity and roughness told To his advantage; yet the man is cold! Nor will he know, when rising in the morn, That such a being to the world was born. Are such the friendships we contract in life? O! give me then the friendship of a wife! Adieus, nay, parting-pains to us are sweet, They make so glad the moments when we


For though we look not for regard intense,
Or warm professions in a man of sense,
Yet in the daily intercourse of mind

I thought that found which I desired to find,
Feeling and frankness-thus it seem'd to me,
And such farewell!-Well, Rector, let it be!

Of the fair Sisters then he took his leave,
Forget he could not, he must think and grieve,
Must the impression of their wrongs retain,
Their very patience adding to his pain;
And still the better they their sorrows bore,
His friendly nature made h`m feel them more.
He judged they must have many a heavy hour
When the mind suffers from a want of power;
When troubled long we find our strength

And cannot then recal our better aid;
For to the mind ere yet that aid has flown,
Grief has possess'd and made it all his own;
And patience suffers, till, with gather'd might,
The scattered forces of the soul unite.
But few and short such times of suffering


In Lucy's mind, and brief the reign of care. Jane had, indeed, her flights, but had in them What we could pity but must not condemn; For they were always pure and oft sublime, And such as triumph'd over earth and time, Thoughts of eternal love that souls possess, Foretaste divine of Heaven's own happiness. Oft had he seen them, and esteem had sprung In his free mind for maids so sad and young, So good and grieving, and his place was high In their esteem, his friendly brother's nigh, But yet beneath; and when he said adieu! Their tone was kind, and was responsive too. Parting was painful; when adien he cried, You will return? the gentle girls replied; You must return; your Brother knows you


But to exist without you knows not how;

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Has he not told us of the lively joy
He takes - forgive us -- in the Brother-boy?
He is alone and pensive; you can give
Pleasure to one by whom a number live
In daily comfort-sure for this you met,
That for his debtors you might pay a debt-
The poor are call'd ungrateful, but you still
Will have their thanks for this—indeed you

Richard but little said, for he of late
Held with himself contention and debate.
My Brother loves me, his regard I know,
But will not such affection weary grow?
He kindly says: defer the parting day;
But yet may wish me in his heart away;
Nothing but kindness I in him perceive,
In me 'tis kindness then to take my leave;
Why should I grieve if he should weary be?
There have been visitors who wearied me;
He yet may love, and we may part in peace,
Nay, in affection-novelty must cease
Mau is but man; the thing he most desires
Pleases awhile-then pleases not-then tires;
George to his former habits and his friends
Will now return, and so my visit ends.
Thus Richard communed with his heart; but

He found opposed his reason and his will, Found that his thoughts were busy in this train,

And he was striving to be calm in vain. These thoughts were passing while he yet forbore

To leave the friends whom he might see no


Then came a chubby child and sought relief,
Sobbing in all the impotence of grief;
A full fed girl she was, with ruddy cheek,
And features coarse, that grosser feelings

To whom another miss, with passions strong,
And slender fist, had done some baby-wrong.
On Lucy's gentle mind had Barlow wrought
To teach this child, whom she had labouring

With unpaid love-this unproductive brain
Would little comprehend, and less retain.
A farmer's daughter, with redundant health,
And double Lucy's weight and Lucy's wealth,
Had won the man's regard, and he with her
Possess'd the treasure vulgar minds prefer;
A man of thrift, and thriving, he possess'd
What he esteem'd of earthly good the best;
And Lucy's well-stored mind had not a charm
For this true lover of the well-stock’d farı,
This slave to petty wealth and rustic toil,
This earth-devoted wooer of the soil:-
But she with meekness took the wayward

And sought to make the savage nature mild.
But Jane her judgment with decision gave-
Train not an idiot to oblige a slave.

And where is Bloomer? Richard would have | Each of his Brother took a steady view,— As actor he, and as observer too.


But he was cautious, feeling, and afraid;
And little either of the hero knew,
And little sought-he might be married too.
Now to his home, the morning-visits past,
Return'd the guest that evening was his


[blocks in formation]


But George was willing all this woe to spare,
And let to-morrow be to-morrow's care:
He of his purchase talk'd—a thing of course,
As men will boldly praise a new-bought horse.
Richard was not to all its beauty blind,
And promised still to seek, with hope to find:
The price indeed - Yes, that, said George,
is high;

But if I bought not, one was sure to buy,
Who might the social comforts we enjoy,
And every comfort lessen or destroy.
We must not always reckon what we give,
But think how precious 'tis in peace to live;
Some neighbour Nimrod might in very pride
Have stirr'd my anger, and have then defied;
Or worse, have loved, and teased me to ex-

[blocks in formation]

Each to the table went with clouded look,
And George in silence gazed upon a book;
Something that chance had offer'd to his

He knew not what, or cared not, if he knew.
Richard his hand upon a paper laid,---
His vacant eye upon the carpet stray'd;
His tongue was talking something of the day,
And his vex'd mind was wandering on his way.
They spake by fits, but neither had concern
In the replies, they nothing wish'd to learn,
Nor to relate; cach sat as one who tries
To baffle sadnesses and sympathies:

Richard, whose heart was ever free and frank,
Had now a trial, and before it sank:
He thought his Brother-parting now 80


Appear'd not as his Brother should appear;
He could as much of tenderness remark
When parting for a ramble in the park.
Yet, is it just ? he thought; and would I see
My Brother wretched but to part with me?
What can he further in my mind explore?
He saw enough, and he would see no more:
Happy himself, he wishes now to slide
Back to his habits-He is satisfied;
He has been kind,-
But I am not-this cannot be denied.

,—so let me think him still;
Yet he expresses not a wish, a will
To meet again! And thus affection strove
With pride, and petulance made war on love:
He thought his Brother cool— he knew him
And there was sore division in his mind.


[blocks in formation]

Richard, said George, I see it is in vain
By love or prayer my brother to retain;
And, truth to tell, it was a foolish thing
A man like thee from thy repose to bring
Ours to disturb-Say, how am I to live
Without the comforts thou art wont to give?
How will the heavy hours my mind afflict,
No one t'agree, no one to contradict,
None to awake, excite me, or prevent,
To hear a tale, or hold an argument,
To help my worship in a case of doubt,
And bring me in my blunders fairly out.
Who now by manners lively or serene
Comes between me and sorrow like a screen,
And giving, what I look'd not to have found,
A care, an interest in the world around?

[blocks in formation]

And 'tis from thee and from thy looks I gain This painful knowledge-'tis my Brother's pain;

And yet that something in my spirit lives,
Something that spleen excites and sorrow

I may confess,-for not in thee I trace
Alone this change, it is in all the place:
Smile if thou wilt in scorn, for I am glad
A smile at any rate is to be had.
But there is Jacques, who ever seem'd to

Thy Brother kindly as we chanced to meet;
Nor with thee only pleased our worthy guide,
But in the hedge-row path and green-wood

There he would speak with that familiar ease
That makes a trifle, makes a nothing please.
But now to my farewell,-and that I spoke
With honest sorrow,-with a careless look,
Gazing unalter'd on some stupid prose—
His sermon for the Sunday I suppose,-
Going? said he: why then the Squire and you
Will part at last-You're going? — Well,

True, we were not in friendship bound like

Grateful he was,and with his courage meek,
But he was hurt, and he resolved to speak :
Yes, my dear Brother! from my soul I grieve Who will adopt each other's friends and foes,
Thee and the proofs of thy regard to leave: Without esteem or hatred of their own,-
Thou hast been all that I could wish,-my | But still we were to intimacy grown;


Exults to find that I am thus allied:
Yet to express a feeling, how it came,
The pain it gives, its nature and its name,
I know not,-but of late, I will confess,
Not that thy love is little, but is less.
Hadst thou received me in thy present mood,
Sure I had held thee to be kind and good;
But thou wert all the warmest heart could

Affection dream, or hope anticipate ;
I must have wearied thee yet day by day,-
Stay! said my Brother, and 'twas good to

And sure of Jacques when I had taken leave
It would have grieved me, and it ought
to grieve;

But I in him could not affection trace,-
Careless he put his sermons in their place,
With no more feeling than his sermon-case.
Not so those generous girls beyond the

It quite unmann'd me as my leave I took.

But, my dear Brother! when I take at night,
In my own home, and in their mother's sight,
By turns my children, or together see
A pair contending for the vacant knee,
When to Matilda I begin to tell
What in my visit first and last befell—
Of this your village, of her tower and spire,
And, above all, her Rector and her Squire,
How will the tale be marr'd when I shall

But now, forgive me, thinking I perceive
Change undefined, and as I think I grieve.
Have I offended?-Proud although I be,
I will be humble, and concede to thee:
Have I intruded on thee when thy mind
Was vex'd, and then to solitude inclined?
O! there are times when all things will molest
Minds so disposed, so heavy, so oppress'd; I left displeased the Brother and the friend?
And thine, I know, is delicate and nice,
Sickening at folly, and at war with vice:
Then, at a time when thou wert vex'd with

I have intruded, let affection tease,
And so offended.-Richard, if thou hast,
"Tis at this instant, nothing in the past:
No, thou art all a Brother's love would choose;
And, having lost thee, I shall interest lose
In all that I possess: I pray thee tell
Wherein thy host has fail'd to please thee

Do I neglect thy comforts?-O! not thou,
But art thyself uncomfortable now,

Nay, Jacques is honest-Marry, he was then
Engaged-What! part an author and his pen?
Just in the fit, and when th' inspiring ray
Shot on his brain, t' arrest it in its way!
Come, thou shalt see him in an easier vein,
Nor of his looks nor of his words complain:
Art thou content?—If Richard had replied,
I am, his manner had his words belied:
Even from his Brother's cheerfulness he

Something to vex him—what, he scarcely

« PrécédentContinuer »