Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

When, as the subjects drew the frequent sigh,
The tear stood trembling in his large blue eye,
And softly he exclaim'd, “Sweet, sweetest sympathy!"

When thus I heard the handsome stripling speak,
I smiled assent, and thought to pat his cheek;
But when I saw the feelings blushing there,
Signs of emotions strong, they said-forbear!

The youth would speak of his intent to live
On that estate which heaven was pleased to give,
There with the partner of his joys to dwell,
And nurse the virtues that he loved so well;
The humble good of happy swains to share,
And from the cottage drive distress and care;
To the dear infants make some pleasures known,
And teach, he gravely said, the virtues to his own.

He loved to read in verse, and verse-like prose,
The softest tales of love-inflicted woes;
When, looking fondly, he would smile and cry,
“ Is there not bliss in sensibility?"

We walk'd together, and it seem'd not harm
In linking thought with thought, and arm with arm,

Till the dear boy would talk too much of bliss,
And indistinctly murmur—"such as this.”

When no maternal wish her heart beguiled,
The lady call'd her son “the darling child;":
When with some nearer view her speech began,
She changed her phrase, and said, "the good young

man!”

And lost, when hinting of some future bride,
The woman's prudence in the mother's pride.

Still decent fear and conscious folly strove
With fond presumption and aspiring love;
But now too plain to me the strife appear'd,
And what he sought I knew, and what he fear'd;
The trembling hand and frequent sigh disclosed
The wish that prudence, care, and time opposed,

Was I not pleased, will you

demand ?-Amused
By boyish love, that woman's pride refused?
This I acknowledge, and from day to day
Resolved no longer at such game to play;
Yet I forbore, though to my purpose true,
And firmly fix'd to bid the youth adieu.

There was a moonlight eve, serenely cool,
When the vast ocean seem'd a mighty pool ;
Save the small rippling waves that gently beat,
We scarcely heard them falling, at our feet:
His mother absent, bsent every sound
And every sight that could the youth confound;
The arm, fast lock'd in mine, his fear betray'd,
And when he spoke not, his designs convey'd ;
He oft-times gasp'd for breath, he tried to speak,
And studying words, at last had words to seek.

Silent the boy, by silence more betray'd,
And fearing lest he should appear afraid,
He knelt abruptly, and his speech began-

pangs of an unhappy man.”

Pity the

• Be sure,” I answer'd, “ and relieve them too “But why that posture? What the woes to you? “ To feel for others' sorrows is humane, “ But too much feeling is our virtue's bane.

166 Come, my

dear Rupert! now your tale disclose, “ That I may know the sufferer and his woes, “ Know there is pain that wilful man endures, “ That our reproof and not our pity cures ;

“For though for such assumed distress we grieve,
“ Since they themselves as well as us deceive,
" Yet we assist not.”. -The unhappy youth,
Unhappy then, beheld not all the truth.

O! what is this?” exclaim'd the dubious boy, “ Words that confuse the being they destroy ? “So have I read the gods to madness drive The man condemn'd with adverse fate to strive ; “ O! make thy victim though by misery sure, “ And let me know the pangs I must endure; “ For, like the Grecian warrior, I can pray “ Falling, to perish in the face of day."

Pretty, my Rupert; and it proves the use Of all that learning which the schools produce : “ But come, your arm-no trembling, but attend “ To sober truth, and a maternal friend.

[ocr errors]

“ You ask for pity?"-"0! indeed I do."
Well then, you have it, and assistance too:

Suppose us married!"_"0! the heavenly thought!" “ Nay-nay, my friend, be you by wisdom taught; “ For wisdom tells you, love would soon subside, “ Fall, and make room for penitence and pride;

Then would you meet the public eye, and blame
“ Your private taste, and be o'erwhelm'd with shame:
“ How must it then

your
bosom's

peace destroy “ To hear it said, “The mother and her boy! “ And then to show the sneering world it lies, “ You would assume the man, and tyrannize; “ Ev'n Time, Care's general soother, would augment “ Your self-reproaching, growing discontent.

Add twenty years to my precarious life,
“ And lo! your aged, feeble, wailing wife;
“ Displeased, displeasing, discontented, blamed;
“ Both, and with cause, ashaming and ashamed:
• When I shall bend beneath a press of time,
“ Thou wilt be all erect in manhood's prime;
“ Then wilt thou fly to younger minds t' assuage

Thy bosom's pain, and I in jealous age
“ Shall move contempt, if still; if active, rage:
“ And though in anguish all my days are past,
Yet far beyond thy wishes they may last ;

May last till thou, thy better prospects fled, “ Shall have no comfort when thy wife is dead.

“ Then thou in turn, though none will call thee old, “ Will feel thy spirit fled, thy bosom cold;

« ForrigeFortsett »