Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

Not so do I-Let solid walls impound
The captive fair, and dig a moat around;
Let there be brazen locks and bars of steel,
And keepers cruel, such as never feel;
With not a single note the purse supply,

And when she begs, let men and maids deny ;
Be windows those from which she dares not fall,
And help so distant, 't is in vain to call;
Still means of freedom will some power devise,
And from the baffled ruffian snatch his prize.

To Northern Wales, in some sequester'd spot,
I've follow'd fair Louisa to her cot; (1)
Where, then a wretched and deserted bride,
The injured fair-one wished from man to hide;
Till by her fond repenting Belville found,
By some kind chance-the straying of a hound,
He at her feet craved mercy, nor in vain,
For the relenting dove flew back again.

There's something rapturous in distress, or, oh!
Could Clementina bear her lot of wo?
Or what she underwent could maiden undergo?
The day was fix'd; for so the lover sigh'd,
So knelt and craved, he couldn't be denied ;
When, tale most dreadful! every hope adieu, -
For the fond lover is the brother too:

All other griefs abate; this monstrous grief
Has no remission, comfort, or relief;

(1) [Louisa, or the Cottage on the Moor, by Mrs. Helme; who also wrote The Farmer of Inglewood Forest, St. Clair of the Isles, and many other novels.]

Four ample volumes, through each page disclose,-
Good Heaven protect us! only woes on woes;
Till some strange means afford a sudden view
Of some vile plot, and every wo adieu ! (1)

Now, should we grant these beauties all endure Severest pangs, they've still the speediest cure; Before one charm be wither'd from the face, Except the bloom, which shall again have place, In wedlock ends each wish, in triumph all disgrace; And life to come, we fairly may suppose, One light, bright contrast to these wild dark woes.

These let us leave, and at her sorrows look, Too often seen, but seldom in a book; Let her who felt, relate them ;- -on her chair The heroine sits-in former years, the fair, Now aged and poor; but Ellen Orford knows That we should humbly take what Heav'n bestows.

"My father died - again my mother wed, "And found the comforts of her life were fled;

(1) As this incident points out the work alluded to, I wish it to be remembered, that the gloomy tenour, the querulous melancholy of the story, is all I censure. The language of the writer is often animated, and is, I believe, correct; the characters well drawn, and the manners described from real life; but the perpetual occurrence of sad events, the protracted list of teasing and perplexing mischances, joined with much waspish invective, unallayed by pleasantry or sprightliness, and these continued through many hundred pages, render publications, intended for amusement and executed with ability, heavy and displeasing: - you find your favourite persons happy in the end; but they have teased you so much with their perplexities by the way, that you were frequently disposed to quit them in their distresses.

66

"Her angry husband, vex'd through half his years By loss and troubles, fill'd her soul with fears: "Their children many, and 't was my poor place "To nurse and wait on all the infant-race; “Labour and hunger were indeed my part, "And should have strengthen'd an erroneous heart.

"Sore was the grief to see him angry come, "And teased with business, make distress at home: "The father's fury and the children's cries "I soon could bear, but not my mother's sighs; "For she look'd back on comforts, and would say, "I wrong'd thee, Ellen,' and then turn away: "Thus, for my age's good, my youth was tried, "And this my fortune till my mother died.

"So, amid sorrow much and little cheer

"A common case- -I pass'd my twentieth year; "For these are frequent evils; thousands share “An equal grief — the like domestic care.

"Then in my days of bloom, of health and youth, "One, much above me, vow'd his love and truth: "We often met, he dreading to be seen, [mean; "And much I question'd what such dread might "Yet I believed him true; my simple heart "And undirected reason took his part.

"Can he who loves me, whom I love, deceive? "Can I such wrong of one so kind believe, "Who lives but in my smile, who trembles when I

grieve?

"He dared not marry, but we met to prove "What sad encroachments and deceits has love: "Weak that I was, when he, rebuked, withdrew, "I let him see that I was wretched too; "When less my caution, I had still the pain "Of his or mine own weakness to complain.

66

Happy the lovers class'd alike in life, "Or happier yet the rich endowing wife; "But most aggrieved the fond believing maid, "Of her rich lover tenderly afraid :

"You judge th' event; for grievous was my fate, "Painful to feel, and shameful to relate:

"Ah! sad it was my burthen to sustain,

"When the least misery was the dread of pain; "When I have grieving told him my disgrace, "And plainly mark'd indifference in his face.

"Hard! with these fears and terrors to behold "The cause of all, the faithless lover, cold; "Impatient grown at every wish denied, "And barely civil, soothed and gratified; "Peevish when urged to think of vows so strong, "And angry when I spake of crime and wrong. "All this I felt, and still the sorrow grew, "Because I felt that I deserved it too, "And begg'd my infant stranger to forgive "The mother's shame, which in herself must live.

"When known that shame, I, soon expell'd from home,

"With a frail sister shared a hovel's gloom;

66

"There barely fed-(what could I more request?)
My infant slumberer sleeping at my breast,
"I from my window saw his blooming bride,
"And my seducer smiling at her side;

66

Hope lived till then; I sank upon the floor, "And grief and thought and feeling were no more:

Although revived, I judged that life would close, "And went to rest, to wonder that I rose:

66

――

My dreams were dismal, - wheresoe'er I stray'd, "I seem'd ashamed, alarm'd, despised, betray'd; "Always in grief, in guilt, disgraced, forlorn, "Mourning that one so weak, so vile, was born; "The earth a desert, tumult in the sea, "The birds affrighten'd fled from tree to tree, "Obscured the setting sun, and every thing like me: "But Heav'n had mercy, and my need at length Urged me to labour, and renew'd my strength. "I strove for patience as a sinner must, "Yet felt th' opinion of the world unjust: "There was my lover, in his joy esteem'd, "And I, in my distress, as guilty deem'd; "Yet sure, not all the guilt and shame belong "To her who feels and suffers for the wrong : "The cheat at play may use the wealth he's won, "But is not honour'd for the mischief done; "The cheat in love may use each villain art, "And boast the deed that breaks the victim's heart.

66

66

"Four years were past; I might again have found

"Some erring wish, but for another wound:

[ocr errors]
« ForrigeFortsett »