Mark it, Cesario, it is true and plain ;
The spinsters and the knitters in the sun,
And the free maids that weave their thread with bones,
Do use to cbant it: it is silly sooth,
And dallies with the innocence of love,
Like the old age.

Shaksp. Twelfth Night.

FAR in the windings of a vale,

Fast by a shelteriog wood,
The safe retreat of Health and Peace,
An humble cottage stood :
There beauteous Emma flourish'd fair
Beneath a mother's eye,
Whose only wish on earth was now
To see her bless'd and die.

The softest blush that Nature spreads,
Gave colour to her cheek ;
Such orient colour smiles through Heav'n
When vernal mornings break.

Nor let the pride of great ones scorn
This charmer of the plains;
That sun which bids their diamond blaze
To paint our lily deigns.
Long had she filld each youth with love,
Each maiden with despair,
And though by all a wonder own'd,
Yet knew not she was fair;
Till Edwin came, the pride of swains !
A soul devoid of art,
And from whose eyes, serenely mild,
Shone forth the feeling heart.

[ocr errors]

A mutual flame was quickly caught, Was quickly too reveal'd, For neither bosom lodg'd a wish That virtue keeps conceal'd. What happy hours of home-felt bliss Did love on both bestow ! But bliss too mighty long to last Where Fortune proves a foe. His sister, who, like Envy form'd, Like her in mischief joy'd, To work them harm, with wicked skill Each darker art employ'd. The father too, a sordid man! Who love nor pity knew, Was all unfeeling as the clod From whence his riches grew. Long had he seen their secret flame, And seen it long unrov'd, Then with a father's frown at last Had sternly disapprov'd. In Edwin's gentle heart a war Of differing passions strove; His heart, that durst not disobey, Yet could not cease to love. Denied her sight, he oft behind The spreading hawthorn crept, To snatch a glance, to mark the spot Where Emma walk'd and wept. Oft, too, on Stanemore's wintry waste, Beneath the moonlight shade, In sighs to pour his soften'd soul The midnight mourner stray'd. His cheek, where health with beauty glow'd, A deadly pale o'ercast; So fades the fresh rose in its prime Before the northern blast.

The parents now, with late remorse,
Hung o'er his dying bed,
And wearied Heav'n with fruitless vows,
And fruitless sorrow shed.
'Tis past,' he cried—but if

your souls
Sweet mercy yet can move,
Let these dim eyes once more behold
What they must ever love.'
She came; his cold hand softly touch'd,
And bathed with many a tear :
Fast falling o'er the primrose pale
So morning-dews appear.
But oh ! his sister's jealous care,
A cruel sister she !
Forbade what Emma came to say,
My Edwin! live for me.'
Now homeward as she hopeless wept
The church-yard path along,
The blast blew cold, the dark owl scream'd
Her lover's funeral song.
Amid the falling gloom of night
Her startling fancy found
In every bush his hovering shade,
His groan in every sound.
Alone, appall'd, thus had she passid
· The visionary vale-

When, lo! the death-bell smote her ear,
Sad sounding in the gale.
Just then she reach'd, with trembling step,
Her aged mother's door-
He's gone !she cried, and I shall see
That angel face no more!
I feel, I feel this breaking heart
Beat high against my side
From her whitę arm down sunk her head:
She shivering sigh’d, and died.



WAS at the silent solemn hour

When night and morning meet, In glided Margaret's grimly ghost, And stood at William's feet.

Her face was like an April morn
Clad in a wintry cloud,
And clay-cold was her lily hand
That held her sable shroud.

So shall the fairest face appear
When youth and years are flown ;
Such is the robe that kings must wear
When Death has reft their crown.

Her bloom was like the springing flow'r
That sips the silver dew;
The rose was budded in her cheek,
Just opening to the view
But Love had, like the canker-worm,
Consum'd her early prime :
The rose grew pale, and left her cheek ;
She died before her time.

* Awake!' she cried,' thy true love calls,
Come from her midnight grave;
Now let thy pity hear the maid
Thy love refus'd to save.
This is the dumb and dreary hour
When injur'd ghosts complain,
When yawning graves give up their dead
To haunt the faithless swain.
Bethink thee, William ! of thy fault,
Thy pledge and broken oath,
And give me back my maiden vow,
And give me back my troth.

Why did you promise love to me,
And not that promise keep?
Why did you swear my eyes were bright,
Yet leave those eyes to weep?
How could you say my face was fair,
And yet that face forsake?
How could you win my virgin heart,
Yet leave that heart to break?
Why did you say my lip was sweet,
And made the scarlet pale?
And why did I, young witless maid !
Believe the flattering tale?
That face, alas! no more is fair,
Those lips no longer red :
Dark are my eyes, now clos'd in death,
And every charm is filed.
The hungry worm my sister is;
This winding-sheet I wear ;
And cold and weary lasts our night,
Till that last morn appear.
But, hark! the cock has warn'd me hence;
A long and late adieu !
Come see, false man ! how low she lies
Who died for love of you.'
The lark sung loud, the morning smil'd
With beams of rosy red;
Pale William quak'd in every limb,
And raving left his bed,
He hied him to the fatal place
Where Margaret's body lay,
And stretch'd him on the green-grass turf
That wrapp'd her breathless clay.
And thrice he calls on Margaret's name,
And thrice he wept full sore;
Then laid his cheek to her cold grave,
And word spoke never more !

« ForrigeFortsett »