Abbildungen der Seite
PDF

• Should her Eliza-no! she was too just,

"I must," she judged, " these cruel lines expose, Too good and kind-but ah! too young to trust." Or fears, or worse than fears, my crime disclose." Anna return'd, her former place resumed,

The letter shown, he said, with sober smile, And faded beauty with new grace rebloom'd ; * Anna, your friend has not a friendly style And if some whispers of the past were heard, Say, where could you with this fair lady dwell, They died innoxious, as no cause appeard; Who boasts of secrets that she scorns to tell ?" But other cares on Anna's bosom press'd,

"At school,” she answer'd: he "At school!" replied ; She saw her father gloomy and distress'd ; "Nay, then I know the secrets you would hide : He died o'erwhelm'd with debt, and soon was Some longings these, without dispute, shed

Some youthful gaspings for forbidden fruit: The filial sorrow o'er a mother dead :

Why so disorder'd, love are such the crimes She sought Eliza's arms, that faithful friend was That give us sorrow in our graver times? wed;

Come, take a present for your friend, and rest
Then was compassion by the countess shown, In perfect peace--you find you are confess'd.”
And all th' adventures of her life are known. This cloud, though past, alarm'd the conscious
And now beyond her hopes--no longer tried

wife,'
By slavish awe-she lived a yeoman's bride ; Presaging gloom and sorrow for her life ;
Then bless'd her lot, and with a grateful mind Who to her answer join'd a fervent prayer,
Was careful, cheerful, vigilant, and kind;

That her Eliza would a sister spare :
The gentle husband felt supreme delight,

If she again—but was there cause ?-should send, Bless'd by her joy, and happy in her sight;

Let her direct-and then she named a friend : He saw with pride in every friend and guest A sad expedient untried friends to trust, High admiration and regard express'd :

And still to fear the tried may be unjust : With greater pride, and with superior joy,

Such is his pain, who, by his debt oppressid, He look'd exulting on his first-born boy ;

Seeks by new bonds a temporary rest. To her fond breast the wife her infant strain'd, Few were her peaceful days till Anna read Some feelings utter'd, some were not explain'd ; The words she dreaded, and had cause to dread :And she enraptured with her treasure grew,

“ Did she believe, did she, unkind, suppose The sight familiar, but the pleasure new.

That thus Eliza's friendship was to close ? Yet there appear'd within that tranquil state No! though she tried, and her desire was plain, Some threatening prospect of uncertain fate ; To break the friendly bond, she strove in vain : Between the married when a secret lies,

Ask'd she for silence? why so loud the call, It wakes suspicion from enforced disguise : And yet the token of her love so small ? Soll thought the wife upon her absent friend, By means like these will you attempt to bind With all that must upon her truth depend;

And check the movements of an injured mind? There is no being in the world beside,

Poor as I am. I shall be proud to show
Who can discover what that friend will hide ; What dangerous secrets I may safely know :
Who knew the fact, knew not my name or state, Secrets to men of jealous minds convey'd,
Who these can tell cannot the fact relate;

Have many a noble house in ruins laid :
But thou, Eliza, canst the whole impart,

Anna, I trust, although with wrongs beset, And all my safety is thy generous heart.”

And urged by want, I shall be faithful yet ; Mix'd with these fears—but light and transient But what temptation may from these arise, these

To take a slighted woman by surprise, Fled years of peace, prosperity, and ease .

Becomes a subject for your serious careSo tranquil all, that scarce a gloomy day

For who offends, must for offence prepare." For days of gloom unmix'd prepared the way ; Perplex'd, dismay'd, the wife foresaw her doon ; One eve, the wife, still happy in her state,

A day deferr'd was yet a day to come; Sang gayly, thoughtless of approaching fate: But still, though painful her suspended state, Then came a letter, that (received in dread, She dreaded more the crisis of her fate; Not unobserved) she in confusion read ;

Better to die than Stafford's scorn to meet, The substance this; “ Her friend rejoiced to find And her strange friend perhaps would be discreet: That she had riches with a grateful mind;

Presen is she sent, and made a strong appeal While poor Eliza had from place to place

To woman's feelings, begging her to feel; Been lured by hope to labour for disgrace; With too much force she wrote of jealous men, That every schene her wandering husband tried. | And her Ivars falling spoke beyond the pen; Pain'd while he lived, and perish'd when he died." | | Eliza's silence she again implored, She then of want in angry style complain'd, And promised all that prudence could afford. Her child a burden to her life remain'd,

For looks composed and careless Anna tried ; Her kindred shunn'd her prayers, no friend her She seem'd in trouble, and unconscious sigh'd : soul sustain'd.

The faithful husband, who devoutly loved " Yet why neglected ? Dearest Anna knew His silent partner, with concern reproved : Her worth once tried, her friendship ever true; " What secret sorrows on my Anna press, She hoped, she trusted, though by wants oppress'd, That love may not partake, nor care redress ?” To lock the treasured secret in her breast; “None, none," she answer'd, with a look so Yet, ver'd by trouble, must apply to one,

kind, For kindness due to her for kindness done." That the fond man determined to be blind. In Anna's mind was tumult, in her face

A few succeeding weeks of brief repose, Flushings of dread had momentary place: l in Anna's cheek revived the faded rose ;

A hue like this the western sky displays,

| Not long they lasted-this determined foe That glows a while, and withers as we gaze. Knew all her claims, and nothing would forego;

Again the friend's tormenting letter came Again her letter came, where Anna read, • The wants she suffer'd were affection's shame; “My child, one cause of my distress, is dead : She with her child a life of terrors led,

Heaven has my infant."-"Heartless wretch!" she Unhappy fruit! but of a lawful bed :

cried, Her friend was tasting every bliss in life, " Is this thy joy ?"_“ I am no longer tied : The joyful mother, and the wealthy wife ; Now will I, hastening to my friend, partake While she was placed in doubt, in fear, in want, Her cares and comforts, and no more forsake; To starve on trifles that the happy grant;

Now shall we both in equal station move, Poorly for all her faithful silence paid,

Save that my friend enjoys a husband's love." And tantalized by ineffectual aid :

Complaint and threats so strong the wife amazed, She could not thus a beggar's lot endure ;

Who wildly on her cottage neighbour gazed ; She wanted something permanent and sure : Her tones, her trembling, first betray'd her grief; If they were friends, then equal be their lot, When foods of tears gave anguish its relief. And she was free to speak if they were not.' She fear'd that Stafford would refuse assent,

Despair and terror seized the wife, to find And knew her selfish friend would not relent; The artful workings of a vulgar mind ;

She must petition, yet delay'd the task, Money she had not, but the hint of dress

Ashamed, afraid, and yet compell’d to ask ; Taught her new bribes, new terrors to redress : Unknown to him some object fill'd her mind, She with such feeling then described her woes, And, once suspicious, he became unkind : That envy's self might on the view repose ; They sate one evening, each absorb'd in gloom, Then to a mother's pains she made appeal, When, hark! a noise, and, rushing to the room, And painted grief like one compell’d to feel. The friend tripp'd lightly in, and laughing said, “I Yes! so she felt, that in her air, her face,

come." In every purpose, and in every place ;

Anna received her with an anxious mind, In her slow motion, in her languid mien,

And meeting whisper'd, “Is Eliza kind ?" The grief, the sickness of her soul were seen. Reserved and cool, the husband sought to prove Of some mysterious ill the husband sure,

The depth and force of this mysterious love. Desired to trace it, for he hoped to cure ;

To naught that pass'd between the stranger friend Something he knew obscurely, and had seen And his meek partner seem'd he to attend; His wife attend a cottage on the green ;

But, anxious, listen'd to the lightest word Love, loaih to wound, endured conjecture long, That might some knowledge of his guest afford; Till fear would speak, and spoke in language And learn the reason one to him so dear strong.

Should feel such fondness, yet betray such fear. "All I must know, my Anna-truly know

Soon he perceived this uninvited guest, Whence these emotions, terrors, troubles flow; Unwelcome too, a sovereign power possess'd ; Give me thy grief, and I will fairly prove

Lofty she was and careless, while the meek Mine is no selfish, no ungenerons love."

And humbled Anna was afraid to speak : Now Anna's soul the seat of strife became, As mute she listen'd with a painful smile, Fear with respect contended, love with shame; Her friend sate laughing and at ease the while, But fear prevailing was the ruling guide,

Telling her idle tales with all the glee Prescribing what to show and what to hide. Or careless and unfeeling levity.

"It is my friend," she said—“But why disclose With calm good sense he knew his wife endued, A woman's weakness struggling with her woes? And now with wounded pride her conduct view'd; Yes, she has grieved me by her fond complaints, Her speech was low, her every look convey'd-The wrongs she suffers, the distress she paints : “I am a slave subservient and afraid." Something we do--but she afflicts me still, All trace of comfort vanish'd if she spoke, And says, with power to help, I want the will ; The noisy friend upon her purpose broke ; This plaintive style I pity and excuse,

To her remarks with insolence replied, Help when I can, and grieve when I refuse ; And her assertions doubled or denied ; But here my useless sorrows I resign,

While the meek Anna like an infant shook, And will be happy in a love like thine.

Wo-struck and trembling at the serpent's look. The husband doubled ; he was kind but cool : “There is," said Stafford, " yes, there is a cause“ 'Tis a strong friendship to arise at school ; This creature frights her, overpowers, and awes." Once more then, love, once more the sufferer Six weeks had pass'd-—"In truth, my love, this aid,

friend I too can pity, but I must upbraid ;

| Has liberal notions; what does she intend? Of these vain feelings then thy bosom free, Without a hint she came, and will she stay Nor be o’erwhelm'd by useless sympathy."

Till she receives the hint to go away ?" The wife again despatch'd the useless bribe, Confused the wife replied, in spite of truth, Again essay'd her terrors to describe ;

“ I love the dear companion of my youth." Again with kindest words entreated peace, “ "Tis well,” said Stafford;" then your loves renew; And begg'd her offerings for a time might cease. | Trust me, your rivals, Anna,' will be few." A calm succeeded, but too like the one

Though playful this, she felt too much distress'd That causes terror ere the storm comes on :

T'admit the consolation of a jest; A secret sorrow lived in Anna's heart,

Ill she reposed, and in her dreams would sign, In Stafford's mind a secret fear of art;

| And, murmuring forth her anguish, beg to die;

With sunken eye, slow pace, and pallid cheek, | History or tale-all heard him with delight,
She look'd confusion, and she fear'd to speak. And thus was pass'd this memorable night.

All this the friend beheld, for, quick of sight, The listening friend bestow'd a flattering smile;
She knew the husband eager for her flight; A sleeping boy the mother held the while ;
And that by force alone she could retain

And ere she fondly bore him to his bed,
The lasting comforts she had hope to gain : On his fair face the tear of anguish shed.
She now perceived, to win her post for life,

And now his task resumed, “ My tale," said he, She must infuse fresh terrors in the wife;

" Is short and sad, short may our sadness be !" Mast bid to friendship's feebler ties adieu,

“The Caliph Harun,* as historians tell,
And boldly claim the object in her view : Ruled, for a tyrant, admirably well ;
She saw the husband's love, and knew the power Where his own pleasures were not touch’d, to men
Her friend might use in some propitious hour. He was humane, and sometimes even then ;

Meantime the anxious wife, from pure distress Harun was fond of fruits, and gardens fair,
Assuming courage, said, “I will confess ;"

And wo to all whom he found poaching there!
But with her children felt a parent's pride, Among his pages was a lively boy,
And sought once more the hated truth to hide. Eager in search of every trifling joy ;

Offended, grieved, impatient, Stafford bore His feelings vivid, and his fancy strong,
The odious change till he could bear no more ; He sigh'd for pleasure while he shrank from wrong;
A friend to truth, in speech and action plain, When by the caliph in the garden placed
He held all fraud and cunning in disdain ;

He saw the treasures which he long'd to taste ; But, fraud to find, and falsehood to detect,

And oft alone he ventured to behold For once he fled to measures indirect.

Rich hanging fruits with rind of glowing gold; One day the friends were seated in that room Too long he stayed forbidden bliss to view, The guest with care adorn'd, and named her home : His virtue failing, as his longings grew; To please the eye, there curious prints were Athirst and wearied with the noontide heat, placed,

Fate to the garden led his luckless feet; And some light volumes to amuse the taste; With eager eyes and open mouth he stood, Letters and music, on a table laid,

Smelt the sweet breath, and touch'd the fragrant The favourite studies of the fair betray'd ;

food; Beneath the window was the toilet spread, The tempting beauty sparkling in the sun And the fire gleam'd upon a crimson bed.

Charm'd his young sense—he ate, and was undone : In Anna's looks and falling tears were seen When the fond glutton paused, his eyes around How interesting had their subjects been :

He turn'd, and eyes upon him turning sound; *O! then, "resumed the friend, "I plainly find Pleased he bcheld the spy, a brother page, That you and Stafford know each other's mind ; A friend allied in office and in age ; I must depart, must on the world be thrown, Who promised much that secret he would be, Like one discarded, worthless, and unknown; But high the price he fir'd on secrecy. But shall I carry, and to please a foe,

“* Were you suspected, my unhappy friend,' A painful secret in my bosom? No!

Began the boy, ' where would your sorrows end! Think not your friend a reptile you may tread In all the palace there is not a page Beneath your feet, and say, the worm is dead ; The caliph would not torture in his rage : I have some feeling, and will not be made

I think I see thee now impaled alive, The scorn of her whom love cannot persuade : Writhing in pangs-but come, my friend! revive; Would not your word, your slightest wish, effect Had some beheld you, all your purse contains All that I hope, petition, or expect?

Could not have saved you from terrific pains ; The power you have, but you the use decline I scorn such meanness ; and, if not in debt, Proof that you feel not, or you fear not mine. Would not an asper on your folly set.' There was a time, when I, a tender maid,

“The hint was strong ; young Osmyn search'd Flew at a call, and your desires obey'd ;

his store A very mother to the child became,

For bribes, and found he soon could bribe no more; Corisoled your sorrow, and conceal'd your shame; | That time arrived, for Osmyn's stock was small, But now, grown rich and happy, from the door And the young tyrant now possess'd it all; You thrust a bosom friend, despised and poor ; The cruel youth, with his companions near, That child alive, its mother might have known Gave the broad hint that raised the sudden fear; The bard ungrateful spirit she has shown.” Th' ungenerous insult now was daily shown, Here paused the guest, and Anna cried at And Osmyn's peace and honest pride were flown; length

Then came augmenting woes, and fancy strong " You try me, cruel friend ! beyond my strength ; Drew forms of suffering, a tormenting throng ; Would I had been beside my infant laid,

He felt degraded, and the struggling mind Where none would vex me, threaten, or upbraid.” Dared not be free, and could not be resign'd ;

In Anna's looks the friend beheld despair; And all his pains and fervent prayers obtain'd
Her speech she soften'd, and composed her air ; Was truce from insult, while the fears remain'd.
Yet, while professing love, she answered still
"You can befriend me, but you want the will."
They parted thus, and Anna went her way,

• The sovereign here meant is the Haroun Alraschid, To shed her secret sorrows, and to pray.

or Harun al Rashid, who died early in the ninth century ; Stafford, amused with books, and fond of home, he is often the hearer, and sometimes the hero, of a tale By reading oft dispellid the evening gloom ;

in the Arabian Nights' Entertainments.

“One day it chanced that this degraded boy Quick she retired, and all the dismal night And tyrant friend were fix'd at their employ : Thought of her guilt, her folly, and her flight; Who now had thrown restraint and form aside, | Then sought unseen her miserable home, And for his bribe in plainer speech applied : To think of comforts lost, and brood on wants to • Long have I waited, and the last supply

come. Was but a pittance, yet how patient I! But give me now what thy first terrors gave, My speech shall praise thee, and my silence save.'

TALE XVII.
"Osmyn had found, in many a dreadful day,
The tyrant fiercer when he seern'd in play:

RESENTMENT.
He begg'd forbearance ; ' I have not to give;
Spare me a while, although 'tis pain to live :

She bath a tear for pity, and a hand

Open as day for melting charity; 0! had that stolen fruit the power possess'd

Yet, notwithstanding, being incensed, is flint-To war with life, I now had been at rest.'

Her temper, therefore, must be well observ'd. “* So fond of death,' replied the boy, “'tis plain

Henry IV. Part. i. act iv. sc. 4. Thou hast no certain notion of the pain ;

Three or four wenches where I stood criedBut to the caliph were a secret shown,

"Alas! good soul!" and forgave him with all their Death has no pain that would be then unknown.' hearts: but there is no heed to be taken of them; if “Now, says the story, in a closet near,

Cæsar had stabb'd their mothers, they would have done The monarch, seated, chanced the boys to hear; no less. There oft he came, when wearied on his throne,

Julius Cæsar, act i. sc. 2, To read, sleep, listen, pray, or be alone.

How dost? Art cold ? “The tale proceeds, when first the caliph

I'm cold myself-Where is the straw, my fellow?

The art of our necessities is strange, found

That can make vile things precious. That he was robb'd, although alone, he frown'd:

King Lear, act iii. sc. %
And swore in wrath, that he would send the boy
Far from his notice, favour, or employ ;

FEMALES there are of unsuspicious mind,
But gentler movements soothed his ruffled mind, Easy and soft, and credulous and kind;
And his own failings taught him to be kind. Who, when offended for the twentieth time,

“Relenting thoughts then painted Osmyn voung, Will hear th' offender and forgive the crime : His passion urgent, and temptation strong;

And there are others whom like these to cheat, And that he suffer'd from that villain spy

Asks but the humblest effort of deceit;
Pains worse than death till he desired to die; Bus they, once injured, feel a strong disdain,
Then if his morals had received a stain,

And, seldom pardoning, never trust again ;
His bitter sorrows made him pure again :

Urged by religion, they forgive-but yet To Reason, Pity lent her generous aid,

Guard the warm heart, and never more forget: For one so tempted, troubled, and betray'd; Those are like war-apply them to the fire, And a free pardon the glad boy restored

Melting, they take th' impressions you desire; To the kind presence of a gentle lord ;

Easy to mould, and fashion as yon please, Who from his office and his country drove

And again moulded with an equal ease :That traitor friend, whom pains nor prayers could Like smelted iron these the forms retain, move;

But once impress'd will never melt again.
Who raised the fears no mortal could endure, A busy port a serious merchant made
And then with cruel avarice sold the cure. His chosen place to recommence his trade ;
“My tale is ended ; but, to be applied,

And brought his lady, who, their children dead,
I must describe the place where caliphs hide." Their native seat of recent sorrow fled :
Here both the females look'd alarm'd, dis The husband duly on the quay was seen,
tress'd,

The wife at home became at length serene : With hurried passions hard to be express'd. There in short time the social couple grew " It was a closet by a chamber placed,

With all acquainted, friendly with a few : Where slept a lady of no vulgar taste ;

When the good lady, by disease assail'd, Her friend attended in that chosen room

In vain resisted-hope and science fail'd : That she had honour'd and proclaim'd her home : Then spake the female friends, by pity led, To please the eye were chosen pictures placed, “ Poor merchant Paul! what think ye? will ho And some light volumes to amuse the taste ;

wed ? Letters and music on a table laid,

A quiet, easy, kind, religious man,
For much the lady wrote, and often play'd ; Thus can he rest ?—I wonder if he can."
Beneath the window was a toilet spread,

He too, as grief subsided in his mind,
And a fire gleam'd upon a crimson bed."

Gave place to notious of congenial kind : He paused, he rose ; with troubled joy the wife Grave was the man, as we have told before ; Felt the new era of her changeful life;

His years were forty-he might pass for more ; Frankness and love appear'd in Stafford's face, Composed his features were, his stature low, And all her trouble to delight give place.

His air important, and his motion slow; Twice made the guest an effort to sustain His dress became him, it was neat and plain, Her feelings, twice resumed her seat in vain, The colour purple, and without a stain ; Nor could suppress her shame, nor could support His words were few, and special was his care her pain :

In simplest terms his purpose to declare:

A man more civil, sober, and discreet,

| His worldly wealth she sought, and quickly More grave and courteous, you could seldom meet : grew Though frugal he, yet sumptuous was his board, Pleased with her search, and happy in the view 48 if to prove how much he could afford;

Of vessels freighted with abundant stores, For though reserved himself, he loved to see of rooms whose treasures press'd the groaning His table plenteous, and his neighbours free :

floors; Among these friends he sat in solemn style, And he of clerks and servants could display And rarely sosten’d to a sober smile;

A little army, on a public day. for this observant friends their reasons gave Was this a man like needy bard to speak * Concerns so vast would make the idlest grave: Of balmy lip, bright eye, or rosy cheek? And for such man to be of language free,

The sum appointed for her widow'd state, Would seem incongruous as a singing tree : Fix'd by her friend, excited no debate ; Trees have their music, but the birds they shield Then the kind lady gave her hand and heart, The pleasing tribute for protection yield ;

And, never finding, never dealt with art : Each ample tree the tuneful choir defends, In his engagements she had no concern ; As this rich merchant cheers his happy friends!" He taught her not, nor had she wish to learn :

In the same town it was his chance to meet On him in all occasions she relied, A gentle lady, with a mind discreet;

His word her sureiy, and his worth her pride. Neither in life's decline, nor bloom of youth,

When ship was launch'd, and merchant Paul had One famed for maiden modesty and truth :

share, By nature cool, in pious habits bred,

A bounteous feast became the lady's care ; She look'd on lovers with a virgin's dread : Who then her entry to the dinner made, Deceivers, rakes, and libertines were they,

In costly raiment, and with kind parade. And harmless beauty their pursuit and prey ; Call'd by this duty on a certain day, As bad as giants in the ancient times

And robed to grace it in a rich array, Were modern lovers, and the same their crimes: Forth from her room with measured step she Soon as she heard of her all-conquering charms,

came, At once she fled to her defensive arms;

Proud of th' event, and stately look'd the dame : Conn'd o'er the tales her maiden aunt had told, The husband met her at his study-doorAnd statue-like, was motionlike and cold ;

“ This way, my love-one moment and no more : From prayer of love, like that Pygmalion pray'd, A trilling business--you will understand, Ere the hard stone became the yielding maid The law requires that you affix your hand ; A different change in this chaste nymph ensued, But first aliend, and you shall learn the cause And turn'd to stone the breathing flesh and blood : Why forms like these have been prescribed by Whatever youth described his wounded heart,

laws." • He came to rob her, and she scorn'd his art; Then from his chair a man in black arose, And who of raptures once presumed to speak, And with much quickness hurried off his prose : Told listening maids he thought them fond and That “ Ellen Paul the wife, and so forth, freed weak;

From all control, her own the act and deed, But should a worthy man his hopes display

And forasmuch"-said she, “I've no distrust, In few plain words, and beg a yes or nay,

For he that asks it is discreet and just; He would deserve an answer just and plain, Our friends are waiting-where am I to sign ? Since adulation only moved disdain

There !--Now be ready when we meet to Sir, if my friends object not, come again."

dine." Hence our brave lover, though he liked the face. This said, she hurried off in great delight, Praised not a feature-dwelt not on a grace ; The ship was launch’d, and joyful was the night. But in the simplest terms declared his state,

Now, says the reader, and in much disdain, "A widow'd man, who wish'd a virtuous mate ; This serious merchant was a rogue in grain; Who fear'd neglect, and was compellid to trust A treacherous wretch, an artful, sober knave, Dependants wasteful, idle, or unjust;

And ten times worse for manners cool and grave, Or should they not the trusted stores destroy, And she devoid of sense, to set her hand Ai best, they could not help him to enjoy,

To scoundrel deeds she could not understand. But with her person and her prudence blest,

Alas! 'tis true ; and I in vain had tried His acts would prosper, and his soul have rest : To soften crime, that cannot be denied ; Would she be his?"__" Why that was much to say; | And might have labour'd many a tedious verse She would consider : he a while might stay; | The latent cause of mischief to rehearso : She liked his manners, and believed his word; Be it confess'd, that long, with troubled look, He did not flatter, flattery she abhorrid:

This trader view'd a huge accompting book It was her happy lot in peace to dwell

(Ilis former marriage for a time delay'd Would change make better what was now so well? The dreaded hour, the present lent its aid ;) But she would ponder."-" This,” he said, " was But he too clearly saw the evil day, kind,"

And put the terror, by deceit, away; And begg'd to know " when she had fix'd her Thus by connecting with his sorrows crime, mind."

He gain'd a portion of uneasy time.Romantic maidens would have scorn'd the air, All this too late the injured lady saw, And the cool prudence of a mind so fair ;

What love had given, again she gave to law; Bat well it pleased this wiser maid to find

His guilt, her folly—these at once impress’d Her own mild virtues in her lover's mind. | Their lasting feelings on her guileless breast

« ZurückWeiter »