« ForrigeFortsæt »
• 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 appear d; Who boasts of secrets that she scorns to tell ?" But other cares on Anna's bosom press'd,
"At school," she answerd: 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?
Come, take a present for your friend, and rest
That her Eliza would a sister spare :
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 oppress’d, 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 ehe enraptured with her treasure grew,
Did she believe, did she, unkind, suppose The sighi 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,
Poor as I am. I shall be proud to show
Have many a noble house in ruins laid :
Anna, I trust, although with wrongs beset, And all my safety is thy generous heart."
And urged by want, I shall be faithsul yet ; Mir'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."
A day deferr'd was yet a day to come;
Better to die than Stafford's scorn to meet,
Presenis 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 schen.e her wandering husband tried, And her tears falling spoke beyond the pen; Pan'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 : soal 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, vex'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 : 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 insant.”—“Heariless 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 noi 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 compellid 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 compellid 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 mysierious love. Desired to trace ii, 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, loach 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 lisien'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. Of 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 comfori 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 donbted 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 doubted; 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,
All this the friend beheld, for, quick of sight, The listening friend bestow'd a flattering smile;
And ere she fondly bore him to his bed,
And now his lask resumed, “ My tale,” said he, She must infuse fresh terrors in the wife ;
" Is short and sad, short may our sadness be !" Must bid to friendship's feebler ties adieu,
The Caliph Harun,* as historians tell,
Meantime the anxious wife, from pure distress Harun was fond of fruits, and gardens fair,
Offended, grieved, impatient, Stafford bore His feelings vivid, and his fancy strong,
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 ; Beneath the window was the toilet spread, The templing 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 found; **O! then, "resumed the friend, “ I plainly find Pleased he bcheld the spy, a bro!her 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 pane; 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 noi 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 ; Consoled your sorrow, and conceal'd your shame ; | That time arrived, for Osmyn's stock was small, i
But now, grown rich and happy, from the door And the young lyrant now possess'd it all ;
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
• 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 dispell’d 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 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 ;
She hath a tear for pity, and a hand Spare me a while, although 'uis pain to live : 0! had that stolen fruit the power possess'd
Open as day for melting charity;
Yet, notwithstanding, being incensed, is ilin 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;
Julius Casar, act i. sc. 2, There oft he came, when wearied on his throne, 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 necessites is strange, found
That can make vile things precious. That he was robb'd, although alone, he frown'd:
King Lear, act iii. sc. 2
FEMALES There are of unsuspicious mind,
“ Relenting thoughts then painted Osmyn young, 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; But they, once injured, feel a strong disdain, Then if his morals had received a stain,
And, seldom parloning, never irust 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 you 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,
But once impress'd will never melt again.
And brought his lady, who, their children dead,
The wife at home became at length serene;
With all acquainted, friendly with a few : Where slept a lady of no vulgar lasle ;
When the good lady, by disease assail'd, Her friend attended in that chosen room
In vain resisted-hope and science failid : 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,
He too, as grief subsided in his mind,
Gave place to notions of congenial kind :
His years were forty-he might pass for more ;
His air important, and his motion slow;
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 As 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 sofien'd to a sober smile ;
A liule 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 inan 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, ror 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 surety, 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 ;
And robed to grace it in a rich array,
came. At once she fled to her defensive arms;
Proud of th' event, and starely look'd the dame : Conn'd o'er the tales her maiden annt 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 triling 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 raptores 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? Sini e adulation only moved disdain
There !--- Vow be ready when we meet to Sir, if my friends object not, come agnin"
dine." Hence our brave lover, though he liked the face, This snid, she hurried off in great delight, Praised not a feature-dwelt not on a grace; The slup 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 male ; 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 At 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'il many a tedious verse She would consider : he a while might stay ; The latent cause of mischief to rehearse : She liked his manners, and believed his word; Be it confessid, that long, with troubled look, He did not flatter, hattery she abhorr’d:
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, But he too clearly saw the evil day, kind,"
And put the terror, by deceit, away ;
He gain'd a portion of uneasy time.-
What love had given, again she gave to law;
Their lasting feelings on her guileless breast