Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

"Nay, Mary dear, 'twas but a joke,"

Her lover cried, “I meant no more ;**
From Mary's eyes forgiveness broke

Her little flush of feeling o'er.
"I see " she cried " you all believe

I durst not venture forth alone,
And make my way this fearful eve

To that same heap of mould'ring stone :
And there cast in a worsted ball,

And boldly cry, who holds below ?
But, gallants, I will shame you all,

For by my life I'll surely go.”
The sprightly Mary left her chair,

And ran to where her knitting lay,
And wound a ball of worsted there,

And snatch'd her cloak without delay.
In vain her young companions sought

To check ber purpose, smiling gay
She darted forth as quick as thought,

And fearlessly she took her way.
'Twas then that William, with a smile,

His plan disclos'd_"if she should daro
To face, indeed, the ruin'd pile,

A nearer path shall bring me there.
Down the dark glen I mean to go,

While she pursues the way above,
And standing in the kiln below,

Her boasted courage I will prove." The joke was humorous and good,

And all around approv'd the plan;
And William in a merry mood,

To put it into practice ran.
The wind had now subsided quite,

But in the gloomy sky were seen
Dark clouds, that veil'd the placid light

Of silent night's celestial queen.
Yet now and then as rolling by,

The clouds pass'd from her deep and slow, A flood of light came down the sky,

And silver'd all the scene below. Pursue we now the maiden's flight

Along the way that she is gone; Behold her in the chequer'd light,

Like a fair phantom gliding on. Yet, pausing, oft she stops to view

The moon its weary course to win, Struggling through clouds of deepest hue,

Like Virtue in a world of sin ! Meanwhile young William bent his way

Along a path well known to him, And by the moon's uncertain ray

*He reach'd the river deep and dim. Yet not undanger'd did he pass

That rolling, dark, and troubled flood; He cross'd a board as false as glass,

Which barely made his footing good. His ruling star he ought to thank,

Which sav'd him from a watery grave; One false step on that brittle plank

Had plung'd him in the fatal wave. But he has reach'd the kiln-and soon

Conceal'd he stands beside the wall,
And sees full clearly in the moon

His Mary tossing down the ball.
He waits the time, when nearly wound,

To spatch its last ascending thread;

Which, when the starti'd Mary found,

Away she'd fly in sudden dread. Then for the joke! along the dell,

With double speed, to hasten back, And join the group, and bear her tell

Some story of a man in black. He sees her shadow on the wall,

With timid haste and beating heart She's winding up the magic ball;

But Mary-why that sodden start? The thread is fast-'tis held below

She turns to fly- yet trembling cries, " Who holds my ball a friend or foe ?"

"'Tis I!"-a hollow voice replies. or wings she bad bot little need,

For off she flew without her cloak, While William, with redoubl'd speed,

Ran laughing back to tell the joke. But Mary, when her loss she found,

Soon check'd her flight, and pausing then She listen'd-did she hear a sound

Proceeding from the narrow glen ? 'Twas like a voice imploring aid,

It mingi'd with the water's roar; 4 Oh! God of mercy," cried the maid,

“What cry was that?"-she heard no more. And nothing stirr'd save the deep stream,

That rushing foam'd and flash'd below, Yet now again a sainter scream

And more remote-another?- no. Mary knelt down, and then her eye

To Heav'n she rais'd in fervent pray'r; "Oh, God ! she cried, “hear yonder cry,

And save the wretch that's struggling there.' But while she linger'd timely aid

Might, if extended, life restore ; Quick at the thought the pitying maid

Flew even faster than before. Meanwhile the group around the fire

Employ'd the time in laugh and song, And when their mirth began to tire

They thought the lovers tarried long. And many a joke, to raise their cheer,

They pass 'd, but some their fears begin ; When footsteps quick arrest each car,

And breathless Mary darted in! She sank exhausted in a chair,

And plac'd her hands before her eyes, Her deadly cheek and alter'd air

Soon check'd the laugh about to rise. Her young companions gather'd round,

And anxious ask'd the matter, when Faintly she cried" there's some one drowo'd,

Oh lasten-hasten to the glen." Fore-bodings now and dread surmise,

The party feel in silent wne. "Why this delay?" poor Mary cries,

" Where's William ? he will fly I know. My God, I do not see him here ;"

She cried and wildly gazed around; No answer came to quell her fear,

And Mary dropp'd upon the ground.
Lights in the dell were sren to gleam,

Reflected from the rapid tide;
A broken plank came down the stream,
And on its wave a hat was spied.

Biography of Eccentric CharactersDaniel Boon, the Demi-Savage. 413

By hope and fear alternate led,

All night they search'd the gloomy tide ;
But never from his watery bed

Came William back to claim his bride.
There is a calm when grief o'erflows,
A refuge from the worst of woes;
It comes when pleasure's dream is o'er,
And Hope, the charmer, charms no more.
'Tis where the heart is wrung till dry,
And not a tear bedews the eye ;
"Tis where we see the vacant gaze,
While not a smile the lip betrays.
'Tis there-behold that wand'ring maid,
Wreathing a melancholy braid.
Of cypress mix'd-to mark her lot
With the blue flow'r, “forget me not."
Wasted and wan a blighted thing,
For her in vain the breath of spring
Shall waft its sweetnesscan the flower,
That feels within a caokering power
Feed on its vital part, display
A freshness to the rising day?
Oh! nomit bends to its decree,
And needs must die upon the tree.
A vacant eye and wither'd brain,
Where reason has resign'd her reign,
And phantacy usurps her place ;
A wasted form and pallid face,
That looks despair and breathes decay:
Are all now left of Mary Gray.

[ocr errors][merged small]

(New Mon. Dec.)
SOCIAL AND SAVAGE LIFE.-DANIEL BOON.

A N attachment to what is called of plains, feel much stronger the charm

h civilized life, is considered to be that binds them to the scenes of their interwoven with our existence; but early life--the countryman much more perhaps it is not so much so as we in than the citizen. Climate seems in general suspect. Like an attachment this respect to make little distinction ; to the locality where we spent our ear- the Laplander, the Swiss, and the Ne. liest years, the value which we feel for gro whom we steal from among his nait arises less from its intrinsic superior- tive mangroves and his pestilential ity over savage life being properly es- marshes to steep in slavery, are alike timated by us, than from the effect of strongly sensible of its influence. In habit. Local attachments we owe to great capitals it is almost obliterated; accident, they relate to things, and the early habits of their inhabitants betherefore there can be no interchange ing singularly unpropitious to its opeof regard, no mutual tie between them ration. The endless change of objects, and ourselves, beyond what may arise the soul-engrossing traffic, and the busfrom fancy and the associations that tle and turmoil of London, for examthey may recall. They offer us noth- ple, soon stifle every trace of the feel. ing like the affections we feel towards ing, if the smallest portion of it exist at friends and relatives who receive our all among its natives. In truth, what kind offices and render us theirs in ex- · local attachment, in the sense l allude change. Local attachments are expe- to, can be experienced by him who rienced in their greatest intensity by was born and resided two or three those who live remote from large cities years in Smithfield, lived two or three and great congregations of men. In- more in the purlieus of Fleet-street, or habitants of mountainous districts, among the dirty alleys of Holborn, his however unpolished in manners and residence for ever shifted as the calls less advanced in civilization than those of business might require : The local attachment of a Londoner is a very mode of life. He wandered with them general and indefinite thing, and per- across the vast territory of the Missouhaps only consists in his regard for ri to the Pacific Ocean, and back again the name of the city itsell, and its high to the western states of America. He claims upon public estimation, and be made his escape from them to one of cause he will have every thing with the American cities, where he attractwhich he is connected, to be better ed much notice. This gentleman has than any other. His early removal stated to his intimate friends, that, parinto the shop or manufactory, his arti- ticularly since he has been initiated inficial mode of life, his associates, and to the forms of polished life. he has felt the demoralization around, make bim an almost irresistible inclination to re. incapable of feeling any of the sensa- turn and join again his former associtions experienced by the unsophisticat- ates; everything seeming beyond ed inhabitant of the country, who has measure cramped and restrained when spent his youth amid the charms of na- contrasted with the liberty and ease of ture, gazed with a delight of which the his former mode of life. Mr. Hunter's Londoner is uiterly ignorant, upon the work contains much interesting matter blue stream, the craggy mountain, or for the consideration of the philoso the tufted wood, from the door of the pher, and indeed of all who make the tenement in which he was born, and bistory of the human mind their study. which has sheltered his ancestors for It discloses many traits of Indian charages-who has noted every tree in the acter, which must tend to raise rather landscape on which he has looked with than depress them in the scale of being. fondness for years, and bas completely The fondness of the savage for ranging identified with his own heart “the hill the forest and leading the life of a hunthat lifts him to the storms :"_his ter, arises from the same love of liberneighbours, are all in his horizon of ty which is engrasted in the nature of view ; it is his little universe, and he civilized man, and is diminished, but would exchange it for no other. Thus, never utterly annihilated, in the bosom what may be called the highest congre- of the citizen. Every attempt which gated state of man, tends 10 obliterate has been made in Canada to amalgalocal attachments, which will be found mate the aboriginal inhabitants with strongest in that state of society which Europeans bas failed. A chief here approaches nearest to the simplicity of and there has been found, after long Nature.

intercourse, to join occasionally the coIt has been remarked, that those who lonial society, and conduct himself in have been educated in civilized society, a very superior manner, so as to demif they have at any time been forced to onstrate that he was able, if he pleased, quit it by some accidental circum- to support the artificial accomplishstance, and mingled with the Indian ments of those whom he visited; but tribes in the forests of America, adopt. soon afterwards he has resumed his loing for any considerable time their dian habiliments, and rejoined his mode of life, and ranging onrestrained countrymen in the forest, with a de through the vast domains which have light that seemed to have derived a never yet submitted to the plough, higher value from the contrast it as have found it extremely difficult to re- forded him to the manners he had just turn again and yield obedience to its quitted. The village of Jeune Loretrestraints and institutions. A Mr. to in Canada is entirely an Indian reHunter has lately published a most in- sidence; but though every method has teresting work, containing an account been taken to make them adopt Euroof his life and residence among the In- pean customs, even with the children, dian tribes of North America, having who have been instructed in reading been made captive by them, when an and writing, the effort has appeared infant, in one of their attacks upon the insurmountable. By the aid of the White settlements. According to their strong liquors and diseases imported custom, they adopted him into a fami- from Europe, they will by and by be 's, and reared him up in their own come extinct, owing to the rapid dimi

Biography of Eccentric Characters-Col. Daniel Boon.

415

nution of their population, but they the excellency of laws that bar that exwill never disappear by being blended ercise of his free will which inclines with those who have conveyed to them himn to withdraw from their power, and these baleful plagues. The stream of declaring that his fealty, arising from Indian life will be dried up, pure to its the accidental circumstance of birth, can last dregs, without commingling its never be violated under any pretence ; waters and repairing its diminution that he must bear every evil life can from foreign sources. Yet these In- inflict, but has no right to withdraw dians have the sagacity to discover that himself from that society which has a knowledge is strength, and to shelter paramount claiin on him and bis. He themselves under our protection, some considers, reflects, and at last presumes of them even tiling small plots of to differ from these very politic and ground after the mode they have learnt sophistical principles. What is sociefrom us. But nothing can obliterate ty to him ? has he power over his own their affection for their own mode of property, and shall he have none over lise. After all, considering them ab- a choice of country ? Shall he not restractedly from the part they consti- sign that which in his feelings is guilty tute towards the whole body politic, a of injustice towards him, and endeava considerable portion of the inhabitants our to spend the remainder of life in of every civilized state have little of the mode most.congenial and soothing which to boast over the Aborigines of to a wounded spirit ? He demurs a Canada, either in the employments in moment, forms his resolution, rushes which they spend their time, the moral into the woods, and becomes a hunter innocence of their lives, or the eleva. for the rest of his days, far removed tion of their pursuits. The free Indian from the footsteps of civilized man. has the advantage in many high and Who can blame such an individual, or romantic qualities; he is brave, con- with justice contend that he has no tent, and independent, while the for- moral right thus to dispose of himself? mer cannot be said to be either. Who can blame him for not submitting

But there may sometimes be motives to a state of life full of disgust, and for the freedom of the woods and fore that would drench the renjainder of his ests being adopted by civilized men. days in suffering ? The injustice and oppression that man S uch was, in all probability, the often receives from his fellow, from reasoning of Colonel Daniel Boon,* bad laws, or from the shafts of calum

* The passage alluded to, by Lord Byron is ac ny, may appear in themselves suffi- follows: ciently strong to justify him in adopt- of all men, saving Sylla, the manslayer, ing the simplicity and uncontrolled Who passes for in life and death most lucky, state of natural life. To men of parti- of the great names which in our faces stare, cular dispositions, of high spirit, and

hoirit' and The General Boon, backwoodsman of Kentucky,

Was happiest among mortals any where; keen feelings, whose minds have been

For killing nothing but a bear or buck, he deeply wounded, a life spent a part Enjoy'd the lonely, vigorous, harmless days from scenes which they cannot con- of his old age in wilds of deepest maze. template without pain, has been felt Crime

Crime came not near him-she is not the child to be grateful. They have determined of solitude; health shrank not from him-for that the social compact is dissolved: Her bome is in the rarely-trodden wild, that the boasted protection which was Where is men seek her not, and death be more.

d Their choice than life, forgive them, as beguiled held out as the price of restraint, and

By habit to what their own hearts abhorfor which freedom and property were in care

In cities caged. The present case in point I sacrificed, was no longer a shield over Cite is, that Boon lived huoting up to ninety; them. They hear statesmen talk of And what's still stranger, left behind a name citizenship, and the duty of every man for which men vainly decimate the throng, to bear evil and injustice, and even to Not only famous, but of that good fame, sacrifice himself for the sake of the Without which glory's but a tavern songcommunity--that the bundle must not Simple, serene, the antipodes of shame,

Which hate nor envy ere could tinge with wrong. be weakened by abstracting a single An active hermit, even in age the child stick. They hear lawyers boast of of nature, or the Man of Ross run wild

« AnteriorContinuar »