« AnteriorContinuar »
Devils uncouth, and devils polite;
Is the worsest devil of all. (From the " Bentley Ballads." By permission of Richard
ROBERT BUCHANAN. The wind, wife, the wind; how it blows, how it blows; It grips the latch, it shakes the house, it whistles, it
screams, it crows; It dashes on the window-pane, then rushes off with a
cry, Ye scarce can hear your own loud voice, it clatters so
loud and high ; And far away upon the sea it floats with thunder-call, The wind, wife; the wind, wife; the wind that did it
The wind, wife, the wind; how it blew, how it blew; The very night our boy was born, it whistled, it
screamed, it crew ; And while you moan'd upon your bed, and your heart
was dark with fright, I swear it mingled with the soul of the boy you bore
that night; It scarcely seems a winter since, and the wind is with
us still, The wind, wife; the wind, wife; the wind that blew
us ill !
The wind, wife, the wind; how it blows, how it blows; It changes, shifts, without a cause, it ceases, it comes
And David ever was the same, wayward, and wild, and
boldFor wilful lad will have his way, and the wind no
hand can hold; But ah! the wind, the changeful wind, was more in
the blame than he; The wind, wife; the wind, wife; that blew him out to
sea ! The wind, wife, the wind; now 'tis still, now 'tis still ; And as we sit I seem to feel the silence shiver and
thrill; 'Twas thus the night he went away, and we sat in
silence here, We listen’d to our beating hearts, and all was weary
and drear; We longed to hear the wind again, and to hold our
David's handThe wind, wife; the wind, wife; that blew him out
from land. The wind, wife, the wind; up again, up again! It blew our David round the world, yet shrieked at
our window-pane; And ever since that time, old wife, in rain, and in sun,
and in snow, Whether I work or weary here, I hear it whistle and
blow, It moans around, it groans around, it wanders with
scream and cryThe wind, wife; the wind, wife; may it blow him
home to die. (From " Idyls and Legends of Inverburn." By permission
of Mr. Strahan.)
THE FLOWER OF THE FOREST.
PROFESSOR Wilson. The window of the lonely cottage of Hilltop was beaming far above the highest birch-wood, seeming to travellers at a distance in the long valley below, who knew it not, to be a star in the sky. A bright fire was in the kitchen of that small tenement; the floor was washed, swept, and sanded, and not a footstep had marked its perfect neatness; a small table was covered, near the ingle, with a snow-white cloth, on which was placed a frugal evening meal; and in happy but pensive mood, sat there, all alone, the woodcutter's only daughter, a comely and gentle creature, if not beautiful ; such a one as diffuses pleasure round her in the hay field, and serenity over the seat in which she sits attentively on the Sabbath, listening to the Word of God, or joining with mellow voice in His praise and worship. On this night she expected a visit from her lover, that they might fix their marriage-day; and her parents, satisfied and happy that their child was about to be wedded to a respectable shepherd, had gone to pay a visit to their nearest neighbour in the glen.
A feeble and hesitating knock was at the door, not like the glad and joyful touch of a lover's hand ; and, cautiously opening it, Mary Robinson beheld a female figure wrapped up in a cloak, with her face concealed in a black bonnet. The stranger, whoever she might be, seemed wearied and worn out, and her feet bore witness to a long day's travel across the marshy mountains. Although she could scarcely help considering her an unwelcome visitor at such an hour, yet Mary had too much sweetness of disposition — too much humanity, not to request her to step forward into the hut; for it seemed as if the wearied woman had lost her way, and had come towards the shining window to be put right upon her journey to the low country.
The stranger took off her bonnet on reaching the fire, and Mary Robinson beheld the face of one whom in youth she had tenderly loved ; although, for some years past, the distance at which they lived from each other had kept them from meeting, and only a letter or two, written in their simple way, had given them a few notices of each other's existence. And now Mary had
opportunity, in the first speechless gaze of recognition, to mark the altered face of her friend; and her heart was touched with an ignorant compassion. “ For mercy's sake! sit down, Sarah ! and tell me what evil has befallen you ; for you are as white as a ghost. Fear not to confide anything to my bosom; we have herded sheep together on the lonesome braes; we have stripped the bark together in the more lonesome woods; we have played, laughed, sung, danced together; we have talked merrily and gaily, but innocently enough surely, of sweethearts together; and, Sarah, graver thoughts, too, have we shared, for, when your poor brother died away like a frosted flower, I wept as if I had been his sister ; nor can I ever be so happy in this world as to forget him. Tell me, my friend, why are you here ? and why is your sweet face so ghastly ?".
The heart of this unexpected visitor died within her at these kind and affectionate inquiries. For she had come on an errand that was likely to dash the joy from that happy countenance. Her heart upbraided her with the meanness of the purpose for which she had paid this visit; but that was only a passing thought; for was she, innocent and free from sin, to submit, not only to desertion, but to disgrace, and not trust herself and her wrongs, and her hopes of redress, to her whom she loved as a sister, and whose generous nature she well knew, not even love, the changer of so many things, could change utterly; though, indeed, it might render it colder than of old to the anguish of a female friend.
“Oh! Mary, I must speak; yet must my words make you grieve, far less for me than for yourself. Wretch that I am, I bring evil tidings into the dwelling of my dearest friend! These ribands,-they are worn for his sake,--they become well, as he thinks, the auburn of your bonny hair ; that blue gown is worn to-night because he likes it; but, Mary, will you curse me to my face, when I declare before the God that made us that that man is pledged unto me by all that is sacred
between mortal creatures; and that I have here in my bosom written promises and oaths of love from him who, I was this morning told, is in a few days to be thy husband ? Turn me out of the hut now, if you choose, and let me, if you choose, die of hunger and fatigue, in the woods where we have so often walked together; for such death would be mercy to me, in comparison with your marriage with him who is mine for ever, if there be a God who heeds the oaths of the creatures he has made.”
Mary Robinson had led a happy life, but a life of quiet thoughts, tranquil hopes, and meek desires. Tenderly and truly did she love the man to whom she was now betrothed; but it was because she had thought him gentle, manly, upright, sincere, and one that feared God. His character was unimpeached ; to her his behaviour had always been fond, affectionate, and respectful; that he was a fine-looking man, and could show himself among the best of the country round at church, and market, and fair-day, she saw and felt with pleasure and with pride. But in the heart of this poor, humble, contented, and pious girl, love was not a violent passion, but an affection sweet and profound. She looked forward to her marriage with a joyful sedateness, knowing that she would have to toil for her family, if blest with children ; but happy in the thought of keeping her husband's house clean,—of preparing his frugal meals, and welcoming him, when wearied at night, to her faithful, and affectionate, and grateful bosom.
At first, perhaps, a slight flush of anger towards Sarah tinged her cheek; then followed, in quick succession, or all blended together in one sickening pang, fear, disappointment, the sense of wrong, and the cruel pain of disesteeming and despising one on whom her heart had rested with all its best and purest affections. But though there was a keen struggle between many feelings in her heart, her resolution was formed during that very conflict; and she said within herself, “ If it