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with these tender, yet futile tributes of regret ;-but take warning by the bitterness of this thy contrite affliction over the dead, and henceforth be more faithful and affectionate in the discharge of thy duties to the living.
THE BROKEN HEART,
WASHINGTON IRVING. How
many bright eyes grow dim-how many soft cheeks grow pale-how many lovely forms fade away into the tomb, and none can tell the cause that blighted their loveliness! As the dove will clasp its wings to its side, and cover and conceal the arrow that is preying on its vitals, so it is the nature of woman, to hide from the world the pangs of wounded affection. The love of a delicate female is always shy and silent. Even when fortunate, she scarcely breathes it to herself ; but when otherwise, she buries it in the recesses of her bosom, and there lets it cower and brood among the ruins of her peace. With her the desire of the heart has failed. The great charm of existence is at an end. She neglects all the cheerful exercises which gladden the spirits, quicken the pulses, and send the tide of life in healthful currents through the veins. Her rest is broken-the sweet refreshment of sleep is poisoned by melancholy dreams—“ dry sorrow drinks her blood,” until her enfeebled frame sinks under the slightest external injury. Look for her, after a little while, and you find friendship weeping over her untimely grave, and wondering that one, who but lately glowed with all the radiance of health and beauty, should so speedily be brought down to “ darkness and the worm." You will be told of some wintry chill, some casual indisposition, that laid her low :—but no one knows the mental malady that previously sapped her strength, and made her so easy a prey to the spoiler.
She is like some tender tree, the pride and beauty of the grove ; graceful in its form, bright in its foliage, but with the worm preying at its heart. We find it suddenly withering when it should be most fresh and luxuriant. We see it drooping its branches to the earth, and shedding leaf by leaf ; until, wasted and perished away, it falls even in the stillness of the forest, and as we muse over the beautiful ruin, we strive in vain to
recollect the blast or thunderbolt that could have smitten it with decay.
I have seen many instances of women running to waste and self-neglect, and disappearing gradually from the earth, almost as if they had been exhaled to Heaven; and have repeatedly fancied, that I could trace their deaths through the various declensions of consumption, cold, debility, languor, melancholy, until I reached the first symptom of disappointed love. But an instance of the kind was lately told to me; the circumstances are well known in the country where they happened, and I shall but give them in the manner in which they were related.
Every one must recollect the tragical story of young Emmet, the Irish patriot; it was too touching to be soon forgotten. During the troubles in Ireland, he was tried, condemned, and executed, on a charge of treason. His fate made a deep impression on public sympathy. He was so young, so intelligent, so generous, so brave, so every thing that we are apt to like in a young man.
His conduct under trial, too, was so lofty and intrepid. The noble indignation with which he repelled the charge of treason against his country—the eloquent vindication of his name, and his pathetic appeal to posterity, in the hopeless hour of condemnation—all these entered deeply into every generous bosom, and even his enemies lamented the stern policy that dictated his execution.
But there was one heart, whose anguish it would be impossible to describe. In happier days and fairer fortunes, he had won the affections of a beautiful and interesting girl, the daughter of the late celebrated Irish barrister, Mr. Curran. She loved him with the disinterested fervour of a woman's first and early love. When every worldly maxim arrayed itself against him; when blasted in fortune, and disgrace and danger darkened around his name, she loved him the more ardently for his very sufferings. If, then, his fate could awaken the sympathy even of his foes, what must have been the agony of her whose whole soul was occupied by his image! Let those tell who have had the portals of the tomb suddenly closed between them and the being they most loved on earth—who have sat at his threshhold, as one shut out in a cold and lonely world, from whence all that was most lovely and loving had departed.
But then the horrors of such a grave ! so frightful, so dishonoured ! There was nothing for memory to dwell on, that
could soothe the pang of separation-none of those tender, though melancholy circumstances, that endear the parting scene —nothing to melt sorrow into those blessed tears, sent, like the dews of heaven, to revive the heart in the parting hour of anguish.
To render her widowed situation more desolate, she had incurred her father's displeasure by her unfortunate attachment, and was an exile from the paternal roof. But could the sympathy and kind offices of friends have reached a spirit so shocked and driven in by horror, she would have experienced no want of consolation, for the Irish are a people of quick and generous sensibilities. The most delicate and cherishing attentions were paid her by families of wealth and distinction. She was led into society, and they tried by all kinds of occupation and amusement to dissipate her grief, and wean her from the tragical story of her lover. But it was all in vain. There are some strokes of calamity that scathe and scorch the soul—that penetrate to the vital seat of happiness--and blast it, never again to put forth bud or blossom. She never objected to frequent the haunts of pleasure, but she was as much alone there as in the depths of solitude. She walked about in a sad reverie, apparently unconscious of the world around her. She carried with her an inward woe, that mocked at all the blandishments of friendship, and “heeded not the song of the charmer, charm he never so wisely.”
The person who told me her story had seen her at a masquerade. There can be no exhibition of far-gone wretchedness more striking and painful than to meet it in such a scene. To find it wandering like a spectre, lonely and joyless, where all around is gay,—to see it dressed out in the trappings of mirth, and looking so wan and wo-begone, as if it had tried in vain to cheat the poor heart into a momentary forgetfulness of sorrow. After strolling through the splendid rooms and giddy crowd with an air of utter abstraction, she sat herself down on the steps of an orchestra, and looking about for some time with a vacant air that shewed her insensibility to the garish scene, she began, with the capriciousness of a sickly heart, to warble a little plaintive air. She had an exquisite voice ; but on this occasion it was so simple, so touching, it breathed forth such a soul of wretchedness, that she drew a crowd mute and silent around her, and melted every one into tears.
The story of one so true and tender, could not but excite great interest in a country remarkable for enthusiasm. It completely won the heart of a brave officer, who paid his addresses to her, and thought that one so true to the dead, could not but prove affectionate to the living. She declined his attentions, for her thoughts were irrevocably engrossed by the memory of her former lover. He, however, persisted in his suit. He solicited not her tenderness, but her esteem. He was assisted by her conviction of his worth, and her sense of her own destitute and dependent situation ; for she was existing on the kindness of friends. In a word, he at length succeeded in gaining her hand, though with the solemn assurance that her heart was unalterably another's.
He took her with him to Sicily, hoping that a change of scene might wear out the remembrance of early woes. She was an amiable and exemplary wife, and made an effort to be a happy one ; but nothing could cure the silent and devouring melancholy that had entered into her very soul. She wasted away in a slow, but hopeless decline, and at length sunk into the grave, the victim of a broken heart.
PARLIAMENTARY SKETCH OF SIR FRANCIS
ANONYMOUS. The most conspicuous of the members of the House of Commons who have proposed the “vox populi” as an object of their ambition, is undoubtedly Sir Francis Burdett : and it must be allowed, that, in many respects, he has taken no wrong measure of himself, in supposing that his powers are fitted to his desires. In the first place, the Honourable Baronet is one of those whose very appearance wins a hundred hearts before he opens his lips :
* We will not suffer ourselves to be drawn into a certain painful subject connected with the close of Sir Francis Burdett's political life ;-we would rather continue to regard him as he was when this “ Sketch” was written-believing it to be the truer portrait of certainly one of the most perfect gentlemen of the age in which he lived! Our own opinion is, that “the laniented change” proceeded from one of those aberrations of intellect (unhappily not confined to one distinguished individual of our time!) which, in age, occasionally obscure the strongest minds ; and, independently of our determination to act on the principle Nil de mortuis nisi bonum,” our recollections of Sir Francis Burdett’s manner in and out of “the House” are still too vivid to permit us to indulge in any save pleasing reminiscences. The once almost idolized and accomplished Baronet died Jan. 23, 1844, aged 74.
-an elegant figure-a face, of which the outline is finely Roman, though the expression is rather indecisive-manners at once courteous and simple, would be alone sufficient to delight the common observer; add to these, a voice of the most insinuating melody; a delivery fluent and animated, yet always modest, and sometimes even diffident; and they, altogether, form a combination which infuses and attaches every heart.—Let the man so qualified profess himself the friend of his admirers, and descant on the topics dearest to their feelings, and their regard will almost rise into enthusiasticidolatry. Such is the first impression made on the auditors of Sir Francis Burdett.
The oratory of Sir Francis, if judged of by its effect upon the disinterested among his audience-(and we know of no test which, upon the whole, can be reckoned a more legitimate one)—must be rated very highly. There is about his best speeches, a degree of energy, of deep feeling, and, above all, of manifest sincerity, by which he produces, upon any mind less steeled against the weapons of oratory than that of a Treasury dependent, an effect of the strongest and most unequivocal description. If not so dexterous in trimming a quotation or poising an antithesis as Mr. Can'ning ; if less classical, and metaphysical, and imaginative than Sir James Mackinto'sh; if decidedly inferior in the general strength of his speeches, and less skilful in the use of invective and sarcasm than Mr. Bro'ugham*
-Sir Francis Burdett is, nevertheless, capable, at times, of achieving an oratorical triumph to which hardly any one of his contemporaries is equal. The manner of Sir Francis, when speaking, is one of the best in the House, because, while it is the most natural, it is at the same time full of manliness, and by no means deficient even in grace. It was said of Mr. Wyndham, that he was the finest specimen of a truly English speaker which the House of Commons at that time afforded. We never had the good fortune to hear Mr. Wyndham, but we think it impossible that he should have been, in this respect, superior to Sir Francis Burdett.
For Sir Francis is so plain, * It will be recollected that every commencing series (whether simple or compound) has the rising inflection on its last member, and the falling on the last but one; and every concluding series, the falling inflection on the last, and the rising on the last but one.