Imágenes de páginas
[ocr errors]

Her kindred shunn'd her prayers, no friend her soul With too much force she wrote of jealous men, sustain'd.

And her tears falling spoke beyond the pen; “Yet why neglected ? Dearest Anna knew Eliza's silence she again implored, Her worth once tried, her friendship ever true; And promised all that prudence could afford. She hoped, she trusted, though by wants oppress’d, For looks composed and careless Anna tried; To lock the treasured secret in her breast;

She seem'd in trouble, and unconscious sigh'd. Yet, vex'd by trouble, must apply to one,

The faithful husband, who devoutly lored For kindness due to her for kindness done."

His silent partner, with concern reproved: In Anna's mind was tumult, in her face

“ What secret sorrows on my Anna press, Flushings of dread had momentary place:

That love may not partake, nor care redress :** “ I must,” she judged, “ these cruel lines expose, “ None, none,” she answer'd, with a look so kind, Or fears, or worse than fears, my crime disclose." That the fond man determined to be blind.

The letter shown, he said, with sober smile- A few succeeding weeks of brief repose
“ Anna, your friend has not a friendly style: In Anna's cheek revived the faded rose;
Say, where could you with this fair lady dwell, A hue like this the western sky displays,
Who boasts of secrets that she scorns to tell ?" That glows awliile, and withers as we gaze.
“At school," she answer'd: he“ at school!" replied; Again the friend's tormenting letter came

Nay, then I know the secrets you would hide; “ The wants she suffer'd were affection's shape;
Some early longings these, without dispute, She with her child a life of terrors led,
Some youthful gaspings for forbidden fruit:

Unhappy fruit! but of a lawful bed:
Why so disorder'd, love? are such the crimes Her friend was tasting every bliss in life,
That give us sorrow in our graver times?

The joyful mother, and the wealthy wife;
Come, take a present for your friend, and rest While she was placed in doubt, in fear, in rask,
In perfect peace-you find you are confess’d.” To starve on trifles that the happy grant;
This cloud, though past, alarm'd the conscious

Poorly for all her faithful silence paid, Presaging gloom and sorrow for her life; [wife,

And tantalized by ineffectual aid: Who to her answer join'd a fervent prayer,

She could not thus a beggar's lot endure; That her Eliza would a sister spare:

She wanted something permanent and sure: If she again—but was there cause ?-should send, If they were friends, then equal be their lot, Let her direct-and then she named a friend : And she was free to speak if they were not." A sad expedient untried friends to trust,

Despair and terror seized the wife, to fod And still to fear the tried may be unjust:

The artful workings of a vulgar mind: Such is his pain, who, by his debt oppressid, Money she had not, but the hint of dress Seeks by new bonds a temporary rest.

Taught her new bribes, new terrors to redress: Few were her peaceful days till Anna read She with such feelings then described her woes, The words she dreaded, and had cause to dread :- That envy's self might on the view repose;

“ Did she believe, did she, unkind, suppose Then to a mother's pains she made appeal, That thus Eliza's friendship was to close ?

And painted grief like one compellid to feel.
No! though she tried, and her desire was plain, Yes! so she felt, that in her air, her face,
To break the friendly bond, she strove in vain: In every purpose, and in every place;
Ask'd she for silence ? why so loud the call, In her slow motion, in her languid mien,
And yet the token of her love so small ?

The grief, the sickness of her soul, were seea.
By means like these will you attempt to bind

Of some mysterious ill the husband sure, And check the movements of an injured mind? Desired to trace it, for he hoped to cure; Poor as I am, I shall be proud to show

Something he knew obscurely, and had sees What dangerous secrets I may safely know: His wife attend a cottage on the green ; Secrets to inen of jealous minds convey'd,

Love, loth to wound, endured conjecture long, Have many a noble house in ruins laid:

Till fear would speak, and spoke in language strong. Anna, I trust, although with wrongs beset,

“ All I must know, my Anna-truly know And urged by want, I shall be faithful yet; Whence these emotions, terrors, troubles flor; But what temptation may from these arise,

Give me thy grief, and I will fairly prove To take a slighted woman by surprise,

Mine is no selfish, no ungenerous love." Becomes a subject for your serious care

Now Anna's soul the seat of strife became,
For wlio offends, must for offence prepare.

Fear with respect contended, love with shame;
Perplex'd, dismay'd, the wife foresaw her doom ; But fear prevailing was the ruling guide,
A day deferr'd was yet a day to come;

Prescribing what to show and what to hide.
But still, though painful her suspended state, “ It is my friend,” she said—“but why discose
She dreaded more the crisis of her fate;

A woman's weakness struggling with her woes? Betur to die than Stafford's scorn to meet,

Yes, she has grieved me by her fond complaints, And her strange friend perhaps would be discreet: The wrongs she suffers, the distress she paints: Presents she sent, and made a strong appeal Something we do but she afflicts me still, To woman's feelings, begging her to feel; And says, with power to help, I want the will;

[merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

This plaintive style I pity and excuse,

Her speech was low, her every look convey'dHelp when I can, and grieve when I refuse ; “I am a slave, subservient and afraid.” But here my useless sorrows I resign,

All trace of comfort vanish'd; if she spoke, And will be happy in a love like thine."

The noisy friend upon her purpose broke;
The husband doubted; he was kind but cool:- To her remarks with insolence replied,
“ 'Tis a strong friendship to arise at school;

And her assertions doubted or denied;
Once more then, love, once more the sufferer aid, While the meek Anna like an infant shook,
I too can pity, but I must upbraid;

Woe-struck and trembling at the serpent's look. Of these vain feelings then thy bosom free,

“ There is,” said Stafford,“ yes, there is a cause Nor be o'erwhelm'd by useless sympathy."

This creature frights her, overpowers and awes." The wife again despatch'd the useless bribe, Six weeks had pass'd—“ In truth, my love, this friend Again essay'd her terrors to describe;

Has liberal notions; what does she intend ?
Again with kindest words entreated peace, Without a hint she came, and will she stay
And begg á her offerings for a time might cease. Till she receives the hint to go away.”
A calm succeeded but too like the one

Confused the wife replied, in spite of truth, That causes terror ere the storm comes on:

“I love the dear companion of my youth." A secret sorrow lived in Anna's hear

“ 'Tis well,” said Stafford;" then your loves renew; In Stafford's mind a secret fear of art;

Trust me, your rivals, Anna, will be few." Not long they lasted—this determined foe

Though playful this, she felt too much distress'd Knew all her claims, and nothing would forego;

T'admit the consolation of a jest; Again her letter came, where Anna read,

Ill she reposed, and in her dreams would sigh, “ My child, one cause of my distress, is dead: And murmuring forth her anguish beg to die; Heav'n has my infant:” “ Heartless wretch !" she With sunken eye, slow pace, and pallid cheek, “ Is this thy joy?” “ I am no longer tied: (cried, She look'd confusion, and she fear'd to speak. Now will I, hast’ning to my friend, partake

All this the friend beheld, for, quick of sight, Her cares and comforts, and no more forsake; She kaew the husband eager for her flight; Now shall we both in equal station move,

And that by force alone she could retain Save that my friend enjoys a husband's love." The lasting comforts she had hope to gain :

Complaint and threats so strong the wife amazed, She now perceived, to win her post for life, Who wildly on her cottage-neighbour gazed ; She must infuse fresh terrors in the wife; Her tones, her trembling, first betray'd her grief, Must bid to friendship's feebler ties adieu, When floods of tears gave anguish its relief. And boldly claim the object in her view:

She fear'd that Stafford would refuse assent, She saw the husband's love, and knew the power And knew her selfish friend would not relent; Her friend might use in some propitious hour. She must petition, yet delay'd the task,

Meantime the anxious wife, from pure distress Ashamed, afraid, and yet compellid to ask; Assuming courage, said, “ I will confess;" Unknown to him some object fill'd her mind, But with her children felt a parent's pride, And, once suspicious, he became unkind:

And sought once more the hated truth to hide. They sate one evening, each absorbid in gloom, Offended, grieved, impatient, Stafford bore When, hark! a noise and rushing to the room, The odious change till he could bear no more; The friend tripp'd lightly in, and laughing said," I A friend to truth, in speech and action plain, come."

He held all fraud and cunning in disdain ;
Anna received her with an anxious mind,

But fraud to find, and falsehood to detect,
And meeting whisper'd, “Is Eliza kind?

For once he fled to measures indirect. Reserved and cool, the husband sought to prove One day the friends were seated in that room The depth and force of this mysterious love. The guest with care adorn'd, and named her home To nought that pass'd between the stranger-friend To please the eye, there curious prints were placed And luis meek partner seem'd he to attend;

And some light volumes to amuse the taste;
But, anxious, listen’d to the lightest word

Letters and music, on a table laid,
That might some knowledge of his guest afford; The favourite studies of the fair betray'd;
And learn the reason one to him so dear

Beneath the window was the toilet spread,
Should feel such fondness, yet betray such fear. And the fire gleam'd upon a crimson bed.
Soon he perceived this uninvited guest,

In Anna's looks and falling tears were seen Unwelcome too, a sovereign power possess'd; How interesting had their subjects been: Lofty she was and careless, while the meek

“ Oh! then," resumed the friend, " I plainly find And humbled Anna was afraid to speak:

That and Stafford know each other's mind; As mute she listen’d with a painful smile,

I must depart, must on the world be thrown, Her friend sate laughing and at ease the while, Like one discarded, worthless and unknown; Telling her idle tales with all the glee

But shall I carry, and to please a foe, Of careless and unfeeling levity.

A painful secret in my bosom? No! With calm good sense he knew his wife endued,

Think not your friend a reptile you may tread And now with wounded pride her conduct view'd;

Beneath your feet, and say, the worm is dead;

[ocr errors]


I have some feeling, and will not be made

“ • Were you guspected, my unhappy friend, The scorn of her whom love cannot persuade: Began the boy, ` where would your sorrows end! Would not your word, your slightest wish, effect In all the palace there is not a page All that I hope, petition, or expect?

The Caliph would not torture in his rage: The power you have, but you the use decline- I think I see thee now impaled alive, Proof that you feel not, or you fear not mine. Writhing in pangs—but come, my friend! rerire: There was a time, when I, a tender maid,

Had some beheld you, all your purse contains Flew at a call, and your desires obey'd;

Could not have saved you from terrific pains; A very mother to the child became,

I scorn such meanness; and, if not in debt, Consoled your sorrow, and conceal'd your shame; Would not an asper on your folly set.' But now, grown rich and happy, from the door “ The hint was strong; young Osmyn search'd You thrust a bosom-friend, despised and poor; For bribes, and found he soon could bribe to mere; That child alive, its mother might have known That time arrived, for Osmyn's stock was smal, The hard, ungrateful spirit she has shown.” And the young tyrant now possess'd it all;

Here paused the guest, and Anna cried at length The cruel youth, with his companions near, “ You try me, cruel friend! beyond my strength ; Gave the broad hint that raised the sudden fear; Would I had been beside my infant laid,

Th’ungenerous insult now was daily shown, Where none would vex me, threaten, or upbraid." And Osmyn's peace and honest pride were bore;

In Anna's looks the friend beheld despair; Then came augmenting woes, and fancy strong Her speech she soften'd, and composed her air; Drew forms of suffering, a tormenting throag; Yet, while professing love, she answered still He felt degraded, and the struggling mind “You can befriend me, but you want the will.” Dared not be free, and could not be resiga'd; They parted thus, and Anna went her way, And all his pains and fervent prayers obtaia'd To shed her secret sorrows, and to pray.

Was truce from insult, while the fears remain't. Stafford, amused with books, and fond of home, “ One day it chanced that this degraded by By reading oft dispell’d the evening gloom ; And tyrant-friend were fix'd at their employ; History or tale-all heard him with delight, Who now had thrown restraint and form aside, And thus was pass'd this memorable night. And for his bribe in plainer speech applied:

The listening friend bestow'd a flattering smile; • Long have I waited, and the last suppy A sleeping boy the mother held the while;

Was but a pittance, yet how patient I! And ere she fondly bore him to his bed,

But give me now what thy first terrors gave, On his fair face the tear of anguish shed.

My speech shall praise thee, and my silence sare." And now his task resumed, “ My tale," said he, Osmyn had found, in many a dreadful day, “ Is short and sad, short may our sadoess be!"- The tyrant fiercer when he seem'd in play: “ The Caliph Harun, as historians tell,

He begg'd forbearance; • I have not to give; Ruled, for a tyrant, admirably well;

Spare me awhile, although 'uis pain to live: Where his own pleasures were not touch'd, to men Oh! had that stolen fruit the power possessid He was humane, and sometimes even then;

To war with life, I now had been at rest." Harun was fond of fruits, and gardens fair,

“ • So fond of death,' replied the boy, 'tis pas And woe to all whom he found poaching there : Thou hast no certain notion of the paia; Among his pages was a lively boy,

But to the Caliph were a secret shown, Eager in search of every trifling joy;

Death has no pain that would be then unknown." Iis feelings vivid, and his fancy strong,

“Now," says the story, “ in a cloeet near, Iesigh'd for pleasure while he shrank from wrong; The monarch seated, chanced the boys to hear; When by the Caliph in the garden placed,

There oft he came, when wearied on bis throne, He saw the treasures which he long'd to taste; To read, sleep, listen, pray, or be alone. And oft alone he ventured to behold

“ The tale proceeds, when first the Caliph found Rich hanging fruits with rind of glowing gold; That he was robb’d, although alone, he frown'd; l'oo long he staid forbidden bliss to view,

And swore in wrath, that he would send the bey Jis virtue failing as his longings grew;

Far from his notice, favour, or employ; Athirst and wearied with the noon-tide heat, But gentler movements soothed his ruffled miod. Fate to the garden led his luckless feet;

And his own failings taught him to be kind. With eager eyes and open mouth he stood, (food; “ Relenting thoughts then painted Osmyo youts, Smelt the sweet breath, and touch'd the fragrant His passion urgent, and temptation strong; The tempting beauty sparkling in the sun

And that he suffer'd from that villain-spy Charm'd his young sense—he ate, and was undone: Pains worse than death till lie desired to die; When the fond glutton paused, bis eyes around Then if his morals had received a stain, He turn'd, and eyes upon him turning found; His bitter sorrows made him pure again: Pleased he beheld the spy, a brother-page,

To reason, pity leni her powerful aid, A friend allied in office and in age;

For one so tempted, troubled, and betray'd; Vho promised much that secret he would be, And a free pardon the glad boy restored Bit high the price he fix'd on secresy.

To the kind presence of a gentle lord;


Who from his office and his country drove (move; But the kind sailor could not boast the art
That traitor-friend, whom pains nor pray’rs could Of looking deeply in the human heart;
Who raised the fears no mortal could endure, Else had he seen that this weak brother knew
And then with cruel av’rice sold the cure.

What men to court-what objects to pursue ;
My tale is ended; but, to be applied,

That he to distant gain the way discern'd,
I must describe the place where Caliphs hide." And none so crooked but his genius learn'd.

Here both the females look'd alarm’d, distress’d, Isaac was poor, and this the brother felt;
With hurried passions hard to be express'd.

He hired a house, and there the landman dwelt; “ It was a closet by a chamber placed,

Wrought at his trade, and had an easy home, Where slept a lady of no vulgar taste ;

For there wouldGeorge with cash and comforts come; Her friend attended in that chosen room,

And when they parted, Isaac look'd around, That she had honour'd and proclaim'd her home; Where other friends and helpers might be found. To please the eye were chosen pictures placed, He wish'd for some port-place, and one might fall, And some light volumes to amuse the taste; He wisely thought, if he should try for all; Letters and music on a table laid,

He had a vote-and, were it well applied, For much the lady wrote, and often play'd; Might have its worth—and he had views beside ; Beneath the window was a toilet spread,

Old Burgess Steel was able to promote And a fire gleam'd upon a crimson bed.”

An humble man who served him with a vote; He paused, he rose; with troubled joy the wife For Isaac felt not what some tempers feel, Felt the new era of her changeful life;

But bow'd and bent the neck to Burgess Steel ; Frankness and love appear'd in Stafford's face, And great attention to a lady gave, And all her trouble to delight gave place.

His ancient friend, a maiden spare and grave: Twice made the guest an effort to sustain

One whom the visage long and look demure Her feelings, twice resumed her seat in vain, (pain: Of Isaac pleased-he seem'd sedate and pure; Nor could suppress her shame, nor could support her And his soft heart conceived a gentle flame Quick she retired, and all the dismal night

For her who waited on this virtuous dame; Thought of her guilt, her folly, and her flight; Not an outrageous love, a scorching fire, Then sought unseen her miserable home,

But friendly liking and chastised desire; To think of comforts lost, and brood on wants to come. And thus he waited, patient in delay,

In present favour and in fortune's way.

George then was coasting-war was yet delay'd,

And what he gain'd was to his brother paid;

Nor ask'd the seaman what he saved or spent:

But took his grog, wrought hard, and was content; Than old John Fletcher, on the British coast, Till war awaked the land, and George began Dwelt not a seaman who had more to boast; To think what part became a useful man: Kind, simple, and sincere-he seldom spoke, “ Press'd I must go; why, then, 'tis better far But sometimes sang and chorus'd—“Hearts of oak;" At once to enter like a British tar, In dangers steady, with his lot content,

Than a brave captain and the foe to shun, His days in labour and in love were spent.

As if I fear'd the music of a gun.” He left a son so like him, that the old

“ Go not!” said Isaac—“ You shall wear disguise.” With joy exclaim'd, “ 'Tis Fletcher we behold; “ What!” said the seaman, “ clothe myself with But to his brother when the kinsmen came,

lies?"And view'd his form,they grudged the father's name. “ Oh! but there's danger."—“ Danger in the fleet?

George was a bold, intrepid, careless lad, You cannot mean, good brother, of defeat; With just the failings that his father had;

And other dangers I at land must shareIsaac was weak, attentive, slow, exact,

So now adieu! and trust a brother's care." With just the virtues that his father lack’d.

Isaac awhile demurr’d—but, in his heart, George lived at sea : upon the land a guest, So might he share, he was disposed to part: He sought for recreation, not for rest

The better minds will sometimes feel the pain While, far unlike, his brother's feebler form

Of benefactions-favour is a chain; (dain;Shrank from the cold, and shudder'd at the storm; But they the feeling scorn, and what they wish, disSull with the seaman's to connect his trade, (made. While beings form'd in coarser mould will hate The boy was bound where blocks and ropes were The helping hand they ought to venerate;

George, strong and sturdy, had a tender mind, No wonder George should in this cause prevail, And was to Isaac pitiful and kind;

With one contending who was glad to fail: A very father, till his art was gain’d,

“ Isaac, farewell! do wipe that doleful eye; And then a friend unwearied he remain'd:

Crying we came, and groaning we may die. He saw his brother was of spirit low,

Let us do something 'twixt the groan and cry: His temper peevish, and his motion slow;

And hear me, brother, whether pay or prize, Not fit to bustle in a world, or make

One half to thee I give and I devise; Friends to his fortune for his merit's sake:

For thou hast oft occasion for the aid


Of learn'd physicians, and they will be paid : The rising waves, and howl upon the deep; Their wives and children men support, at sea, Ships late becalm'd on mountain-billows rideAnd thou, my lad, art wife and child to me: So life is threaten’d, and so man is tried. Farewell!—I go where hope and honour call, Ill were the lidings that arrived from sea, Nor does it follow that who fights must fall." The worthy George must now a.cripple be ;

Isaac here made a poor attempt to speak, His leg was lopp'd; and though his heart was sound And a huge tear moved slowly down his cheek; Though his brave captain was with glory crown'tLike Pluto's iron drop, hard sign of grace,

Yet much it vex'd him to repose on shore, It slowly roll'd upon the rueful face,

An idle log, and be of use no more: Forced by the striving will alone its way to trace. True, he was sure that Isaac would receive

Years fled-war lasted-George at sea remain'd, All of his brother that the foe might leave; While the slow landman still his profits gain’d: To whom the seaman his design had sent, A humble place was vacant-he besought

Ere from the port the wounded hero went: His patron's interest, and the office caught; His wealth and expectations told, he knew For still the virgin was his faithful friend,

Wherein they fail'd what Isaac's love would de; And one so sober could with truth commend, That he the grog and cabin would supply, Who of his own defects most humbly thought, Where George at anchor during life would lie." And their advice with zeal and reverence sought: The landman read—and, reading, grex di Whom thus the mistress praised, the maid approved,

tress'd:And her he wedded whom he wisely loved. “ Could he resolve t'admit so poor a guest: No more he needs assistance-but, alas!

Better at Greenwich might the sailor stay, He fears the money will for liquor pass;

Unless his purse could for his comforts pay;" Or that the seaman might to flatterers lend, So Isaac judged, and to his wife appeald, Or give support to some pretended friend :

But yet acknowledged it was best to yield: Still he must write-he wrote, and he confess'd “ Perhaps his pension, with what sums remain That, till absolved, he should be sore distress'd; Due or unsquander'd, may the man maintain; But one so friendly would, he thought, forgive Refuse we must not."— With a heavy sigh The hasty deed-Heav'n knew how he should live; The lady heard, and made her kind reply:“ But you," he added, “ as a man of sense,

“ Nor would I wish it, Isaac, were we sure Have well consider'd danger and expense:

How long his crazy building will endore; I ran, alas! into the fatal snare,

Like an old house, that every day appears And now for trouble must my mind prepare ; About to fall-he may be propp'd for years; And how, with children, I shall pick my way, For a few months, indeed, we might comply, Through a hard world, is more than I can say: But these old batter'd fellows never die." Then change not, brother, your more happy state, The hand of Isaac, George on entering toek, Or on the hazard long deliberate.”

With love and resignation in his look; George answer'd gravely, “ It is right and fit, Declared his comfort in the fortune past, In all our crosses, humbly to submit:

And joy to find his anchor safely cast ; Your apprehensions are unwise, unjust ;

“ Call then my nephews, let the grog be broegit, Forbear repining, and expel distrust.”—

And I will tell them how the ship was fought." He added, “ Marriage was the joy of life,”

Alas! our simple seaman should have koos, And gave his service to his brother's wife;

That all the care, the kindness, he had shown, Then vow'd to bear in all expense a part,

Were from his brother's heart, if not his memory, And thus concluded, “ Have a cheerful heart." All swept away to be perceived no more, (flow:

Had the glad Isaac been his brother's guide, Like idle structures on the sandy shore; In these same terms the seaman had replied; The chance amusement of the playful boy, At such reproofs the crafty landman smiled, That the rude billows in their rage destroy. And softly saidą“ This creature is a child.”

PoorGeorge confess'd, though loth the truth to fad, Twice had the gallant ship a capture made- Slight was his knowledge of a brother's mind: And when in port the happy crew were paid, The vulgar pipe was to the wife offence, Home went the sailor, with his pocket stored, The frequent grog to Isaac an expense ;

[com Ease to enjoy, and pleasure to afford;

Would friends like hers, she question'd, “ choose to His time was short, joy shone in every face, Where clouds of poison'd fume defiled a room! Isaac half fainted in the fond embrace:

This could their lady-friend, and Burgess Steel, The wife resolved her honour'd guest to please, (Teased with his worship's asthma) bear to feel? The children clung upon their uncle's knees; Could they associate or converse with himThe grog went round, the neighbours drank his A loud rough sailor with a timber limb ?" health,

[wealth Cold as he grew, still Isaac strore to show, And George exclaim'd—“Ah! what to this is By well-feign'd care, that cold he could not grow; Better," said he, “ to bear a loving heart,

And when he saw his brother look distress'd, Than roll in riches—but we now must part!” He strove some petty comforts to suggest ;

All yet is still--but bark! the winds o'ersweep On his wife solely their neglect to lay,

« AnteriorContinuar »