Rhyme Romance and Revery (II)

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TO THE EVENING STAR


ROSE of the starry garden of the sky,
    Thou fairest gem in heaven's radiant mine;
Bright Peri of the night, whose laughing eye
    Is glancing ever with a joyous shine,
Like a young virgin's, glad but tremblingly;
    Chief handmaid to the lovely lady-moon,
Bathing thy beauty in the sky's blue river,
Oh, I could gaze on thy pure smiles for ever;
    But thy light passes, as our life, too soon,
    And night already hath o'erpass'd its noon;
The storm-winds float around me with sad wail,
Hush'd in her covert is the nightingale,
The dim clouds shadow thee, and on the spray
The rain drops dash — farewell!   I must away.


――――♦――――

 
THE WORLD OF FLOWERS


YOURS is a pleasant world, ye gentle flowers,
Ye live 'mid light, and bloom, and sunny hours;
Your music is the soft wind murmuring low,
Which comes unto you with its sweet-voic'd flow
The golden bee, dyed by the sun's bright beam,
The butterfly, with wing of silvery gleam —
Those wanderers glad, fair children of the sun,
With kisses woo you till your sweets are won.

How much of beauty do your forms disclose!
But thou art queen of loveliness, thou rose,
And, when for simile the fond youth seeks,
His fair is told thy bloom is on her cheeks;
Ye violets, wet with morning's crystal dew,
Ye are compar'd unto her eyes of blue;
Ye primroses, to her pale tresses free;
Ye snowdrops pure, unto her chastity.

The village maiden roves at early morn,
To seek fresh buds her white brow to adorn,
And of your glowing hues and fragrant breath,
She for her temples weaves a living wreath:
The infant boy, less difficult to please,
Of hue unmindful each by turns will seize,
Then form a nosegay, with admiring eye,
And to his comrades with his treasure fly.

Ye have your songsters, peopling tree and bush,
The lark of morn, the blackbird, and the thrush,
And thousand others, musical and free,
Floating above you, rich in melody.
Ye have wild livers in your quiet race,
Who do not dwell in garden's tended space,
Who, as their spirits could not order brook,
Spring in the forest and the woodland nook.

Ye gentle flowers, ourselves in you may see
A lowly image of what we should be;
Though storms may bow you, quickly do you rise,
And lift your heads again unto the skies:
Thus, though our lot may for awhile be dim,
Still let our thoughts be upward turned to Him;
Then, though like you, we sleep in wintry tomb,
We shall awake in glory, and in bloom.


――――♦――――

 
THE OFFERING


I can but, as a lowly pilgrim, bring
    A simple offering, lady, to thy shrine,
Yet such poor gifts as to thy votary cling —,
    My heart, my lyre, and changeless faith
            are thine.
Rich gems, and gold, thine offerings may
            have been;
    Instead of these, I give my deathless love;
For costly coronal, a wreath of green;
    For pearls, the flowers amid its verdure wove;
I have entwin'd a lily in my wreath,
    Deeming thee pure as is its stainless hue;
A rose, less fragrant than thine own sweet breath;
    A violet, emblem of thine eyes' deep blue:
Though worthless now, richer these gifts will be
Than gold or gems, when look'd upon by thee.


――――♦――――

 
ON THE DEATH
OF AN AGED RELATIVE


THOU hast departed!—though, when age doth
            come,
    We know th' imprison'd spirit will depart,
Still do we miss thee in our happy home,
    Thou with the long-lov'd form and woman's
            heart.

Near to the glad light of the blazing hearth
    There standeth still thy venerable chair;
We look upon it in our hours of mirth,
    And breathe a sigh that thou no more art there.

Parent of parents! memory back will stray,
    Blending sweet thoughts with thy familiar
            name;
Thy life did pass with gentle, slow decay;
    Living, thy looks were calm — in death the
            same.

By many a tie wert thou endear'd to me,
    Kind friend and guardian of my early years;
Author wert thou of many an hour of glee;
    Thou wert the solacer of childhood's tears.

Clos'd are those eyes which wept for others' woe,
    Mute is that tongue which us'd my path
            to cheer;
And can my heart be callous to the blow,
    Or can I check the tribute of a tear?

Reason 'gainst grief, oh, vain philosophy!
    Tell us regrets are cherish'd all in vain;
Can the sad heart be curb'd by rules from thee?
    Tears, more than precepts, will relieve its pain.

There was a pensive shadow round thee thrown,
    For thine, alas, had been a chequer'd lot;
But thou to us a meek example shone,
    Feeling deep sorrow, yet repining not.

Thine was no splendid doom, thou wert not made
    To catch the wonder of admiring eyes:
A floweret, form'd to blossom in the shade —
    Not for the world, but sweet domestic ties.

It was a solemn scene thy coffin'd corse to see;
    Mothers were weeping o'er their mother's fate,
And fair and youthful cheeks were wet for thee,
    Whilst thou unconscious lay in death's cold
            state.

Thou died'st unnotic'd by the earth's gay throng;
    No trophied marble o'er thy grave doth start;
Thy name not borne by history's page along —
    Thou hast a dearer chronicle — the heart.


――――♦――――

 
EVENING


LONG have I lov'd thee, pensive, pale-brow'd
            Even;
    And o'er my spirits at thy hour will steal
    A soothing calmness, which 'tis sweet to feel —
Methinks thy reign to hush our woes was given.
Sometimes imagination wild will stray;
    And I have thought each golden cloud the car
Of heaven-crown'd angels, who in glory lay,
    And look'd on mortals from their height afar;
And I have thought their breath might be
            the breeze
    That bows the roses, with its gentle sighs —
    The stars, the beamings of their radiant eyes;
But fancy's strange and wayward flights were
            these —
    Like to the pageants of a glorious dream,
    Scar'd by rude voice when comes the morning's
            gleam.


――――♦――――

 
A RAINY DAY


Meanwhile the south wind rose, and with black wings
Wide hovering, all the clouds together drove
From under heaven; the hills to their supply
Vapour, and exhalation dusk and moist,
Sent up amain; and now the thicken'd sky
Like a dark ceiling stood; down rush'd the rain
Impetuous.

Milton


A rainy day! — What a subject have I chosen.  The very words of my title will cause an involuntary shudder in every beau and fine lady who may happen to look on it.  Many people dread rainy day as much as if each drop were fatal, and do not hold themselves liable to perform any promise that may carry them abroad, if the weather prove, in the least degree, unfavourable.  Some careful folks hardly ever take the air without umbrellas tucked under their arms; and seldom walk a hundred yards without turning their eyes to the clouds.  I do not like the rain that comes down at intervals — a day half clouds, half sunshine: you see signs of a coming shower, and hurry into the nearest hovel, when, after having waited awhile, the clouds seem to be dispersing, and you sally out, but have scarcely proceeded the length of a street, before it pours down in torrents.  However, you are determined not to turn back to the shelter, so you hurry on, and in the course of a few minutes are soaked to the skin.  Then the sun comes out, and there you are, like a dog just emerging from a river, your hat and coat glittering with rain-drops, and your feelings as uncomfortable and uneasy as possible; fancying all eyes are fixed on you; cursing the weather, and wishing the rain would come down faster than before, and make everyone as wet as yourself.  But unfortunately it continues fine until you arrive at your abode; if you are married, you vent your spleen on your wife; if you are a bachelor, you preserve a sullen silence, make straight to your own room, station yourself at the window, and enjoy the pleasure of seeing other people get wet.

    If we must have rain, give me a thorough wet day; rain before I awake, rain until I am asleep.  I like to steer on under the canopy of an umbrella, hearkening to the rain pattering above my head — I prefer a silk umbrella — the patter on it is louder and more distinctly audible than on a cotton one — making a music, melancholy and sweet as the evening hymn of a tea-kettle.  No pleasure is without its alloy — umbrellas are often the cause of great inconvenience: for instance, you get into a crowded street, amongst a complete phalanx of them; we will suppose you rather tall — you come in contact with a fellow, head and shoulders less than yourself — he hoists his cotton covering just high enough to jolt against your head, and away goes your hat into the gutter.  If you happen to have some cheap periodical stowed above your pericranium, the sheet is republished by the wind, and sails away as though under the superintendence of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, until it is induced to take up its abode in the mud.  The author of this mischief begs your pardon of course; you curse his pardon, and stalk off, looking grim as a Saracen.

    My chief pleasure on a rainy day, is to sit at a window, and mark the passers by.  There you see the ladies, pretty creatures, tripping along with their slight silken shields held over their slender bonnets, and their petticoats held up, as though to preserve them from being draggled or splashed, yet verily believe, more for the purpose of displaying their finely turned ankles.  Then comes a poor half-drowned mortal, completely drenched through and through, with his hat slouching over his eyes, and his hands in his pockets, creeping along at a snail-like pace, as if he defied the elements, and invited them to do their worst.  Then you hear the clatter of pattens, and some servant-lass from a neighbouring mansion hurries past, with her white apron thrown over her newly washed and showily trimmed cap.  Next comes the rattling of wheels, and the hackney coachman sweeps on, urging his jaded and worn-out cattle to the top of their speed, which amounts to a half trot, whilst a copious quantity of steam evaporates from them, and forms a mist around him; his broad brimmed castor drooping and dripping on his burly greatcoat, and a bundle of handkerchiefs huddling up to his eyes.  The streets abound with dense little lakes, caused by the rain settling in the indentures made by the cart-wheels; and when there is nothing else to engage my attention, I watch the continued succession of circles spreading over them, as drop after drop descends.  Now the rain comes faster and faster, and all are on the run, even if they know they are so far distant from home or shelter that they must be wet to all intents and purposes, whether they run or walk.  There is something amusing in the racing of straws and other small particles of matter, as they hurry along the channel, to their eternity ― the main sewer.  Schools are breaking up for the day, and the most careful urchins scamper by, with their handkerchiefs tied over their hats; whilst a more thoughtless and mischievous set stop the soughs, dam up the channels, make what they call "a flood," and caper round the puddle. — The servant enters the room, and informs me that tea is ready; after sipping my favourite beverage, I take a book, and resume my place at the window; thus enjoying a double pleasure, until it becomes dark.  Then candles are lighted, the blinds are lowered and the fire burns bright and cheerfully.  I seat myself by the blazing hearth, and lift my head at intervals from my book, to listen to the howling of the wind, for the night has become tempestuous.  Now I feel the blessings of my own lot, and thank God for my comfortable dwelling.  I think, with a feeling of subdued melancholy, of those poor unfortunates who are now wandering through the desolate streets, lightly clad, pining with cold and hunger, and without a shelter from the night-storm.  I contrast the situation of those poor children of adversity, for whom the world is so barren of delight, with that of the wealthy and the high-born, whose lives are a continued round of luxury and enjoyment; and when I reflect on the inequality with which the Creator's bounties are distributed to his creatures, I heave a sigh for the imperfectness of human institutions.  I retire, with a heavy heart, to my couch; the rain patters against my casement, and the blast sweeps fitfully by; again I thank God for the blessings which have fallen to my lot.


――――♦――――

 
TO A STREAM


GLIDE on, pure current! — would my course
            might be
    Like to thy now unruffled, quiet flow;
Yet, ah, my lot doth more resemble thee,
    When 'gainst thy pathway storm and tempest
            blow.
Piercing thy waters with admiring gaze,
    We see full many things within them lie,
Which, when thou'rt lit up by the noon-tide
            blaze,
    Seem bright as pearls or diamonds to the eye;
But if within thy crystal waves we dive,
    What we thought fair, to things unvalued turn:
Such are the pleasures which the world doth give,
    Such are the joys for which our spirits yearn —
Bright are they deem'd until we them possess,
Then bursts the bubble of our happiness.


――――♦――――

 
ALBERT AND GERALDINE


"I'LL meet thee, love, when sun has set,"
    Said Albert to his Geraldine;
"When with night's dew the flowers are wet,
    And in the sky the moon is seen.

"I'll meet thee by the ruin'd tow'r,
    Beside the well-known spreading tree;
Adieu, my sweet, thou know'st the hour —
    Thy lover there will waiting be."

Away the youthful Albert went,
    O'er hill and vale and flowery glade;
Yet still, though on his footsteps bent,
    His thoughts were with his lovely maid.

How slow to Geraldine seem'd time!
    As, musing in her lonely bow'r,
She thought the clock would never chime
    The long-expected meeting hour.

At length, upon her listening ear
    Th' appointed signal sweetly rang:
To meet the youth, by far more dear
    Than words had told, she lightly sprang.

The crimson sun had glided down,
    And earth was wrapt in sable shroud;
The pale, chaste beamings of the moon
    Were shaded by an envious cloud.

Soon reach'd the maid the spreading tree —
    No Albert! — much she wonder'd where
Her lover loitering could be —
    She search'd the tow'r, nor was he there.

The wind came sighing through the trees,
    She look'd around, and all was lone,
But, borne on by the passing breeze,
    She heard a low and feeble groan.

Her bosom now with fear throbb'd fast,
    And yet she thought her fears were vain;
It might be but the moaning blast —
    But hark! she hears the sound again.

She call'd the courage to her heart —
    The guileless heart may claim its aid —
And from her clouds the moon did start,
    As though to cheer the beauteous maid.

She pray'd aloud to Him above,
    Whose wonderous eyes' all-seeing pow'r,
Looks on the virtuous with love,
    In gladness, or in sorrow's hour.

Her prayer was heard, and as she knelt
    An humble suppliant to Him
Who guards the innocent, she felt
    More firm of heart, more strong of limb.

She rose, and once more on the wind
    There came a groaning low and faint;
With glance of dread she sought to find
    From whence arose the sad complaint.

With noiseless step she trac'd the sound,
    And lighted by the moonshine wan,
She saw upon the dew-starr'd ground
    A pale and bleeding dying man.

She gaz'd that fearful sight upon —
    "Oh, God! my Albert's form!" she cried:
Thus spoke the youth, with feeble tone,
    "My Geraldine, my destin'd bride!

"Kind Heaven, I thank thee, that I greet
    My Geraldine or ere I die,
And yet 'tis bitter thus to meet
    My fate by dastard treachery.

"As on I came, in blissful mood,
    The glare of burnish'd arms reveal'd,
In the thick covert of the wood,
    One who had wish'd to lie conceal'd.

"I heeded not, still pass'd along,
    But as I onwards gaily prest,
Forth from his shade the ruffian sprung,
    And plung'd a dagger in my breast.

"I fell, and fix'd my eyes upon
    My murderer's face, and his dark brow
A fiend — like joy was pictur'd on —
    'Twas Rodolph struck the fatal blow!

"There, Geraldine, my rival stood,
    His hands with living crimson dyed,
His dagger reeking with my blood,
    And thus exultingly he cried.

"'There, dreaming, youthful doter, lie,
    The earth a pillow for thy head,
Thy music be the night-wind's sigh,
    The grave shall be thy bridal bed!'

"This said, the traitor quickly flew —
    But, oh, farewell! faint beats my heart,
And on my brow the clammy dew,
    The chilling damp of death doth start.

"Yet think not that this is to me
    Moment of agony — in death,
The form my soul adores I see,
    My love receives my latest breath!"

He ceas'd — away his spirit sprung,
    Lifeless was he, the gay and proud;
As if to mourn for one so young,
    Again the pale moon sought her cloud.

Oh, mournful is the tale I tell!
    And well the maiden's heart might break;
Upon her lover's corse she fell,
    And kiss'd his wan and ice-cold cheek.

"He's gone from me, the good, the brave,
    Who ever dear in life hath been;
I liv'd for Albert, and his grave
    Shall be the grave of Geraldine!"

Her white arms round his frame she twin'd,
    Then for her love the maiden died,
And faithful, true in death reclin'd
    Young Albert and his destin'd bride!


――――♦――――

 
LOVE-DOUBTS


Hast thou a thought, my maiden-love, of me?
    As I am toiling 'mid a wayward lot,
    Remember'st thou one who hath ne'er forgot?
Reckless of all, if but belov'd by thee.
It may be I have cherish'd love in vain;
    Endur'd with hope, to find that hope depart;
Treasur'd, in secret, source of many a pain;
    Kept but a worm to feed upon the heart:
Even were it so, the shaft is driven, and now
    Rankling for ever in the breast it lies ―
Silk lash the string, fair lid the fatal bow,
    Hurried away the arrow from thine eyes.
Ah, speak my doom! thou, only, life canst give ―
Wilt thou then leave to die, or bid to live?


――――♦――――

 
TO MARIAN


LIKE to a rose just bursting into bloom,
    Or like a violet shrinking from the sun,
Or like a pale star, shining 'mid the gloom,
    To cheer the drooping heart, and guide it on;
Oh, such art thou — a being form'd to bless,
Gladdening my spirit with thy loveliness.

Fair as the white dove, when, upon the wing,
    It floateth slowly through the sunny air;
More sweet thy breath than when from flowers
            of spring,
    The gentle winds the balmy odours bear:
My bark of hope, when worldly tempests rage,
My fount of joy, amid life's pilgrimage.

Bright eyes have glanc'd on me, and I have
            been
    Caress'd by beauty in the festal hall —
Yes, I have mingled in the joyous scene,
    When it did seem the young heart's carnival:
Perchance my features may have worn a smile,
And yet my spirit hath been sad the while.

I had imagin'd — it might be in dreams,
    Or 'twixt a dreaming and a waking thought,
When to the mind oft come mysterious gleams
    Of things and shapes with past and future
            wrought —
I had imagin'd one whom I could love,
And with my memory that bright form I wove.

I nurs'd that beauteous image of the mind,
    And it was with me in the banquet hour;
Amid the festive group I sought to find
    That form created by the fancy's power;
I found it not, and then I turn'd aside,
Yearning for that which ever seem'd denied.

Fair form, sweet being, I have found thee now!
    That blessed moment ne'er can I forget,
When, after fading of the day's proud glow,
    Thy maiden beauty first my fond gaze met;
I saw at once the image long enshrin'd
Within my heart, and fashion'd by the mind.

"The stars were out upon that lovely night,
    And the white clouds were sailing up on high,
And the moon glided, in her bark of light,
    With virgin majesty athwart the sky:
Star, cloud, and moon, oh! what were those
            to me?
My love, my Marian, I but thought of thee.

Thine eyes are dearer than the stars of heaven,
    Thou art as pure as is the virgin moon,
Thy course more bright than that of white clouds
            driven,
    Like silver isles, in the night's pallid noon;
The spell, the charm, for which in musings lone
My spirit pin'd, is all around thee thrown.

My waking dream of bliss, it cannot fade;
    The love, the light that liveth but in thee,
E'en when the dust upon mine heart is laid,
    Shall be unquench'd in its idolatry:
Change, death, and worm, ye are but for the
            clay —
The soul, the spirit cannot know decay!


――――♦――――

 
LINES WRITTEN IN ILLUSTRATION
OF AN UNFINISHED DESIGN BY THE LATE
HENRY LIVERSEGE


LOOK thou upon this sketch, nor turn aside,
As from a thing unworthy of thy gaze.
To thee, perchance, this rude design may seem
Of trifling import — unto me it brings
A host of sweet, yet sad remembrances.
A crowd of images before me rise,
Like shadows call'd to life by wizard art.
The beings I behold are not of clay —
The breath of sickness hath no power to taint,
Nor years to bow them down unto the dust,
But age, disease, and death, leave them unscath'd.
Some in the dawn of infancy I see,
And that sweet season will endure for ever;
The bloom of youth is on the cheeks of some,
And smiles light up their joyous lips and eyes;
No coming cloud will dim those looks of joy,
No thought of sorrow pain their youthful hearts —
Their bloom, their smiles, their joy will be
            undying.
I look on brows that years have furrowed o'er,
On heads that Time hath silver'd with his touch,
But of the grave they dream not, and content
Dwells in their aged eyes — for them the tomb
May yawn in vain — they are not mark'd for death!
No beings see I of a mortal mould —
They are the creatures of an art divine,
And Painting gave them birth — he whose bold
            hand
Did fashion them, view'd them with loving eyes.
Oh, he was one whose soul outwore its frame!
Rich in the wealth of genius, he strove
To battle with disease — alas, in vain!
His hour had come — the artist perish'd young.
Then look upon this sketch, nor turn aside —
The lost, the gifted, hath impress'd it there.

The youth was one who woo'd the phantom
            Fame;
And through the watches of the dreary night,
And in the splendour of the bright noon-day,
He, to the spirit whom he sought to win,
Pour'd forth his orisons.   Long time in vain
He strove to gain his idol's favours — frowns
Were his only portion — undismayed,
The phantom still did he pursue.   She smil'd,
At length, upon her votary, and call'd
The young enthusiast to her temple.
Up a steep mountain did she lead the way:
The path was difficult, and hard to tread,
Yet onward still he press'd, cheer'd by her voice.
The temple now was gain'd — joy flush'd his brow,
But, as he strove to enter, forth there stepp'd
A grisly spectre, and with bony hand
It stayed his progress.   "Come with me," it cried,
"Thy race is run, thy visions at an end;
Fame thou hast won — 'tis well —thou look'st on
            Death!"
And so he died, but not his memory:
Unto the world Fame trumpetted his praise,
And thousands own'd the magic of his skill,
And on the wonders of his genius gaz'd,
With boundless admiration and delight.
Fame soar'd aloft, and smil'd; then link'd
            the name
Of LIVERSEGE with Immortality.


――――♦――――

 
THE SELF


How am I glutted with conceit of this!
Shall I make spirits fetch me what I please?
Resolve me of all ambiguities?
Perform what desperate enterprise I will?
I'll have them fly to India for gold,
Ransack the ocean for orient pearl,
And search all corners of the new-found world,
For costly fruits and princely delicates.

Marlowe


"FROM morning to night do I toil," said Hubert the woodcutter, as he returned one evening from the forest, "and rags and poverty are my only rewards; but I will endure it no longer: this very night will I betake me to the wizard Grimerius, accept of his terms, and become rich.  What care I about having a self?  I shall have wealth enough to support a dozen selfs, and my second self will be a companion to my first self."

    Grimerius was a learned and skilful magician, and so wonderous were the powers of his art, that the ministers of darkness tremblingly performed his bidding, and the elements were the slaves of his will.  He dwelt alone — alone with respect to earthly companions.  He stamped with his foot, and a score of infernal lackeys attended the summons, and were ready to fly at his command to the world's verge.  If he wished to vent his wrath on man, away rode his spirits on the wings of the wind, and the tall and stately ship was dashed upon the rocks, or whelmed beneath the furious waves — the fierce volcano opened wide its hot and flaming jaws, and fertile villages became heaps of smoking ashes — the shuddering earth was rent in twain, and the peasant's cottage, and the noble's castle, were hurled indiscriminately into its womb.  These, and numerous other pranks of a like nature, were at least ascribed to him by his neighbours; and he indeed would have been deemed a sceptic who had dared to doubt the truth of their assertions.  It was also said, amongst the peasantry and for the veracity of this assertion my tale will vouch, that Grimerius would grant a man all he desired, provided he would consent to have a self; that is, a figure of the wizard's creation, exactly like the person who acceded to his terms, and animated by the same feelings and impulses.  What could be his motive for wishing to indulge this strange whim, was beyond his neighbours' comprehension.  It is true many explanations were given of the mystery, quite clear and satisfactory to their respective authors, but as they were all different, I shall not trespass upon the patience of my reader by stating them.  I candidly confess my own inability to throw any light upon the subject, and therefore the secret is likely to remain one for me.  Thus far, however, all accounts agreed; — the wizard was extremely desirous of accomplishing his object, yet could not create the being he wished, without the previous consent of the person in whose likeness it was to appear.  Hubert had long pondered over this matter, and had often thought of applying to Grimerius for "further particulars."

    A tradition existed that the wizard's terms had once been accepted, and that he who accepted them soon grew so weary of the unearthly companion who was ever by his side, that, in a fit of despair, he put an end to his existence.  This was the principal reason that had hitherto deterred the woodcutter from making an application to the wizard, for he had long been discontented with his state, and was naturally of a firm and daring disposition.  As will be seen by his preceding soliloquy, he now determined, reckless of consequences, to subscribe to the conditions of the magician.

    Night had veiled the earth, and the lamps of heaven burned brightly, when Hubert knocked at the door of the wizard's habitation.  A clear and full-toned voice bade him come in.  The room into which he entered was dark and spacious, and a faint light, emitted by a single taper, vainly struggled to dissipate the surrounding gloom. The walls were ornamented, or rather defaced, with drawings of grotesque and hideous forms, whose distended eyes, seen through the imperfect light, seemed to glare fearfully on the intruder; and around were scattered various necromantic implements.  The magician was seated at a desk of ebony, intently perusing a ponderous volume, inscribed with strange and mystic characters.  Several minutes elapsed, and still he continued his studies, apparently unconscious of his visitor's presence, the wavering of whose purpose began to be indicated by the trembling of his limbs, and his frequent glances towards the closed door.  His prolific imagination, aided by the objects around him, had succeeded in conjuring up such a train of terrific fancies, that he was just preparing to effect an escape, when he beheld the Wizard raise his head slowly from the book, and fix on him his piercing eyes.  He paused, ere he spoke, and the woodcutter had leisure to survey his singular and striking countenance.  He appeared to be a man little past the middle age of life.  His features might almost have been termed faultless, and his raven locks curled closely round his high and expansive forehead.  His eyes were intensely bright, and but for their snake-like expression, and the ashy and cadaverous hue of his complexion, he would have been eminently handsome.  His dress was of black velvet, and fitted close to his person.  Previously to speaking, he rose from his seat, as if to display his towering and majestic stature, and, folding his arms over his breast, thus addressed his disconcerted guest:—

    "What would'st thou of me, that thus thou breakest in upon my meditations?"

    "Please your wizardship," said Hubert, "I have been long endeavouring to earn a comfortable subsistence, but, finding all honest means in vain, I am determined ―― "

    "For the future to use dishonest ones," interrupted the magician.

    "Why as to that," said the woodcutter, "if the world lie not, I am not the only one who prefers wealth and power, however obtained, to despised poverty with all its honesty."

    "No prating, sirrah!" cried the wizard, testily; for report said that he himself had in other days been acquainted with want and wretchedness: "I am not to be trifled with — what would'st thou with me, fellow?"

    "Briefly then," replied Hubert, "I am poor, and having heard that, by fulfilling certain conditions, my poverty might be remedied, I am come to do your bidding."

    "Know'st thou the terms on which alone thou canst become rich?" said the magician.

    "In part," said Hubert; " but be they what they may, I will consent to all thou requirest."

    "Enough," exclaimed the magician, and a smile of bitter derision played for a moment over his features.  He took from his desk the skeleton of a bond, and, filling up the blank spaces, in a lawyer-like manner, he handed it to the woodcutter for his signature.

    As our hero — all the chief personages of tales are heroes, be they princes or peasants, warriors or highwaymen — as our hero, therefore, was unacquainted with the profitless art of writing, he was about to make its customary substitute, a sign of the cross, when his hand was suddenly arrested in its progress by the wizard.

    "Hold!" cried he, in an alarmed and quick voice, "give me some other token of approval, some other mark of thy consent; make not that hated sign, or here our treaty ends."

    The woodcutter complied with his request, and made a mark of less obnoxious character, and the magician proceeded to business.  He opened a closet, and brought forth a number of nameless ingredients, and, casting them into a caldron in a retired part of the room, under which a fire was previously lighted, he began to stir them with a stick or wand.  A mist rose slowly from the caldron.  The magician paused in his employment, and the mist instantly dispersed.

    "Approach," said he, in a low, subdued tone, and the woodcutter obeyed.  "Bare thine arm — now let the blood flow into the caldron;" and, as he spoke, with a sharp instrument he dexterously opened a vein.

    The woodcutter did as required, and the magician resumed his occupation.  Again the mist rose slowly from the caldron.  By degrees it gained an appearance somewhat resembling a human being — the ingredients were stirred with redoubled vigour.

    "'Tis done!" shouted the wizard.  The mist vanished, the blood ceased to flow from the arm of the woodcutter, and, turning his head, he saw by his side a figure, his exact counterpart in form and feature.

    "Away!" cried the magician, "thy wish is accomplished."

    "Not so fast, good sir," replied Hubert, "I have performed my part of the contract, and it is but just that you should perform yours.  Mean you to play me false?  Where is my promised wealth?"

    "Slave!" exclaimed the magician, "doubt'st thou me?  Begone! hie thee to where thy hut once stood, and thou wilt find wealth in abundance — ay, even to satiety."

    When the woodcutter had left the magicians abode, his heart misgave him.

    "How," said he aloud, "if the villain should have made me his dupe!"

    "How, if the villain should have made me his dupe!" echoed a voice by his side.

    He turned, and his eyes met those of the newly-created self.

    "Gadso!" said he, "I had forgotten I had a companion, and one, too, of the wizard's creating.  I suppose now this fellow will be able to tell me all about it."

    He proceeded, accordingly, to question the figure, as to the nature of his wealth, but he soon desisted from his inquiries, for the replies he obtained were only repetitions of his own words.

    "Thou art a mighty impertinent varlet," said he to the being, "yet if thou wilt play the echo, so be it — thou shalt be a musical one, and assist me in trolling an old ditty."  So saying, he chanted the following strain, in which he was accompanied by the self:—


THE MAIDEN'S FATE


IT was Sir Hugh, the baron bold,
    Rode out at break of morn,
With hound, as though to chase the deer,
    And glittering bugle horn.

He rode o'er hill, he rode o'er dale,
    He rode o'er barren moor,
And sprung o'er crags where horse and
             hound,
    Had never been before.

The morn was fair, the sun shone forth,
    The rivers flash'd like gold,
And all was gay that met the eye
    Of the joyful baron bold.

Oh, it was not so much to chase the deer,
    Or to brush the dew away,
That the baron had left his downy couch,
    And mounted his courser gray.

The baron he lov'd a maiden bright,
    Yet she was of lowly race,
And he rode to meet her at break of day,
    As though he had follow'd the chase.

The baron he spurr'd his goodly steed,
    And rode with might and main;
And when he had ridden a mile or two,
    A deer sprang o'er the plain.

Then drew the baron his fatal bow,
    Swift flew the feathery dart;
The arrow it miss'd the bounding deer,
    But it pierc'd his true love's heart!

The knight he leap'd from his foaming horse,
    And clasp'd unto his breast
The dying form of the lovely maid,
    And her cold, cold lips he press'd.

"And must thou die, mine own true love?
    And art thou slain by me?
Thou wert my life, my hope, my all,
    And I have murder'd thee!"

The knight return'd unto his hall,
    A chang'd and sorrowing man;
And never from that hour, a smile
    Pass'd o'er his features wan.


    "Well," said Hubert to the self, when the song was finished, "thou wilt not be a quarrelsome companion; actuated by the same thoughts and impulses as myself, thou wilt not be much inclined to wrangle with thine image.  Henceforth, then, be thou the partaker of my joys, and the sharer of my sorrows."

    They now arrived at the spot where Hubert had left his rude dwelling; instead of a mean wooden hut, he found a large and magnificent mansion; he gazed around him, rubbed his eyes, and then stared at it again.

    "Am I awake," said he, "or is this habitation the work of magic?  Be it as it may, awake or asleep, and magic or not, it seems a goodly place, and I will essay to gain an entrance."

    He pulled the handle of a bell appended to the gate, and his summons was answered by a porter, who, without awaiting further question, ushered him through a stately hall into a handsome and brilliantly illuminated apartment, in the centre of which was placed a massy and richly gilt table, spread with a profusion of the most costly viands.  The goblets were of burnished gold, and the plates and dishes pure and dazzling silver.  At the head of the table were two throne-like seats, encased in crimson velvet; in short, all the furniture was of a rare and splendid description.  A host of obsequious menials were in attendance: the butler declared he had been particularly careful in selecting the choicest wines; the cook hoped the food provided would suit his palate; and all behaved as though in the presence of a master whose favour they were anxious to secure.  Hubert beheld and listened in astonishment, but he made no remark on what he saw and heard.  Discovering no other company, he proceeded to take possession of one of the seats before mentioned, and the self, imitating his example, occupied the other.

    The viands were found to be delicious, and the wine was pronounced excellent.  Often were the bright goblets emptied of their glowing contents, and it was past midnight when Hubert left the table.

    "This cheer is delightful," said he to his companion, as they staggered away arm in arm, "what thinkest thou?"

    The self merely repeated the words.  They were shown up a flight of wide and lofty stairs, into a spacious chamber, where stood a couch, whose silken curtains were wrought with figures of gold; and the decorations of the room were in a similar style of elegance to those in the one below.

    Hubert's faculties were, however, too much impaired by his recent revel, to enable him to bestow much attention on the fresh novelties which presented themselves to his view, and hastily disrobing himself, he was soon fast asleep.

    The morning was far advanced when he awoke; but the draperies of the windows admitted only a dim and uncertain light into the chamber.  All recollections of the preceding night's adventures had vanished from Hubert's memory; and, finding he had a bedfellow, he was entirely at a loss how to account for it.  He arose, and began to search for his garments, as he thought it must be time for him to proceed to the forest, to commence his daily occupation.  His search was fruitless, and, to heighten his displeasure, his companion moved as he moved, and imitated all his actions.  A confused remembrance of the events of the foregoing night recurred to his mind.

    "Leave me!" said he to the figure.

    "Leave me!" it repeated, still keeping close to him.

    "Curse thy mockery!" said he, aiming a blow at it.

    The blow fell heavily on the self, and was as heavily returned.  Hubert's patience was now quite exhausted, and, foaming with passion, he began to pummel the self with all his might; the self was not tardy in repaying his cuffs, and furious battle ensued.  The combatants were soon prostrate on the floor; still neither relinquished his hold, and Hubert having previously opened the chamber-door for the purpose of admitting light to aid him in his search, in their struggles they dragged each other out of the room, and, rolling along the gallery, both tumbled down stairs.  The fall cooled their fury, and, when they arrived at the bottom of the descent, Hubert loosened his grasp, and managed, with difficulty, to lift up his sorely-bruised body.

    "I see," said he to the self, with a rueful countenance, "that it is of no use to quarrel with thee, for where both are equal neither can gain an advantage, so even give me thy hand, and let us be friends."

    The self echoed his words, and did as required.

    "Thou would'st be a good fellow enough," continued Hubert, "if thou hadst not such a plaguy trick of imitation."

    They returned to their chamber, and, discovering two rich suits of apparel, each arrayed himself, and they then proceeded to the scene of their last night's banquet, and partook of a collation that awaited them.

    Hubert now set on foot preparations for a splendid feast, and dispatched messengers to request the attendance, on the following evening, of all those whom he had known in adversity.  The appointed time arrived, and the largest apartment was thronged with people, principally of the lower class.  When the company had assembled, Hubert entered the room, clad in the most gorgeous style, and with as much dignity as it was possible for him to assume; the self entered at the same moment, clad in like manner.  Both took their seats at the upper end of the table, to the admiration and astonishment of the guests.  Neither admiration nor astonishment spoiled the appetites of the visitors, and they ate and drank as if for a wager.  No sooner, however, had they satisfied the cravings of their stomachs, than they commenced whispering one to another, and cast curious and inquiring looks at the two Huberts, evidently alarmed at the strange phenomenon.  Hubert perceived their curiosity, and, in order to put a stop to their surmises, he addressed them in the following speech, which he had composed for the occasion, and thought sufficiently explicit to do away with all unpleasant suspicions:—

    "My friends, I see you are surprised at this sudden change in my circumstances, but I will explain the cause of it in a few words.  The person by my side is my twin brother, whose close resemblance to myself was, even in our childhood, considered extremely remarkable.  He left me, when young, for a far distant land, and having amassed a large quantity of wealth, he has returned at last to share it with his only remaining relative; for, alas, Time, my dear neighbours, is a said destroyer of the human race!"

    Here Hubert and his image both applied their handkerchiefs to their eyes.

    "You no doubt are astonished at his repetition of my words and actions.  Owing to a wound received on his head, he is at times afflicted with derangement, in which he is always seized with this odd whim of mimicry.  When I inform you that he is now suffering under one of these temporary fits, you will no longer feel so much amazed."

    This speech, however, failed in its effects; the guests still continued to stare and whisper, and at an early hour they all slunk away with looks of alarm and horror.

    The next day Hubert thought proper to walk abroad, for the first time since the acquirement of his riches.  As he paced through the streets the children avoided his path, and the doors and windows were crowded with people, who gathered together to gaze at him.  At first he construed the universal sensation excited by his appearance into respect for his superior wealth, and admiration of his jewels and apparel, but he was soon woefully undeceived.  There was a loud and continued cry raised after him of "Behold the double man!  Death to the wretch who has sold himself to the wizard!"  The cry was mixed with hootings and imprecations, and a shower of stones and other missiles were hurled at him.  One portion of the multitude armed themselves with various weapons of offence, and pursued him, breathing vengeance.  He contrived to get within the precincts of his own gate, ere they came up with him, and he then fled trembling to his chamber; his persecutors, in the meantime, keeping up such a clamour on the outside of his dwelling, that he momentarily expected they would effect an entrance, and proceed to acts of further violence.  The self was still with him.

    "Accursed monster!" said he, "were it not for thee I might be truly happy; and hast thou no consolation to offer me? no voice save to repeat my own words?  Fiend! mocker! canst thou not answer me?"

    He hid his face in his hands, and turned from the figure with loathing.

    In vain did he strive to shun the self — sleeping or waking it was ever by his side.  If he stirred abroad, the persecutions of the peasantry rendered his life in peril; if he sought the aid of wine, when about to raise the cup to his lips, his eyes encountered those of the self, and their glance turned the draught to bitterness.

    "Fool! madman! that I was," he exclaimed, "to expect happiness from leaguing myself with the powers of darkness!  I am a hermit amongst my fellow-men, a prisoner in my own mansion, despised by those that loved me, hated and avoided by all.  I will return to the wizard, and implore him to restore me my poor hut, homely fare, and coarse garments."

    When darkness was around, and sleep had closed the watchful eyes of his neighbours, Hubert again bent his steps to the wizard's dwelling.  He entered, and found, as on his previous visit, the magician occupied in poring over a large volume.

    "What more dost thou require," said he, "that thou again darest to disturb my solitude?  Have I not supplied thee with all thou didst wish?  Art thou not satisfied?"

    "Thou hast granted me all; nay, more than I desire," replied Hubert, "and still I am not satisfied.  Take back thy wealth, take back thy monster, and give me in return, poverty and content."

    "Dolt! idiot!" said the magician, "would"st thou again return to rags and wretchedness?  Would'st thou relinquish the riches and the splendour with which I have endowed thee, merely because I have given thee a companion in thy good fortune?"

    "What is wealth and grandeur to me," said Hubert, "all my former friends shun me — no one will share in my prosperity; no one, except this hated being, who clings to me as a shadow; whose words are but echoes of my own; and whose aspect, though like to mine, I regard with disgust and detestation."

    "Thou wastest breath," said the wizard; "I have fulfilled thy request, and it were as easy for thee to alter the course of the sun, as to persuade me to change thy condition."

    "Demon as thou art," replied the wretched man, "hast thou no compassion?  If I MUST retain thy fatal gift, at least let this creature have words and actions different from mine; even if it thwart me in all my purposes.  Let it be any thing but an echo to myself; and I will bless thee!"

    "Ha!" cried the wizard, "dost thou taunt me?  Thou askest that which it is beyond my skill to accomplish.  Hence, miscreant — thy doom is fixed!"

    The wizard stamped violently on the ground, and instantly Hubert was seized by invisible hands, and borne away with such incredible swiftness that his brain grew dizzy, and his senses forsook him.  When he recovered, he found himself resting on a couch in one of his own apartments, and the self was still by his side.

    "Miserable wretch that I am!" exclaimed he; my joys are blasted for ever; sorrow awaits me in this world, and eternal torture in the next!"

    A weary year wore away, and each day did the unhappiness of Hubert increase; each day did his hatred to the self become greater.  To such an excess at length did his misery arrive, that in an agony of passion and despair he drew a dagger from his girdle, crying, "There is but one way to rid myself of thee, detested fiend, and I will accomplish the deed or perish!"  Thus saying, he rushed upon the self, and plunged his weapon in its breast; the arm of the self was uplifted at the same moment, and another weapon clove the heart of the ill-starred Hubert.  A loud crash was heard by the surrounding inhabitants, and when they looked towards the place where the stately mansion had so lately stood, they saw nothing but a confused mass of stones, from whence clouds of dust, which they averred had a sulphurous smell, arose in large columns.

    The wizard's fate may be briefly told.  The sky was one night observed to assume an unusually murky appearance; the stars shone for a few moments with a pale and sickly light, and then were quenched in gloom.  The atmosphere became excessively sultry and oppressive, and the peasants gazed on the heavens with looks of horror and dismay; for the white face of the moon had changed to a blood-red hue.  Suddenly a broad sheet of bright flame rushed rapidly through the air, loud shrieks of anguish were heard, and it was asserted that two forms might be discerned in a blazing chariot, one of whom was the unfortunate dealer in magic, and the other a personage who shall be unmentionable.  At the dawn of morning a number of people repaired to the site of the wizard's abode.  There was not a vestige of the dwelling to be seen, but the grass and herbage in its vicinity were scorched and withered, and the leaves had fallen shrivelled from the trees, as if they had been breathed on by autumn, though it was then only the commencement of summer.

    The foregoing tale was told to me by an old grey-headed man, and when he had finished his recital, he read me a long sermon, cautioning me never to obtain wealth by unlawful practices, nor ever to wish for that which could only be acquired by evil means.  "For," said he, stroking his beard, and looking extremely wise, "what is gotten under the devil's hip always goes under his hoof."


――――♦――――

 
REPININGS


I am aweary of the haunts of men;
    I dwell amid them with a stifled soul,
    And pant for nature as a happy goal;
Struggling with fate, a world-sick denizen,
    My very heart is poison'd with the care,
The toil, the pain, the suffering, and the strife,
    The tortures of our lot — the things which are
The spirit's rack, the harrow of our life:
    I long, I yearn the quiet joy to share,
Which fills the creatures free, of hill and vale;
    I crave for green fields and the pleasant air —
Even as an insect on the breeze I'd sail,
Or, as a lark, give music to the gale,
Or, lamb-like, stray mid grass and blossoms
            pale.


――――♦――――

 
THE POET'S LOVE


THE poet's love! the poet's love!
    She is no high-born maid,
Nor is she of that lowly race
    Who dwell in cottage-shade:
You see her not at festival,
    But ever by his side;
She nurses but one wish, one hope —
    To be the poet's bride.

She moveth not in gaze of man
    With proud and stately tread;
She turneth not from humble suit,
    With high and scornful head:
Her heart is pity's holy shrine,
    And timid as the dove,
She glideth — meek, though beautiful,
    The poet's chosen love.

How did he woo the gentle maid?
    How gain her virgin heart?
He won her not with costly gems,
    But with his minstrel art.
He wooed her not in mazy dance,
    Nor 'mid a festive throng;
He wooed her in her solitude,
    And charm'd her with his song.

She shares with him the laurel wreath,
    Her beauty and her name
Are living in his glowing lines,
    Blent with the poet's fame;
And is it not a prouder joy
    Than wealth or birth can give,
To think, when we are with the dead,
    Our memory yet may live?

And loveth not the maid to think
    She hath beneath her sway
A child of sweet imaginings,
    A master of the lay?
To know the son of wayward thought
    Bows to her dear control,
To know that she hath wak'd to love
    A waker of the soul?

The poet's love, she is not clad
    In rich and gay attire;
No chain of gold around her neck,
    To make strange eyes admire;
She hath no jewels 'mid her hair,
    No ring with emerald stone —
She knows her lovely unto him
    Who loveth her alone.


――――♦――――

 
THE SIRE'S FAREWELL


THOU treasur'd of thy father's heart,
    My last, my dearest child,
And wilt thou from thine home depart,
    To tread the world's dark wild?
Where thou wilt meet no fond caress,
Where most will blame, and few will bless.

Dear as thou art unto me, I
    Have seen thee when most glad,
And tears have gather'd in mine eye,
    And mine old heart been sad:
Thou wert a mirror to my gaze,
Recalling long, departed days.

Bereft of thee, my type I see
    Standing in yonder wood,
An aged and a wither'd tree,
    In leafless solitude;
Such shall I be when thou art gone,
A tree whose last green leaf has flown.

To grief thou art a stranger now,
    My young, my dark-hair'd boy;
But soon the time may come when thou
    Wilt be as strange to joy,
When cheek of bloom and forehead fair,
Will wrinkle 'neath the touch of care.

I have been out upon the sea,
    Toss'd on the worldly wave,
And wreck'd — then shall I suffer thee
    The storms of life to brave?
I must, for in the soul there springs
Strange yearnings after unknown things.

Whilst thou art toiling 'mid a lot,
    Where peace is lost, wealth won,
Thy sire, perchance, may be forgot;
    But when at set of sun,
Thou breathest prayer, and bendest knee,
Pray thou for him who'll pray for thee.

Away, my child! why should I blight
    The spring-flowers of thy heart?
The hopes which paint thy course so bright,
    Why should I bid depart?
Why, with officious haste, reveal
What thou too soon must see and feel?

Away! and may the light of Him
    Who leadeth not astray,
Still dwell with thee when life grows dim,
    And cheer thee on thy way;
For joy is not with earthly doom,
And bliss but lives beyond the tomb.


――――♦――――

 
DREAMS OF A CONVICT


I had a dream ere midnight
    Of a green and sunny dell,
And trees, and streams, and shadowy haunts,
    Which I remember'd well;
And forms I knew in other days,
    Pass'd joyously along,
With laughing eyes, and bounding steps,
    A sweet and blessed throng.

My thoughts were all of happiness,
    And my youthful heart was light,
For the present was a dream of bliss,
    And the future seem'd all bright.
Away! away! in a chase of joy,
    With my mates I bounded on,
As the bee which no sooner leaves one sweet
            flower,
    Than another as sweet is won.

There was one whom I lov'd — when twilight
            came,
    I roam'd from my mates away,
And sought out a lone and quiet spot,
    By that dear one's side to stray;
We pledg'd our faith when the stars were out,
    And we vow'd by the flowers and streams,
To love, though the leaves of the one decay'd,
    And the waters past like dreams.

There came a change, and I bade farewell
    To the home of my youthful years,
And the smother'd sighs of my parents' grief
    Were blent with my sister's tears;
And she whom I lov'd around me clung,
    In her pale and mute despair,
But I tore myself from her fond embrace,
    And — the vision no longer was there.

I had a dream, ere day-break,
    Of a wild and dark career,
And I had almost ceas'd to think
    Of what was once most dear;
For the memory of my early days
    Brought bitterness and pain,
And I sought the wine-cup's maddening
            draught,
    To chase it from my brain.

There was a crowd of reckless beings,
    Who gaz'd on the fatal die,
On which their hopes and their all were set,
    With breathless agony:
Some shouted madly, in their joy,
    Some mutter'd furious ban,
And there I sat, with frenzied soul,
    A chang'd and ruin'd man.

The spot was lone and gloomy —
    With uprais'd arm I stood —
A sudden flash and my victim fell,
    And wealth was gain'd by blood;
Then strong and heavy fetters
    Were girt around each limb,
And doom'd to a death of guilt and shame,
    I lay in a dungeon dim.

A I wake!—oh, what hath broken
    The calm that reign'd around?
'Twas the drawing back of prison-bolts,
    And the death-bell's sullen sound:
This is no baseless vision,
    For death and shame await —
Come in, come in, thou holy priest! —
    Now lead me to my fate.


――――♦――――

 
THE LAST ADIEU


A last adieu! since we must part,
    Since we in love no more may meet;
Though ne'er can fade from my lone heart,
    Remembrance of our passion sweet.

Adieu! I need not now recall
    Those bygone hours of parted bliss,
When thou did'st vow to love through all,
    And seal thy vow with holy kiss.

And, oh, though slander's venom'd tongue,
    Did tell that I was false to thee,
How could'st thou do me so much wrong,
    As credit that which could not be?

But evil tongues can nought avail
    To the warm breast that true doth love;
That heedeth not the slanderous tale,
    Until its truth cold looks do prove.

And did my eyes e'er give one look
    That did not of affection speak?
Or did harsh word thou could'st not brook,
    In anger from my lips e'er break?

Oh, no! — I never breath'd a sigh,
    That was not fondly, wholly thine,
Nor ever did thy searching eye
    Read aught but love for thee in mine.

Then must we part? — well, be it so!
    Reproach, by me, shall not be spoken,
For if thou doubt'st, thou canst not know
    The heart that thou hast almost broken.


――――♦――――


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