TO A POET'S CHILD
The rose is blooming on thy cheek, thou fair and
And in thine eye, so brightly blue, is laughing
Yet 'tis not for its loveliness that I thy face
I see impress'd upon thy brow the likeness of
Child of a minstrel's hope and heart, his linea-
ments I trace
Upon that sunny brow of thine, upon that infant
Thou beautiful and gladsome one, e'en now do I
The gift of spirit-stirring song ere long with thee
Yes, thou wilt be a beacon, and a glory to the
Rank'd with a high and mighty race the chosen
And when strange eyes do look on thee, and ask
thee who thy sire,
Then may'st thou proudly answer them
A MASTER OF THE LYRE.
Yet deem not thine a lot of bliss too oft the
bard is known
To give a joy to other hearts, whilst sorrow
claims his own;
And though thy lays be read by all, reckless
will be the throng
Of the deep woe that dwelleth with the child
of love and song.
The warrior-chief receives his meed when victory
The lowly peasant resteth him when toil of day
The daring hunter's soul is glad when fix'd the
But for the minstrel, what is he? "a star
that dwells apart."
The warrior-chief may perish in the radiance
of his fame,
And the lowly peasant fade away no record
of his name;
And of the hunter who can tell, when fled his
But the minstrel hath a glorious name, which
dieth not in death.
DREAMS OF THE DEAD
It is the midnight's still and solemn hour,
And eyes and flowers are folded up in rest,
And glides the moon from out her sapphire bower,
With veil of clouds and star-embroider'd vest;
And now there comes a voice to memory dear
I WEEP to hear it, and yet
LOVE to hear.
It soundeth not as it was wont to sound,
It greets me not with glad and laughing tone:
Ah! how is this? I call and search around,
Save mine own echo all is still and lone;
Nor voice nor form perchance my senses
I hear what is not, yet I waking seem.
It was HIS voice, the voice of my
DEAD! speak the tenants of the silent
Have not earth's attributes a final end,
When sinketh life in death's o'erwhelming
The spirit's destiny is hid in gloom,
All mortal things must perish in the tomb.
'Twas but remembrance of what once hath been,
And liveth still within the sorrowing heart:
Oh, mystic Memory! for ever green
We view the past by thy all-potent art;
Thou can'st restore the forms whose loss we
Thou rend'st the grave, and bursts the funeral
And not alone unto my waking eyes
Is imag'd forth that lov'd, familiar form;
In the night's visions doth the past arise,
And thoughts of him who dwelleth with
I see him then I hear, but not as now
His voice is glad, and health is on his brow.
I hear him then as I was wont to hear,
I see him then as he was wont to be,
And comes his accents on my gladden'd ear,
As when of old we roam'd in converse free;
And each, to each sought only to impart,
Without disguise, the secrets of his heart.
My buried friend! thou unto me wert bound,
Not by the ties which sordid beings bind,
But I in thee a kindred nature found,
Thou wert to me a brother of the mind;
Thou could'st not brook the worldling's narrow
And wert the martyr of thine own proud will.
As one who sleeps and walks near rushing streams,
Surrounding dangers passeth heedless by:
So did'st thou live, wrapt in aspiring dreams,
Viewing the world with a regardless eye;
With sickening soul mingling with soulless men,
Thou liv'd'st and died'st a god-form'd denizen.
Thou wert the child of high and lofty thought,
Borne by the tide of thine own heart along;
With chainless mind thine uncheck'd spirit
On soaring wing, the towering mount of song;
Thou died'st or ere its proudest height was won
A tameless eagle stricken near the sun.
WHEN THE STARS
ARE BRIGHTLY SHINING
Meet me, sweet love, at the eventide,
When the moon walks forth in her maiden pride,
When o'er the blue heaven the white clouds glide,
And the stars are brightly shining.
Remember when first, oh, my gentle maid,
I met thee alone in the twilight shade,
And my vows at the shrine of thy beauty paid,
By the stars then brightly shining.
Oh, blest is that hour, and dear is the vale,
Where I told thee affection's honied tale,
And heard the sweet song of the nightingale,
Whilst the stars were brightly shining.
Alas, for our childhood's happy day,
When we lov'd o'er the valleys green to stray,
And fairer to us than the sunny ray
Seem'd the stars so brightly shining.
Oh, dear to my heart are the shadowy gleams
Of the past, as they visit my joyous dreams,
When each scene that I lov'd before me seems,
And the stars are brightly shining.
Years have pass'd, and I love thee as well
As when first we met in our native dell;
But I seek in vain for a nameless spell
In the fair stars brightly shining.
Oh, the visions of young romance have fled,
And the olden joy of our hearts is dead,
And no more o'er our souls is a radiance shed
When the stars are brightly shining.
Then meet me to-night, as we met of yore,
Let us dream again of the times that are o'er,
Though as THEN we felt we can feel
When the stars are brightly shining.
THERE is scarcely
any thing in a man's life of more importance than making a will,
whilst, at the same time, there is nothing that he does more
unwillingly. He cannot bear to think of the last moments of
his existence; he dreads to look death in the face. He does
not like to conjure up before his imagination the time when he must
surrender up all those dearly beloved goods and chattels which he
has taken so much pains to congregate together. It is anything
but pleasant to him to think that the treasures he has doted on must
in a short time quit his possession; that his cherished wealth must
leave him who has fostered it so carefully, and go to those who will
use it God knows how, and disperse it heaven knows where. I
have known some eccentric fellows, to he sure, who seemed to take
delight in making wills, and were continually altering, revising,
and adding codicils to them, as though it were a pleasure to
ruminate on the means, and devise plans for controlling the actions
of their posterity. Making a will is, indeed, the only thing
by which a man can exert a power over futurity, and say to himself
"even when I am with the dust, such things shall be done."
From an absurd and cowardly dread of death, and as though
will-making shortened the period of life; or else from unpardonable
negligence, many people do not dispose of their property until they
fancy the moment of dissolution is approaching; and this act, which
requires beyond any other, the aid of memory, and the dispassionate
exercise of a cool and reflective judgment, is left to a time when
the body is racked with pain, and the mental faculties are in a
state of confusion. Through this circumstance, there are often
many important omissions, or some of the passages are so obscurely
expressed, that the will becomes a subject of bickering and dispute
amongst the parties interested; a law-suit is most likely the
consequence, the property is wasted by exorbitant costs and
expenses, and dissensions and heart-burnings are sown amongst those
whom the testator was most anxious to benefit and conciliate.
Let me hope that these few observations will cause my readers to
think seriously on the subject, and, however small the value of
their effects, to dispose of them whilst they have health and
There are a set of rich old curmudgeons who are continually
tantalizing their connexions on the subject, by tossing the ball of
expectation from one party to another for the sole purpose of having
their own way in all affairs with which they think proper to
intermeddle. Their method of pronouncing an opinion is
generally decisive "Well, well, follow your own inclination, but
remember you may repent not having taken my advice." There are
another class who manage to fill all their friends and relatives
with golden visions, and are continually receiving presents and
delicacies from one or another, until, after having been worshipped
like an idol all their lives, they die, and all their property is
found, with the exception of a few trifling legacies, to be left to
some distant and obscure connexion that nobody ever dreamed of.
I knew an old fellow, who in the opinion of his relations, was a
very Croesus. He lived in good style, kept up a handsome
establishment, and was supposed to be immensely rich, though no one
knew how or where his money was invested. This mystery,
however, had only the effect of causing his friends to magnify his
wealth his property was incalculable. Children innumerable
were named after him, and some scores called him godfather.
"Aye, aye," he would say, patting a young urchin on the head,
"William is a fine boy I shall not forget my little god-son."
Then the imaginations of the parents were at work as to how the
money was to be laid out, and castles innumerable were built on airy
foundations. At length the old man died, and many attended his
corse to the grave, with long faces and hearts throbbing with
expectations of coming delight. Heavens, what a crowd was
assembled to hear the reading of the will. The important
document was produced the goose with the golden eggs was now cut
open, and, gracious powers, what an impression was created in the
auditors! There were a few trifling bequests of fifty or a
hundred pounds, a ring to one, and a trinket to another; but the
countless hoards were nowhere to be found they had vanished like
the mists of morning. The testator had made dupes of all: he
had somehow or other, in his lifetime, impressed them with
magnificent ideas of his vast possessions; but they now found to
their sorrow, that his resources had expired with him, in the shape
of a handsome annuity. Blank dismay was the portion of all;
curses, not loud, but deep, broke from their lips, and they left the
house regretting the money they had expended on their black suits.
Whilst I am upon the subject of wills, I shall relate another
anecdote which was told me by a friend of mine, who is in the law.
Perhaps the reader may think that the circumstance of its being told
me by a lawyer, does not go a great way towards establishing its
truth; but I can assure him that my friend, though an attorney, is
an honest man, and one for whose veracity I can vouch. I shall
give it as nearly as possible, in his own words.
A short time ago I was called upon to visit a client of mine,
a wealthy old gentleman, for the purpose of drawing up his will.
His two eldest sons were with him, and appeared to have a complete
ascendancy over him; in fact, the will was principally dictated to
me by the sons, and not by the old gentleman himself. When we
arrived at that part of the document where portions were to be given
to the other children, I observed that the two sons were
particularly anxious it should be got over as quickly as possible.
The old man paused in his directions, and murmured "Edward
blameable as has been his conduct, I must not entirely disinherit
the poor boy, for he is still my child!" Here he burst into
tears and sobbed violently.
The sons were alarmed not so much on account of their
parent's sufferings, as from the fear that he would relent towards
his youngest child, who, as I had before learned, had been, at the
instigation of his brothers, banished from his father's house, for
having united himself to one who was considered beneath him.
His young wife was beautiful and amiable, and though deprived of all
aid from his relatives, he had managed to earn a comfortable
livelihood by his own industry, and had it not been for the
displeasure of the sire whom he loved, he would have been happy.
When the old man became more calm, the sons set before him
the conduct of their brother in the most aggravated colours.
All their rhetoric was put in force against him, and, in the end,
the testator was, seemingly, convinced of his youngest son's
worthlessness, and he was left out of the will. The document
was finished, signed, and sealed, and I departed, pitying the son
who had been so cruelly disinherited.
The next day, I was again sent for; and, had not my own eyes
witnessed the truth, I could scarcely have believed it possible that
a day would have effected so great a change in any one, as that
which had taken place in the appearance of the testator. The
preceding day he had reclined on a sofa now he was in a bed a
bed from which I saw too plainly that he must never arise. His
eyes were deeply sunk, and surrounded by a dark and livid circle
his cheeks had a dull and clayey hue and it was with great
difficulty that he spoke. He wished to make a trifling
alteration in his will, and I was just about to commence a codicil,
when I was interrupted by a noise and scuffle outside the room, and
in rushed a young man apparently about the age of one or two and
twenty. He flew to the side of the sick man's couch, and
flinging himself on his knees, exclaimed, in a voice almost choked
by sobs "Father, dear father! will you, can you die, without
forgiving your disobedient, but almost heart-broken Edward?"
The invalid regarded the intruder with a glance of the
greatest fondness, and then, covering his face with his hands, sunk
back, over-powered by the excess of his feelings. The two
eldest sons were instantly by his side, endeavouring to restore him
to animation. No sooner did he show symptoms of recovery, than
one of them turned towards the unfortunate Edward, who was still
kneeling, as though unconscious of all that was passing around him,
and cried in a stern and angry voice, "Hence, unfeeling wretch! nor
dare to embitter the last moments of thy father, by thy hateful
presence hence, I say, ere thou tempts me to forget that I am thy
brother, and force thee from the room!"
"Hold !" exclaimed the agonised parent "hold! is he not my
child? and shall I, merely for one rash act, deny him a portion
and a blessing? No," continued he, rising, and speaking with
an energy I had thought him incapable of, "I now see my error I
have too long been the dupe of your unnatural arts to withhold my
poor Edward from my sight. Away, lest in my wrath I curse you,
and leave you portionless! For thee, my boy, thou didst
offend, and now thou art forgiven. Come to my arms too long
hast thou been absent."
He pressed the weeping Edward to his breast, and I can safely
say that I never felt more joy than when making out a fresh will, in
which the youngest son was handsomely provided for. The old
man's disease was beyond the power of human skill to remove, and he
died in the arms of his beloved Edward, a few days after the scene
TO ――――― ,
ON HER MARRIAGE
do'st thou not remember well the time,
When, each a happy and a sinless child,
We lov'd to roam from morn 'till evening's chime,
By grove and glen to gather blossoms wild?
And twine the red rose in our flowing hair,
Two joyous creatures knowing nought of care?
The world seem'd spread before us, one bright
Of light and bloom, and trees and flowers and
A sunny garden which was ever green,
For nought of gloom was mingled with our
Joy was round the present and the past,
And o'er the future hope its spells had cast.
A change came o'er our natures, and we smil'd
To think of them the dreams of other years,
When our young hearts by grief were undefil'd,
(Save that sweet grief which causeth
And we believ'd the world held nought of pain,
And cherish'd wishes time had long prov'd vain:
We still were in the springtime of our youth,
And the world still look'd pleasant to the eye,
Though many a vision had been chas'd by truth,
And many a hope had blossom'd but to die;
New ties had bound us, and had found an end,
Yet still thou wert mine own beloved friend.
More sacred ties are twin'd around thee now,
Another claims thy duty and thy love;
Before high heaven your lips have breath'd the
To honour and to cherish may he prove
Thy ark of refuge from the world's dark sea,
A joy, a blessing, gentle friend, to thee.
Be all thy wishes centred now in him,
Thy hopes and fears be ne'er from his apart,
So if his lot should for awhile be dim,
He then may turn unto thy changeless heart,
And find in thee, amid his sorrow's night,
A faithful guide, a lamp of quenchless light.
Our souls were never bound in that strong thrall
Which makes the heart yearn even to enchain
Each thought, each wish of its lov'd idol all
Blending with love at once a joy and pain;
My vows were never offer'd at thy shrine
I wish'd thee happy, though no bliss were mine.
We grew together, and our friendship grew
From child to maiden, and from maid to bride
I saw the change in every change as true;
So may that truth still in thy heart preside
The husband of thy choice, oh, may he find
Change visits not the soul where he is shrin'd.
not away thine eyes from me;
What, though, by wizard art,
Pictur'd upon thine hand I see
The secrets of thine heart;
No darkling thought of care or sin
With thee hath found a place,
But all is beautiful within,
Fair as thy form and face.
As yet there has not been a blight
Upon thy maiden years;
The flashings of those glances bright,
Have ne'er been quench'd in tears.
The future cometh to my call,
The past I see it still;
The past, the present, future all
Are given to my skill.
Thou hast had dreams of happiness,
In days that now are gone ;
The future it hath bliss to bless
Thy lot, thou lovely one.
The chosen of thy secret flame,
I'll breathe it in thine ear
Nay, start not, blush not at his name,
For he is true as dear.
Oh, there is many a beauteous maid,
Whose fate is wrapt in gloom,
And many a form of grace doth fade,
And find an early tomb;
THINE is a sunny horoscope,
The visions of thy youth,
Each wish of thine, each cherish'd hope,
Will end in joy and truth.
LINES ON THE PORTRAIT
OF A CELEBRATED FEMALE VOCALIST
of the lute-like voice, and sunny brow !
Sweet thoughts are with me, as thy type I see,
And blessed memories of the time when thou
Entranc'd my spirit with thy minstrelsy.
Surely within thy youthful heart there dwells
Some fount of melody, some hidden spring,
In whose pure flow gush forth a thousand spells,
Joy, grief, or pity, o'er the soul to fling.
Thou hast been foster'd 'neath Italian skies,
Where myriads doted on thy voice and smile,
And gay, and noble, breath'd devoted sighs
To the young beauty of the sea-girl Isle.
Maid with the violet eye, and swan-like mien!
When thou wert roving in a stranger-land,
Came there no thought of thine own valleys
Like visions form'd by some enchanter's wand?
Though proud and high-born listen'd to thy song,
And paid the tribute of their praise to thee,
Came not sad memories those bright scenes
Thine own dear land, oh, dwelt it not with thee?
HERE every voice that hail'd thee,
gave it not
A joy, a rapture to thy banish'd heart?
Friends, dear familiar friends, HERE
THERE thou of all wert but a thing
The young stag loves its own wood-paths to roam,
The quiet lamb its green and peaceful vale,
The fair flower droops if sever'd from its home
And o'er thy soul its influence must prevail.
Oh, gentle minstrel, may no worldly blight
Cloud or destroy thy radiant loveliness;
Nor time, nor sorrow, dim thine eyes, glad light,
Nor blanch the brightness of one wreathing
May'st thou through life pass as a breeze or bird,
With light, and joy, and music on thy way;
And may thy voice 'mid angel-tones be heard,
Singing the praises of eternal day.
LEE was the only child
of a respectable tradesman, and having been, from her birth, of a
delicate constitution, she was brought up with more than ordinary
care and tenderness by her parents. She had not, however, attained
her fifteenth year when death bereft her of her father. Unfortunately for herself and mother, Mr. Lee's income had been
barely sufficient to enable him to appear with credit in the eyes of
the world, and maintain an elegant, though not extravagant household
establishment; so that on his decease after defraying the expenses
of his funeral, and paying off various small debts, little save the
furniture of their dwelling remained as the portion of his widow and
daughter. Their domestics were immediately discharged, a smaller
mansion entered upon, and such articles as were not really of use
were disposed of. By adopting this plan, they were enabled to make a
trifling addition to their small stock of wealth. What was now to be
done what course must they now pursue? Their scanty means would
speedily be exhausted, and, thus suddenly flung upon their own
resources, they were like two voyagers cast on an unknown shore,
completely at a loss what path to take. Mrs. Lee cared not so much
for herself as for her child, whose fragile frame, shrinking in the
calm season of prosperity, seemed all unfit to cope with the bleak
and chilling blasts of adversity; but it is not always those whose
spirits are light and whose cheeks are flushed with health that bear
up the best when the dark hours of adversity close around them. There are some whose virtues are unobserved, whose energies are
buried in the solitude of their own breasts, until an unforeseen
stroke of destiny calls them forth; there are beings who, like the
night-loving flower, withhold their beauty and perfume from the
sunshine, and when the shadows of misfortune cloud existence, and
their gayer companions become sad and spiritless, shed around their
fragrance and gladden with their loveliness. Such a being was Agnes
Lee, and the pale and delicate girl who in prosperity seemed
scarcely able to support existence, now she was required to exert
herself in aid of her beloved parent appeared suddenly to acquire
new strength and vigour. With promptness did she put in practice her
mother's projects, and with discernment beyond her age suggest
No features ever bore a truer impress of their owner's mind than
those of Agnes Lee. They were of that meek and angelic cast which an
artist would covet for his model if he wished to paint a Madonna. Many, as she sat at the open casement, in the bright days of summer,
would pause to gaze on her sunny countenance, and often, as they
gazed, the words "God bless thee, Agnes Lee!" would issue almost
involuntarily from their lips. Her form was in accordance with her
features, not lofty and commanding, but of that height which is
usually termed the middle size; rather slight, though not so much so
as to destroy its symmetry. Her voice was sweet and plaintive, and
like the harp which is awoke by the breeze, it varied with the
slightest emotion of her heart.
From morning to night might she be seen plying her needle, and often
was she heard chanting some simple and cheerful ditty. She was her
parent's sole support and pride, and often were the widow's eyes
suffused with tears as she looked on her fair and gentle child,
whose lot was so early clouded by misfortune. Time passed on, and
Agnes grew up in innocence and beauty, and her mother began to feel
reconciled to her altered state. It was on an evening at the
commencement of winter that Agnes was returning home, having been to
purchase a few of the essential articles of female employment, when
she was interrupted in her progress by a wretch who was far advanced
in at state of intoxication. Vainly did she attempt to escape from
his persecutions; he was not to be discouraged, and the trembling
girl was at length compelled to claim the aid of a passer-by to free
her from her disagreeable companion. With one blow was the drunkard
sent reeling to the earth, and her protector politely requested that
she would allow him to be her escort home. She was too much alarmed
to refuse, and he accordingly accompanied her to the dwelling of
her parent, by whom he was rewarded with a profusion of thanks. The
stranger, who was a tall and gentlemanly looking young man with a
frank and ingenuous countenance, disclaimed all merit for the
service he had performed, but earnestly begged that he might again
be suffered to visit them. After some little hesitation Mrs. Lee
complied with his request, and he took his leave, signifying his
intention of calling upon them the following evening. From that time
he became a constant visitor at the widow's house, and a passion
with which she had hitherto been unacquainted took possession of the
heart of Agnes Lee. She loved loved with all the devotedness of
woman's first affection, and to her it was a dream of happiness, for
she saw that she was beloved; yet at times, even in his most joyous
moments, would the brow of her lover, as he gazed upon her innocent
features, grow dark as night, and his lips would quiver as though he
were under the influence of some concealed but powerful emotion.
Often was Agnes alarmed as this expression came over his
countenance, and as often did he evade all her enquiries as to its
cause. So time wore away, and each day brought with it some fresh proof to Agnes of the increased devotion of her lover; each
day he became dearer to her youthful heart. Alas, that the purest
and, strongest of human passions should too often prove a curse to
its possessor! Why seek to prolong a tale of sorrow! Mrs. Lee was
called on to visit a sick and distant relative, and during her
absence Agnes became the victim of a seducer. Her lover took abase
advantage of his power, and destroyed her happiness for ever. Her
mirth, her gaiety, her love of existence were now all gone from her
he spoke of their union, and she answered but by tears he talked
of coming gladness and joy, and still tears were her only answer. He
endeavoured to cheer her heart and soothe her woe, but it was
evident that he himself needed consolation, and cherished a cause of
grief which he durst not trust his lips to utter even to her. When
he spoke of their marriage he named no shortly coming day; he dwelt
upon it as an event of joy, but his look and tone belied his
language. Weeks thus passed in delusive promises. At length the
hour, the day on which he had appointed to see her elapsed, and yet
he came not. A weary, a miserable week did she spend in the agony of
hope deferred, and no tidings were received of her lover.
It was evening, and Mrs. Lee had long been gazing with tearful eyes
on the faded cheeks and colourless lips of her daughter. All
inquiries as to the nature of her malady were fruitless, and little
did her mother suspect the shame and dishonour which had polluted
the temple of her hopes. A knock announced the postman's arrival
with a letter ― it was for Agnes. With a trembling hand and quivering
lip did she tear away the seal; but no sooner had her eyes rested on
the contents, than the letter dropped from her grasp, and with a
wild and fearful shriek she fell prostrate on the floor. It was not
until she was conveyed to a couch and restored to some degree of
consciousness that the thoughts of her agonised and affrighted
mother recurred to the letter which had occasioned this alarming
paroxysm. Mrs. Lee now sought a solution of the mystery. The letter
ran as follows :
"For a villain like myself there is no hope of pardon here, or mercy
hereafter. If there ever existed a fiend in human shape, such am I. I entered the abode of innocence, happiness, and virtue, and I left
it the abode of guilt, shame, and sorrow. I found a lily of
surpassing beauty and purity, and I have blighted it. Oh, Agnes,
Agnes, how shall I tell the damning tale! My tears blister the
paper a thousand furies seem preying on my heart, and my whole
frame shakes with anguish. Agnes, ere I knew you I was
MARRIED! Wretch that I have ever been
for gold I wedded one I loved not, and the result has been what I
might have anticipated misery to both. I saw you, and then I
first knew what it was to love. Each time I beheld you
strengthened the chain which bound me, until it grew too powerful to
be broken. Many times I resolved to leave you for ever, ere I
had made an impression on your sinless heart; reason, honour, every
good feeling told me I was basely dragging you to destruction, but
passion triumphed over all, and I stopped not until I had
accomplished your ruin. For forgiveness I dare neither sue nor
hope. My wife and I have for sometime been separated. I
never loved but one, and she has been the victim of my love.
All that I ask is that you will if possible forbear to curse me I
could bear all but the curses of Agnes Lee. Think of me as a
wretch who has been the slave of passion think of me as one whose
own thoughts are to him a hell, and the memory of whose crime,
haunting him like a demon, will drive him on to death or madness.
I know not what I say I only know that the fate of the vilest
felon the stake, the flame, the halter, or the axe, would be for
me a death too merciful, and would be bliss compared to the torments
I now endure. Farewell ― for ever."
For many days Agnes Lee lay in a burning and delirious fever,
and the health of her mother, which had been lately in a declining
state, had received so severe a shock from the dreadful intelligence
contained in the fatal letter, and her constant attendance on her
ruined child, that it now became seriously affected. I am
anxious to put an end to this tale of shame and suffering, and I
shall therefore hasten to a close. Agnes rose from her bed of
sickness to watch by the couch of her mother, for grief had done its
work on her, and that mother was dying of a broken heart. She
died, and no power could force the daughter from the parent's corse;
nor day, nor night did she quit the lifeless clay ― she followed it
to the grave the damp earth hid the coffin from her view and yet
she wept not. She declined the offers of such as wished her to
share for awhile their humble dwellings, and returned to her own
lonely and desolate home, that home which had once been the abode of
all her joys, which was now the refuge of her sorrows.
The night was far advanced, the candle burned dimly, and
shone on the features of Agnes Lee with a yellow and flickering
light, as she sat pale and motionless, when suddenly a loud knocking
disturbed the quiet street. The impatient visitor, as though
he could not brook further delay, on no answer being made to his
summons, flung open the door, and rushed into the mourner'
apartment. It was her betrayer. He clasped her to his
breast he imprinted kiss after kiss on her unresisting lips.
"Agnes," cried he "my love, my wife, look up and speak to me.
I am now thine own, thine own, beloved one. She who kept me
from thee slumbers in the grave. I thought not once that I
could have rejoiced at another's death, but now I cannot check my
soul's wild gladness. Wilt thou not look on me? I have
erred, but years of penitence and love shall make amends for all I
will not, cannot live another day without thee. To-morrow must
I call thee mine to-morrow will I claim thee at the holy altar as
mine own, my beautiful, my blessed bride!" He paused, and
shrunk affrighted from the bloodless features and dull and vacant
eyes which greeted him. "Lost, lost Agnes Lee for ever, ever
lost!" were the only words which broke from the mourner's lips.
He gazed long and wildly on the face of her he loved, and striking
his forehead distractedly with his clenched hands, he muttered "And
this, too, is my work?"
Agnes Lee was a maniac a maniac unblest with lucid
intervals. Lover, friends, all were alike indifferent too her.
She would sit for hours, gazing on some common object with unmeaning
and lustreless eyes, and "Lost, lost for ever!" were the only words
to which she gave utterance. Thus for years did she linger,
until death released her from her suffering and her sorrow. On
her death-bed, for the first time since the estrangement of her
reason, she recognised her penitent lover, who had not deserted her
in her hours of darkness. She looked on him with a smile of
intelligence, and he was happy, for he saw that she rejoiced to die
in his arms.
BEAUTY'S MORN AND NOON
I saw thee first a young
and gentle child,
That ne'er had dream'd of sorrow or of sin;
By the world's taint thou wert all undefil'd,
And fair without as thou wert pure within:
I almost deem'd that Time would stay his wing,
Lest he should scathe so beauteous a thing.
Like the gazelle's thine eye was shy and bright,
Thy step was as the antelope's free tread;
Thou liv'dst and mov'dst in radiance and light,
And where thou wert a joy around was shed
As some wild flower that springeth up in bloom,
And fills the breeze with its own sweet perfume.
I thought not that the world could e'er hold aught
More rich in beauty than thy form of grace,
And 'mid earth's loveliness in vain I sought
For aught so lovely as thy sunny face;
I saw and bless'dfor years we dwelt apart,
Yet still thine image linger'd with my heart.
We met again thou wert a child no more,
I look'd upon a graceful, sylph-like maid,
Such as was said to haunt, in days of yore,
The dreams of bard by fount and forest shade;
And childhood's charms had yielded one by one
To riper bloom, as stars yield to the sun.
She I beheld in life's enchanted morn,
Deeming nought lovelier e'er could bless my sight,
Even as the day from the fresh dawn is born,
In her full noon of beauty shone more bright
The palm of loveliness was still thine own,
Thou wert excell'd, sweet, by thyself alone.
A DAUGHTER TO HER DEAD SIRE
father! thou art sleeping now,
Within the silent tomb;
With tearful eye, and clouded brow,
I live to mourn thy doom.
My sire! Oh, God, thou answer'st not
Thou CAN'ST NOT answer me;
Thy lips are mute the voice forgot
That wildly calls on thee.
They ask me why, with bloom decay'd,
I droop and pine away:
Oh, well the cheek of her may fade,
Whose heart is with the clay.
My young mates tell me that my voice
Hath lost its joyous tone
It hath for how can she rejoice,
Whose cause of joy is gone?
Nor song, nor dance hath charm for me,
Their witchery all hath fled;
I shun them, and I ask for thee
I scarce can think thee dead.
To festive scenes they bid me turn,
And chase my vain regret;
But sure 'twere better still to mourn,
Than all thy love forget.
Thou wert the beacon of my youth,
The star whose cheering ray
Shone brightly o'er the path of truth,
And turn'd from vice away.
The star is quench'dthe ray hath fled,
And dark and desolate
My path and can I know thee dead,
And yet not weep thy fate?
I heard thee breathe the parting sigh,
I saw thee look thy last,
My lifeless sire! alas, that I
Should say thy life is past!
I call, but thou do'st not awake
In vain the tear-drop flows;
Nor voice, nor tear of mine can break
Thy dreamless, dark repose!
OH, THINK'ST THOU I
think'st thou I remember not
The vows pledg'd at thy shrine?
Oh, do'st thou deem thyself forgot,
When flows the sparkling wine?
Amid the song, amid the dance,
Thine image dwells with me;
Each fairy form, each thrilling glance,
But tells my heart of thee.
The lays I breathe are all thine own,
For thee I touch the lute;
Had not thine eyes upon me shone,
Its tones had aye been mute.
Oh, thou hast been the star that shed
Its kindly light on me;
When hearts grew cold, and joy had fled,
I found no change in thee.
TO THE BELLS
thus I wander in the twilight's shade,
How fitfully doth come upon mine ear
Your far-off pealing music, sweet-ton'd bells.
Entranc'd I listen to your harmony,
That sounds so wild and changeful on the breeze.
Now doth it murmuring die upon the wind,
And now again it comes, with bursting swell
In full, deep melody, unto my soul.
I love to wander, when in serious mood,
And listen to your mellow, witching tones;
They make to me e'en gloom and sadness sweet,
And pleasing to the mind. Ye do possess
A music, too, for bright and joyous hours:
Oft have I seen the home-bound villager,
His labour done, plod briskly, blithely on,
As listening to your merry minstrelsy,
From tower of rustic church, he ceas'd to think
Of all the toils and hardships of the day.
And ye have one, a solitary note,
Of mournful, solemn import, which doth draw
The mind to muse upon the dreary grave,
And then doth lift the thoughts to regions fair,
Far, far above the cloudsto lovely homes,
Replete with holy joy and blessedness.
A few short years, and other ears will perhaps
Hear that same lonely knell tolling for
So let it be! yet I will not repine,
But rather strive to live so that when Death
Shall call me to his damp and earthy couch,
I there may rest awhile, then rise and shake
From off my limbs his dull and heavy sleep,
And wake again in Heaven's effulgent light.
This way, this way, for the players, the players;
Ladies and Gentlemen, this is none of your paltry
I well remember the many delightful
associations which the name of a fair used to conjure up in my young
imagination. For weeks preceding it did I live in anticipation of
the treat. It was a panacea for all my sorrows, and a stimulus to my
good actions. If I offended I was terrified into reformation with a
threat that I should be kept from the fair, and if my deeds merited
reward, a promise that I should participate in its enjoyments
cheered me on and incited me to persevere in a proper line of
conduct. I can yet recall the time when I was led by the hand of my
nurse to this scene of bustle and pleasure. All that belonged to it
had a peculiar delight for me. The crowds of people pouring into the
place the stalls of toys and gingerbread with which its approaches
were lined, and the groups of astonished rustics, clad in their
holiday suits, all furnished me food for amusement. When we reached
the heart of the fair I was absolutely lost in wonder and amaze at
the splendour and magnificence which greeted me. The spangled
jackets and tinselled caps of the figurantes on the outside stages
of the shows seemed to me the very essence of finery, and the
drollery of the clowns never failed to provoke my risible faculties.
Things wore then a very different aspect at these places of
amusement to what they do at the present period. The tinsel and
spangles are bereft of their ancient glitter, the music has lost its
melody, and the merriment of the clowns seems to have passed away.
It may be that the change which has taken place in myself causes me
to fancy that these rude festivals are changed for the worse. The
loud and clanging gong which announced the dismissal of an audience,
is fast falling into disuse; the many witticisms of the clowns,
which "were wont to set the rabble in a roar," are now seldom or
never heard, and the very nature of the exhibitions is totally
altered. The outsides of the booths it is true are more magnificent
than formerly, and their decorations are of a more picturesque and
gorgeous character. To me, however, this does not compensate for
those pictures of fun and folly, those fantastic representations,
and those wild and quaint strokes of humour which created of old
such peals of laughter. The figurantes now move about as though
their situation was one of too elevated a rank to permit them to
bandy epithets with the gaping crowd, and the clowns themselves seem
to consider any outside display of humour as detracting from their
Conjuring has had its day, and the vomiting of pins and needles, and
the wonderful operation of drawing out ribbons from the mouth are
fast sinking into oblivion. Strong women, who could sustain
ponderous weights by the hair of the head, or endure an anvil placed
on their bosoms to be beaten with sledge hammers, no longer attract
observation. Dwarfs, giants, and fat children must soon learn to
earn a livelihood by labouring like ordinary mortals. Bears are no
longer suffered to caricature the female sex, under the name of
pig-faced ladies, and the whole tribe of this kind of impositions
will speedily be put to the rout. Dramatic exhibitions are now the
rage, and every thing else is abandoned to make way for theatrical
representations. From the lowest booth to the splendid pavilion all
are embarked in the acting-line. The celerity with which these
exhibiters get through their performances is actually surprising. A
play, two or three songs, and a pantomime being often gone through
in little more than a quarter of an hour. Much has been said and
written about the decline of the drama, and the departure of public
taste for theatricals. Some have ascribed it to a dearth of dramatic
authors, others have imputed it to at want of talent in our actors;
but I am inclined to think that one of the chief causes of the
desertion of provincial theatres has never been taken sufficiently
into consideration. The lower is certainly not the most
discriminating class, and to the people that compose this class it
little matters whether the pieces they see are well or ill
performed. Whilst they can gratify their inclination for dramatic
entertainments at these penny or two-penny theatres, they will not
visit the more expensive ones. Those of a higher order seeing the
amusements of the drama so degraded, begin to treat them with
neglect and contempt, and seek for some other gratifications in
which to spend their leisure hours. To return from this digression. Even the exhibitions of "wild beasts" are losing their attractions. Formerly people contemplated these ferocious members of the brute
creation in awe and astonishment, and many a heart has palpitated at
beholding the blood-thirsty tiger, or on hearing the growls of the
captive monarch of the forest, as its daring keeper thrust his head
into its capacious mouth. The feats of the sagacious elephant were
once objects of intense surprise and curiosity, and the dexterity
and docility with which it discharged a pistol, knelt at its
keeper's command, took up a sixpence with its huge trunk, or made
its bow to the company, were long themes of conversation with the
beholders. The famed theatrical elephants have now thrown into the
shade all others of their species, and Van Amburg and Carter with
their troops of lions, tigers, &c. will shortly make the public
cease to think of the tenants of a cage.
Though fairs have no longer the charm for me which they possessed in
youthful days, I still love to ramble through them, and gaze on
these scenes of old delights. I generally too, once during a fair,
pay a visit to one of the booths, especially if I can meet with one
of the old stamp ― an exhibition consisting of balancing, slack-wire
dancing, tumbling, and so forth. Whilst I am on the subject of fairs
I cannot forbear introducing to the reader a character with whom I
became acquainted some years ago, whilst waiting on the outside
stage of one of the booths for admission.
Wheedling Joe, as he was nick-named, had been an exhibiter at fairs
all his life. He had been a performer on the flying rope, a tumbler,
a tight rope dancer, and lastly a clown. This last was his favourite
character, and he was a complete adept at all the whimsicalities
incidental to a correct representation of the part. His method of
converting the salt-box into a musical instrument was beyond
parallel, and his jokes were unrivalled. When I first saw Joe he was
habited as a clown, and had contrived to become possessed of a small
booth of his own. No persuasions could ever induce Joe to give into
the modern practice of dramatic exhibitions. Whilst all his
neighbours were adapting their performances to the taste of the
times, and hiring a set of rascals to stamp and rage, and tear their
native language to tatters, Joe stood firm. With him, balancing,
tumbling, and slack-wire dancing were still the order of the day,
and ever and anon, amidst the din and confusion around him, might
his voice be heard inviting people to walk into the only genuine
exhibition in the fair. The people left poor Joe and his genuine
exhibitions to themselves, and flocked to witness the innovations of
his neighbours. He bore up against poverty with a light heart, and
it had not the effect of making him change his opinions. However, it
often obliged him to put in practice the art of wheedling, for which
he was celebrated. When Joe had almost finished erecting his booth
he was generally short of some trifle, which his pocket was too low
to enable him to purchase. A piece of timber or a yard or two of
canvass were sometimes articles absolutely necessary for the
completion of his edifice, and these he could only obtain from the
generosity of his richer neighbours. When he found how matters
stood, away he would post to Mr. C――, the proprietor of the circus,
and commence a rambling discourse on the ordinary topics of
conversation, until he found a way of introducing his request at
what he conceived to be a favourable opportunity. The end of Joe's
harangues was always in language something like the following. "My
eyes! Mr. C――, but you have a fine set of prads (horses) a
beautiful set of prads I never saw such a set of prads in my life,
and I have seen prads before to-day. I say Mr. C――, you'll draw 'em
in this time any how. There's S――, now at the other side with his
acting-shopknock 'em down, blue fire, a ghost, and "turn out." It
won't do, Mr. C――, it won't do folks won't stand it they've had
enough of acting. They want to see a bit of horsemanship that's
the thing for drawing 'em in. I've a snug little concern of my own
though, that'll make one or two of 'em look queer a tight little
thing it is quite complete except at the top, where the
LITTLEST bit of canvass you haven't a bit of
canvass the LITTLEST bit in the world, to
spare have you?"
Joe mostly accomplished his object, and then, after having secured
his prize, set off to Mr. S――, the proprietor of a splendid booth on
the opposite side. "My eyes! Mr. S――, but you've a nice set of men
a beautiful set of men I never saw such men in my life, and I have
seen men before to day. I say Mr. S――, you'll draw 'em in this time
any how. There's Mr. C ――, now, on the other side with his prads. It
won't do Mr. S――, it won't do folks won't stand it. They've had
enough of riding. They want a bit of acting knock 'em down, blue
fire, and a ghost ― that's the sort of thing for drawing 'em in.
I've a snug little concern of my own, &c." He always ended with a
Thus did he manage to live, until one unlucky day, in swallowing a
sword, (a favourite trick of his) he happened to thrust the blade a
little too far, and, before it could be extricated, poor Joe was
incapable of swallowing any more.
THE CAPTIVE KNIGHT
did not yield as cowards yield,
Upon the battle-plain;
Full many a dint was on his shield,
His corslet reft in twain;
The bright blade of his falchion good
Was cover'd o'er with Moslem blood.
The waving plume his helm had left,
And broken was the lance
That many a guarded heart had cleft,
Yet quail'd not his proud glance,
Till foeman's hand, with dastard blow,
Struck him, amid his conquests, low.
They bore him to a castle-keep,
Begirt with massy stone,
And in a dungeon dark and deep,
The captive-knight was thrown,
Distant from cheering voice and far
From steel-clad hosts and sound of war.
Was this a fitting place for him,
A gay and noble knight?
And must his glory thus grow dim,
Thus end his pathway bright?
The damp his balm for festering wound,
His couch the chill and clammy ground.
He had been lull'd by perfum'd sigh
Unto a gentle rest,
O'er him a rich-wrought canopy,
His pillow beauty's breast;
And who to his fair bride should tell
He languish'd in a loathsome cell?
They left him in his solitude,
To sicken, droop, and moan,
The coarsest bread his only food,
His seat a crumbling stone;
A stranger to the light of day,
They let him pine and waste away.
Then brought they robes and gems of price,
To be to him a dower,
If he his faith would sacrifice,
And own their prophet's power;
With flashing and indignant eye,
He spurn'd them and he ask'd to die.
They loaded him with heavy chain,
And taunted bitterly,
Told him he had not ask'd in vain,
For he with dawn should die;
And then they left him to his fate,
Fearless, though doom'd and desolate.
Night veils the gloomy keep around,
Anon is heard a clash,
And warlike men with thundering sound,
The gate of dungeon dash;
And brightly breaks the morn to see
The Moslem quell'd, the Christian free.
TO AN INFANT
Sweet babe, that clingest to thy mother's knee,
As to the oak the loving ivy clings,
Ah, would that I were once again like thee!
Woe comes with years, and care with reason
No breath of sin e'er stain'd those lips of rose;
The glance of joy that flashes from thine eye
O'er thy fair cheek a witching halo throws,
Like landscape glowing 'neath a cloudless sky.
How quickly is awoke thy childish mirth,
As quickly, too, are caus'd thy dew-like tears;
But dies thy grief the moment of its birth,
Whilst mine is heartfelt and endures for years.
THY grief! oh, is it grief? a summer-shower
Lasting an instant, then 'tis bright and fair;
A passing cloud amid a sunny hour
Mine is the chilling winter of despair.
I am not aged I am young in years
O'er blighted hopes, perchance I have not
Yet have I sorrow'd UNRELIEV'D by tears,
And my sunk eyes have care-fraught vigils
I would that I were once again like thee!
My wish is vain life is not as the tide
That onward flows, then back again doth flee
It is a stream that onward aye must glide.
Man is a boat launch'd on a stormy sea,
Expos'd to every shock of wind and wave,
Running his course unto eternity
He droops his sails his harbour is the
Thy sails are spread, and beautiful art thou,
Bright be thy journey o'er life's troubled
Though much I fear the joys thou dream'st of
Will all, alas, prove but to BE a dream.
I had a dream in the still hours of night,
The breath of roses mingled with the air,
And silver streams were gushing 'neath the light
Of the bright moon, which like a maiden fair,
Walk'd o'er the pathway of the azure skies,
As one that shone to gladden and to bless,
And the fair stars, as radiant as thine eyes,
Floated in heaven in throbbing loveliness.
A low sweet voice came murmuring to mine ear,
And sounds of music swell'd the passing
And long I stood transfix'd 'mid hope and fear,
Listening entranc'd to distant melodies:
I gaz'd from out a green and leafy bower
A form of beauty burst upon my sight;
I felt upon my soul a spell of power,
And my heart trembled with a new delight.
The image of my dreaming glided on,
And all seem'd brighter as she pass'd along,
And still the voice of that most beauteous one
Made rich the air with melody and song;
And as I saw her form of grace depart,
My ears drank in a burthen wild and sweet,
Whose words must linger ever with my heart:
Thus sang the maid "We do but part to meet!"
'Twas but a vision, and I had no thought
Of living maid so beautiful as she
Whom sleep had pictur'd, for I deem'd that
Of mortal birth so lovely e'er could be.
I met thee could it be? ah, mystic sleep,
Through its dim shadows doth the future
I saw in thee the image graven deep
Within my soul the minstrel of my dream!
Say, wilt thou pardon him who dares to name
Thee and thy loveliness in his rude lay?
The humble shepherd sure thou would'st not
Who wakes his lute to praise some star's
Thou unto me art as a glorious star,
A lovely orb which I must needs admire,
A light which I may worship from afar
Then, lady, frown not though I wake my lyre.
Or thou shalt be a saint, and I will be
A lowly pilgrim kneeling at thy shrine,
Offering, as proof of my idolatry,
A simple token to thy powers divine;
Lady, reject not then thy pilgrim's prayer,
Accept his gift for unto thee belong
The dowers of melody and beauty rare,
Thou gentle queen of loveliness and song.
The world for him held only one
She died and he was desolate Anon.
THERE is nothing more afflicting than the death of a young and
virtuous female; one who passes
away like a flower which just opens its bright blossoms to the sun,
and then fades and withers
under the influence of some blasting mildew. It is, indeed, a
mournful thing to behold one of
those lovely beings, who dwell upon the earth like creatures of
another and a purer element,
one moment flitting across us radiant with health and beauty, and in
the next to know that they
are food for the loathsome worm. It is true that their death is not
productive of the same evil
consequences as that of a mother; they leave behind them no
offspring to weep their loss and
grow up amidst ill usage and neglect; and yet, for my own part, I
cannot help viewing their
departure as I should the quenching of one of the loveliest stars of
heaven. I should not regret
so much that a world had perished, as for the loss of its light and
beauty. Never did death
strike a fairer victim, and never was victim more mourned for, than
she of whom I shall now
present an imperfect sketch to the reader.
I shall describe Marian Seymour as she was in her nineteenth year, a
few months previous to
her death. She was about the middle, or rather of the lower size;
yet, though her figure was
somewhat diminutive, the most fastidious observer would not have
denied that it was exactly
proportioned in the scale of symmetry. However, it
was not her figure that formed her principal attraction; it was her
features, her innocent and
expressive features, which you could not look upon without being
repossessed in her favour.
Her eyes were exquisitely beautiful, and yet, even now, I cannot be
positive as to their colour;
they were so bright, and glanced so shy and fawn-like from beneath
their long silken fringe,
that it is difficult to paint them truly, though I believe them to
have been of a deep violet hue.
Her hair was a rich auburn, and twined round a neck and brow which
rivalled in stainless purity
the snowy plumage of the swan; and her voice had one of those low
melodious tones which
dwell upon the ear like "faint echoes of remembered music." Happiness was in her heart, and
health on her brow, and thus she grew up, a glad and sinless child,
the dove of her parents' ark
the flower of their rural dwelling. Unused to mingle with the
world, she wished not for its
pleasures, and was a stranger to its prejudices.
"Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air."
but it was not so with Marian Seymour; and it would have been hard
if all the deep and fervent feeling, enshrined within her young
breast, had been suffered to exist without being called into action. Retired as she lived, there was one eye which had found her amid her
seclusion; there was one heart which admired her beauty and
appreciated her virtues. Albert Russel was the only son and
favourite child of a wealthy widow who dwelt in the neighbourhood. Often in his morning rambles, had he seen the fair form of Marian,
as she scattered the grain to her brood of doves, whilst they
hovered around their benefactress, or perched fearlessly upon her
shoulder. It recks not to tell how the youthful couple formed an
intimacy; suffice it to say that Albert Russel loved Marian Seymour,
and was loved in return, yes, ardently, devotedly loved. I am of
those who hold the opinion that the heart can know but once the
passion of love in its truest and purest state: we may, perhaps, in
the course of life, feel it many times in a slight degree; but once,
and once only, can we feel that deep and engrossing passion which
throws a halo around its object, making it appear as something
superior to the common things of earth, and casting over our path an
air of romance and gladness. First love is as the bright waters of
the spring, which though they may flow on joyously at a distance
from their birth-place, are still purest at their source.
Towards the close of the golden days of summer, when they were about
to fade into gray twilight, you might see the bark of the
birch-trees which lined the lane leading to Marian Seymour's
dwelling, darkened by the shadow of a light and agile form, which
bounded swiftly forward; and then you might hear the rustling of
drapery, as it fluttered in the low breeze, and behold a blushing
female clasped to the bosom of a graceful youth. Thus evening after
evening, did the lovers meet. They lived but for each other: their
very souls seemed blended together, and they appeared actuated by
one thought, one impulse, one desire-that of contributing to each
other's happiness. To speak in the language of the immortal
"They grew together,
Like to a double cherry, seeming parted,
But yet as union in partition;
Two lovely berries moulded on one stem;
So with two seeming bodies but one heart."
It was verging into the spring-time of the year; the rose, the
violet, and other flowers that love
the warm sun, had not yet unfolded their leaves and given their
beauty to the eye; and the modest daisy and star-like primrose were
almost the only gems of nature that peered from out their green
veils and looked on the smiling landscape, when Albert was obliged
to make a journey into the western part of England, for the purpose
of investigating a considerable portion of landed property, which
had descended to him by the death of a distant relative. The
business was not expected to detain him above a month, but, like one
who has the keeping of a rich treasure, and is afraid to be a moment
from it, lest some rapacious hand should seize it and bear it away,
so fearful was he of leaving his beloved one, that ere he bade her
farewell, at his urgent request they were solemnly betrothed in the
presence of their mutual parents. It is almost useless to attempt to
describe their parting: those who have themselves been in a similar
situation will easily imagine how many bitter tears were shed, and
how they clung together at the last moment, and with what agony they
breathed the long-delayed adieu. To those who have not been
similarly situated, mere words would be ineffectual to convey an
idea of their feelings.
Contrary to Albert's expectations, on arriving at the place of his
destination, he found that he should be detained for the space of
two or three months: he, accordingly, wrote to Marian, lamenting the
circumstances which prolonged their separation, assuring her of his
unchanging fidelity, and fixing the time of his return as the period
when he hoped to lead her to the altar. When those with whom we are
in the habit of associating daily are seized with a slow and
lingering illness, it is almost impossible for us to judge
accurately of the change which the disease creates in the
appearance, whilst one who has left the invalid in health, and has
been for some time absent, is astonished at the ravages which have
been commit ted by the disorder. So it was with Marian Seymour; in
the eyes of her parents she had scarcely undergone any alteration;
they saw that her cheeks had gradually assumed a pale and almost
transparent hue; the faint crimson, that was wont to overspread her
features, seemed to have congregated together, and settled in two
small spots of bright and dazzling red; still, however, they were
not alarmed for her safety. She had not the same lightness and
buoyancy of step which she possessed a few weeks before; her
favourite walks were neglected, and she seldom left the shelter of
her home; but she complained not, and her parents thought their
child would resume her bloom and cheerfulness on the re-appearance
of her lover.
Near the end of July, Albert Russel, having finished the business in
which he had been engaged, again enfolded Marian Seymour to his
heart. When the first transports of their meeting had past, he
was struck with the change, the fearful change, which was visible in
her wan countenance and wasted form. It was in vain that he
attempted to deceive himself; he saw too plainly that a slow, but
sure consumption, was exerting its withering influence over his
destined bride. "Good God!" said he mentally, after the
transient glow which had lit up her features at their first greeting
had vanished, "and is it thus we meet again? do I behold her but
to know that she must soon be lost to me for ever?" She
endeavoured to appear cheerful, but it was evident to the eyes of
her lover that she was aware of the destiny that awaited her.
He spoke to her of their union. "Not yet," said she, with a
mournful smile; "not yet; wait but a little longer, and all will be
At the decline of the day which followed Albert's return, the lovers
sought one of their accustomed walks. It was one of those tranquil
and delightful evenings which are often witnessed at the beginning
of autumn. The clouds, as they careered majestically through the
heavens, with their dazzling hues of purple, silver, and gold,
appeared like the splendid chariots of some gorgeous pageant, moving
in triumph along the blue plain of the sky; and here and there, a
pale star shot forth its trembling rays, like a costly gem
glittering in the coronet of some young beauty. The happy minstrels
of the green-wood, were warbling their last songs to the God of day;
and the low breezes swept sighingly by, bearing in their wanderings
a treasure of sweet perfume, which they had wafted from the meadows,
and the odour-breathing flowers. The leaves had already begun to
forsake the trees; some were scattered on the ground, yellow and
shrivelled, whilst others only slightly adhered to the branches,
trembling as if conscious that the next blast would accomplish their
destiny. Supported as Marian was, by the arm of her lover, her
delicate frame was too much impaired to sustain any exertion, and
after a short walk they seated themselves on a grassy bank,
overshadowed by the spreading branches of the elm a couch which
nature seemed to have formed as a resting-place for the weary. A
leaf became detached from one of the boughs above them, and floating
a moment in the air, alighted on the maiden's bosom. She surveyed it
for some time in silence, and then exclaimed, in a tone of sadness,
"Albert, in this leaf I behold an emblem of myself; it hath not
remained on the tree until it became scared and withered like its
companions; it hath passed away in its greenness, and thus shall I
pass away. I am conscious that the period of my death is rapidly
approaching, and I own that I cannot contemplate it with firmness. To some this may have been but a world of sorrow, yet it hath not
been such to me. I have partaken only of its joys; I have known not
of its griefs. It may be that I shall never again gaze on the
setting sun, and the glorious landscape spread out before me; it may
be that I look on the sky and the stars, and listen to the wild song
of the birds, and the hum of the hive-bound bees for the last time;
and oh, my Albert, I am indeed sad to think that I must soon leave
this pleasant world, and those whom I love, for ever." Vainly did
her lover attempt to reason away her forebodings; she knew too well
that the hand of death had marked her as its victim.
It is well known that those who are labouring under consumption may
struggle with the disorder for an extraordinary length of time,
without being able to conquer it. The mellow tint of autumn gave
place to the snow of winter, and still Marian Seymour lived on with
scarcely any perceptible alteration, save that she daily grew more
feeble, and was, at length, unable to leave her parent's dwelling. One clear, moonlight night she appeared more cheerful than she had
been of late, and when she parted from Albert, who was unremitting
in his attentions, a smile, as though of hope, illumined her
features. Assisted by her mother she prepared for rest, and as the
moon shone full upon her through the easement of her chamber, whilst
she knelt in prayer, her anguished parent was unable to restrain her
tears, for she said that her daughter looked too saint-like to dwell
longer in a world like this. The morning sun had melted the
frost-work on the window-panes, when her mother again entered her
chamber. She appeared to be still sleeping; her lips were parted,
and a glow was on her countenance, as though she were wrapped in
some blessed dream. "I will not wake her now," said her mother, and
retired. The day was far advanced when she again visited her couch.
She had moved not; she was still calm and placid as before; and
long, long might her waking have been awaited, for she slumbered in
Soon after this event Albert Russel left the village of his birth,
and embarked in a life of commerce. He became a rich merchant, and
distributed his wealth beneficently; but he died
unmarried, and his heart never knew a second love.
BY THE SAME AUTHOR
PREPARING FOR PUBLICATION
A TALE OF THE PASSIONS
WILMOT HENRY JONES, PRINTER, MANCHESTER