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Shakspeare, and the Caractacus of Mason excel in dramatic excellence and poetic beauty, the Taha-o-chi-cou-Ell, the glory and boast of the Chinese stage. But let them pass. Time will discover who are the best judges of my ambitious Muse.
How forcibly, my dear friend, does every part of this country recal to my memory. by-gone days and scenes. I recollect every thing, but no one recollects me. On my journey from Dartmouth to Kingsbridge, I passed again the very spot where last I parted with Mary. Do not laugh at my weakness. I knew it well; and I could not restrain a flood of tears that burst involuntarily from my eyes. How vivid, at that painful moment, were my recollections of the past. I saw her again before ine, plain as the sunbeam, embodied in her beauty and ber tears. I thought on her last words. I closed my eyes, but I saw her still. I fled the spot, but still ber lovely form seemed to follow me. Forgive me:I shall never behold that spot again!
And was it here we parted ? Was it here
While to my fond adoring eyes her formi,
And was it here that her last vows she spoke ? Here from each others arms we tearful broke To meet no more? O, how thy flashing gleams, Remembrance of the past, like painful dreams Come o'er my soul! Could I view thee, Mary, now, How changed wouldst thou appear! But never more Shall I behold that sadly faded brow.The pangs I suffered for thy sake are o'er ; Yet they have left a melancholy shade E’en on life's brightest scenes, like clouds that oft invade The summer sunbeams, which steal faintly through Their misty skirts to drink the noontide dew.
O, mine has been a life of care and pain,
He, too, for ever from my sight is torn,
the lines to be as far beneath those of Sternhold and Hopkins, as theirs are below the inimitable fire of the divine bard of Palestine.
The next day, the landlord first detaining the poor man's bat for his night's lodging, &c. he sat out early with uncovered brows to obtain an audience of Prince Leopold, two miles distant. It was now that he might be said to have appeared more like the ancient bards of his venerable nation, than he ever did before, as his full gray locks streamed on the morning winds. Need I tell you that he totally failed in his mission. But obtaining about five shillings from the domestics of the Prince, he returned to the inn, redeemed his hat, and went his way, disconsolate and sad, towards his native wilds in Cornwall. Long ere he reached the beautiful banks of the Tamar, he must have been totally dependant on the generosity of strangers for a wretched existence, and the means of beholding once more his sadly-anxious wife and family. Poor minstrel! thou didst set out on thy journey in the proud expectation of royal favour, emolument, and applause ; but returnedst to thy miserable cottage a bankrupt in hope, and a very beggar! Alas! how many bards of high deservings have, like thee, commenced their gay career with the smiling sun of
Hope full upon them, and the fair path which led to the bill of Fame appearing showered with blossoms of every hue: but ere they reached half
up the steep, the tempests of Calamity arose and swept them down the precipice, miserably to perish in the gulphs of Despair !
But to return to myself. Shortly after my arrival at home, I was seized with typhus fever, from which I am now but very slowly recovering. My finances would not admit of my procuring medical aid, beyond that afforded by a common soldier, who had acted as assistant to an army surgeon and now resided in the village : yet to this poor fellow, I gratefully acknowledge, under God, do I owe my life. Poor Maria, with the fatigue of nigbtly watchings by my bedside, joined to her nervous debility, is herself in a very weak state. Excuse this imperfect epistle: when I am more recovered, you shall hear from me again.
Here I am again in the West of England ! Surely I am doomed for ever to be a rover! Soon after my recovery, I found it necessary to set off with fresh copies of my work, towards a part of the country directly opposite to my last peregrination, while Maria took charge of my little school.
I now visited Somersetshire, where I obtained many subscribers. On reaching Chard, I secured a place on the coach for Honiton. Shortly after we left that town, a tremendous burricane* began to pour forth its fury upon us. The torrents of rain, the irresistible gusts of wind, aud towards evening the “deep dread-bolted" thunder and terrific lightning mingled together with such an overwhelming impetuosity and dreadful effect, as I vever before witnessed.
* The memorable tempest in the month of March, 1818.