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BY HORACE SMITH.
Fate! fortune! chance! whose blindness,
Hostility, or kindness, Play such strange freaks with human destinies,
Contrasting poor and wealthy,
The life-diseased and healthy, The bless’d, the cursed, the witless, and the wise,
Ye have a master-one
Who mars what ye have done, Levelling all that move beneath the sun
Take courage, ye who languish
Beneath the withering anguish Of open wrong, or tyrannous deceit ;
There comes a swift redresser,
To punish your oppressor, And lay him prostrate--helpless at your feet.
O champion strong!
Righter of wrong,
When conquest crowns his quarrel,
And the victor, wreathed with laurel, While trembling nations bow beneath his rod,
On his guarded throne reposes,
In living apotheosis,
What form of fear
Croaks in his ear,
Who-spite of guards and yeomen,
Steel phalanx or cross-bowmen,
The tyrant's crown down-dashes,
His brandish'd sceptre smashes,
His breath out-wrings,
And his corpse down-flings, To the dark pit where grave-worms feed on kings?
When the robber's unsuspected,
When the murderer's undetected,
When nothing living daunts him,
And no fear of justice haunts him,Who wakes his conscience-stricken agony ?
Who makes him start,
With his withering dart,
To those who pine in sorrow,
Whose wretchedness can borrow No moment's ease from any human act,
To the widow-comfort-spurning,
To the slave for freedom yearning,
Who brings release,
And whispers peace, And points to realms where pain and sorrow cease ?
THE STAR OF DESTINY.
A TRUE TALE OF THE WAR IN AFFGHANISTAN,
It was one of those enchanting moonlight evenings, only to be seen in Bombay, and if seen, only to be enjoyed there after the overwhelming heat and oppression of the day, almost overcoming sense, as well as sensation, and depressing the mind with the painful consciousness of being unable to exert its powers, and with the fear of their best energies gradually becoming torpid under the influence of an Indian sky; as benumbing, though from a different cause, as the icy climate of the Northern Pole. Such an evening is well known to many of our readers by descriptions in books, or in the accounts of their relatives, who have served in the military or civil departments of India; let them imagine it in its full beauty and freshness, the night I am speaking of.
Let them fancy an apartment, furnished with the utmost layishness of taste, expense, and luxury, which, though the military, accoutrements cast carelessly about it, and the soldier-like trifles, which betray, to a practised eye, a military occupant, marked it as the abode of an officer, bore indisputable evidence, in its costly and profuse decorations, of a greater scale of fortune than is common among the military inhabitants of India; for, though the glitter and trappings of the army dance brightly before its eyes, well does the match-making or matchseeking world of Bombay know, that it is the non-ornamented civilian, with his horse devoid of gay lrappings, and his figure of military decoration, who can shower around his bride those beautiful luxuries, the offspring of his Indian gold, which can make life in India one marvellous and glittering fairy tale. An experienced Indian eye could mark, moreover, that the youthful occupants of this apartment had only lately arrived in the burning land, where they sought accession to fortune, to fame, or to pleasure, as their case might be. Every one of the countless little luxuries, which the most skilful artists of London, of Paris, or of Germany could produce, was there, in its newest and brightest form, mingled with the still more exquisite productions, with which new comers in India so eagerly surround themselves, of the older, and it may be, the once higher cultivation of the eastern hemisphere; the soft and splendid shawls, the long pendant chains of that peculiar pale yellow colour of Indian gold, which, once seen, is never forgotten, and has made the heart of so many a returned Indian throb with happiness or with agony, following the recollections it recalled, of the brilliant days of youth, glory, and pleasure, succeeded by an honoured and happy old age in England, or of wasted life, and hopes extinguished by slow degrees, in pursuit of that fatal Indian gold; and, it may be, a mixed feeling of both, to the young mother, who, having left her darling in England, to preserve its life, returns to India to gladden the life, not less precious, of its father, and drops her last bitter tear on the pale golden bangles of her infant.
That most exquisite of pets, the little mouse deer, half disputed the possession of a pile of cushions which it walked round, with a beautiful little Blenheim, with the shortest nose, the largest eyes, the longest ears, and the most silky locks that had ever patted along the shores of Hindostan; and the immense and lavish flowers of the east decorated this fairy room, in contrast to the diminutive drawings, the gifts of youthful friends, of the fairest flowers of England; and, perhaps, the strongest contrast was furnished by a drawing in its massy frame of an old English residence, with its dark clumps of green wood, its cold sky of light-blue, and masses of dark cloud against its gray roofs and walls, compared with the soft melting atmosphere of every thing which surrounded it.
Upon a sofa reclined a beautiful young creature of eighteen, her fair complexion contrasting with her black folds of long hair, and the delicate but healthy bue upon her youthful cheek showed that the trials of an Indian sky, to the most healthy European, and with the most prudent care, had not yet commenced, nor could they, for Clara had sailed from Southampton only two days after her marriage with the husband of her choice, and a very few weeks had passed since their arrival in Bombay. Yet, though the withering influences of India had not yet commenced their slow, but almost certain effect upon her beauty, a very watchful eye might have traced the possibility that their action was not far off, in the anxious expression of her soft, brilliant black eyes, which glanced occasionally with a restless, melancholy, and almost alarmed expression. Whatever feeling, however, of bodily illness, yet undeveloped, or of mental uneasiness might cause this expression, Mrs. Courtenay did not reveal it in words, for during the time, short in that climate, which passed between the setting of the sun, and the rising of the moon in its brilliancy with its host of attendant stars, she only betrayed this restless feeling by occasional hasty glances from the darkening atmosphere of the scenery without, to another part of the room, where was seated a handsome young man, a few years older than his fair young bride, in the undress of her majesty's -regiment. An Indian sun certainly could not yet have produced an enervating effect upon Clara, for she had yet scarcely been exposed, even within her abode, to its influence. Walter Courtenay and his wife had arrived at the close of the rainy season, and this evening was the very first that the dark masses of cloud had rolled off, and the starry sky shone forth in its brilliancy, with the certainty, in the east, of a definite and long period of cloudless heavens.
Whatever passing cause might have agitated Clara's thoughts, she did not communicate it to her husband, but conversed with him occasionally on the thousand novelties of their life in India, in her usual manner, till the last radiance of the setting sun had vanished, and the host of heaven shone out in undivided brilliancy.
“Let us walk into the verandah to enjoy the moonlight," said she, in a tone of timidity which the importance of the request certainly did not justify.
Her husband was instantly at her side, and covered from head to foot with one of the exquisite Indian shawls which strewed her apartment, Clara leaned on Waiter's arm in the verandah, each gazing on a beauty of sky, of scenery, and of atmosphere, they had never before experienced.
“Let us go beyond the verandah," said Clara ; "the trees circle us
too much round here, we shall see the the sky so much more beautifully from that rising ground."
“I think the verandah much pleasanter,” said Captain Courtenay; “ I delight in these trees, they put me so in mind of the woods from the terrace at dear Rossingham."
A glance, and a closer pressure of the hand, showed that the young soldier was dwelling in memory upon the beautiful park in England, where he had wooed his Clara. "Yet, after a few moments, she timidly, but pressingly, again begged to leave the verandah for the more open part of their grounds.
The point was of quite too little consequence to be debated a moment longer, and they moved on to the spot she desired.
“How exquisite the night is !” said Clara ; " I never saw the stars so brilliant. Do you recollect, Walter, those pretty lines we read before we sailed, written by some officer in India, upon seeing an English daisy growing here? Do you know I think there is something of the same feeling in seeing here the constellations we are accustomed to in England.”
"I like to see them,” said her husband ; “ but in recognising them exactly, I think you must have much the advantage of me. I am sure, with Mademoiselle Regnier, and that old Mrs. Humberston, who came three times a week, and the schoolroom and the great globes, you ought. Oh, Clara! don't you recollect years ago in my holidays at Rossingham, how I used to watch behind the laurel to get you out of the schoolroom-window when mademoiselle's back was turned ? Come tell me some of your lessons, let us profit by so much learning ; you always said you intended to be very useful to ine. I am sure at Eton I learned little enough of these things; I don't believe I know one star by name, except Orion and the Pleiades.”
“ I will show you Cassiopeia's chair ; I think it is the most beautiful constellation of all Mademoiselle's Regnier's instructions taught me, -do you see it ?" and her ivory finger traced the form to her husband. “Cannot you fancy a queenly' form sitting in that starry throne, and reigning over half the sky ?"
“I see it quite plainly, thank you. 51 “Do you, love? I am so glad," said Clara,"eagerly, almost trembling with pleasure; then, turning to another part of the heavens, she immediately selected another subject for his observation.
“Do you see that very brilliant little star just above the corner of the verandah-a very small one?"
“ Yes, very well; it sparkles beautifully."
With a flushed cheek, Clara now prepared for her grand trial, to which she had been gradually paving the way, she again turned to another part of the sky, and pointing to a star-reader, it is the companion to the Star of Destiny, and if we do not declare to you its real and exact position in the heavens, which is, however, accurately known to many, it is because the impression, be the consequences of having beheld it real or imaginary, of the results which have followed, is too strongly, too really, and two awfully impressed upon our mind to make you a partaker, if you are not already possessed of it, in a secret, which may be productive of much misery and anxiety to you.
• Do you see, Walter ?" said she, in a voice trembling between hope