« ZurückWeiter »
THE RECANTATIO N.
BY HORACE SMITH.
Young, saucy, shallow in my views-
My calling or profession,
Condemn'd them in succession :
As sparrowhawks do sparrows ; Shrinking the mind it whets, their trade Acts as the grindstone on the blade,
Which, while it sharpens, narrows. What makes the Pleader twist and tear Statutes to wrong the rightful heir,
And bring the widow sorrow?
Another fee to-morrow.
Repining while thanksgiving.
And dies without a Living.
In purple and fine linen ;
Have palaces to sin in.
A Jack-a-dandy varlet,
For feathers, lace, and scarlet !
From foremast to the mizen;
The brain less in his prison.
MY GRANDFATHER'S DREAM.
FOUNDED ON FACTS.
By J. S. KNOWLES.
“No, Richard ! I should never quit my father's roof without his blessing, were it only because he is my father. The commandment is strong, Richard ! It is · Honour thy father and thy mother !' unconditionally. It is absolute not contingent duty which it enjoins us. There may be cases where the filial obligation is weakened-perhaps dissolved—but mine is not one. God must be honoured first. Parents may be unrighteous, and may enjoin unrighteous things. There may be such cases ; but mine is not such a case. My father is, you know, a pattern of piety; to cultivate in me the fear and the love of my Creator and Redeemer has been his constant, assiduous, never intermitted care. Seldom, if ever, have his own claims upon my duty been the theme of his lessons. I find now, that they were included in the grand comprehension, ONE—though I was not always aware of it --for with all my heart, and soul, and strength, I honour and love my father. Richard, while my father lives, I will never marry you against his will."
Suppose we should never marry, then ?" “ The mind that has made itself up to form such a resolution, must be prepared to abide even such a contingency.”
“And you could bear it? You could be contented to see me another's, I suppose ?"
The sweet girl looked up in his face, steadfastly, for a moment or two, then smiled at him mournfully, and shook her head.
“ You would marry another if your father insisted upon it?” “Never;" was her prompt, brief, and conclusive reply.
“ Yet where is the difference? You might as well be another's ! You would not then be less mine than you are now likely to be !"
She blushed—she cast upon him a look of deprecating reproach, then averting her eyes, remained silent.
“ It is not love !” he exclaimed. “ It is not love !there is nothing of the spell in it!—the one all-absorbing thought !—the cleaving that loosens every other hold! Where duty exercises such dominion, love scarce can have a voice and so it is. The prejudice of a father supersedes the claims of a lover-his devotion, his perseverance, in spite of repulses, thwartings, wrongs! I am loved, yet suffered to continue the victim of a passion, as withering as if it were unreturned! And what is it, but hopeless? You will not marry me without your father's blessing ; he refuses to bestow it- declares you shall never obtain it! I consume with wishes which seem likely never to be realized! You know it-you suffer it—and yet you say you love me! You deceive yourself—you sport with me—you do not love me, Charlotte !"
She returned no reply, except by looking up in his face again. The tears were streaming down her cheeks—he caught her to his breast -she suffered him to hold her therc—to kiss away the eloquent though
silent witnesses of her devotion. He passionately implored her pardon -it was accorded by the frank lips, which she ingenuously offered to his.
For a time there was silence: at length, gently disengaging herself from his embrace, and riveting upon him a look of tender reproach
“Richard," she said, “why do you compel me, for the hundredth time to tell you that you have yourself alone to blame? I had been now your wife had your love been as steadfast as mine. You had once my father's consent, as soon as you had attained to your majority we were to have been married ; but you went to Dublin and forgot me!"
“Never !" interposed Richard. “You did, indeed you did,” resumed the sweet girl, now weeping afresh. “What partnership, Richard, could love have with dissipation? Could you remember me, and frequent the dissolute society in which your days and nights were spent during your fatal sojourn in that city? Did I ever expect to hear it told of Richard, the master of my heart, even from my girlhood—did I ever expect to hear it told of him, that night after night he was in the habit of being inebriated—that his liberty constantly paid for the effects of his abandonment to an appetite unbecoming a rational creature, except on such occasions, as when overcome by excess, he was carried home to his lodgings, in a state of helpless, utter insensibility ? Reproach not me, Richard, reproach not the father who loves his only child, and refuses to consign her to the protection of a man who has furnished him with such proofs that he has not the firmness to protect himself; and who, since his return to the home where he was once a stranger to intemperance, has too frequently betrayed his familiarity with a vice, which, once contracted, they say, is seldom or never to be shaken off.”
* Thank your father for that,” retorted Richard. “Baffled in my fondly-cherished hopes, what am I to do? Shall I go mad, or drown and deaden the torture, which, unmitigated, must drive me so? When your father's door is shut upon mewhen I walk feverishly up and down the street at night, watching the light in the room where you sit, but which I am forbidden to enter—where you sit with the visiters of your father-some among them, perhaps, who are trying to attract your attention and excite an interest in your heart—what am I to do with a tortured breast and whirling brain, but to drown thought, and along with it insufferable agony? Would this be the case were we on the same blessed terms we stood upon before my fatal visit to Dublin ?for fatal I own it was ! No: I should be sitting by your side, feasting on your sweet face, and drinking in your voice of heavenly melodyhappy! happy !_blessed beyond the power of forming another wish for happiness! Would the bottle or the boon companion entice me thence ? Oh, God ! in the idea of saving you, your father forgets that he is perhaps destroying me; and, if you love me, you along with me. A habit that is easily conquered at the first, he is probably rendering incurable, by providing me, as he does, with a motive for continuing it! And after all, it is but one vice; for Heaven is my witness, that in my wildest moments of excess, I have never once swerved, or thought of swerving, from my fidelity; but have been to you, Charlotte, even what I would have you be to me!”
She caught his hand-she pressed it with fervid tenderness, and leaning her cheek upon his shoulder kept it there, as she stood with her tapering waist encircled by his arm.
Her form was the perfection of the female mould—she was lovely, too, in feature. A fair, bright complexion, with a dark clear hazel eye, and luxuriant auburn hair. I have seldom looked upon her equal, never upon one that surpassed her; and, what is not of universal occurrence, her heart and mind were a match for her person.
- 'Tis more than flesh and blood can bear!" he exclaimed, suddenly withdrawing from her and striking his forehead. “ 'Tis more than flesh and blood can bear !-to own, yet not possess !—The just heir to a hundred thousand pounds a year, cannot touch a shilling of his property !-his title to it is disputed! There lie before him, affluence, splendour, luxury; and he is in rags and starving !-Mansion, acres, coffers, all in the grasp of the law !-half his life spent, he finds himself no nearer justice than when he set out !-his chance is to die a beggar; and, give him his own, he is one of the richest men in the land ! No wonder if he goes mad-yet what is the hardship of his case compared to that of mine? What yearning is equal to that which we feel for the possession of the woman that we love ?-virtuous as she is lovely! We beggar ourselves for the being we adore! It bappens every day, and yet the object, except the charms of person, Jess than worthless, perhaps ! But in the case of a chaste and noble woman, and tender withal, to know that she is yours, heart and soul, and yet to have her ruthlessly withheld from you—1 defy the earth, from among all the sufferings under which men groan, to find a parallel for such infliction !”
The emotion with which he uttered this, was more like that of a maniac than of a man in his proper senses.
“ It is time I leave you, Richard." “ When will you meet me again ?"
“ Meet you!" she echoed mournfully. “ Of what use is it to meet, when our interviews ever thus terminate in distraction? Would you but exercise a little self-command, how much misery would you escape—how much less would you inflict upon me? You do not love as I love, Richard ! Knowing that your affections are mine, I can bear up under the present obstacles to our union. Richard, have you no trust in God ?Is not this trial of His ordering, and ought it not to be borne with more humility? If we are spared, the time must come when we shall be man and wife. It is the evening of existence with my father, Richard ; let his sun go down in peace. He claims my obedience only while he lives. Once my own mistress, who shall withhold me from you? I must leave you now."
“ When shall we meet again ?" he inquired.
He caught her to his breast-held her there a minute or two-released her, and they parted.
To see, occasionally, the man, whom her father had once allowed her to consider herself as affianced to, was the sole stipulation of Charlotte, when Richard's unpardonable indiscretion turned the parental heart against him. Not clandestinely, then, did the lovers meet. The veto