Abbildungen der Seite

fifter like her, to conceive the extent of that mutual felicity which they enjoyed in their years of innocence. Their hearts were precifely in a state between love and friendship; they were neither affel by the imperfections of the one, no agitated by the convulfions of the


As the natural inclinations of Charles, however, began to develope themselves, he very early difcovered difpofitions that were little conformable to the pacific manners of his father. He loft ail relifh for rural plezfures, and the tranquillity of inactive life. Ambition laid Lege to him in fecret, and inceffantly combated every arguinen that his reafon could fuggeft to repulfe her. She was at laft victorious, and he could no longer conceal the unconquerable inclination that he felt for the life of a foldier. He prayed his father, therefore, to purchase a commiffion for him, and to bestow upon his fifter the whole refidue of his fortune.

From that moment difrefs began to enter this hitherto happy family. The mother, unable to fupport the idea of the dangers to which her beloved fon was about to expofe himself, fell k and died. The father, overwhelmed with this ftroke, did not promife to furvive her long; but Charles, unable to refift the spectacle of a father in fuh a fate, abjured his fatal paffion, and confented to remain at home the fupport of his father's age

He had contracted a friendship with the fon of a widow who poflefled a neighbouring eftate, at which, from time to time, the made fome abode. Vicinity of ftuation had produced an intimacy between the two families, and Captain Home, who had become the friend of Charles Melvill, foon became the lover of his fifter. Home joined to the defire of pleafing, a behaviour, a figure, and a character made to feduce a heart much more on its guard than that of the innocent Harriot. He cafily obferved the progrefs which he made in a conqueft which was not defended by the fubtilties of art. Happily his views were honourable, and his mistress thought every thing due to fentiments fo generous, and to a heart fo kind.

Some months paffed in this delight ful intercourfe, or rather, in this intoxication of friendship, with nothing to interrupt the enchanting fcene but the apprehenfion of fome wayward accident; and fuch a fatal moment at laft

arrived. One day as Mifs Harriot wa entering her father's chamber, the found her lover already there. Uncertainty, and a kind of defpair were painted on the countenance of the latter, and he re mained mute when he faw her. Struck in her turn, his young miftrefs could not utter a word. The father at laft put a period to their diftrefsful filence. Harriot, my child," faid he, " Cap "tain Home is obliged to leave usShe heard no more, but dropt down in a fwoon. When the came again to herfelf, fhe found her lover by her fide, who, preffing her hand in his, and looking on her with eyes full of tenderness and love, Harriot," faid he, " my "dear Harriot, we are about to sepa"rate but for a fhort time, and only

that we may fee one another again "with greater transport, and with the "certainty of then remaining without "further feparation. The voice of my

king and of my country calls me a"broad, and my duty to both obliges "me to obey the call. My regiment is "ordered out to India, and both hc"nour and duty confirain me immedi"ately to depart."

Thefe words were like the voice of thunder for the too fenfible Harriot. Viewing only the darkeft fide of things, the confidered herfelf as the most uniortunate of women. She would have fpoken; but the Captain, diftruiting his own ftrength, tore himfelf away, and left the houfe with precipitation, obtaining over love a victory which a few moments longer would have made love obtain over duty and honour.

The moiftened eye of Harriot followed him in his flight as long as her tears and the diftance permitted her. All the efforts of her afflicted father to calm her grief were ineff&tual; the promiles, the oaths of her lover, and the probability of feeing him foon again, all were obfcured by the remembrance of her paft felicity. She fell into a ftate of torpid melancholy, from which the was drawn, however, by new misfor

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

to influence his reason, the fifter made" employ it to infpire thefe with a re"spect for knowledge, by the honour"able and generous ufe which you make "of yours.

the fame attempts upon his heart, but he was inflexible. What fort of charm muft that be which is attached to the paffion for a military life, which infpires a man with an inhuman pleafure in the deftruction of his fellow-creature, and which ftifles in his heart the fentiments of nature:

"Let it be your principal duty to "guard and defend the commerce of your country against the infults of its "rivals, or against thofe of fuch Indian "nations as, being ignorant of the ad"vantages which commerce procures,

[ocr errors]

Sir William was obliged to fubmit; he himself fuperintended the prepara- are fometimes difpofed to confpire its tions for his fon's voyage, he fitted him "deftruction. It is therefore to proout as became his rank, and, receiving "ted, and not to carry death and defohis adieu, which was to be the laft; "lation, that your fervices are wanted "My fon," said he, "you are going by your country. Your lawful emo"into the most dangerous of all coun"tries; for it is that in which your "vices, if you have any, will be prac

"luments ought to be fufficient for your "wants, and if your good conduct procures for you a higher rank, you will 66 return to your native country to enjoy honoured ease, with the reputa"tion of having contributed to the "power of your fellow-citizens, in a "country where you will be bleffed for

"faction of having comforted your old "father by the thought that he has gi"ven birth to a friend of mankind.'

tifed with the greatest eafe, and in "which the virtues you poffefs will "have much to contend with. Here "the laws in fome meafure keep you "from falling; but there you will have "no other fupport but your own forti-having been juft, and with the fatis"tude. In thofe fatal regions, the evil is "paft remedy when the remedy arrives. "However pure the principles of our "adminiftration may be, it is neceffa"rily intrufted to men, who, when 46 they banish themfelves from their 41 country, have no other views but "thofe of intereft in that vocation they "labour with fo much the more ardour "and fecurity, that they are under the "controll of no authority funerior to "the dictates of avarice. They have "the example of all around them purfuing the fame path; each confpires "with the other, and the petty default "er finds himself abetted and juftified. by the practice of the great. The cry of the oppreffed has far to travel; "and when it does arrive, it is fo wea"kened, fo loft in the roar of the ac"clamations beftowed on cruelty tri"umphant, and avarice fuccefsiul, that "it is either altogether unattended to, "or perhaps, which is worfe, laughed "at and defpifed. For you, my fon, let "honour alone be your guide, and let "the pleasure of being inflexible in vir“tue be your first reward.

[ocr errors]


"Beware of imagining that harshness "and violence are not crimes when ex*ercifed on perfons that differ from you "in colour. Leave to philofophers the "care of discovering the different de "grees of intelligence that diftinguish "their different races. As for you, my "fon, if your underftanding be fupe"rior to that of Negroes and Indians,

This venerable father had scarcely finifhed his difcourfe when his firmness forfook him. The departure of his fon made him infenfible to confolation, and his grief redoubled at the fight of that with which his daughter was wafted. He foon funk under it and died, leaving the unfortunateHarriot abandoned to folitude and grief. She made hafte to fly from a place from which he had feen every thing difappear which the loved and va'lued; and retired to live with an old aunt in a neighbouring, town. Far from finding in the fociety of that relation any comfort to her afflictions, fhe found nothing but new fources of difappointment and chagrin. I fhall not stop to draw the portrait of this aunt: She was one of thofe characters that have often been described, and that are but too often found in common life. I fhail only fay, that Mifs Melvill, after having endured for two long years all the caprices of an old maid, ugly, and pecvifh, and having refufed a thoufand ridiculous matches which he wanted to force her niece to accept, at laft received news from India. Her brother, who thought only of her, and her lover, who exifted only for her, were both animated with the defire of rendering her happy. They had diftinguifhed themselves by ads of bravery that promifed them a speedy fortune,


and they preffed her in the moft earnest and affect onate terms to come and fhare it with them.

Her fituation was fuch, that what at another time would have appeared inconfiderateness or folly, was now with her a matter of neceffity She needed a refuge, and could fhe find one fafer or more proper than with a brother jealous of his honour, and with a lover fo generous, that he could not fufpect him of ill intentions without a crime? Her aunt made no attempts to diffuade her from her purpose, and fhe embarked for India attended by a fingle maid-fer


[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

you will find in the prifon of the port "of Eft two English officers. Take off "their irons, provide whatever is ncAfter a long and tedious paffage, inceflary for their tranfportation, and which, however, the politenefs and at- "bring them to my camp." tentions of the captain of the veffel made her forget the ill treatment of her aunt, fhe arrived at Madrafs, where fhe met with the reception fhe expected from an affectionate brother, and a tender and faithful lover.

These young foldiers, whom the most intimate friendship united together, had fcarcely tafted the pleasure of feeing in India, the one a fifter, the other a miftrefs, than they received orders to march on an expedition projected again Hyder Aly. Mifs Melvill would not hear of remaining behind them; fhe followed them to Arcot, the capital of the Carnatic, a region fituated in the Peninfula of India. It was in this fatal place that the most cruel ftroke of fortune awaited her. After a battle, difputed with the greateft obftinacy on both fides, her brother and her lover both fell into the hands of the Indian conqueror. Harriot herself became like wife his captive, and was conducted to his feraglio.

It was the cuftom of Hyder Aly, as is well known, to carry on war in the true ftyle of a hero; that is to fay, in a perpetual alternation of pleasure and defolation, love and maffacre. In one of thofe moments in which he fought to relieve the fatiety of one paffion by the gratification of another, he entered the tent of Harriot Melvill. The fight of a lady born in one of thofe European regions, the manners of which infpire the foul with a character of ftrength that shows itself even in the outward appearance, and thus gives to beauty an air of virtue and of dignity, was a new fpectacle for this Indian potentate. Her head was gently reclined; her fine eyes were ftraying at random, and a starting tear dimmed their luftre, but fparkled

The meffenger of Hyder Aly found the two friends in a dungeon, fitting on the ground, near a small crevice, which time had worn in the wall, and through which they received a few rays of light, and inhaled a little of the frefh. They were converfing on the fatal errors that had torn them from the bofor of their families and friends, and which, after fo many hazards and dangers, had precipitated them into an infectious prifon, and had conducted the object of their moft tender affection into the fe raglio of a fuitan. Their hearts were a prey to the moft pungent forrow, which had taken fuch hold of them, that the messenger of Hyder Aly infpired them with no emotions, either of hope or joy. They followed him, and repaired to the camp..

When Hyder Aly was made acquainted with their arrival, he ordered them to be conducted to the tent of Mits Melvill, where he foon appeared himfelf, and without giving them time to recover from the embarraffment in which such a situation involved them,

"I give you, both," said he, "your liberty; and to you, fair lady, I reftore "a brother and a lover. Take her,

[ocr errors]

young man, without inquietude or "diftruft; fhe is more virtuous, if poffi "ble, than the is lovely. Learn that, even

among Afiatics, there are conquerors "who can be generous in the midst of "victory. Receive her from my hands "as pure as when the entered them; "but let your countrymen know, that "the happieft and moft glorious day "that Hyder fhall fee, will be that in

which he fhall be able to deliver India "from the cruelty, the avarice, and the bondage of Europeans."

I muft ftop here; for how fhould I

paint the moment in which gratitude fought to outdo generofity, and where the benefit fo much furpaffed expectation!

Enchanted with their fortunate meeting, these three happy mortals renoun-' ced for the future whatever might ha

zard another feparation. They set out immediately for England, where the marriage of the two lovers was celebrated, and crowned with that felicity which fo much conftancy and fidelity deferved.



[blocks in formation]

Cool'd is the fire I once did feel;

So calm, fo tranquil is my mind, Refentment there no place can find, To tell the paffion Love would fain conceal: No more, of thee when any fpeak, The colour changes on my cheek; No more at fight of thee I figh,

Or flutter at my heart when thou art nigh.

Still do I fleep, and ftill I dream;

But no no longer to my eyes
In all my dreams doft thou arife;

I wake to think and thou art not the theme:
Tho' far from thee my courfe I steer,
No wish I feel to have thee near;
Tho' with thee, yet canft thou be tow
Nor good nor ill, nor happiness nor woe.

No more Love's foft emotions rife,

Whilft I thine every charm run o'er;
I think upon the wrongs I bore,
Yet new born anger in my bofom dies;
Tho' thou approach, no tremors tell
Within this heart what tumults d vell:
Let others now their flame declare,
It hurts not me, if others think thee fair.

View me with looks of proud difdain :
Ufe sweeter tones than ever hung
On fond impaffion'd lover's tongue:
Vain is thy fcorn, and all thy favour vain;
Thofe coral lips to me have loft

That eloquence they once could boast;

Within this breaft thofe eyes now fee No prifon'd thought which struggles to be free.

To thee that joy or grief is mine
No more I owe; that I am glad,
Is not thy gift; that I am fad,
Is now no fault, no injury of thine.
The hills and woods to me are gay,
Tho', Laura, thou art far away;
All that's unfightly to the view,
Can now delight no more, tho' feen with

Now hear the truth: I think thee fair,
Beauteous to me thou ftill doft feem,
But not, as I was wont to dream,
With thine on earth no beauty might com


Let not my words thine ear offend: The form I thought not heaven could mend,

Has fome defect; and in thy face That now is blemish, which was once a grace.

My fhame I own as from my fide

I pluck'd the deep ingrafted dart, I thought it would have broke my heart; Such pain I felt, I thought i fhould have

di d.

But, to throw off oppreffion's load,

And blunt the numerous ftings that goad A lover's foul, and back recal Loft Liberty, who would not fuffer all?

The bird that treads the viscous fpray,

Laid with the fowler's niceft care, May leave fome feathers in the fnare, But ftill at large fhe wings her eafy way: Her rifled pinion foon refumes The glories of its gaudy plumes; And the, by fad experience taught, With arts of fowlers can no more be caught.

I know thou thit k ft me prifoner ftill;

I know thou think'ft even now my breaft

[ocr errors]

With all its former fire 's poffeft, So oft I boast the freedom of my will: Who doth not dangers past explore, And dwell on ills that wound no more? "Tis nature's instinct bids me fay, I now am free, and Nature I obey.

Now, as I view them from afar,

I tell the woes I once endur'd; Ev'n fo, to scenes of death inur'd, The victor warrior fhews his glorious fcar; And fo the flave, efcap'd from pain, Exulting fhews the galling chain, Sparkling his eyes thofe fetters fee Which once he dragg'd, and prove that he is free.

I speak, tho' thou art far away;

Yet not, as once, I with thee near,
Whate'er it be I speak, to hear;
Nor care if thou credit what I say:
I fpeak not now but ill at eafe,
Anxious to know if thee I please;
Nor, if on me thou talk ft, do I
Ask if thou dost it with a rifing figh.

A treacherous maid I leave behind,
And thou doft lose a lover true:
I know not of the hapless two
Which firft a comfort in his lofs fhall find;
But this I know, fo much of truth
Laura fhall never find in youth;
Whilft I might gain, in many a place,
A nymph as faithlefs with as fair a face.

[ocr errors]


P. H.

To FRANCE on her prefent Exertions,
HOU, that where Freedom's facred
fountains play,


Which sprung effulgent, tho' with crimfon ftains,

On tranfatlantic fhores, and widening plains,

Haft, in their living waters, wafh'd away, Thofe cankering spots, fhed by tyrannic sway On thy long drooping lilies, Englith veins Swell with the tide of exultation gay, Tofee theefpurn thy deeply-galling chains. Few of Britannia s free born fons forbear To blefs thy CAUSE;-cold is the heart that breathes

No wifh fraternal.-FRANCB, we bid thee fhare

The bleffings twining with our civic wreaths, While Victory's trophics, permanent as fair,

Crown the bright SWORD that LIBERTY uniheaths.


As thro' the hence of the groun

And thro' the meadow's verdant way,
The placid riv'let loves to rove,
Whilft murmurs foft its courfe betray;

A while around its native mead
It strives a winding courfe to keep:
Till, as the flope improves its speed,
It gains the bosom of the deep.

Thus thro' the fecret path of life

May I unclogg'd by riches glide! Nor tangled in the thorns of ftrife,

Nor with the blood of conqueft dyed! And when the fhades of night increase, When cloy'd with pleasure, prefs'd by


May Sleep's kind brother bring me peace, And his cold hand my dull eyes close !



H with clamorous voice, or footftep rude,

EEDLESS wanderer, come not here

For Harmony's sweet fake forbear
To violate this folitude.

For ne'er the nightingale forfakes

This haunt when hawthorn bloffoms fpring;

Veil'd in the fhade of tangled brakes,

She calls her neftlings forth to fing.

Hark! catch you not their warblings wild.
That foftly flow the leaves among?
Now loudly thrill, now fweetly mild,

The defcant of their thrilling fong.

The earlicft primrose of the year

Beneath delights its flowers to fpread;
The clustering hare-bell lingers near
The cowflip's dew befpangled bed.
And whilft tfte western gales aЛlay

They tell here, pleas'd to fun the day,
The keenness of the noontide heat,
The vi'let fcents her low retreat.

[blocks in formation]
« ZurückWeiter »