« PreviousContinue »
O’erfraught with wealth,—whose British heart, unspoild,
Had stood the siege of Oriental suns,
And the dire sap of all-transmuting gold-
A rich good man.-He blamed the tardy winds
Which would not let him free his old kind coz
From durance vile of helpless poverty;
But still the son survived—the widow'd wife
Still drew her woeful breath—and he had power
To call the orphan to a friendly home-
To bid the widow wear her comely weeds
Beside a plenteous and a smiling board.
Few days transpired, and Leonard was again
The heir of thousands—the undoubted lord
Of his paternal acres, all redeem'd.
The ancient pictures re-assumed their place
In the old smoky hall—the antique arms
In dusty state resumed their dusk repose.
The branching trophies, and the furry spoils
Of many an oft-related, endless chace,
Found their due station ; while the worn-out steeds,
Repurchased, roam'd the venerable park,
From vilest drudgery freed. The hallow'd bones
Of the late lord, unearth’d, were laid in state
With old, ancestral, lordly rottenness;
And if the pride of earth be known in Heav'n,
Earth’s noblest pride—then Leonard's Angel sire
Look'd down exultant on his marble tomb,
And blest his only child.
And shall no drop
Of all this blessing comfort Susan's soul ?
Right sorry now, I ween, her sordid sire
For his o’er prudent haste, and breach of faith :-
He saw his daughter's beauty marr’d with tears ; Her soul benumb’d with dull continuous woe, And a strange wildness in her sad, soft eye, That rather told of visionary gleams, And silent commerce with the viewless world, Than aught which man may love. If e'er she spake, Her voice was hollow as the moaning wind, An echo of despair. Yet she would sing Throughout the long hours of the frosty night: It would have wrung your very heart to hear herShe sang so like a ghost. “Will the proud youth,” Thus, measuring other natures by his own, Her father thought—“Will Leonard love her still ? Will the large-acred heir, whom late I spurn’d, Accept my child—when all her bloom is fledHer eye no longer bright-and her sweet wits By sorrow crazed ? I did him grievous wrongAnd will he sue me for my wither'd rose, And give the glory of his ancient nameThe lusty verdure of his years, and all His hopes on earth, to a poor moonstruck maid, The daughter of his father's enemy?” Base, slanderous fears ! For Leonard's love was strong Beyond the might of mutability. No rash impatience of the youthful blood, No sudden liking of enamour'd sense, His vow had prompted-and no change of hue, Nor loss of lively cheer, the work of woe, Could shake his truth. I need not say—how soon His suit renew'd—nor with what faint excuse By Susan's sire admitted. -Oh, blind haste ! Of unadvised bliss—that came so late,
And wrought its tyrannous effect so soon--
For sorrow had become the element,
The pulse, the sustenance of Susan's soul,
And sudden joy smote like the fire of Heaven,
That, while it brightens, slays. A hectic flush,
Death's crimson banner, cross'd her marble cheek-
And it was pale again. The strife was past-
She lies, a virgin corse, in Leonard's arms.-
He saw her shrouded relics laid to rest
In his ancestral sepulchre. That done,
He was a wanderer long in foreign lands :
But when the greenness of his agony
Was sere with age, the hoary man return'd;
And after some few years in virtue spent,
He died.—His bones repose in Susan’s grave;
And he is with her, in the land where love,
Immortal and unstain’d, is all in all.
As dark hair straggling o'er a snow-white breast,
Or the light tracks by fairy feet imprest,
Or those which tremulous music would indite
In the pure ether of a summer's night,
If music's course were palpable to sight,
So fine, in sable tinct and sinuous grace,
The meaning lines which female fingers trace.
Well then may I, whose characters are quaint
As antique legend of a monkish saint,
As hieroglyphic of the wise Egyptian,
Or prentice-posing doctor's learn'd prescription ;
As Runic, Coptic, Chaldee, Erse, or Oggham,
Or schoolboy's tasks, for which their masters flog ’em ;
As hand of cooks, by love impelled to scrawl,
Or hand of Bishops, which is worst of all;
Well may I view the argent field with fear,
And all the soft memorials treasured here,
When ask'd by one to whom I can't say nay,
My poor poetic mite of verse to pay ;
When bid the melody of song to garble,
Mix hemp with finest flax, and brick with marble.
I own I like to see my works in print,-
The page looks knowing, though there's nothing in't,-
But still a thought shews neatest, to my mind,
In well-bound Album penn'd by maiden kind.
So smooth each well-turn’d distitch seems to flow,
So bright appears each ardent thought to glow,
So close the epithets in front adhere
To their o'ertopping subjects in the rear,
While, like tall Captains, leading each his column,
As Ensigns spruce, and like Drum-Major's solemn,
In single file the capitals aspire,
Proud of their comely shape and trim attire :
We think our thoughts so very fine are grown,
We scarce can think they ever were our own.
But how can partial judgment ere be bribed
By halting rhymes in uncouth text inscribed ?
Or who'll admire me when, poor barren elf,
I scarce, with all my pains, admire myself?
In eastern tales we read, how, in one night,
“A gorgeous palace grew by magic might,
A solid pile of Iris-tinted light.
Whate’er of beautiful or strange, the deep,
Unmoved by winds, and hush'd in endless sleep,
In its abysmal waters held a fee,
Or the dark earth's infernal treasury,
Withheld from mortal touch, and mortal view,
Spontaneous in that wondrous fabric grew.
As soft and silent as the falling dew,
It came by strong behest of wizard power,
Nor broke the stillness of the darksome hour.
At once mature its radiant domes it rears
'Mid groves of spice and incense, odorous tears
Dropping from hoary trunks, that tell of distant years,)