Зображення сторінки

Alas! in vain in every shore,

The tresses in a golden flow;
For something never won, we yearn, But darkly slept the lash that shaded
Why needs this waste of toil before

Her deep eye, on its lids of snow.
Life's last yet simplest truth we learn ? What could that magic eye inspire ?
Oh! that our early years would own Its very light was a desire;
The moral of our burial-stone :

And each blue wandering of its beam
The true to kalon of the breast

Callid forth a worship and a dream ; The elixir of the earth is--Rest!

The soft rose on her softest cheek

Had yet the sun's last smile to win ; As birds that seek, athwart the main, But not the less each blush could speak Strange lands where happier seasons reign, How full the sweetness hived within. Where to soft airs the rich leaf danceth,

The rich lip in its bright repose And laughs the gay beam where it glanceth, Refused above its wealth to close. Glancing o'er fruits whose purpling sheen May court the rifling horde unseen ; O Woman ! day-star of our doom, For there earth, air, and sun conspire Thy dawn our birth-thy close our tomb, To curb, by sating, man's desire

Or if the mother or the bride, half careless to destroy,

Our fondest friend and surest guide ;-May grant ev'n weakness to enjoy.

And yet our folly and our fever, So Hope allures the human heart,

The dream-the meteor-the deceiverSo shows the land and spreads, the chart; Still, spite of sorrow-wisdom-yearsSo wings the wishes of the soul,

And those, Fate's sternest warners, tearsAnd colors, while we seek, the goal !

Sull clings my yearning heart unto thee,

Still knows no wish like those which woo How holy woman's youth-while yet

thee, Its rose with life's first dew is wet Still in some living form essays While hope most pure is least confess'd, To clasp the bright cloud it portrays ;And all the virgin in the breast!

And still as one who waits beside, O'er her wbite brow, wherein the blue But may not ford, the faithless tide

Transparent vein seem'd proud to bear It wears its own brief life away“ The warm thoughts of her heart-unto It marks the shining waters stray

The soul so nobly palaced there! Courts every change that glads the riverO'er her white brow were richly braided And finds that change it pines for-never!

And man,


Nadam Duvel, the wife of an emi- and he relates the circumstances atnent Parisian citizen, had the mis- tending his visit as follows :fortune to lose her only daughter, “On my arrival, I found the proin consequence of the unhappy pre- prietor engaged in conversation with judice which she had conceived two gentlemen who had stepped in against inoculation. She shed tears a few minutes before me. One of of poignant grief and unavailing re- them asked for a tombstone for a gret over the corpse of her beloved middle-aged gentleman, lately dechild. Being herself unable to give ceased.

* Please to follow me,' directions for the interment of the said the proprietor, who either did youthful victim, Madam Duvel re- not observe me, or was desirous to quested a tried friend of the family display the splendor of his establishito undertake this duty, and gave di- ment before a stranger, “I'll conrections for a marble monument to duct you into the Gentleman's Rebe erected in memory of the de- pository; there you will find what ceased, with an inscription, decla- you are in want of.' We entered ratory of the cause of her early into a large saloon, crowded with death, that it might serve as a useful tombstones of various descriptions, warning to parents laboring under to each of which an explanatory the influence of prejudices similar ticket was attached. Was the deto her own. This friend, desirous ceased married ?' said the proprieof executing the wishes of Madam tor. He was,' was the reply : 'he Duvel, hastened to the Tombstone has left a widow inconsolable for Repository established in Paris; his loss. Very good,' answered

53 ATHENEUM, vol. 5, 3d series.


the man ; "here stand the married leave a small space, for any peco

· He has also left several liar virtues which the survivors may children.' * Children so he had wish to immortalize, and these are a family ; that alters the case-the paid for, so much a letter.' During family men are all on the other our conversation, the gentlemen side;' and so saying, he led us to had selected two inscriptions, which another part, to view several monu- appeared to meet their wishes——the ments of various sizes. During the one on marble, the other on common time his workmen were employed stone. The proprietor complimentin placing them in the proper light, ed them on their taste, and demandthat we might more easily read the ed for the marble slab, the beauty inscriptions, I addressed the propri- and whiteness of which he highly etor, and complimented him upon extolled, five hundred francs, and the order which was visible in his for the one in stone one hundred establishment. “I find it answer and fifty francs, exclusive of the letexceedingly well,' replied he ;'com- ters, which cost one franc each. missions of this description must be The strangers were probably only executed with the utmost despatch ; distant relatives of the deceased, as I have often experienced the un- they considered the price excessivepleasant consequences of delay in ly high. I never overcharge,' these cases. A monument is gene- said the proprietor, who observed rally bespoken by weeping eyes, that the monuments were too dear and epitaphs by broken hearts ; but for the purchasers, and endeavored it is by no means an unfrequent to direct their attention to some of case, that on delivery, the price less value. “A marble slab with agreed upon is disputed, the small- gold letters is certainly very pretty,' est fault in the execution made a continued he ; at the same time, pretence for wrangling and making splendor is no criterion of the sindeductions ; and several times I cerity of grief'; a modest token of have even been under the disagree- remembrance in common stone anable necessity of keeping eulogiums swers the purpose equally well. on deceased persons for my own ac- This for instance is smaller than the count, the heirs having begun to dis- others, and would probably suit; cover that they had been rather the epitaph is pithy and pretty-To premature in their panegyrics. In the best of fathers and tenderest of order to obviate these inconveni- husbands. The letters are large ences, I have adopted the plan of and distinct ; one may read the epihaving ready-made monuments, fur- taph at full gallop.'. You are in nished with inscriptions for every the right,' replied the purchaser ; imaginable virtue, and to meet all but these very letters form an obpossible family circumstances. I stacle. The number of them, to have loving husbands and excellent which the name of the deceased fathers, at all prices, sincere friends must be added, nearly doubles the of all sizes, dutiful children in gold price of the stone. As executors of and black letters, virtuous mothers the will of our departed friend, and in common stone, and faithful wives taking a great interest also in the in marble ; with or without orna- welfare of his widow and children, ments, according to the taste of the we should be glad to hit upon somemourners. I am happy to say my thing which would at once combine Repository is choicely stocked, and our regard for the dead with the I am able to serve all customers economy due to the living. It agreeably to their wishes. I take appears to me,' said his companion, care to leave a blank for the chris- ' that we might very well leave out tian and surname, as well as for the one of the lines descriptive of the rank and titles, which may have en- virtues of the departed, as they are nobled the defunct. At the foot I far too long. To the best of fathers

appears to me somewhat assuming ; sorts—there was not one that could and one must confess that love to not boast of at least half-a-dozen his children was not a predominant qualities; the words Fidelity, Tenvirtue in our poor friend—the want derness, Affection, Wisdom, Modesty, of education which his sons evince c. were everywhere eminently conis a sufficient proof; and an exces- spicuous. The proprietor remarksive panegyric on this score would ed, very judiciously, that it is true appear like a stinging epigram,' we do not always find all these vir• You are quite right, replied his tues united in real life, but the companion ; and I was just about group looks vastly pretty on a mon10 propose to leave out the words, ument, and reads so smoothly. The to the tenderest of husbands ; for be- stranger looked around him with a tween ourselves, our poor friend dissatisfied air : none of the inscripwas not distinguished for his conju- tions did justice to the wife he had gal virtues, as the hourly disputes had the misfortụne to lose. At last with his wife, and the circumstance the proprietor pointed out to him a that the deed of separation was al- slab just finishing, upon which the ready drawn out, sufficiently proved. list of every imaginable virtue apThere must be no lie in an epitaph.' peared to be exhausted. The pur"Why did you not say so at first ?' chaser was in ecstacies. . Please interrupted the proprietor, peevish- add to this,' said he, 'the words, ly; 'in yonder corner stands exact- from her inconsolable husband, and Jy what you want — just look. send in the slab this evening, that I Here lies (the space for the name is may find it on my return from the open); he was an inoffensive husband, Opera. I am going to-morrow into and a well-meaning man.„"'Pon my the country, to a fète champétre, and honor, it is hardly possible to write I should like before I go to see how less over the grave of any poor de- my wife's monument looks, and if it vil.' After debating a long time on will be likely to take.' So saying, the choice of the letters which were he paid the sum demanded, and took to perpetuate the name and titles of his leave. Being now left with the the deceased, they finally agreed proprietor, I communicated to him that the former should be one, and the occasion of my visit. the latter two inches long. The fessed that he had no monument of price was fixed at a hundred francs, the sort ready made; but having and the proprietor conducted them read the desired inscription which to the door, observing on his return, put into his hand, exclaimed Rethat an order like that was not worth ally this idea of Madam Duvel's is the trouble and time he had expend- most excellent, and deserves to be ed. He had hardly concluded, held up as a model. If we were to when a gentleman, apparently about write on the monuments of all defifty years of age, stepped out of a ceased persons the causes of their splendid carriage and entered the deaths, they would serve as awful Repository. I followed him into warnings to the living, and inculcate the Ladies' Saloon. Here I found the necessity of those precautions the same regularity and order, and which we are too apt to neglect; far more elegance; the monuments and,' added he, smiling, 'the epiwere ornamented with uncommon taphs would be so much the longer, taste, and loaded with virtues of all and pay the better !'

He con


HAVING passed a considerable part land, and having been detained of the summer in a tour among the there till the end of September by lakes of Cumberland and Westmore- the fascinations of the beautiful and


romantic scenery in their neigh- tions, and transient sorrows,-that borhood, I resolved ou passing the happy period, month of October at Harrowgate, The April of existence, when the eye which I reached in the morning of is bright, and unacquainted with a tear, a most lovely autumnal day ; I pro- Save such as Hope can in an instant dry. ceeded to the principal hotel or We entered the hotel together, boarding-house, and, having secur- and at the dinner table we were, ed my bed-room, and made a few according to rule, placed next to necessary arrangements, I set out each other. The

company for the Wells, intending to join the numerous, and, as is usual, afforded party at the table d'hôte, at the usu, infinite variety, consisting of some al dinner hour. On my return I beautiful girls and fine young men, perceived at the door of the hotel a with the accustomed number of handsome barouche and four, from grey or bald-headed old gentlemen, which servants were taking the lug- ancient maidens, comely wives, gage, and, on my nearer approach, dashing widows, and rouged and I recognised, in a gentleman who flaxen-wigged dowagers, with a was just descending from it, an old large proportion of quizzes and school-fellow, with whom I had for nondescripts. Exactly opposite to the last few years revived our an- Sir William and myself were placed cient friendship. Sir William Ether- two ladies : the elder, who seemed ington was, when I first knew him, to be about fifty, had nothing rethe second son of a baronet of an- markable in her appearance; she cient family, but small estate ; and, was fat, and had a good-humored having remained at the school at countenance : the other lady (her which we were together till he was friend) might be about thirty ; she sixteen, he was, through the inter- was extremely handsome, and fineest of a friend, presented with a ly formed ; and her majestic figure writership, and went to India, where and noble cast of countenance were he was eminently successful, and shown to advantage by her becomhad already amassed a very consi- ing, though singular, attire, which derable fortune, when the death was a flowing dress of black crape, of his father and elder brother, with- embroidered round the edge with in a few days of each other, recall- branches of cypress. On her hair, ed him, at the age of fifty, to take which was beautiful and braided possession of the title and estate ; across her forehead, was placed a but he had brought back a ruined black veil, similar to that worn by constitution, an enervated mind, nuns, which was suffered to flow and depressed spirits ; so that when, down on each side till it nearly some few years previous to the pe- reached the ground. A chain of riod of which I am now writing, I jet, to which was affixed a locket met him at Bath, I had difficulty to containing hair, was passed round trace, in the peevish, emaciated, her neck, and bracelets of the same and melancholy invalid, the slight- material completed her dress. Af est vestige of the laughing, joyous, ter having been seated for a few and animated boy, who had shared minutes at diriner, I perceived her my school pleasures, and sympa- to fix her eyes intently on Sir Wilthised in my juvenile distresses. liam, and exhibit signs of the most Since this meeting we had frequent- alarming agitation; she took out ly met, and occasionally correspond- her essence bottle, called for water, ed, and I was glad now to see him, and appeared to make every effort for, however altered by time, we to recover herself, and at length naturally feel a sort of regard for whispered to her friend, who seemthose who have been the chosen ed anxiously to persuade her to companions of that jocund season endeavor to remain at table. Sir of gay feelings, delightful anticipa- William, who could not avoid no

ticing her distress, recommended a found an opportunity to ask some of glass of wine rather than water, the party who these ladies were, and requested the honor of taking and was informed that the younger some with her ; at the sound of his was a Mrs. Morton, the widow of voice she started, trembled, and, an officer, that she was much adafter apparently making a violent mired by the gentlemen, but was effort to conquer her feelings, burst not at all a favorite with the ladies ; into tears, and, accompanied by her that she had been seen a great deal friend, quitted the room.

at public places, and had received “ This,” said I, “is very extra- particular attentions from several ordinary ; the illness of the lady gentlemen, but seldom any of a seappeared to be partly occasioned by rious nature, which was not wonthe sight of you, Sir William : have derful, as my informant added that you ever met before ?”—“Never she appeared to have a great turn in my life, to my knowledge,” said for expense, and was supposed to he, « but I do not care how soon be in possession of only a slender we meet again : she is a beautiful income ; her singularity in still concreature, and I feel curious to know tinuing to wear the colors and the the occasion of this attack, which, emblems of woe, while her dress exas you say, did seem to be brought hibited proofs of the most fantastic on by looking at me.”

vanity, had been much ridiculed, Atter sitting the usual time at and the reality of her deeply-seated our wine, we adjourned to the grief for the loss of her husband drawing-room, where all the ladies was much doubted, especially by and several of the gentlemen were those of her own sex. The other assembled, and, perceiving our fair lady was a Mrs. Sims, her aunt and invalid and her friend on a sofa to- constant companion everywhere ; gether, we approached them and she was the constant puffer and fatinquired after the health of the terer also of her fair niece, and they former ; she thanked us in a music appeared to be well known in all cal voice, and with a sweet smile places which were the resort of the professed herself much better, and, gay and the idle. atter a little general conversation, In the course of the day, however, I entered into talk with her on the I noticed that Sir William was a subject of the Lakes, which I told constant attendant on the fair wiher I had just left, and which she dow, his whimsicalities and his comprofessed her intention of visiting in plaints seemed forgotten while he the course of the following summer. was conversing with her, and, havSir William and the friend were in ing, before a week was completed, the meantime deeply engaged in a heard him, at her suggestion, gravely conversation, the whole of which I propose mounting the coach-box, was prevented from hearing, by the and driving her himself in his basound of so many other voices near rouche to visit some of the neighborus, but I could occasionally catch a ing villages, I became really uneasy, few words from the lady, such as and seizing the opportunity at an “a charming woman-variety of hour in which I knew the ladies offers—but so devoted—can never were otherwise engaged, I invited expect such happiness again-me- him to take a walk with me, to mory-refinement--luxury of grief,” which he consented very readily. &c. &c. &c., to which my friend, When we had proceeded a litle way, Sir William, replied in short sen “ Pray,” said I,“ how is it that you tences, such as “Indeed !-very and I are almost strangers ? I do not true – really ! - very uncommon, think I have had an hour's converindeed ! -so little of that feeling in sation with you since the first day these days,” &c. &c. &c.

that you came here. Have the In the course of the evening I charms of the beautiful widow entire

« НазадПродовжити »