Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

Equal awhile; then one was left behind, Confused as bees appear about their hive, And for a moment had her chance resign'd, Yet all alert to keep their work alive. When, in that moment, np a sail they drew- Here, unobserved as weed upon the wave, Not used before--their rivals to pursue. My whole attention to the scene ! gave; Strong was the gale! in hurry now there came I saw their tasks, their toil, their care, Men from the town, their thoughts, their

their skill, fears the same; Led by their own and by a master-will; And women too! affrighted maids and wives, And though contending, toiling, tugging on, All deeply feeling for their sailors' lives. The purposed business of the day was done. The strife continued; in a glass we saw The open shops of craftsmen caught my eye, The desperate efforts, and we stood in awe, And there my questions met the kind reply: When the last boat shot suddenly before, Men, when alone, will teach ; but, in a crowd, Then fillid, and sank—and could be scen no The child is silent, or the man is proud;

more!

But, by themselves, there is attention paid Then were those piercing shrieks, that To a mild boy, so forward, yet afraid.

frantic flight, I made me interest at the inn's fire-side, All hurricd! all in tumult and allright! Amid the scenes to bolder boys denied ; A gathering crowd from different streets For I had patrons there, and I was one,

drew near,

They judged, who noticed nothing that was All ask, all answer-none attend, none hear!

done. One boat is safe; and see! she backs her sail|'A quiet lad!' would my protector say; To save the sinking-Will her care avail ? “To him, now, this is better than his play: 0! how impatient on the sands we tread, Boys are as men ; some active, shrewd, and And the winds roaring, and the women led,

keen, As up and down they pace with frantic air, They look about if aught is to be seen ; And scorn a comforter, and will despair; And some, like Richard here, have not a mind They know not who in either boat is gone, That takes a notice, but the lad is kind.' But think the father, husband, lover, one. And who is she apart? She dares not come To join the crowd, yet cannot rest at home: I loved in summer on the heath to walk, With what strong interest looks she at the And seek the whepherd — shepherds love to

talk: Meeting and clashing o'er the seamen's graves: His superstition was of ranker kind, "T'is a poor girl betroth’d-a few hours more, And he with tales of wonder stored my mind; And he will lie a corpse upon the shore. Wonders that he in many a lonely eve

Had seen, himself,and therefore must believe.

His boy, his Joe, he said, from duty ran, Strange, that a boy could love thene scenes, Took to the sea, and grew a fearless man:

On yonder knoll—the sheep were in the foldIn very pity—but that boy was I.

His spirit past me, shivering-like and cold ! With pain my mother would my tales receive, I felt a fluttering, but I knew not how, And say, “my Richard , do not learn to grieve.' And heard him utter, like a whisper, ‘now!

Soon came a letter from a friend - to tell

That he had fallen, and the time he fell.' One wretched hour had part before we knew Whom they had saved! Alas! they were

but two,

Even to the smugglers' hut the rocks beAn orphan’d lad and widow'd man--no more!

tween, And they unnoticed stood upon the shore, I have, adventurous in my wandering, been: With scarce a friend to greci them-widows Poor, pious Martha served the lawless tribe,

view'd

And could their merits and their faults This man and boy, and then their crics

describe; renew'd :

Adding her thoughts; I talk,my child to you, 'Twas long before the signs of woe gave place Who little think of what such wretches do.' To joy again; grief sat on every face.

I loved to walk where none had walk'd before, Sure of my mother's kindness, and the joy About the rocks that ran along the shore; She felt in meeting her rebellious boy, Or far beyond the sight of men to stray, I at my pleasure our new seat forsook, And take my pleasure when I lost my way; And, indirected, these excursions took : For then 'twas mine to trace the billy heath, I often rambled to the noisy quay, And all the mossy moor that lies beneath : Strange sounds to hear, and business strange Here had I favourite stations, where I stood

And heard the murmurs of the occan-flood, Seamen and carmen, and I know not who, With not a sound beside, except when flew A lewd, amphibious, rude,contentious crew- Aloft the lapwing, or the gray curlew,

to me;

• and cry

Who with wild notes my fancied power defied, Lord of some petty craft, by night and day, And moch'd the dreams of solitary pride. The man had fish'd each fathom of the bay. I loved to stop at every creek and bay My friend the matron woo'd me, quickly won, Vade by the river in its winding way,

To fill the station of an absent son ; And call to memory-not by marks they barc, (Him whom at school I knew, and Peter Bat by the thoughts that were created there.

known, Pleasant it was to view the sea-gulls strive I took his home and mother for my own:) Against the storm, or in the ocean dive, I read, and doubly was I paid to hear With eager scream, or when they dropping Events that fell upon no listless ear:

gave

She grieved to say her parents could neglect Their closing wings to sail upon the wave: Her education !— 'twas a sore defect; Then as the winds and waters raged around, She, who had ever such a vast delight And breaking billows mix'd their deafening To learn, and now could neither read nor sound,

write: They on the rolling deep securely hung, But hear she could, and from our stores I took, And calmly rode the restless waves among. Librarian meet! at her desire, our book. Nor pleased it lesk around me to behold, Full twenty volumies—I would not exceed Far up the beach, the yesty ảea-foam rolld; The modest truth-were there for me to read; Or from the shore upborn, to see on high, These a long shelf contain’d, and they were Its frothy flakes in wild confusion fly:

found While the salt spray that clashing billows Books truly speaking, volumes fairly bound;

form,

The rest,-for some of other kinds remain'd, Gave to the taste a feeling of the storm. And these a board beneath the shelf conThus, with my favourite vicws, for many

tain'd,an bour

Ilad their deficiencies in part; they lack'd Have I indulged the dreams of princely One side or both, or were no longer back'd ;

power;

But now became degraded from their place, When the mind, wearied by excursions bold, And were but pamphlets of a bulkjer race. The fancy jaded, and the bosom cold, Yet had we pamphlets, an inviting store, Or when those wants, that will on kings From sixpence downwards—nay, a part were intrude,

more; Or evening-fears, broke in on solitude; Learning abundance, and the various kinds When I no more my fancy could employ, For relaxation-food for different minds ; I left in haste what I could not enjoy, A piece of Wingate—thanks for all we haveAnd was my gentle mother's welcome boy. What we of figures needed, fully gave;

Culpepper, new in numbers, cost but thrice

The ancient volume's unassuming price, But now thy walk,-this soft autumnal gloom But told what planet o'er each herb had kids no delay-at night I will resume

power, My subject, showing, not how I improved And how to take it in the lucky hour. In my strange school, but what the things History we had-wars, trensons, treaties,– I loved,

crimes, My first-born friendships, ties by forms From Julius Caesar to the present times;

uncheck'd,

Questions and answers, teaching what to ask And all that boys acquire whoin men neglect. And what reply,--a kind, laborious task ;

A scholar's book it was, wbo, giving, swore It held the whole he wish'd to know, and And we had poets, hymns and songs divine;

The most we read not, but allow'd them fine: BOOK V.

Our tracts were many,on the boldest themes

We had our metaphysics, spirits, dreams, R UT II.

Visions and warnings, and portentous rights

Seen, though but dimly, in the doleful nights, RICHARD would wait till George the tale When the good wife her wintry vigil keeps,

should ask,

And thinks alone of him at sca, and weeps. Sor waited long-He then resumed the task. Add to all these our works in single sheets,

That our Cassandras sing about the streets :

These, as I read, the grave good man would Sauth in the port, and eastward in the street

say, Rose a small dwelling, my beloved retreat, Nay, Ilannah!' and she answer'd, What Where lived a pair,then old; the sons had fed

is Nay ? The home they fillid: a part of them were What is there, pray, so hurtful in a song?

dead;

It is our fancy only makes it wrong; Married a part; while some at sea remain’d, His parer mind no evil thonghts alarm, And stillness in the scaman's mansion reign'd; And innocence protects him like a charm.'

more,

had past,

Then would the matron, when the song | For he had truth with love, but love in

youth And her laugh over, ask an hymn at last; Does wrong, that cannot be repair’d by truth. To the coarse jest she would attention lend, And to the pious psalm in reverence bend : She gave her every power and all her mind “Ruth-I may tell, too oft had she been toldAs chance directed, or as taste inclined. Was tall and fair, and comely to behold, More of our learning I will now omit, Gentle and simple, in her native place We had our Cyclopaedias of Wit,

Not one compared with her in form or face ; And all our works, rare fate, were to our She was not merry, but she gave our hearth

genius fit.

A cheerful spirit that was more than mirth.

There was a sailor-boy, and people said When I had read, and we were weary grown. But not in this for he was ever glad,

lle

was, as man, a likeness of the maid ; Of other minds, the dame disclosed her own. While Ruth was apprehensive, mild, and sad; And long have I in pleasing terror stay'd To hear of boys tropann'd,and girls betray'd; A quiet spirit hers, and peace would seek Ashamed so long to stay, and yet to go afraid? In meditation : tender, mild, and meek! I could perceive, though Hannah bore full Her loved the lad most truly; and, in truth,

well

She took an early liking to the youth: The ills of life, that few with her would dwell, To her alone were his attentions paid, But pass away, like shadows o'er the plain and they became the bachelor and maid. From flying clouds, and leave it fair again;

He wish’d to marry, but so prudent we Still every evil, be it great or small,

And worldly wise, we said it could not be: Would one past sorrow to the mind recal, They took the counsel,--may be they apThe grand disease of life, to which she turns,

proved— And common cares and lighter suffering But still they grieved and waited, hoped

and loved. spurns. 0! these are nothing,—they will never heed Such idle contests who have fought indeed, “Now, my young friend, when of such state And have the wounds unclosed,' I under

I speak stood My hint to speak, and my design pursued, You know not, Richard, where the danger

As one of danger, you will be to seek ; Curions the secret of that heart to find,

lies To mirth, to song, to laughter loud inclined, In loving hearts, kind words, and speaking And yet to bear and feel a weight of grief behind :

eyes; How does she thus her little sunshine throw As plainly, love, as you can read your books.

For lovers speak their wishes with their looks Always before her? - I should like to know. Then, too, the meetings and the partings, all My friend perceived and would no longer hide The playful quarrels in which lovers fall

, The boson's sorrow_Could she not confide Serve to one end-each lover is a child, In one who wept, unhurt-in one who felt, Quick to resent and to be reconciled ;

untried?
And then their peace brings kindness that

remains, “Dear child, I show you sins and sufferings And so the lover from the qnarrel gains :

strange,

When he has fault that she reproves, his fear like Adam, must for knowledge And grief assure her she was too severe, change

And that brings kindness – when he bears That blissful ignorance : remember, then,

an ill, What now you feel should be a check on men; Or disappointment, and is calm and still, For then your passions no debate allow, She feels his own obedient to her will, And therefore lay up resolution now. And that brings kindness—and what kind "Tis not enough, that when you can persuade

ness brings A maid to love, you know there's promise I cannot tell you :—these were trying things.

made ;

They were as children, and they fell at length; 'Tis not enough, that you design to keep The trial, doubtless, is beyond their strength That promise made, nor leave your lass to Whom grace supports not; and will grace weep:

support But you must guard yourself against the sin, The too confiding, who their danger court? And think it such to draw the party in ; Then they would marry,

but were now Nay, the more weak and easy to be won,

too late, The viler you who have the mischief done. All could their fault in sport or malice state; I am not angry, love; but inen should know And though the day was fix'd, and now They cannot always pay the debt they owe

drew on, Their plighted honour; they may cause the ill I could perceive my daughter's peace was They cannot lessen, though they feel a will;!

gone ;

But you,

name.

She could not bear the bold and laughing eye Sure, if they must upon our children seize, That gazed on her reproach she could They might prevent such injuries as these;

not fly;

Might hours — nay, days— in many a casc Her grief she would not show, her shame

allow, could not deny: And soften all the griefs we suffer now. For some with many virtues come to shame, Some laws, some orders might in part redress And some that lose them all preserve their The licensed insults of a British Press,

That keeps the honest and the brave in awe,

Where might is right, and violence is law. Fix'd was the day;but ere that day appear’d, Be not alarm’d, my child; there's none regard A frightful rumour through the place was What you and I conceive so crnel-hard:

heard ;

There is compassion, I believe; but still War, who had slept awhile,awaked once more, One wants the power to help,and one the will, And gangs came pressing till they swept the And so from war to war the wrongs remain,

shore :

While Reason pleads,and Misery sighs in vain. Our youth was seized and quickly sent away, Nor would the wretches for his marriage stay, But bore him off, in barbarous triumph bore, Thus my poor Ruth was wretched and And left us all our miseries to deplore:

undone, There were wives, maids, and mothers on Nor had an husband for her only son,

the beach,

Nor had he father; hope she did awhile, And some sad story appertain'd to each ; And would not weep, although she could Most sad to Ruth-to neither could she go!

not smile; But sat apart, and suffer'd matchless woe! Till news was brought us that the youth On the vile ship they turn'd their earnest view,

was slain, Not one last look allow'd, -not one adien! And then, I think, she never smiled again; They saw the men on deck, but none dis- Or if she did, it was but to express

tinctly knew. A feeling far, indeed, from happiness! And there she staid, regardless of each eye, Something that her bewilder'd mind conWith but one hope, a fervent hope to die:

ceived: Nor cared she now for kindness—all beheld When she inform’d us that she never grieved, Her, who invited none, and none repelld; But was right merry,then her head was wild, For there are griefs, my child, that suf- And grief had gain'd possession of my child :

ferers hide, Yet, though bewilder'd for a time, and prone And there are griefs that men display with To ramble much and speak aloud, alone ;

pride;

Yet did she all that duty ever ask'd But there are other griefs that, so we feel, And more, her will self-govern'd and untask'd: We care not to display them nor conceal: With meekness bearing all reproach, all joy Such were our sorrows on that fatal day, To her was lost; she wept upon her boy, More than our lives the spoilers tore away; Wish'd for his death, in fear that he might live Nor did we heed their insult—some distress New sorrow to a burden'd heart to give. No form or manner can make more or less, And this is of that kind - this misery of a

Press!

“There was a Teacher, where my husband They say such things must be – perhaps

wentthey must; Sent, as he told the people—what he meant But sure, they need not fright us and disgust; You cannot understand, but-he was sent: They need not soul-less crews of ruffians send This man from meeting came, and strove At once the ties of humble love to rend:

to win A single day had Thomas stay'd on shore Her mind to peace by drawing off the sin, He might have wedded,and we ask'd no more; Or what it was, that, working in her breast, And that stern man, who forced the lad away, Robb’d it of comfort, confidence, and rest: Might have attended and have graced the day; He came and reason'd, and she seem'd to feel His pride and honour might have been at rest, The pains he took-her griefs began to heal ; It is no stain to make a couple blest! She ever answer'd kindly when he spoke, Blest-no, alas! it was to ease the heart And always thank'd him for the pains he of one sore pang, and then to weep and part!

took; But this he would not.-English seamen fight So, after three long years, and all the while For England's gain and glory-it is right: Wrapt up in grief, she blest us with a smile, But will that public spirit be so strong, And spoke in comfort ; but she mix'd no more Fill'd, as it must be with their private wrong? With younger persons, as she did before. Forbid it. Honour! one in all the fleet Shonld hide in war, or from the foe retreat; But is it just, that he who so defends “Still Ruth was pretty; in her person neat ; His country's cause, should hide him from So thonght the Teacher, when they chanced her friends?

to meet :

He was a weaver by his worldly trade, Three days I give you : see that all be right But powerful work in the assemblies made ; On Monday - morning - this is ThursdayPeople came leagues to town to hear him sift |

nightThe holy text,- he had the grace and gist; Fulfil my wishes, girl! or else forsake my Widows and maidens flock'd to hear his voice;

sight!' Of either kind he might have had his choice;But he had chosen—we had seen how shy I see her now; and, she that was so meck, The girl was getting, my good man and 1; It was a chance that she had power to speak, That when the weaver came,she kept with us, Now spoke in earnest— «Father! I obey, Where he his points and doctrines might And will remember the appointed day!'

discuss; But in our bit of garden, or the room We call our parlour, there he must not come. “Then came the man : she talk'd with him She loved him not, and though she could attend

apart, To his discourses, as her guide and friend, But all in vain-she said to me, in tears,

And, I believe, laid open all her heart; Yet now to these she gave a listless ear,

Mother! that man is not what he appears: As if a friend she would no longer hear;

He talks of heaven, and let him, if he will, This might he take for woman's art, and cried, But he has earthly purpose to fulfil; Spouse of my heart, I must not be denied !'

Upon my knees I begg'd him to resign Fearless he spoke, and I had hope to see

The hand he asks-he said, 'it shall be mine: My girl a wife-but this was not to be.

What! did the holy men of Scripture deign
To hear a woman when she said “refrain?'

Of whom they chose they took them wives, “My husband, thinking of his worldly store,

and these And not, frail man, enduring to be poor, Made it their study and their wish to please ; Seeing his friend would for his child provide | The women then were faithful and afraid, And here, he grieved to have the man denied ; As Sarah Abraham, they their lords obey'd, For Ruth, when press’d, rejected him, and And so she styled him; 'tis in later days

grew

of foolish love that we our women praise', To her old sorrow, as if that were new. Fall on the knee, and raise the suppliant Who shall support her? said her father, how

hand, Can I, infirm and weak as I am now ? And court the favour thatwe might command.' And here a loving fool this gave her pain, O! my dear mother, when this man has power, Severe, indeed, but she would not complain; How will he treat me—first may beasts Nor would consent, although the weaver grew

devour ! More fond, and would the frightend girl |Or death in every form that I could prove,

pursue.

Except this selfish being's hateful love.'

I gently blamed her, for I knew how hard "O! much she begg'd him to forbear, to stand It is to force affection and regard. ller soul's kind friend and not to ask her hand: She could not love him. — Love me! he

replied,

"Ah! my dear lad, I talk to you as one The love you mean is love insanctified, Who knew the misery of an heart undone ; An earthly, wicked, sensual, sinful kind, You know it not; but,dearest boy, when man, A creature-love, the passion of the blind. Do not an ill because you find you can: Hedid not court her, he would have her know, Where is the triumph? when such things For that poor love that will on beauty grow;

men seek No! he would take her as the Prophet took They only drive to wickedness the weak. One of the harlots in the holy book ; And then he look'd so ugly and severe! And yet so fond-she could not hide her fear. “Weak was poor Ruth, and this good man

so hard,

That to her weakness he had no regard : " This fondness grew her torment; she But we had two days peace; he came and then

would fly, My daughter whisper'd :.Would there were In woman's terror, if he came but nigh;

no men! Nor could I wonder he should odious prove, None to admire or scorn us, none to ver So like a ghost that left a grave for love. A simple, trusting, fond, believing sex;

Who truly love the worth that men profess.

And think too kindly for their happiness." But still her father lent his cruel aid To the man's hope, and she was more afraid : Ile said, no more she should his table share, Poor Ruth! few heroines in the tragic page But be the parish or the Teacher's rare, Felt more than thee in thy contracted stage;

« НазадПродовжити »