Page images


Such is my state-so full of grief and care!
Yet one sole object lightens my despair,

On this lone bosom but one gentle rill,
Though bitter, may its healing waters pour,
One hand alone that gave the wound can heal,
And save me from a sea that knows no shore.
Daily I die a thousand deaths, to know

That every coming day adds woe to woe.'


'Hours, days, months, years, in one dark tideless flow
Pass on, and who can tell what follows! Tear
The painted veil, called life, nor longer bear
This pilgrim load, this weight of wrong and woe.
Look at me!-on these dim sunk eyes, this hair

Grown thin and grey before my time, this brow,
Where things thou dream'st not of have driven their share
Indelibly. Time has a deep-turrowing plough.
It was the mark of Cain: like him I wear
A charmed life, and cannot die. Yet go-
Whither? To bliss-or bane eternal?


Is the calamity that makes me cling to
These weeds of flesh, still clasp in my despair
The fiends that gnaw me :-all reap that they sow.'


'Talk not of racks, or beds of steel,*
Or arrowst in the side,

Or what the drowning wretch must feel
Who wrestles with the tide.

What are those ills to mine-for I
Loathe life, and yet I cannot die!

'I saw a victim of despair

Stand in the lamp-lit street,
And nakedness and hunger there
Had met as lovers meet;
I envied, as I passed him by,
For I loathe life, yet fear to die!

'I saw a dungeon-peopled place,
And at the gate a crowd,

Who mocked the convict's livid face
With scoffs, and laughter loud;
I envied even him, for I

Loathe life, and yet I dread to die!

'I saw a house enwrapt in flame,

That from the windows broke;
I heard a shriek, and whence it came
Descried amid the smoke!

I envied e'en that wretch, for I
Loathe life, and yet I cannot die!

[blocks in formation]

'They have forbidden our interviews-shut the convent door!

'Five o'clock, and not a line, not even a flower. The last she sent is withered like my heart. Oh! I conjure you, Bianca, write to me. Tell me that you love me still, that no earthly power shall sunder us. Another day like this must be my last.'

'A second day, and we have not met. I cannot live without you; you are become a portion of myself. I have been wandering about the spot where we plighted our faith, sealed by that kiss that still vibrates through my frame. Have you forgotten it, that you do not write to me? O Bianca, but one line-in pity, one word. Relieve me from doubts, from agonies worse than death. Can you doubt me? Can you think that you are not dearer to me than life; that I am not eternally yours! Oh! I will make you my idol; will devote to you all my thoughts, feelings, affections. You shall have no wish that is not mine. Were we not attracted to each other by a mutual sympathy? Was it not destiny that brought us together? And now, oh! if you knew what a miserable life has been mine, you would pity me. And to be again doomed to that solitude of the spirit,-to be again condemned to the torture of my own thoughts. If you could imagine what I have suffered, in what a sea of reveries I have been lost! What are we?' I have said to myself. 'Have we pre-existed? Shall we exist again?' The desire of proving the mysteries of our nature, of sounding infini tude, that barrier where all our vain systems end: all this I have felt, and must feel again, if you forsake me. On every side gape preci pices, a gulf between me and heaven. See to what abstraction has brought me!-to anatomise my mind, to dissect it nerve by nerve, to count my sufferings, to contemplate them as in a mirror, to entertain but one desolating idea that we can know nothing,-that we are nothing;-to have enjoyed paradise, and then to be driven from it. O Bianca, Bianca! on my knees I pray you to trust your destiny to my


"Miserable, the most wretched of human beings, tormented with doubts, distracted by fears, sometimes I think she does not love me; and then again I fear to have lost her for ever. A sense of calamity oppresses me. My eyes are without sleep; yet have I waking dreams worse than those of sleep. Sometimes I see her pale, dishevelled, lifeless, and, oh! horrible! in the arms of another, her whose heart has throbbed in unison with mine,-whose soul has intermingled with my own. Oh! agony! If you do not think of me, think of yourself, Bianca, what you will feel when you hear that you have destroyed


'Another wretched night. My reason totters. I have been wandering, not knowing where. The moon was at her full, and my eyes sought the grave where all my happiness lies buried. Death is light, compared to the darkness of my soul. What is death, after all, but a deliverance of the galley-slave from the chain he calls life. Welcome! welcome! thou pale phantom!'

I have not sufficient data for tracing the progress of Sydney's passion, or how far it was crowned with success; for Bianca, the charac ter which Shakspeare has drawn of Cressid is not inapplicable

'Her very foot spake,

Her wanton spirits looked out

At every creek and corner of her body.'

So loose was the discipline of the convent, that I have reason to know that Sydney was frequently closeted with the fair pensionnaire. A plan, too, was organized for contriving Bianca's escape. Such a step would have involved all the parties concerned in the most serious consequences. This the Professor knew, and therefore successfully counteracted its execution. Indeed, it was by the power that, as her confessor, he had acquired over her mind, that he persuaded her to break the engagement by which she had bound herself to Sydney. No earthly power should have induced her to sacrifice herself to another. The person who was selected for her husband was, I am told, every way incapable of engaging the affections of one so highly en dowed. He conducted her to the Mahremwas, where his estate lay, and which to a Florentine may be considered as an exile to Siberia. To pride of birth the Governor added an excessive bigotry, and Sydney's proposal was contemptuously spurned. The knowledge of the intimacy that subsisted between the lovers hastened the evil, which ended in the misery of one, the madness and death of the other.

The part which Torriagni played in the whole of this drama, that led to so fatal a termination, was precisely what might have been expected from him. To break two young hearts must have been to him a delight such as fiends enjoy. He showed that his na me, The Devil of Florence, was not wrongly given. I at times feel some compunctious visitings when I think that I was the innocent cause of hastening this catastrophe, by suggesting the remedy, which I firmly believed was the only one that could have saved Sydney from becoming a prey to that gloomy abstraction, into which he was fast plunging, as into a gulf. It may indeed be said, one deep called upon another. May his spirit be absorbed into that which gave it—

'The bosom of his father and his god!'



On Father Maher's opposition at Carlow election to Colonel Bruen.

The reverend priest, strong sentiment pursuing,
Showed he thought,' mischief to his cause was-Brewing!'
On Discord's race-course he ne'er cried 'for-Bear !

Hence in the field the Bruen beat the Maher!

The poll proved Bruen of true' Polar' race,

Quick climbed the head o' the poll,' and held his place!


In one of the loveliest valleys of the west of England stands a small town called Greystone, a corruption (according to the antiquaries of the place) of its original name of Gravestone. Near the market-place, not far from the town-hall, and at the corner of a street (the name of which we are not permitted to reveal) dwelt a Mr. Simon Raven, undertaker to this profession Mr. Raven had formerly added those of auctioneer and appraiser; but, whether the two latter branches brought him but small profits, or that his genius lay exclusively in the former, we know not. Certain it is, that at the time of which we write Mr. Raven was only an undertaker, but to that he enthusiastically devoted himself mind and body.

Every morning his spouse, Mrs. Raven, might be seen (dressed in a black velvet cloak) leaving her home with the charitable intention of visiting the sick. In the art of closing the eyes of the dying, and rendering them the last sad offices, she had by long practice acquired a wonderful address. Her appearance in a house was almost a sure sign of approaching death, and some of her neighbours were uncharitable enough to say that she had been known to occupy herself with the funeral preparations even before the breath was out of the body.

All the happiness of this thrifty couple (happiness partaking, however, of their moody temperament) was centered in an only daughter, Miss Niobe Raven, who also shared the gloomy labours of her parents. Her greatest delight was in reading. She delighted in the solemn pages of Sherlock Hervey, and Dr. Dodd ; sometimes, to give a little varity to her recreations, she tried the poets. It is unnecessary to add that Young's Night Thoughts' and Blair's Grave,' were preferred to all others. In music, she had a great predilection for The Dead March in Saul,' and the bell tolling for a funeral had for her a silvery sound. But to the cause of these melancholy tastes.

[ocr errors]

For some years past (we will not say how many) Miss Niobe had been of age, yet she still remained in the sorrowful state of single. blessedness. For many years she had hoped to establish herself in matrimonial life with some swain of her native town or the neighbouring parishes, or, indeed, of any other, for the fact is, she was not particular as to where he came from, so that he did come. But, alas! no one had pre-ented himself,-and this tender cypress found no prop to support her.

Several years had elapsed, as we have been credibly imformed, since young Roots, (the son of a market gardener at the end of the town,) thinking that Mr. Raven had gathered a more profitable harvest from the churchyard than his father was ever likely to do from his garden, had intended to pay court to Miss Raven; but, too discreet a lover, he had only proceeded as far as a few tender glances.

Strop, the barber, too, the most punctual, as well as the most busy man in the town, had been known to spare a few minutes in his rounds to address a compliment to Miss Raven; but latterly he had been heard to declare that he never had the slightest intention of converting Miss Raven into Mrs. Strop.

Things were in this state when Miss Niobe arranged a plan to put

an end to her state of desolation. She had tried in vain to gain a husband by assuming a gentleness of manner; and she was now determined to act with decision.

Exactly opposite to the house of Mr. Raven lived a Mr. Narcissus Nonpareil, draper. This Mr. Narcissus Nonpareil, unlike the usual measurers of cloth, had an aspiring mind. No tradesman in the town carried his head so high, nor had any better reason to do so, for his stature was only four feet four. He might be seen every morning standing at his shop-door, rubbing alternately his hands and his chin while inhaling the morning air,-for tyrant custom, as in most small towns, confined him all day to the shop. Miss Niobe had seen and marked him for her own.' Mr. Nonpareil had retired to his parlour one evening after the cares of the day, when a shopman entered. 'Any one waiting, Mr. Smith ?'

'No, sir, Mr. Stoat's clerk has just left this letter, and has since over to Mr. Raven's.'

Wondering what Stoat, the lawyer, could have to write to him about, Nonpareil opened the letter, and read as follows:

'SIR,-1 am instructed by my client, Mr. Simon Raven, to inform you that if you any longer refuse to fulfil the engagement contracted by you with Miss Raven, legal proceedings will be forthwith com. menced against you. 'I am, sir, your obedient servant,

'To Mr. Narcissus Nonpareil, &c.'


It is not necessary to paint the surprise into which this singular epistle threw our friend, the draper: he read it over more than once; but that only plunged him deeper into conjectures as to its meaning. 'What engagements had he contracted with Miss Raven that Stoat could call upon him to full? What proceedings were to be taken against him for the accomplishment of a contract he had never heard of before? It must surely be some pleasantry between Mr. Raven and Mr. Stoat,' thought he. But Mr. Raven was not a man given to joking, and Mr. Stoat was anything but a pleasant man. 'I have never,' said Nonpareil, (rising from his chair with dignity,) never by word or thought injured Miss Raven, in fact, never thought about her.' Having said this, and being convinced of his own innocence, he took his hat, and went out. 'I must see Stoat immediately,' said he, and learn the meaning of this letter.' Saying which, he proceeded to the lawyer's house.

'Good evening, Mr. Stoat,' said Nonpareil, entering the office, in which he found the man of law busily occupied in writing; and presenting the letter he had received, asked the meaning of it. 'If it be a joke, it is one that will not make you the richer, I suspect.'

'A joke-you may call it a joke if you please. Mr. Nonpareil, though I am sorry to find you treat so serious an affair in this manner; but I would rather see your lawyer about it. We shall be better able to come to an understanding.'

"Understanding-about what? I do not understand a syllable of all this. What do you mean?'

Nothing more, Mr. Nonpareil, than this,-that we have the most conclusive evidence, the most efficient witnesses, that you have proceeded too far in your attentions towards Miss Raven to draw back now without subjecting yourself to very heavy damages.'

« PreviousContinue »