Изображения страниц
[ocr errors]

the varied lovely scenes presented to the intelligent observer by the splendid breaking of a May-day morning. The eastern sky was streaked with all the magnificent shades of crimson, blue, and gold, so peculiar to "rosy May," and the brilliant morning star was shining as refulgently as if it had been created but that very hour. Every thing was hushed in calm repose, except the "merry lark," as Shakspeare calls her, which poised high in air, amid the fleecy, gold clouds, poured forth her matin hymn of praise and gratitude to the great Author of the Universe, or the wild, discordant cry of the heather-bleat from the adjacent morasses, or the irregular pattering of the large dew-drops, as they fell like globules of liquid silver from the stirless trees at either side of the road. The good priest was highly enraptured with the beauty of the scene, and rode on, now gazing intently at every surrounding object, and again cutting with his whip at the bats and big beautiful night-flies which flitted ever and anon from hedge to hedge across his lonely way. Thus engaged, he journeyed on slowly, until the nearer approach of sunrise began to render objects completely discernible, when he dismounted from his horse, and slipping his arm out in the rein, and drawing forth his "Breviary" from his pocket, he commenced reading his morning office" as he walked leisurely along.


He had not proceeded very far, when he observed his horse, a very spirited animal, endeavouring to stop on the road, and gazing intently into a field on one side of the way where there were three or four cows grazing. However, he did not pay any particular attention to this circumstance, but went on a little farther, when the horse suddenly plunged with great violence, and endeavoured to break away by force. The priest with great difficulty succeeded in restraining him, and, looking at him more closely, observed him shaking from head to foot, and sweating profusely. He now stood calmly, and refused to move from where he was, nor could threats or intreaty induce him to proceed. The Father was greatly astonished, but recollecting to have often heard of horses labouring under affright being induced to go by blindfolding them, he took out his handkerchief and tied it across his eyes. He then

mounted, and, striking him gently, he went forward without reluctance, but still sweating and trembling violently. They had not gone far, when they arrived opposite a narrow path or bridle-way, flanked at either side by a tall, thick hedge, which led from the high road to the field where the cows were grazing. The priest happened by chance to look into the lane, and saw a spectacle which made the blood curdle in his veins. It was the legs of a man from the hips downwards, without head or body, trotting up the avenue at a smart pace. The good father was very much alarmed, but, being a man of strong nerve, he resolved, come what might, to stand, and be further acquainted with this singular spectre. He accordingly stood, and so did the headless apparition, as if afraid to approach him. The priest, observing this, pulled back a little from the entrance of the avenue, and the phantom again resumed its progress. It soon arrived on the road, and the priest now had sufficient opportunity to view it minutely. It wore yellow buckskin breeches, tightly fastened at the knees with green ribbon; it had neither shoes nor stockings on, and its legs were covered with long, red hairs, and all full of wet, blood, and clay, apparently contracted in its progress through the thorny hedges. The priest, although very much alarmed, felt eager to examine the phantom, and for this purpose he determined to screw his courage to the sticking point, and to summon all his philosophy to enable him to speak to it. ghost was now a little a-head, pursuing its march at its usual brisk trot, and the priest urged on his horse speedily until he came up with it, and thus addressed it :

[ocr errors]


Hilloa, friend, who art thou, or whither art thou going so early?"

The hideous spectre made no reply, but uttered a fierce and superhuman growl or "umph."

"A fine morning for ghosts to wander abroad," again said the priest. Another "Umph" was the reply. "Why don't you speak ?" "Umph."

"You don't seem disposed to be very loquacious this morning." Umph" again.


The good man began to feel irritated the obstinate silence of his unearthly visitor, and said, with some warmth


"In the name of all that's sacred, I

command you to answer me, who art thou, or where art thou travelling?" Another " Umph" more loud and more angry than before was the only reply.


Perhaps," said the father, "a taste of whipcord might render you a little more communicative;" and so saying, be struck the apparition a heavy blow with his whip on the breech.

The phantom uttered a wild and unearthly yell, and fell forward on the road, and what was the priest's astonishment, when he perceived the whole place running over with milk. He was struck dumb with amazement; the prostrate phantom still continued to eject vast quantities of milk from every part; the priest's head swam, his eyes got dizzy; a stupor came all over him for some minutes, and on his recovering, the frightful spectre had vanished, and in its stead he found stretched on the road, and half drowned in milk, the form of Sarah Kennedy, an old woman of the neighbourhood, who had been long notorious in that district for her witchcraft and superstitious practices, and it was now discovered that she had, by infernal aid, assumed that monstrous shape, and was employed that morning in sucking the cows of the village. Had a volcano burst forth at his feet, he could not be more astonished; he gazed awhile in silent amazement-the old woman groaning, and writhing convulsively.

"Sarah," said he, at length, "I have long admonished you to repent of your evil ways, but you were deaf to my intreaties, and now, wretched woman, you are surprised in the midst of your crimes."

"Oh, father, father," shouted the

unfortunate woman, can you do nothing to save me? I am lost; hell is open for me, and legions of devils surround me this moment, waiting to carry my soul to perdition."

The priest had not power to reply; the old wretch's pains increased; her body swelled to an immense size: her eyes flashed as if in fire, her face was black as night, her entire form writhed in a thousand different contortions; her outcries were appalling, her face sunk, her eyes closed, and in a few minutes she expired in the most ex. quisite tortures.

The priest departed homewards, and called at the next cabin to give notice of the strange circumstances. The remains of Sarah Kennedy were re moved to her cabin, situated at the edge of a small wood at a little dis tance. She had long been a resident in that neighbourhood, but still she was a stranger, and came there, no one knew from whence. She had no relation in that country but one daughter, now advanced in years, who resided with her. She kept one cow, but sold more butter, it was said, than any farmer in the parish, and it was gene rally suspected that she acquired it by devilish agency, as she never made a secret of being intimately acquainted with sorcery and fairyism. She pro fessed the Roman Catholic religion, but never complied with the practices enjoined by that church, and her remains were denied Christian sepulture, and were buried in a sand-pit near her own cabin.

On the evening of her burial, the villagers assembled and burned her cabin to the earth; her daughter made her escape, and never after returned.

[merged small][ocr errors]


Two Ways of Dying for a Husband-1. Dying to keep him, or Tortesa the Usurer-2. Dying to lose him, or Bianca Visconti. By N. P. Willis, Esq. London: Cunningham. 1839.

THIS well printed volume contains
two plays, both of which have been
received in America_" with flattering
and signal success," says the author,
who modestly ascribes the favourable
reception of the first play to Mr.
Wallack's acting, and of the second to
Miss Clifton's. Of these plays, the
first is, perhaps, the best; and we are
not surprised at its being found effec-
tive on the stage. In spite of a story
improbable in the highest degree
indeed, all but impossible the author
has contrived to create a kind of
interest, which renders it difficult to
lay down the volume till the play is
read. We think, however, that in
England the character of Tortesa will
scarcely be felt to be at all natural.
His ravings against the privileged
castes of society are more like insanity
than any thing else.

The prejudices-if we are to call
them so of birth and rank are a fair
subject of examination, and it is well
that such evils as they may produce
should be stated; but surely it is too
much to say that the consciousness of
not possessing these advantages, united
with the belief that those who do
possess them despise in their hearts all
others, drives the latter mad. This,
or something like it, seems Mr.
Willis's theory. If it be not, and if
we are to regard Tortesa's feelings as
but the peculiarities of the individual,
then we think such peculiarities fitter
for the lowest farce than for the more
serious drama. The riddle of Mr.
Willis's title-page is not very easily
One of the two ways of dying
is it
the Irish way," and means
"to live a little longer.'



[ocr errors]

A Vision of Death, Destruction, and other
By T. Ousely. Third Edition. Lon-

don. 1839.

WORDSWORTH has written half-a-dozen
prefaces to prove that no good poems
find acceptance with their own genera-
These poems are, it seems, in
the third edition, and Wordsworth

The Outlaw. A Drama in Five Acts. By Robert Story. London: Simpkin & Co. 1839. A pleasingly-written poem in dialogue -but scarcely, in any sense of the word, a drama. The dramatic form ought not to be selected by writers who merely wish to give a narrative in verse, and have not the theatre in view. To say, that a work of the kind is intended for the closet, not for the stage, in general means little more than that the author sees faults in his mode of treating his subject, which he is too indolent to correct. To say, that a drama is unfit for representation, is, in reality, to acknowledge that the author has failed. When Mr. Coleridge published the Remorse, he had the good sense to feel and to state that every alteration which he made in his work, for the purpose of adapting it to the theatre, improved it as a poem.

Catiline; or, The Roman Conspiracy. By John

Edmund Reade, Esq. London: Saunders and
Ottley. 1839.

WE first learned the appearance of
Mr. Reade as a poet, from an article
in the Dublin University Magazine,
written by one of our coadjutors.
Catiline seems to us far better than
any of the extracts there given from
Mr. Reade's poems; and though we
observe the same faults of style dis-
guising and dimming every thought of
this author which are pointed out in
that review, we yet see in this work
indications of great promise. Cati-
line might be abridged into an effec-
Much that is powerfully
tive poem.
imagined, and powerfully expressed,
too, is spoiled by being dwelt upon
too long; much, that is original in
conception, loses its effect from the
fact, that Mr. Reade's language is
scarcely to be called his own.

do not mean that he borrows from
other writers in any unfair sense of
the word-but that he does not create
his language in the way in which
Wordsworth and Shelley have done.

Mr. Reade, for the most part, writes as if language was but the accidental dress of thought. Still he is a writer of great power and promise. We transcribe a passage, se◄

One influence down and make men what they

lected, not for the purpose of illus. The illustrious dwell apart like stars; and shed trating the faults we have ventured to notice, but because we greatly admire it:


"Cæsar.-Aye, thou wouldst have me always equable:

Why, the best virtue that becomes a man

Is his humanity! his fellow-feeling

For sympathies familiar with his own.
Let Cato eat his crust i' the dark: let me
Feast with a set of hungry rogues around me,
And hear their shouts-they're honest at the

If I have made them happy, why, I feel
The wiser, aye, and the better man o' the two!
Nay, if it please thee more, I'll ape the stoic;
Look wise and solemn, and walk clothed in

Shaming the modesty of nature; grudge

My sharp-edged bones the wretched aliment
That keeps my life together; and scorn all
Whose ribs are fatter than my own! a crust-
A wretch whose boast is never to have smiled:
A dry anatomy: still mumbling out
Beneath a prickly bush of unshorn beard
Sophisms as bare and meagre as his bones!
Or I'll be Cicero, and scratch my head

To rouse my wisdom; then, in thin, sharp voice,

Pipe out the deeds of Grecian heroes; borrow Their wits and sell them for my own; then listen

To my own hired applause."

We give Fulvia's reply, because it does exhibit something of the fault of style which we attribute to Mr. Reade.

[blocks in formation]


Thou dost deny thyself debasing them:
Breathes there in Rome a more aspiring mind
Than Cæsar's? or that has a greater faith
In its own impulses? It shares thy love
For me-so be it-I would rather die
Than see thee cast one spot upon that fame
Which is my own," &c.

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


[blocks in formation]

WHEN we were once more in the coupé of the diligence, I directed my entire attention towards my Irish acquaintance, as well because of his apparent singularity, as to avoid the little German in the opposite corner. "You have not been long in France, then, sir," said I, as we resumed our conversation.

"Three weeks, and it seems like three years to me-nothing to eatnothing to drink-and nobody to speak to. But I'll go back soon-I only came abroad for a month."

[ocr errors]

"You'll scarcely see much of the Continent in so short a time." "Devil a much that will grieve me. I didn't come to see it."

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

just what you'd call a smart hack for going to cover with a lively thing on the road with a light weight. Nobody ever suspected that she was a clean bred thing-own sister to Jenny, that won the Corinthians, and ran second to Giles for the Riddlesworth-but so she was, and a better bred mare never leaped the pound in Ballinasloe. Well, I brought her to Dublin, and used to ride her out two or three times a week, making little matches sometimes to trot-and, for a thorough bred, she was a clipper at trotting— to trot a mile or so on the grass another day to gallop the length of the nine acres opposite the Lodge and then sometimes to back her for a ten pound note to jump the biggest furze bush that could be found all of which she could do with ease, nobody thinking, all the while, that the cocktailed pony was out of Scroggins, by 'a Lamplighter mare.' As every fellow that was beat to-day was sure to come back to-morrow, with something better, either of his own or a friend's, I had matches booked for every day in the week for I always made my little boy that rode, win by half a neck, or a nostril, and so we kept on day after day pocketing from ten to thirty pounds or thereabouts.

"It was mighty pleasant while it lasted, for besides winning the money, I had my own fun laughing at the spoonies that never could book my bets fast enough-young infantry officers and the junior bar-they were for the most part mighty nice to look at, but very raw about racing. How long I might have gone on in this way I

2 L

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »