« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
Then for a beam of joy to light,
In memory's sad and wakeful eye ; Or banish from the noon of night,
Her dreams of deeper agony.
Shall song its witching cadence roll
Yea, even the tenderest air repeat ?' That breathed when soul was knit to soul,
And heart to heart responsive beat : What visions rise to charm, to melt !
The lost, the loved, the dead are near ; Oh, hush that strain, too deeply felt,
And cease that silence too severe.
But thou serenely silent art,
By heaven and love both taught to lend A milder solace to the heart;
The sacred image of a friend ; All is not lost if yet possest
For me that sweet memorial shine, If close and closer to my breast,
I hold the image all divine.
Or gazing thro' luxurious tears,
Melt over the departed form,
With life, and speech, and spirit warm ; She looks, she lives, this transient hour
Her bright eye seems a purer gem Than sparkles on the throne of power,
Or Glory's starry diadem.
Yes, Genius, yes ! thy mimic aid,
A treasure to my soul has given, When Beauty's canonized shade
Smiles thro' the sainted hues of heaven. No spectre form of pleasure fled,
Thy softening sweetening tints restore ; For thou can’st give us back the dead,
Even in the loveliest form she wore.
Then blest be Nature's guardian Muse,
Whose hand her polished grace redeems ; Whose tablet of a thousand hues
The mirror of creation seems. From Love began thy high descent ;
And lovers charmed with gifts of thine, Shall bless thee, mutely eloquent,
And hail thee brightest of the NINE !
a wielch Tale.
From 66 the Innkeeper's Album.”
« When lovely Woman stoops to folly,
And finds too late that men betray ;
IN the heart of South Wales, and in the neighbourhood of the vil. lage of Llangadock, there is a beautiful Common, known by the name of Carrick-Southey. Encircled on every side by hills, some of which soar boldly, while others rise in gentlest elevations from the distance, it presents a picturesque union of sublimity and softness. The river Southey glides through it, and, arched by a wooden bridge of the simplest construction, enhances the inherent beauty of the landscape. As I am an idle good-for-nothing sort of gentleman, nature has been my sole deity :-the happiest moments of my youth have been spent in wandering ; and even now, I can dream away many pleasant hours by the gurgling waters of the Southey. Sometimes, however, a few bitter recollections, which had better be forgotten, elicit the reluctant sigh ; but when I see the gentle air of peace that reigns around me, my thoughts subside into contentment the tranquillity of nature passes into my soul and with satisfaction I reflect, that though happiness be dead, her image still exists.
In the centre of Carrick-Southey, and contiguous to a meetings house, whose fanaticism has vulgarized the whole neighbourhood, stands a little cottage environed by copse-wood. A few years ago, it was the ornament of the landscape ; but, like its once happy tenants, has now gone to decay. Still it is an interesting ruin, and when viewed in connexion with my tale, arrests the sympathy of the inquisitive stranger.
By the decreasing light of a summer sun, a young English officer of dragoons was pursuing his route of pleasure and romance, along the wood-fringed banks of the Southey. The twilight surprised him in his excursion; and he had just obtained the extreme borders of a little copse, when a deep darkness stole over the scene. Ignorant of his road he determined to push boldly onwards, and in a short time crossed the wooden bridge which I have mentioned in the opening description.
On looking round the Common to see if any lodging could be procur. ed, he discerned a light glimmering faintly in the distance. He hastened towards it, and arrived at the cottage door, as the inhabitants were preparing their simple repast. On entering he was cordially received by the party, and consented to their proposal of joining the family cir. cle; which consisted of a venerable looking person and his son. А beautiful girl was stationed at the bottom of the table, and by her winning smiles, and arch vivacity, appeared to interest in no inconsideble degree the little rustic assembly. The old man addressed her by the name of Rosalie De Voisin ; and by the animation of his eyes when bent upon her person, it was evident that she was his favourite child. The young stranger, however, fatigued with the labours of the day, lent no particular attention to the company; but having paid his parting devoirs, requested to be shewn to his chamber.
On entering the breakfast-room the next morning, he perceived that it was empty; and concluding that his host and family had not yet left their apartment, sauntered into the cottage garden till the hour of repast should arrive. While he remained absorbed in admiration of the mountain scenery that environed him, a light step passed beside him ; he turned, and discovered the features of Rosalie. She enquired with an air of grace and tenderness, how he had spent the night, paid the passing salutations of the morning, and then paused in expectation of reply. Colonel Mortimer, however, (for such was the name of the young stranger,) was 'too much struck with his fair com. panion, to make any immediate answer. If he had before considered her pretty, she now assumed the appearance of loveliness. Her countenance, symmetrically speaking, was incorrect, but the expression that flashed from under her light blue eyes, the smile that played round her lips, and the delicacy that sat on her feminine features, gave a tone of feeling to her face, which the poet or the sculptor would vainly endeavour to rival. She was attired in the simple garb of a cottage girl ; a small mantle thrown negligently over her shoulders, hung
in graceful folds upon her person ; and her luxuriant tresses, partially concealed by a light straw bonnet, peeped out from beneath their covering “ I scarcely know,” said Mortimer, when he had recovered from bis surprise, “ whom I have the honour to address, but am desirous of declaring my gratitude for the kindness I have experi. enced. Hospitality is amiable even in a repulsive form ; but when recommended by grace and beauty is resistless.” Unused to compliment, Rosalie could make no reply ; but, blushing, as she accepted the proffered arm of her companion, moved on to a little arbour, erected at the extremity of the garden. “Here,” she exclaimed, in answer to the admiration evinced by the Colonel, “ is my favourite summer residence. The jessamine and the honey-suckle that twine their tendrils around it, were all planted by myself, and I watch them as I would any thing that I was associated with.”-Her brother at this in. stant joined them, and they hastened to the cottage, where the old man awaited their arrival.
On the conclusion of the repast, Rosalie was persuaded to sing, and in a mellifluous tone, warbled a beautiful Cambrian melody. The Englishman was enraptured : in the polished circles of the metropolis, he had seen every thing that bore the stamp of merit, or of novelty ; but now the sweet voice of a pretty country girl exceeded all the science to which he had ever listened. He had often coldly argued on the beauty of professional performers, but now felt the sense of music in his heart. In the excess of enthusiasm, he bent over the graceful form of Rosalie, and when the song was concluded, ventured to ask how such proficiency had been attained. Her father, who was a widower, she observed, in reply, was of noble French extraction ; but, having been ruined by the revolution, left his native country to seek in the solitude of Wales, the happiness which was no longer to be realized in France.But the seeds of her education were sown in Paris, among fashionable and accomplished nobility, while the retirement of Carrick-Southey matured them. On almost every topic that the talents of Colonel Mortimer en. abled him to discuss, he found in Rosalie, the warm admirer of genius ; and his callous breast, which had so long resisted the smiles of female blandishment, was now bowing before the beauty of a simple cottager. He resolved, however, to struggle for the recovery of his freedom ; and after spending a few inore days at Carrick-Southey, continued his excursion to North Wales.
The ensuing week again saw him entering the cottage garden of De Voisin, whose daughter met him at the door, and a glow of pleasure suffused her countenance as she recognized him. He was received with the same cordial welcome by the rest of the family; and before he retired to rest, had settled the point with his own conscience, that he either was, or ought to bé, most desperately in love. Such was the way in which the hours were consumed ; and while every visit imprinted the remembrance of the Englishman on the susceptible heart of Rosalie, her beauty was as indelibly impressed on his imagination. De Voisin mean time, unaccustomed for many years to the etiquette of society, discovered no cause for apprehension in the intercourse of the lovers, but permitted the one to continue his visits, and the other to receive them, until both felt an affection for each other which neither time nor absence could eradicate.
On calling one day at the cottage, he was surprised to find Rosalie in tears; she was leaning in a melancholy mood on her harp, and playing at intervals the song that had been so much admired by Morti.
The tenderness of the lover instantly caught the alarm, and he enquired with a look of anxious solicitude, what had happened to occasion her distress. She informed him that De Voisin, desirous of her future welfare, had determined on sending her to England, where her education might be completed. With these words she held out her hand, as if to bid eternal farewell. 6. You are going, Colonel Mortimer,” she exclaimed, “ to the haunts of fashion, and in the bustle of other scenes will soon forget the vale of Carrick-Southey. The woods through which we have together roved, will then forego their attraction; and Rosalie, forgotten by all, will be as one who had never been.' “ Never,” replied Mortimer with emotion ; “ there are ties, my sweet girl, so firmly entwined round the heart, that it must break ere we can sever them. From this hour, then, let us vow a changeless affection
unshackled by the "ties of matrimony, let us ridicule the heartless principles of the world; and when infirmity bows us to the tomb, let passion, sobered into friendship, soothe our declining passage to the grave. You speak not, love; and yet I die with emotion ! answer me dearest girl ; say, shall it indeed be so ?” Rosalie could make no reply; overcome by intense feeling, she looked fondly in his face, and then sunk half fainting on his bosom. Respect was now absorbed in agitation. Mortimer clasped his victim in his arms, kissed her glowing cheek, and inhaled each sigh that heaved her palpitating bosom. 66 Leave me, for God's sake leave me,” she said, “ gazing wildly round; “ I am faint even to death ; I doubt not your attachmeut, but every feeling of my soul commands me to quit your presence." Vain was the struggle ; passion revelled in her eye, rioted in her blood, and unnerved every sense of reflection. Need the sequel be related ? Love triumphed over opposition ! and the poor girl, for yielding to an im. pulse, engrafted by nature herself, was branded, in the moral code of society, with degradation and contempt.
When modesty is once violated, self-respect ceases ; and Rosalie was doomed to suffer. Her father marked the gradual change in her char. acter with the greatest solicitude; and as he saw the lustre fading in her eye, the rose withering in her cheek, he confided his cares to Mortimer, and mistook the compunctions of remorse for the excess of sensibility. But the time was now approaching, when he should return to his duties as an officer. A war with the Continent was daily expected ; and the fire of patriotism, which had so long lain dormant, was roused with its wonted energy. He accordingly endeavoured, but in vain, to procure a secret interview with his mistress, and, after promising a speedy re. turn, hastened to resume his long-neglected military pursuits.
After the departure of Mortimer, Rosalie relinquished each favourite occupation with a sigh. The scenery which had before delighted, now became insipid, and, disgusted with every memorial of her past guilt, she cheerfully accepted the proposal of visiting England. The parting was affecting in the extreme ; and the warm-hearted girl, as she clung to the neck of her father, imprinted a thousand kisses on his cheek.
Farewell !” she sobbed out; « and should we never meet again, let every thing that reminds you of Rosalie be precious in your sight. I feel a presentiment, indeed, that this separation is doomed to be eternal, and that the vale of Carrick Southey will never more greet my eyes. On concluding, she caught the hand of her brother, who accompanied her, and stepped hastily into the vehicle. As the scenes she loved faded in distance, her sense of desolation increased ; and when she could no longer behold the mountains, which she had so often ascended with Mortimer, she sunk into a despondency, which continued till her arrival at the house of Madame S. her relation.
Having seen his sister comfortably settled at Reading, Eugene returned to Carrick-Southey, to cheer the drooping spirits of his father. Rosalie meantime, attracted by the gaiety of the town, and the diversity of objects that surrounded her, seemed restored to a new existence. She even affected a cheerfulness foreign to her nature, and feeding her mind with the hope of speedy intelligence from Mortimer, indulged in