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IN SIX SONNETS.
Slow clear away the misty shades of morn,
How gloom the clouds ! quite stifled is the ray,
No. III.-CLEAR FROST.
'Tis noon, the heaven is clear without a cloud ;
Behold the mountain peaks how sharply lined
OH! sweetly beautiful it is to mark
All things around us preach of Death ; yet Mirth
SELWIN IN SEARCH OF A DAUGHTER.
EDWARD SELWYN TO THE REV. JOSEPH TREVOR.
Paris, June 18, For the first time, my dear Trevor, my paternal mansion, with its venesince I set out on my inauspicious rable oaks, and the neat smiling cotjourney, I have found a moment's tages of our happy England. I found leisure to address you a few lines; something more congenial to my prerather to satisfy your friendly anxie sent mood in the deserted chateaux,
ty, than to communicate observations, few and far between, and in that abI which the distracted state of my mind, sence of human beings to animate the
and the rapidity of my motions, alike landscape, complained of by the more preclude me from making.
social traveller. St Denis, with its Aware as I was, on leaving London, rifled tombs and royal victims, lay bethat my unhappy daughter, and the fore me; the gloomy towers of Vinpartner of her flight, (her husband I cennes rose in view, in whose bloodcan scarce yet bring myself to call stained fosse obscurely sleeps the last him,)must ere this have reached Paris, scion of a princely line. I felt like the I had, of course, no object but to ar- philosophic Roman amid the ruins rive, if possible, in that city before of Grecian greatness; my private griefs they might have left it. You, who sunk into insignificance before the know me so well, can imagine how weight of miseries which France has differently, under other circumstan borne, and in her turn inflicted. ces, I should have viewed a jour It is easy thus to moralize, but naney, the object of many a fond spe ture triumphs;
and on entering Paris, culation, which exquisite felicity at it had for me no spot so attractive as home alone prevented my realizing: the Bureau de Police, from whence I
Dejected and harassed as I was, by am just returned with information, fruitless researches and sleepless nights, which the lateness of the hour preI could not, after an absence of near vents my following up till to-morrow. ly thirty years, tread without emotion The search may be protracted and the soil of that France, every page of fruitless; I will leave its result for whose history is more or less inter- another letter, and dispatch this to woven with ours, and whose crimes or fulfil your friendly injunctions. I exploits have for so many years wea need not enjoin you to forward inried the trump of Fame. Of the num- stantly any letter bearing a foreign berless historical associations which post-mark. My child must write to dimly float around the decayed ram her father, and possibly I may receive parts of Calais, my mind could only from you the first intelligence of one dwell with congenial bitterness on the so guilty, yet so dear. Yours ever, strong expression of Mary, when, in
EDWARD SELWYN. consolable for its loss, she was heard to exclaim, " that its pame on her death would be found written on her
Paris. heart !" I feel, that on mine, some I told you, Trevor, in my last, that thing “sharper than a serpent's tooth” my inquiries at the Bureau de Police has indelibly inscribed that of Con- had furnished me with what I fondly stance !
believed a clue to discover the fugitive, The monotonous scenery of the whom I then dreaded, while I longed north of France, is ill calculated to to see ; now that the prospect has, for rouse from painful reveries; once only the present, vanished, the latter sentidid I feel strong emotion, when the ment alone predominates, and I lament first sight of the blooming orchards as a fresh disappointment, what, at of Normandy brought Herefordshire the moment, I could almost have full on my mind: but with the flush hailed as a relief. of blossoms ended the resemblance. Furnished with a description anThere wanted, to complete the picture, swering to that of my poor misguided
THE SAME TO THE SAME.
child, I called at the house to which walls, into a momentary forgetfulness it directed me, and with a beating of my anxieties ; but, how quickly do heart, and trembling limbs, found I turn even from the sea-pieces of my myself introduced into the presence of favourite Vernet, or the living landa -a stranger! So fully had I been scapes of Claude, to follow with eager prepared for the assumption of a fic- scrutiny every light youthful figure titious name, that I had scarcely al- that glides along the gallery! lowed myself to admit the possibi I strolled one evening into the lity of Madame de la Rive (corres- Theatre Français-It happened to be ponding in age, stature, complexion, Iphigénie; and the character of the and period of arrival, with her I stoical father appeared to me so absought) proving another than my surdly unnatural, that, but for my Constance. Judge then of my feels sympathy with the maternal grief of ings on the annihilation of hopes so Clytemnestra, I could not have sat it sanguine!
The young woman, on whom I had Nothing, since I came to France, thus intruded, received me politely, has so effectually, for the moment, and readily admitted the incoherent relieved the “ sickness of hope deferexcuses I was able to offer for my red,” as my excursion to Versailles, mistake. She inspired me with inter- whose desolate chambers teem with est by her deep dejection, and from historical associations, with the glories what I have since learned of her situa- of the Siècle de Louis Quatorze, and tion, I have reason to think her yet the misfortunes of his ill-fated progemore unfortunate, as well as criminal, ny. The Memoirs of the former brilthan my inexperienced child. She liant period have been the favourite was once the happy wife of an indul. amusement of my leisure hours; and gent husband, but, by following the fancy easily repeopled the lone gallefortunes of a profligate seducer, she ries of Versailles, with the Turennes has stamped with misery all the fun and Condés, who filled its page with ture years of a life hardly yet in its triumphs, with the Boileaus, the prime. Her father is not unknown to Racines, and the Fenelons, of its Aume, and when I compare his lot with gustan age; and even with those less mine, I feel that I may yet cherish important personages, whose advenhopes to which he must be a stranger, tures have descended to us in the and I bless Providence for the lesson matchless gossiping of that memoirof resignation !
writing period, the Lauzuns, the Pierre, (a trusty Swiss, procured for Bussis, the La Valiéres, and that deme by S- in London,) to whom I lightful Sevigné, whose wit and tenhave, of course, been obliged, in gene- derness would alike have been lost to ral terms, to communicate, that I am posterity, had she not idolized-a in search of individuals whom I am daughter! most anxious to discover, has suggest It was impossible to see the Council ed the obvious course of frequenting Chamber, and not to conjure up Mathose places of universal resort most dame de Maintenon and her tambour favourable for accidental rencontres. frame, occupying the corner; or to The task is an irksome one; but, sti- gaze on the faded splendour of the mulated by hope, and too much agi- Chapel, (where a solitary lamp chanced tated to find rest practicable, I suffer to burn in honour of a saint,) without myself to be led wherever a concourse imagining it lighted up in an equally of idlers permits me to prosecute my unostentatious manner, for the stolen researches, at least unobserved. With ceremony which placed that extraora perseverance equal to that of the ve- dinary woman on the list of Queens. teran loungers of the place, have I sat The anti-chamber, where sovereigns hours in the garden of the Tuileries, eagerly awaited an audience of the my eyes apparently fixed on the gay Grand Monarque, and the Salle de groups that fitted before me, without, Spectacle, where the aimable Vainqueur in fact, taking any further cognizance so often led up the ball, are alike of them, than sufficed to ascertain solitary and deserted ; indeed, the latwhom they did not contain. I wander ter matchless private Theatre is now up and down the endless Gallery of only a receptacle for lumber, and sadthe Louvre, at times beguiled by the ly tapissé with portraits of many a masterpieces which yet decorate its Bourbon, to whom the necessities of
THE SAME TO THE SAME.
the times still deny frames and gild. delight did I once contemplate a pila ing.
grimage to that classic country, as a All at Versailles harmonizes with meet completion of the education of these antique recollections; the execra that child, whose very talents have bly formal style of the gardens, the proved her bane ! Music, my former cruelly clipped, yet venerable orange passion, is now a source of exquisite trees, flourishing alone unchanged pain, and its combination with the amid the wreck of centuries ; the Italian language rendered my only groups of allegorical statuary, parti- visit to the opera so irksome, that nocularly the celebrated one of the Mos thing would tempt me to go again. narch as Apollo, surrounded by his This crowded metropolis is now to
male favourites, all speak of the me a dreary solitude, which I would olden time, and one would regret their gladly exchange for that of my postdisappearance.
chaise. To-morrow I set out, ifFrom the gorgeous vestiges of the alas ! I need hardly cherish the hope. Siècle de Louis Quatorze, the transi
Yours ever, tion is strange to the sorrows of Marie
E. S. Antoinette. Who could see unmoved her chamber, bearing more evidently than any other the traces of popular fury; the balcony where she heroical
Lyons, July 18 ly appeared before a ferocious rabble The date of this, my dear Trevor, bent on her destruction; the narrow will no doubt surprise you, and you passage through which she escaped on will sympathise with me in being thus the night of her intended assassina- long detained on a journey, the very tion, only, alas ! to prolong for furexpedition of which defeated its end, ther suffering a miserable existence ? by occasioning a feverish illness, from It was impossible to hear these scenes which I am gradually recovering. To described on the spot by an ancient pursue my journey, is as yet impossiSwiss, an eye-witness of those hore ble; but I cannot compel my mind to rors, without shuddering. But no- partake my body's inactivity, and I where is the memory of that unfor- will give it employment by replying, tunate Princess more entwined with though at the expense of some pain, every feature of the scene, than at the to the postscript of your last receiPetit Trianon, that charming retreat, ved at Paris, in which you delicately where alone, in all the vast domain of remind me, that your absence from Versailles, Nature has been allowed Herefordshire has left you unacquaintfree scope, and where the unconscious ed with the rise and progress of that family of Louis Seize beguiled the unhappy attachment, of which you ennui of greatness, by imitating, in only returned in time to deplore the the fictitious hamlet in the gardens, disastrous conclusion. the humbler conditions of human life. In retracing these painful details, I The Queen's beautiful marble-lined shall have to claim your indulgence dairy yet remains, and the hameau, for palpable indiscretions, and your and all parts of the garden, seem als sympathy for parental weakness. most miraculously to have escaped Were I to relate to you the history of devastation ; but they have a melan- my whole life, it would alike exhibit choly and forlorn aspect, which ac a compound of contradictions, of hasty cords well with the ideas they inspire, resolutions, and tardy repentance. and the daughter of Marie Antoinette By a father, left like myself, sole frequently spends a few hours there parent of an only daughter, the estaalone, with what complicated feelings blishment in our neighbourhood of a none but royal sufferers can know. depot for prisoners of war ought na
I returned from Versailles in a turally to have been viewed with disframe of mind less irritable, to resume satisfaction and distrust; and indeed my now almost hopeless task. I shall these prudential considerations induawait one more post from England, ced me long to do violence to my feeland if it again disappoints me, I shall ings, by abstaining from hospitalities proceed south, concluding that the towards a set of brave men, the ennui desire of revisiting his native country of whose captivity I might otherwise has hurried the destroyer of my peace have been tempted to alleviate. After to his beloved Italy.-Italy! with what meeting them, however, occasionally