Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

LIBERTY AND SLAVERY.

DISGUISE thyself as thou wilt, still, Slavery!-still thou art a bitter draught; and though thousands, in all ages, have been made to drink of thce, thou art not less bitter on that account. It is thou, Liberty !—thrice sweet and gracious goddess!—whom all, in public or in private, worship; whose taste is grateful, and ever will be so, till Nature herself shall change. No tint of words can spot thy snowy mantle, or chemic power turn thy sceptre into iron. With thee to smile

upon him as he eats his crust, the swain is happier than his monarch; from whose court thou art exiled. Gracious Heaven! grant me but health, thou great bestower of it! and give me but this fair goddess as my companion! and shower down thy mitres, if it seem good unto thy divine providence, upon those heads which are aching for them!

Pursuing these ideas, I sat down close by my table; and leaning my head upon my hand, I began to figure to myself the miseries of confinement. I was in a right frame for it, and so I

scope to my imagination. I was going to begin with the millions of my fellowcreatures, born to no inheritance but slavery; but finding, however affecting the picture was, that I could not bring it near me, and that the multitude of sad groups in it did but distract me

– I took a single captive; and having first shut him

up in his dungeon, I then looked through the twilight of his grated door to take his picture.

I beheld his body half-wasted away with long expectation and confinement; and felt what kind of sickness of the heart it is which arises from hope deferred. Upon looking nearer, I saw him pale and feverish. In thirty years, the western breeze had not once fanned his blood-he had seen no sun, no moon, in all that time—nor had the voice of friend or kinsman breathed through his lattice. His children—but here my heart began to bleed—and I was forced to go on with another part of the portrait.

gave full

He was sitting upon the ground, upon a little straw in the farthest corner of his dungeon, which was alternately his chair and bed. A little kalendar of small sticks was laid at the head, notched all over with the dismal days and nights he had passed there. He had one of these little sticks in his hand; and, with a rusty nail, he was etching another day of misery, to add to the heap. As I darkened the little light he had, he lifted up a hopeless eye towards the door-then cast it down-shook his head and went on with his work of affliction. I heard his chains upon his legs, as he turned his body to lay his little stick upon the bundle. He gave a deep sigh. I saw the iron enter into his soul. I burst into tears. I could not sustain the picture of confinement which my fancy had drawn.

THE POLISH MOTHER.

The Polish mother sat and wept,
Afar in wild Siberia's land,
Her lovely little infant slept
Cradled her knee and hand:
She gazed upon his placid face,
His father's image, mild but brave,-
Anxious she gazed, if she could trace

One feature of a slave.

upon

Ah, no! she cried, thou art my son-
Thy father's son, who died so brave;
I'd rather that thy race was run,
Than nurture thee to be a slave!
Yes, I would rather dig thy grave,
And lay thee there without a tear,
Than suckle thee, that tyrant knave

Should dare enslave thee here.

N

But I will tell thee of thy sire-
I'll tell thee of thy country's shame,
And I will mark thy young breast's fire,
And fan and feed the flame:
I'll tell thee of our Russian foe,
Who came into our land, once free,
And sent us to this land of snow

To die in slavery!

I'll tell thee how that Europe gazed,
And wonder'd Poles could face each horde,
But how they only look’ and praised,
Nor sought to aid the patriot's sword!
I'll tell thee, too, when Warsaw fell,
What cruelties our nation bore;
And, when thou growest, I will tell

Thee-be a slave no more!

Away-away—my bosom glows,
I'll make a hero of my son;
He'll lead his countrymen from snows
To death or victory—on-on!
With this she raised him, and embraced
The young and yet unconscious child:
He oped his lovely eyes, and gazed

Upon her face and smiled.

LORD TINSEL AND THE EARL OF ROCHDALE.

Tin. REFUSE a lord! A saucy lady this:
I scarce can credit it.

Roch. She'll change her mind.
My agent, Master Walter, is her guardian.

Tin. How can you keep that Hunchback in his office?

He mocks you.

Roch. He is useful. Never heed him.
My offer now do I present through him.
He has the title-deeds of my estates:
She'll listen to their wooing. I must have her;
Not that I love her, but that all allow
She's fairest of the fair.

Tin. Distinguish'd well:
'Twere most unseemly for a lord to love!
Leave that to commoners—’tis vulgar! She's
Betroth’d, you tell me, to Sir Thomas Clifford !

Roch. Yes.

Tin. That a commoner should thwart a lord!
Yet not a commoner. A baronet
Is fish and flesh: nine parts plebeian, and
Patrician in the tenth. Sir Thomas Clifford !
A man, they say, of brains. I abhor brains
As I do tools:—they're things mechanical !
So far are we above our forefathers!
They to their brains did owe their titles, as
Do lawyers, doctors. We to nothing owe them,
Which makes us far the nobler.

Roch. Is it so?

Tin. Believe me. You shall profit by my training; You grow

lord

apace. I saw you meet A bevy of your former friends, who fain Had shaken hands with you. You gave them fingers! You're now another man. Your house is changed, Your table changed-your retinue—your horseWhere once you rode a hack, you now back blood; Befits it then you also change your

friends! Enter WILLIAMS. Wil. A gentleman would see your lordship. Tin. Sir! What's that? Wil, A gentleman would see his lordship. Tin. How know you, Sir, his lordship is at home?

a

Is he at home because he goes not out?
He's not at home, though there you see him, Sir,
Unless he certifies that he's at home!
Bring up the name of the gentleman, and then
Your lord will know if he's at home, or not.

[Exit WILLIAMS.
Your man was porter to some merchant's door,
Who never taught him better breeding
Than to speak the vulgar truth! Well, Sir?

Williams having re-entered.
Wil. His name,
So please your lordship, Markham.

Tin. Do you know the thing?

Roch. Right well:- I’faith a hearty fellow, Son to a worthy tradesman, who would do Great things with little means; so enter'd him In the temple. A good fellow, on my life, Nought smacking of his stock.

Tin. You've said enough! His lordship’s not at home. (Exit WILLIAMS.) We

do not go

By hearts, but orders! Had he family-
Blood—though it only were a drop—his heart
Would

pass for something; lacking such desert, Were it ten times the heart it is, 'tis nought!

Enter WILLIAMS.
Wil. One Master Jones hath ask'd to see your lordship.
Tin. And what was your reply to Master Jones?
Wil. I knew not if his lordship was at home.
Tin. You'll do. Who's Master Jones?
Roch. A curate's son.

Tin. A curate's! Better be a yeoman's son.
Was it the rector's son, he might be known,
Because the rector is a rising man,
And may become a bishop! He goes light.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »