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“ I knew that those who brought your message laughed
With poison of their own to point the shaft;
And this my one kind sister thought, yet loath
Confessed she feared 'twas true you had been wroth.
But here you are, and smile on me: my pain
Is gone, and Constance is herself again."
His ecstasy, it may be guessed, was much,
Yet pain's extreme and pleasure's seemed to touch.
What pride! embracing beauty's perfect mould;
What terror! lest his few rash words, mistold,
Had agonized her pulse to fever's heat;
But calmed again so soon it healthful heat,
And such sweet tones were in her voice's sound,
Composed herself, she breathed composure round.
Fair being! with what sympathetic grace
She heard, bewailed, and pleaded Julia's case;
Implored he would her dying wish attend,
“ And go,” she said, “to-morrow with your friend;
I'll wait for your return on England's shore,
And then we'll cross the deep and part no more.”
Tomorrow both his soul's compassion drew
To Julia's call, and Constance urged anew
That not to heed her now would be to bind
A load of pain for life upon his mind.
He went with Udolph—from his Constance went
Stifling, alas ! a dark presentiment
Some ailment lurked, ev'n whilst she smiled, to mock
His fears of harm from yester-morning's shock.
Meanwhile a faithful page he singled out,
To watch at home, and follow straight his route,
If aught of threatened change her health should show:
-With Udolph then be reached the house of wo.
That winter's eve how darkly Nature's brow Scowled on the scenes it lights so lovely now!
The tempest, raging o'er the realms of ice,
Shook fragments from the rifted precipice;
And whilst their falling echoed to the wind,
The woll's long howl in dismal discord joined,
While white yon water's foam was raised in clouds
That whirled like spirits wailing in their shrouds;
Without was Nature's elemental din---
And beauty died, and friendship wept within
Sweet Julia, though her fate was finished half, Still knew him—smiled on him with feeble laugh, And blest him, till she drew her latest sigh! But lo! while Udolph's bursts of agony, And age's tremulous wailings, round him rose, What accents pierced him deeper yet than those ! 'Twas tidings-by his English messenger Of Constance-brief and terrible they were. She still was living when the page set out From home, but whether now was left in doubt. Poor Julia ! saw he then thy death's reliefStunned into stupor more than wrung with grief? It was not strange; for in the human breast Two master-passions cannot coexist. And that alarm which now usurped his brain Shut out not only peace, but other pain. 'Twas fancying Constance underneath the shroud That covered Julia made him first weep loud, And tear himself away from them that wept. Fast hurrying homeward, night nor day he slept, Till, launched at sea, he dreamt that his soul's saint Clung to him on a bridge of ice, pale, faint, O'er cataracts of blocd. Awake, he blessed The shore; nor hope left utterly his breast, Till reaching home, terrific omen! there T'he straw-laid street preluded his despair
The servant's look--the table that revealed
His letter sent to Constance last, still sealed,
Though speech and hearing left him, told too clear
That he had now to suffer not to fear.
He felt as if he ne'er should cease to feel
A wretch live-broken on misfortune's wheel : [Heaven.
Her death's cause—he might make his peace with
Absolved from guilt, but never self-forgiven.
The ocean has its ebbings—so has grief.
'Twas vent to anguish, if 'twas not relief,
To lay his brow even on her death-cold cheek.
Then first he heard her one kind sister speak:
She bade him, in the name of Heaven, forbear
With self-reproach to deepen his despair :
“ 'Twas blame,” she said, “ I shudder to relate,
But none of yours that caused our darling's fate;
Her mother (must I call her such ?) foresaw,
Should Constance leave the land, she would withdraw
Our house's charm against the world's neglect,
The only gem that drew it some respect.
Hence, when you went, she came and vainly spoke
To change her purpose-grew incensed, and broke
With execrations from her kneeling child.
Start not! your angel from her knee rose mild,
Feared that she should not long the scene outlive,
Yet bade e’en you the unnatural one forgive.
Till then her ailment had been slight, or none;
But fast she drooped, and fatal pains came on :
Foreseeing their event, she dictated
And signed these words for you.” The letter said,
" Theodric, this is destiny above Our power
to baffle ; bear it then, my love! Rave not to learn the usage I have borne, For one true sister left me not forlorn;
And though you're absent in another land,
Sent from me by my own well-meant command,
Your soul, I know, as firm is knit to mine
As these clasped hands in blessing you now join :
Shape not imagined horrors in my fate-
Even now my sufferings are not very great ;
And when your grief's first transports shall subside,
I call upon your strength of soul and pride
To pay my memory, if ’tis worth the debt,
Love's glorying tribute-not forlorn regret:
I charge my name with power to conjure up
Reflection's balmy, not its bitter cup.
My pard’ning angel, at the gates of Heaven,
Shall look not more regard than you have given
To me; and our life's union has been clad
In smiles of bliss as sweet as life e'er had.
Shall gloom be from such bright remembrance cast?
Shall bitterness outflow from sweetness past?
No! imaged in the sanctuary of your breast,
There let me smile, amidst high thoughts at rest;
And let contentment on your spirit shine,
As if its peace were still a part of mine :
For if you war not proudly with your pain,
you I shall have worse than lived in vain.
But I conjure your manliness to bear
My loss with noble spirit-not despair:
I ask you by your love to promise this,
And kiss these words where I have left a kiss,-
The latest from my living lips for yours.”-
Words that will solace him while life endures : For though his spirit from affliction's
Could ne'er to life, as life had been, emerge,
Yet still that mind whose harmony elate
Rang sweetness, ev’n beneath the crush of fate,
That mind in whose regard all things were placed
In views that softened them, or lights that graced, -
That soul's example could not but dispense
A portion of its own blessed influence;
Invoking him to peace, and that self-sway
Which fortune cannot give, nor take away:
And though he mourned her long, 'twas with such wo,
As if her spirit watched him still below.
TRIUMPHAL arch, that ffill'st the sky
When storms prepare to part,
I ask not proud philosophy
To teach me what thou art-
Still seem as to my childhood's sight,
A midway station given
For happy spirits to alight
Betwixt the earth and heaven.
Can all that optic teach, unfold
Thy form to please me so,
As when I dreamt of gems and gold
Hid in thy radiant bow?
When Science from Creation's face
Enchantment's veil withdraws,
What lovely visions yield their place
To cold material laws!