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And felt thy timid mild
caress, I was all hope-all joyousness! We parted—and the morrow's sunOh God! my bliss was past and done; The lover's hope, the husband's vowWhere were they then ?-ah! where wert thou?
Mary! thou vision lov'd and wept,
A throb of madness and of pain Shot through my heart, and through my brain ; I felt it then, I feel it now, Though time is stamp'd upon my brow; Though all my veins grow cold with age, And o'er my memory's fading page Oblivion draws her damning line, And blots all images-save thine.
Thou left'st me and I did become
Away, away! Death rides the breeze!
To the Editor of the Etonian. Sir, I should think that no one unless he is a misanthrope, or a methodist, which is little better, can pass through Eton without being amused at the various looks, sizes, and occupations of the motley group of which that Lilliputian world is composed. Methinks I hear one of them say, in all the dignity of offended pride, “Softly, Mr. , not so Lilliputian ; there are A-T- -S E-, six feet high; and I myself, though far from being one of the biggest, would easily chastise you for your impertinence.” Boys still they all are, and boyish are their habits. I hope, however, I shall not be known as the author of these opinions, or the next time I visit Eton I shall meet with a sorry reception. Whether it is that my countenance is not very repulsive, my dress not very extraordinary, and my appearance on the whole not singular, I passed through the Quadrangle, (as it happened) particularly crowded, without being so much quizzed as I expected; for, after the alarming stories which I had heard of the practical jokes of Etonians, it required no small resolution to encounter the mirth of such a formidable body of humourists. Once, to be sure, I heard a whisper, remarking it as very odd that I should wear gaiters under my trowsers ; and a second time, when I happened to turn round on a sudden, I surprised a circle of dashing young fellows laughing at my look behind, where I suppose the cut of my coat was not according to the newest fashion. Some of them I recognised as old acquaintances, having seen them the evening before parading on the Terrace of Windsor Castle. The approaching school hour did not appear at all to have changed or saddened their looks, for they were laughing, quizzing, and fitting about, exactly in the way which first attracted my attention on the Royal Promenade. They all had books, some very gay ones, others such as hardly deserved the name, an inconsistency which I was at a loss to reconcile, unless it were that the first mentioned had caught the infection of their master's finery. Here and there a cluster of Collegers, with their black gowns, had a good effect among the many varied colours which the greater proportion displayed : indeed I am so far bigotted that I never could have imagined a place of learning without some such classical costume. It was not easy to mistake the settled step, the sedate demeanour, and the pallid and rather sickly hue, which marked the countenances of those boys, whom, for the want of a more expressive name, with which I dare say the Eton vocabulary could supply me, I shall call the studious—such as I could picture to myself never mixing in the sports of their schoolfellows, and preferring a problem of Euclid to the finest game at cricket ever contested. Many of the lesser tribe appeared to be extremely busy in construing their lessons, and comparing their notes as the time of purgatory grew nearer. Two or three seemed to be looked upon as a sort of oracles whom they all assailed with different interrogations. I was almost tempted to ask a question of one of the nearest of them, when the clock struck, and they all hurried away at the same instant to different entrances, and, in less than five minutes, the area was cleared, and the cloisters were silent. There are some associations connected with the sight of a school, particularly a large one, which always bring me back to the time of my boyhood, and recal to my recollection so strongly what I did, and what I thought, in former days, that I fancied myself, in this instance, nearly thirty years younger, and seemed almost transported again to the rule of my ancient Orbilius. I must confess that my situation at that time, both in point of happiness and liberty, was very different from that of an Etonian. The walls were my boundaries; and merely to pass them, without any consequent misdemeanor, was reckoned among the heaviest of those crimes to which the wisdom of the legislative founder had allotted punishments. This place of my education I always considered as a better sort of prison, and left it with all the joy that a prisoner would feel on obtaining his Habeas Corpus, except on stated occasions, when, preceded by our master, we walked in due order and regularity up a high green hill, at a short distance off, famous for its having been formerly the station of a Roman camp. Well do I recollect how often I unwillingly encountered the cold frosty air of a winter morning on this bleak
and desolate spot ; how often, under å sweltering summer sun, I laboured and toiled up the entrenchments, with which the caution of our ancient enemies had fortified the natural steepness. However, such an excursion as this was some relief; and I generally contemplated with increased horror, on my return, the grim bars, the narrow courts, and the closing gates, of
The very servants partook of the character of the place, and were the most unaccommodating, surly, old beings that can possibly be imagined. In fact, I led a sort of mechanical existence, being compelled to take exercise, as it were by a physician's prescription, to enable me to perform what was required from my mental faculties. Any brought up as I have described myself, agreeably to the most rigid maxims of scholastie discipline, will have many scruples to overcome, many old prejudices to vanquish, before they can bring themselves to allow, that the superior liberty, which Eton grants to her children, can be compatible with the necessary studies of such an institution. What indignation would have ruffled the angry wrinkled visage of my ancient pedagogue, had any of the wretched victims committed to his care ventured to inform him, that there is a place where boys comparatively do as they will, where they are tacitly allowed to commit the unheard-of sin of passing their bounds,--and where, in fact, the measute of their labours is in a great degree under the control of their own discretion. When, however, we see in good earnest the first charaéters in the Bar, the Senate, and the Church, boasting Eton as their common parent,-when we review the illustrious names in former times, whose glory she considers as her own, it really becomes time to account for the effects of this magical education. I myself cannot pretend to any accurate investigation ; but, merely as a speculative and casual observer, I should ascribe its influence to that hatred of immoderate restriction which generous talents naturally entertain, and the elevation and expansion which they feel on being principally left to their spontaneous exertions, and experiencing gentle direction rather than positive and harsh control. The spirit of encouragement and emulation cherished by this system is more likely, than any fear of punishment, to stimulate a young and ardent mind to extraordinary efforts. Where much is required, to do that well is, of course, considered sufficient; bat where comparatively little is required, and much, on the contrary, expected, true abilities will perceive their own strength, and will labour to obtain praise, which is the more valuable as it is given to labours and acquirements in a great measure voluntary. I have heard from very good authority, that few leave Eton without feeling real sorrow at their departure. It is the fashion, too, at that versifying establishment to compose a poetical farewell, to testify at once their grief and their gratitude. Some of these I have seen ; and nature seems really to have a considerable share in their composition. It is lucky for me that this custom did not exist at the school of which I was an unwilling member; or I am afraid that my Vale, as they call it, would have been highly indecorous, since the overflowing joy of my heart would have effectually negatived all expressions of woe. By the bye, this brings me to myself again, and reminds me that my reverie on paper has been much too long and too reasoning already. I shall therefore leave every one to form his own conjecture and opinion, and only wish for myself, that I could glory in the name of “ an Etonian."
In many a strain of grief and joy,
My youthful spirit sung to thee;
And there's a gulph 'twixt thee and me,
I start to find myself a man,
As only boyhood's spirit can,
To thoughts that held my heart in thrall,
And thee- the brightest dream of all.