图书图片
PDF
ePub

life: its most unaccustomed scenes are succeeded by novelties more unexpected; the transitions and the changes in its situations are rapid and brilliant; admiration is attracted by the lustre of dazzling possession, and rapture elicited in the delight of luxurious gratification. But the splendor of the pageant serves only to disguise its own unsubstantial and transitory nature, since the next stage of existence reduces the aspiring and unequal thoughts of man to a level with the sober realities of common life. He now discovers the capriciousness of accidental intimacy; the possibility of friendships being obliterated; the warmth of feeling frozen into courteous formality; and the unaffected zealous eagerness of regard checked and bridled into managed condescension. He sees men looking abroad into the world with circumspect reserve and deliberate caution, reposing confidence in no assistance and fidelity but their own-themselves the little centres of their narrow systems, the sole objects of their solicitude and labour. Under such impressions, without great violence, he may in some respects compare such a state of society to that of the ancient Barons, when “ every man's house was his castle," and his sword the only means which the occasion and the law allowed him for defence. He may, indeed, think himself free from personal violence, at least possessed of sufficient remedies for such abuses ; but he will discover a painful reality, that he is scarcely free from insidious circumvention, and barely protected from treacherous importunity; he may be stung by the lifeless adder, which he had imprudently warmed on his hearth; he may be plundered by the houseless steward, to whose hands he had confided the advancement and preservation of his wealth. From this sickening view of worthlessness and corruption, he will look with transport to the days that are gone, when the advanced experience of life had not as yet disclosed the alloy which lurked beneath so brilliant, yet so slight a covering, so near the surface; the brightness of which was so speedily tarnished, and the substance so easily worn away. He will find the consolation of this bitter season, in early recollections connected with former pleasures,

H

unsullied and without alloy ; far different from those transitory enjoyments, so happily compared to the crackling of burning thorns, the sound of which is just heard as it is silenced—the flame just seen as it sinks into ashes.

From such prospects we have ventured to remove the veil which the thoughtlessness of boyhood spreads across the range of its vision. If their aspect is calculated to check impatience for that freedom from restraint, which presents itself with unreal attractions to the imagination; if their description tends to recall the fancy from that eccentricity to which it had been propelled in search of treasures without value, and objects without existence, to its natural course, or determine the relative proportion of happiness and misery allotted to the young and to the old—we sball rest satisfied with the picture we have drawn; and in the hope that it will attach the memory and the affections of those for whom it is designed, to the scenes and associations of their early days, we are content to resign it to their hands, without adding another embellishment, which may endanger the reputation, or weaken the impression of our labour.

M. S.

TO MARY.

I've danc'd with Fanny fifty times,

I've laugh'd with Susan fifty more,
I've pros'd with Charlotte about rhymes,

And Boileau, Milanie, Fodor.

A younger came, with angel mien,

A dovelike eye, and heart so free-
Oh ! Mary, had I never seen,

Or seeing, never ceas’d to see!

EDITH

EDITH! o'er the waters blue
Ere I'm gone, my love, adieu !
Ere from hence I fly away,
Hear, oh, hear me, while I pray !
Oh! whate'er may be my lot,
Edith, love, forget me not!

When you see this shady scene,
Where together we have been;
When yon babbling brook you view,
Which so oft we've listen'd to;
When you see my father's cot,
Edith, love, forget me not!

By the power thou hast to grieve me-
By the thoughts that will not leave me
By the fear that will not fly—
By the hope that cannot die-
By this sacred parting spot-
Edith, love, forget me not!

O'er the waters when I ride,
Thou shalt o'er my thoughts preside;
In the battle's wild affray,
Thou shalt hold thy wonted sway;
Then, whate'er may be my lot,
Edith, love, forget me not!

Yet one-yet another kiss!
Then adieu to you and bliss !
Oh! what anguish 'tis to part
From the ruler of my heart !
Edith, sweet, forget me not-
Thou canst never be forgot.

LAURA.

“ For sbe in shape and beauty did excel
All other idols that the heathen do adore."
“ And all about her altar scatter'd lay
Great sorts of lovers piteously complaining."-SPENSER.

A look as blithe, a step as light,
As fabled nymph, or fairy sprite;
A voice, whose every word and tone,
Might make a thousand hearts its own;
A brow of fervour, and a mien
Bright with the hopes of gay fifteen;
These, lov'd and lost one !—these were thine,
When first I bow'd at beauty's shrine.
But I have torn my wavering soul
From woman's proud and weak control;
The fane where I so often knelt,
The flame my heart so truly felt,
Are visions of another time,
Themes for my laughter,—and my rhyme.

She saw and conquered; in her eye
There was a careless cruelty
That shone destruction, while it seem'd
Unconscious of the fire it beam'd.
And oh! that negligence of dress,
That wild infantine playfulness,
That archness of the trifling brow
That could command—we knew not how--
Were links of gold, that held me then,
In bonds I may not bear again ;
For dearer to an honest heart
Is childhood's mirth than woman's art.

Already many an aged dame, Skilful in scandalizing fame, Foresaw the reign of Laura's face, Her sway, her folly, and disgrace. Minding the beauty of the day More than her partner, or her play :“ Laura a beauty ?-flippant chit ! I vow I hate her forward wit!” (“ I lead a club”)—" why, Ma'am, between us, Her mother thinks her quite a Venus ;

But every parent loves, you know, To make a pigeon of her crow.” “ Some folks are apt to look too highShe has a dukedom in her eye.” “ The girl is straight,” (“ we call the ace,") « But that's the merit of her stays.” “ I'm sure I loath malicious hintsBut-only look, how Laura squints.' “ Yet Miss, forsooth,”—(“ who play'd the ten?") “ Is quite perfection with the men ; The flattering fools--they make me sick," (" Well-four by honours, and the trick.”)

While thus the crones hold high debate,
On Laura's charms, and Laura's fate;
A few short years have rolld along,
And first in pleasure's idle throng,
Laura, in ripen'd beauty proud,
Smiles haughty on the flattering crowd ;
Her sex's envy-fashion's boast,
An heiress—and a reigning toast.

The circling waltz and gay quadrille
Are in, or out, at Laura's will;
The tragic bard, and comic wit,
Heed not the critic in the pit,
If Laura's undisputed sway
Ordains full houses to the play;
And fair ones, of a humbler fate,
That envy, while they imitate,
From Laura's whisper strive to guess
The changes of inconstant dress.
Where'er her step in beauty moves,
Around her fly a thousand loves ;
A thousand graces go before,
While striplings wonder and adore :
And some are wounded by a sigh,
Some by the lustre of her eye;
And these her studied smiles ensnare,
And those the ringlets of her hair.

The first his futtering heart to lose,
Was Captain Piercy, of the Blues;
He squeez'd her hand-he gaz’d, and swore
He never was in love before ;
He entertain'd his charmer's ear,
With tales of wonder and of fear;

« 上一页继续 »