Imatges de pÓgina
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"He was then silent-closed his eyes, and lay without motion, save of his huge chest, which rose and fell like a smith's bellows to his deep and frequent breath

The light of the moon, the light flare of the watch fires, and of a hundred torches which, from the beginning of the combat, had blazed round the ring, shewed distinctly his horrid countenance, on which approaching death seemed as yet to have made slight alteration. "And hast thou then no crimes for which to implore forgiveness?' said Edmund at length: 'have not the strengthless old man, and the innocent child, and the helpless woman, and the meek servant of God, fallen before thy ruthless arm?-Have not the virgin and the chaste matron held up the imploring hand to thee in vain? Have not the aged, and the young, groaned under thy tortures, that thou mightest force from them the treasure which they knew not of?-Have not thy fires consumed the church, and the monastery, and the dwellings of the rich and of the poor?-Have not thy ruffians driven back the shrieking victims to perish amid the flames?-Hath not thy sword hewn down at the altar, and upon the tomb, the tender child and the grey headed monk?—and are these deeds not to be repented of-and dost thou hope that a life of blackest guilt, can be rewarded by eternal bliss in the hall of thy false God?'

comparatively fresh and unfatigued, while his antagonist, wearied by the unceasing motion of his heavy club, and now somewhat exhausted by loss of blood, stood with wild eye and heaving chest, like a wildings. Edmund looked upon him for a time in silence. beast pursued almost to the extremity. His quick and heavy blows attested, nevertheless, the vigour of his gigantic arm; and all the address of his foe was necessary to parry the strokes which unfailingly answered his own loud thunderings, upon the clanging and almost impenetrable shield. Yet well did the sword of Amleth do its work, and the buckler that had never till then giveu way, was twice riven by the griding edge. Edmund now began to press forward, and his huge foe, step by step, to give back, but this lasted not long: recovering breath, the Dane again bore onward; and planting at length upon the crest of his enemy a blow that drove him on one knee to the earth and for the moment stupified his senses. The exulting Northman repeated the stroke, and thought his victory sure: but Edmund turned aside the descending blade; and rising, let fall upon the arm of Hubbo, a blow that made the weapon drop from his grasp. Had not the sword fallen flat, the arm might have been severed from the shoulder: or, had Hubbo stooped to pick up the weapon, a second blow might have sent him down never again to rise: but the numbness passed instantly from his hand, and flinging aside his shield, he rushed in for a close grapple with his now better provided enemy. Clasping him round the waist, he strove to hurl the Saxon to the ground, that he might afterwards dispatch him with the dagger: but here the Northman found himself overmatched, and after a short struggle, was hurled backward to the ground with a clang, that was distinctly heard by the farthest spectator-both fell; but the Northman was undermost, and lay without motion, and for a few moments, without breath. Edmund startedup from him, and caught the sword, which at the commencement of the struggle he had let fall. Tremendous peals of applause bespoke the joy of the Saxons, and a hundred voices called out to him to dispatch the Dane before he could rise: but Edmund planted his left foot upon the breast of Hubbo; and pointing the sword at his throat, bade him call upon God for pardon before his soul was sent to its final account. Hubbo still lay for a time without stirring or speaking; then at length in a low and faint tone scarcely unclosing his eyes, said-Use thy advantage Saxon: I have nothing to pray for. I die in battle, the last warrior upon a bloody field, and the hall of Valhalla is open to receive me. Bury thy sword in me therefore, and let me begone.'

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"He spake this slowly, and sternly, and with a long interval after every question, that the Northman might have time to reflect: but Hubbo still remained silent, and without change, save that his breath became gradually more slow and calm. Rememberest thou not wretch that thou art!' he at length resumed, when thy sword cut down at the altar, aud while the blessed cross was in his hand, the pale grey headed prior of Croyland! Hast thou forgotten how the old and infirm brethren, and the shrieking children, fell before thee there? Canst thou not even now hear the groans and the wailings of them whom thy inhuman cruelty put to the keen torture? Fiend, that thou art! bethink thee of these things, and pray that thy own torments may not be everlasting.'

"Again he paused; but the Dane made no reply. "Little didst thou think, proud man! that among the children of that devoted abbey, stood one destined to be thy punisher. Yes, imperious and invincible prince, the boy whom Sidroc preserved from thy fury, now stands with his foot upon thy breast, and with the sword of vengeance in his hand.'

"The eyes of Hubbo at these words, opened for a moment, and shot a glance like fire upon the Saxon; then

again half closed, as if they felt the stealing hand of death. With a low faint voice, he at length began to speak.

"My crimes stand up before me now-I feel, I feel that I have indeed deserved punishment: and from thy hand comes it most justly, and most welcome. But dost thou Saxon, indeed believe that prayer to thy God might save me now in this last moment?'

"The mercy of God is infinite,' returned Edmund; 'but he alone can judge with what measure to visit thy guilt. Bow thy soul into the dust; and put up thy prayers to him-so may this infliction be softened unto thee. Few, very few are thy moments; lose not one, lest thou with that lose eternity.'

"I feel cold death at my heart;' said the Dane with a feeble voice; 'raise me upon my knees; and let me pray unto the Christian's God, even as they pray unto him.'

"As he said this he attempted to rise, but instantly fell back. Edmund laid his sword upon the ground; and placing his hand under the shoulders of the Dane, lifted him till he had gained his knees. He was still supporting him in that position, when Hubbo started up,-drew his dagger,—and with a shout of devilish exultation rushed upon the youth. With the speed of thought Edmund caught up his sword: and, in the frenzy of rage, let fall upon the impious hypocrite a blow so tremendous and well aimed, that the severed head

dropped upon the ground, while the dagger yet lingered dropped upon the ground, while the dagger yet lingered in the uplifted hand. The huge trunk stood yet an in

stant-then sunk in a heap.

"There had been a grave like stillness amid the throng of Saxons; but now they sent up continued peals of joy, and with one impulse rushed forward." THE SEA KINGS.


"HE (Kemble) gave a dinner, I remember, in Great Russell-street. Cooke came in good time, well dressed, and in the library we chatted very agreeably till dinner was served-he appeared to me to have read with care, and to speak with the politeness of a gentleman. When we were seated at table, he had a chair opposite to mine; and I was attentive to him, with the expectation that the moderation he shewed, would pass away with the hours, and that, as we warmed with wine, I should see something of the character which the world attributed to him. We had some mimiery that evening, and the mime made

him, among others, act harlequin. He appeared very much entertained. Munden got up a sham quarrel, and very hard words, and something beyond words, flew about. Cooke was still unmoved-he seemed to wait upon Kemble; and to say, like Macduff, when he long'd for the combat-but with the tyrant only— "Either thee, Macbeth,

Or else my sword, with an unbatter'd edge

I sheathe again undeeded.'


"Whether Kemble had kept a guard upon himself expressly, I can only conjecture; but they agreed like brothers. It was 'Mr. Kemble,' and ' my dear George,' and one nosegay seemed to perfume them both. There is a time when men, who are modest in general, become the heroes of their own tale, and this at length happened to King John'for wine,' says Johnson, exerts its natural power upon kings.' He told the story of his progress as an actor; and, among other accompaniments, mentioned the little aid that he had derived from the newspapers. This seemed to startle the company, who had not quite forgotten the even fulsome jargon in his praise, by which, more than one critic has preserved the peace of the profession. Cooke's eye quickened, but he did not speak. At length, something like difference of opinion was manifested as to the fact, and a few stubborn particulars were gone into, which it

seemed difficult to contravert. A very slight pause intervened; when Cooke, summoning up a look of the intervened; when Cooke, summoning up a look of the

most sarcastic bitterness, fixed his eyes upon Kemble, and pronouneed aloud the following lines from the great painter of men;

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Call others round your dying bed,

The loved of many years!

The eyes whose smiles were all your own,
Those are the eyes for tears.
You thought not of me in the hall,
When gayer knights were nigh;
You thought not of me when the stars
Wrote memory on the sky.

My heart has been with other thoughts,

Of council and of fight;

I've bought forgetfulness with blood

Of one so false, so light.

It is a dream of shame and scorn,
That of your broken vow;

'Tis with the vain frail hopes of youth,
Why speak you of it now?"

He nerved him with remember'd wrongs,
He grasp'd his heavy brand;
She raised her sweet eyes to his face,
She raised her dying hand:

She strove to speak-on her faint lip
The accents died unheard:

Ah! nothing could his heart have moved
Like that unspoken word.

A sadness stole upon his brow,

A softness to his eyes;

His heart was harden'd against smiles,

It could not be to sighs.

It was not years that wrought the change-
In life she yet was young;

Her locks of youth, her golden hair,
In wild profusion hung.

But youth's sweet lights had left her eye,
For from within they shine,

And pale her face, as those are carved
Around some sacred shrine ;-
On funeral marble carved, and worn
With sorrow, sin, and shame;
Placed there in sign of penitence-
And her face was the same.

"T is written deep within-the vow We pledged in other years,

And all that vanity effaced

Has long been fresh with tears. The red torch held by yonder monk, He holds to see me die;

'T will sink before the morning, sure, And even so shall I.

And yet a voice is in my ear,

A hope is in my heart;

And I must have them both from thee
Before I can depart.

Alas! for festivals that leave

But lassitude behind;

For feelings deaden'd, gifts misused,

A worn and vacant mind,

That dreads its own thoughts, yet pursues

The vanities of yore;

Seeks pleasure's shade, though pleasure's self Has long since been no more.

The weariness of future hours,

The sorrow for the past,
Desire of change, craving for joys,
Cling to us to the last.

I turn me to my days of youth,
My last thoughts fain would be
Of purer feelings, better hopes-
I dare not say of thee.
That beautiful, that blessed time,
'Mid all that has been mine;

I never knew such happiness,
Nor such a love as thine."


Her pale lips closed, inaudible
The faint low accents came;

Yet the knight held his breath to hear-
Her last word was his name.
He flung him by the pallet's side,

He raised her fainting head;
Her fair hair fell around his arm,
He gazed upon the dead.


"T is an old church, the Gothic aisles See but the evening sun;

All light, except a fading light,

Would seem too glad a one.

For the dark pines close o'er the roof
Which sanctifies the dead,

And on the dim and sculptured walls

Only their names are read;

And in the midst a marble form

Is laid, as if to rest;

And meekly are the graceful arms

Folded upon the breast.

An old monk tells her history,

And ends as I do now,

"Oh, never yet could happiness

Dwell with a broken vow!"-THE KEEPSAKE.

THE ORPHAN BOY OF PONTNEATHVAUGHN SHORT and simple are the annals of the poor. When grief and death assail the great, a thousand eyes weep for them, and to their triumphs a thousand voices are ready to cry "Hail?" Fame waves a sunbright banner before their closing eyes; and thus canopied, death is divested of half its terrors. Hearts beat thickly and fastly in sympathy for all sorrow, save the misery of the poor. Hunger, and those diseases that arise from poverty, are vulgar sufferings; and the lowly tale which has now found a historian may fail to excite a single throb of pity in the tenderest bosom.

In the village of Pontneathvaughn, in Glamorganshire, lived, some few years since, a young farmer named Edward Morgan. Rich, gay, and handsome; gifted with the ready smile and quick reply, he wore, with a careless air, the triumphs he obtained in all athletic exercises. These qualities would alone have

made him a general favourite. But his merit did not | his labours, he would vent his suppressed anguish end here. His integrity and good parts were pro- upon the gentle Lucy, though the deprivation she sufverbial, and these virtues, it may be, added to an ex- fered was, perhaps, one of the heaviest feelings at his terior uncommonly prepossessing, found him grace in heart. In vain she sought to soothe him by endearthe sight of Lewin, one of the prettiest girls in the ment; her efforts only maddened him. He would country, the orphan-daughter of the late village- shrink from her slightest touch, resist the accents of curate. All outward circumstances seemed to con- her hope, and rush out to solitude. Moody and spire in favour of this union; and yet the feeling of gloomy abstraction and fits of angry invective divided surprise that in an under current ran through the his nights: the day was spent in such excessive labour whole village when it became known that she had said as would have destroyed a frame of iron: it excited, the final "Yes," sufficiently proved that a discrepancy therefore, less wonder than regret when he was scized did somewhere exist in their tastes, feelings, or opi- with a virulent fever, which carried him off after a nions, universally felt, however unacknowledged. few days' illness, just before his little Edward attained his tenth year.

Before marriage it is probable that Lucy was not conscious of her mental superiority: she decked her handsome lover with her own bright imaginings-and love, in its holiness, possesses, indeed, the capacious gift to light into beauty all it looks upon: but afterwards, one by one, came out coarsenesses that Lucy's innate and cultivated refinement could ill brook, and she early sought in her boy, the only fruit of this union, that companionship she had vainly hoped to enjoy in her husband:-to his unattending ear she confided sorrows no one in the village could have understood; and when bad seasons and thin crops soured her husband's temper, and made him vent his anxieties and disappointments in loud and sometimes abusive anger upon her, the silent tears she shed fell upon baby's smiling face, and she was comforted. Whether the boy inherited more of Lucy's than of his father's qualities I cannot say; certain it is, that a precocious intelligence with his mother was awakened within



There appeared, indeed, some reason for Edward Morgan's change of temper, for from the day of his marriage every thing went ill with him. Scanty harvests year after year, his cattle swept off by disease; some fatality seemed to attend all his exertions, and the pride of integrity made more bitter and cureless the evils he sustained, for nothing could tempt him to accept assistance from those who were now his wealthier neighbours. At length he was compelled to yield up his farm, and to engage himself to superintend one belonging to another farmer. Those who saw him in this employment were astonished at the serenity that sat upon his brow: his laugh rang a gayer and a more hilarious tone than formerly, and he was ever the first to make himself, his fallen fortunes, and changed condition, the theme of mockful jesting. But at home he unveiled, and exhausted more by the effort to wear a smiling face upon a bursting heart than by

And now poor Lucy had to learn the bitter and debasing lessons of poverty; but on her sinless nature this blighting evil fell with its desolating, not its criminating, power. She bowed her head meekly to the storm, as utterly riven, as though she had warred with the tempest: she toiled all day and half the night; for though she could quickly learn the lesson of selfprivation, she could not as yet bring herself to teach her boy companionship in suffering. But the anxious mind fretted the fleshy cage already much enfeebled, and hastened the doom she was so anxious to avert. Her fingers would fall listless from her work, and the abstraction of disease reuder her heedless of the hours that thus passed unemployed. The altered state of her cottage soon told of the ravaging effects of illness. One by one the small articles of furniture disappeared; and when her boy would ask, in his simplicity, why they were removed-" I no longer want them, love,” was the calm reply of her despair. At length, her bed was literally taken from under her, and her child could no longer be deceived. He had, indeed, long felt the changes that desolated his home; but the calmness of his mother's despair terrified him into silence.

On the morning her bed had been carried away, some terrific power seemed to contract her limbs, and withdraw from her altogether the faculty of motion; and thus crippled she was left upon an old straw mattress, helpless as a child, yet conscious as woman ever is, of the full evil of her situation.

While these thoughts burned her cheek with fever, she was roused by a sweet voice somewhat raised in its musical tones, and a small hand was at the same moment pressed upon her wan fingers to awake attention." Mother," said the child, as the tears started to his eyes, and the blood mantled to his brow, "little Jones, the gardener's boy, helps his father, and is not



much older than I am: I will work for him too, and get you wine to make you well; for I heard Dame Morris say that is all you require. Kiss me, mother, and I will go to work"

"Go, my son," said the enfeebled mother, "for I have not bread to give you."

The gardener compassionating the distress of mother and child, though too poor himself otherwise to assist them, gave him employment, at first to weed his garden, and afterwards, as he became older and stronger, to work in his field, and sometimes to sell vegetables in the neighbouring villages; and the pittance he thus earned sufficed to support two beings who had once possessed all the comforts of life, and seemed well fitted in quality of mind to fill the world's "high places."

Luey lingered on for years, though she never rose from the hard couch to which her ereditors consigned her. Bed-ridden, and incapable of assisting her adored Edward in the smallest degree, she yet felt-oh! who shall say how bitterly?-that the vile pence which procured her bread were coined out of her boy's life. His eyes began to burn brighter; the bloom upon his cheek became of a deeper and less healthful dye, concentred in one burning spot; and the wavy ringlets of his glossy hair seemed to lose life and elasticity, as they drooped in fainter and more languid curl upon his brow and neck. Still she did not refuse sustenance, though so dearly earned; for, wreck as she was, she knew herself to be the sole minister of happiness to him; and it might be that a sort of unholy joy lighted her despair, as she thought that death, the stern, stern divider, would not long sever her from her boy.

His employer lived at some distance from his mother's cottage, and would occasionally send him with a basket of potatoes, which formed indeed their chief sustenance, as a gift to his mother. On these occasions, and ever on his return home from the labours of the day, he would rest upon a mass of stone, incrusted with moss and lichen, that lay in his path; and here, whilst he gazed on the rocks that kissed the broad blue heaven, and listened to the music of the waterfall that leapt joyously from out them in one continuous sheet of silver, would he build dreams that ill sorted with his present fortune.

I do not mean to say that these thoughts would be natural to a boy in vivid health, even though he had been bred in a palace; they were partly the result of the education he imbibed from his mother, and partly that he inherited her consumptive constitution.

The soul makes to itself stronger wings from the body's decay, anxious, it would seem, to escape the prison in which it is but fecbly held.

It was on a faint evening of ripe autumn that Edward passed on towards his home, repining against that which is, and which therefore is the best. He reached his lowly door, lifted the latch, and, entering, deposited his burden on the floor, and, as of wont, went towards his mother's bed. He knelt down to take her hand, for he thought she slept. The emaciation that had formerly marked her face had disappeared, and seemed restored to its earliest youth; her fair hair had escaped her cap, and, in its natural ringlets, pressed her pale but rounded check she appeared at once, as though by magic, to have recovered the springtime of her beauty. Yet the hand he touched was marble cold; and a magnificent butterfly, that had entered through the open casement, fluttered and rested on that fair cheek unfelt. The arrow that flicth unseen even in the day had struck her. How many may have felt, what perhaps only one could so beautifully have expressed,

"That thou shouldst die,

And life be left to the butterfly!"

Edward softly brushed away the unholy insect that dared to tamper with the dead; but, as he did so, he recollected that it was the type of immortality, and amid his gushing tears he hailed the omen.

"Already her soul is on the wing," he thought, in poetic madness, and his tears fell less bitterly, though his grief, from the overwrought excitation of his nature, bordered on insanity.

On the following day he was observed at his customary labour, and the gardener kindly asked him wherefore he was at work.

"I would pay for my mother's burial," he saidhis large sweet eyes raised mournfully-" and my time is not long upon the earth."

It was of no avail that opposition was offered to his intention early and late he toiled to effect his object, but in vain: the effort was too great-it was too sudden a wrench from the single hold he had on life, and the mastery he exerted to repress all outward emotion whilst performing his self-allotted task hastened his end. He died a few days after his mother. THE KEEPSAKE.

V. SLATER, Printer, Fitzroy General Printing Office, 23, Buckingham-place, opposite Warren-street, Pitzroy-square.

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