Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

less in every country; and at his final reward, he will receive, not by retail, but in gross, the reward of those who visit the prisoner.”

LESSON XCIX.

The Sultan and Mr. Haswell.*

be

some,

Sult. ENGLISHMAN, yon were invited hither to receive public thanks for our troops restored to health by your prescriptions. Ask a reward adequate to your services.

Hasw. Sultan, the reward I ask, is, leave to preserve more of your people still.

Sult. How more ? my subjects are in health ; no contagion visits them.

Hasu). The prisoner is your subject. There, misery, more contagious than disease, preys on the lives of hun. dreds : sentenced but to confinement, their doom is death. Immured in damp and dreary vaults, they daily perish ; and who can tell but that, among the many hapless sufferers, there may be hearts bent down with penitence, to heaven and you, for every slight offence—there

may among the wretched multitude, even innocent victims. Let me seek them outlet me save them and

you. Sult. Amazement ! retract your application: curb this weak pity; and accept our thanks.

Hasw. Restrain my piiy ;-and what can I receive in recompense for that soft bond which links me to the wretched, and, while it soothes their sorrow, repays me more than all the gifts an empire can bestow !-But, if it be a virtue repugnant to your plan of government, I apply not in the name of Pity, but of Justice.

Sult. Justice !

Hasw. The justice that forbids all, but the worst of criminals, to be denied that wholesome air the

very

brute creation freely takes.

* In the year 1786, says Mrs. Inchbald, (the authoress of the play from which the above interesting extract is selected,) Howard, under the name of Haswell, was on his philanthropic travels through Europe and parts of Asia, to mitigate the sufferings of the prisoners. He tell a sacrifice to his humanity; for visiting a sick person at Cherson, who had a malignant fever, he caught the infection, and died January 20, 1790, aged 70. A statue is erected to his memory in St. Paul's Cathedral, with a suitable inscription.

Sult. Consider for whom you plead-for men (if not base culprits) so misled, so depraved, they are dangerous to our state, and deserve none of its blessings.

Hasw. If not upon the undeserving—if not upon the wretched wanderer from the paths of rectitude-where shall the sun diffuse his light, or the clouds distil their dew? Where shall spring breathe frāgrance, or autumn pour its plenty ? Sult.

Sir, your sentiments, still more your character, excite my curiosity. They tell me, that in our camps you visited each sick man's bed; administered yourself the healing draught*; encouraged our savages with the hope of life, or pointed out their better hope in death.—The widow speaks your charities, the orphan lisps your bounties, and the rough Indian melts in tears to bless you.I wish to ask why you have done all this ?-what is it that prompts you thus to befriend the miserable and forlorn ?

Hasw. It is in vain to explain :—the time it would take to reveal to you

Sult. Satisfy my curiosity in writing then.

Hasw. Nay, if you will read, I'll send a book in which is already written why I act thus.

Sult. What book ? what is it called ?

Hasw. The Christian Doctrine.” There you will find all I have done was but my duty.

Sult. Your words recal reflections that distract me; nor can I bear the pressure on my mind, without confessingI am a Christian !

LESSON C.

The monied man.—New MONTHLY MAGAZINE.

OLD Jacob Stock! The chimes of the clock were not more punctual in proclaiming the progress of time, than in marking the regularity of his visits at the temples of Plutus in Threadneedle-street, and Bartholomew-lane. His devotion to them was ex'emplary. In vain the wind and the rain, the hail and the sleet, battled against his rugged front. Not the slippery ice, nor the thick-falling snow, nor the whole artillery of elementary warfare, could check the plodding perseverance of the man of the world, or tempt

* Pron. drăft.

gross and

66

very ill, Sir.”

him to lose the chănce which the morning, however unpropitious it seemed, in its external aspect, might yield him of profiting by the turn of a fraction. He was

a stout-built, round-shouldered, squab-looking man, of a bearish aspect. His features were hard, and his heart was harder. You could read the interest-table in the wrinkles of his brow, trace the rise and fall of stocks by the look of his countenance; while avarice, selfishness, and money-getting, glared from his gray, glăssy eye. Nature had poured no balm into his breast; nor was his “ earthly mould” susceptible of pity. A single look of his would daunt the most importunate petitioner that ever attempted to extract hard coin by the soft rhetoric of a heart-moving tale.

The wife of one whom he had known in better days, pleaded before him for her sick husband, and famishing infants. Jacob, on occasions like these, was a man of few words. He was as chary of them as of his money, and he let her come to the end of her tale without interruption. She paused for a reply; but he gave none. Indeed, he is

—“Can't help it.”—“We are very distressed." - Can't help it.”—“Our poor children, too “ Can't help that neither.”

The petitioner's eye looked a mournful reproach, which would have interpreted itself to any other heart but his, “ Indeed, you can ;" but she was silent. Jacob felt more awkwardly than he had ever done in his life. His hand involuntarily scrambled about his breeches pocket. There was something like the weakness of human nature stirring within him. Some coin had unconsciously worked its way into his hand-his fingers insensibly closed; but the effort to draw them forth, and the impossibility of effecting it without unclosing them, roused the dormant selfishness of his nature, and restored his self-possession.

“ He has been very extravagant.” -“ Ah, Sir, he has been very unfortunate, not extravagant.”—“ Unfortunate !Ah! it's the same thing. Little odds, I fancy. For my part, I wonder how folks can be unfortunate. I was never unfortunate. Nobody need be unfortunate, if they look after the main chănce. I always looked after the main chănce."

-“ He has had a large family to maintain.” " Ah ! married foolishly; no offence to you ma'am. But when poor folks marry poor folks, what are they to look for?

you

know Besides, he was so foolishly fond of assisting others. If

[ocr errors]

friend was sick, or in gaol, out came his purse, and then his creditors might go whistle. Now if he had married a woman with money, you know, why then ..

The supplicant turned pale, and would have fainted. Jacob was alarmed; not that he sympathized, but a woman's fainting was a scene that he had not been used to: besides, there was an awkwardness about it; for Jacob was a bachelor.

Sixty summers had passed over his head without imparting a ray of warmth to his heart; without exciting one tender feeling for the sex, deprived of whose cheering presence, the paradise of the world were a wilderness of weeds. -So he desperately extracted a crown piece from the depth profound, and thrust it hastily into her hand. The action recalled her wandering senses.

She blushed-it was the honest blush of pride at the meanness of the gift.

She curt'sied; staggered towards the door ; opened it; closed it; raised her hand to her forehead, and burst into tears.* ***

LESSON CI.

The Highlander.-W. GILLESPIE.

Many years ago, a poor Highland soldier, on his return to his native

hills, fatigued, as it was supposed, by the length of the march and the heat of the weather, sat down under the shade of a birch-tree, on the solitary road of Lowrin, that winds along the margin of Loch Ken, in Galloway. Here he was found dead, and this incident

forms the subject of the following verses. From the climes of the sun, all war-worn and weary,

The Highlander sped to his youthful abode ; Fair visions of home cheered the desert so dreary ;

Though fierce was the noon-beam and steep was the road. Till spent with the march that still lengthened before him,

He stopped by the way in a syivan retreat ;
The light shady boughs of the birch-tree waved o'er him,

And the stream of the mountain fell soft at his feet.

He sunk to repose where the red heaths are blended,

One dream of his childhood his fancy past o'er ; But his battles are fought, and his march. . . it is ended;

The sound of the bagpipe shall wake him no more.

No arm in the day of the conflict could wound him,

Though war lănched her thunder in fury to kill ; Now the angel of death in the desert has found him,

Now stretched him in peace by the stream of the hill. Pale Autumn spreads o'er him the leaves of the forest,

The fays of the wild chănt the dirge of his rest; And thou, little brook, still the sleeper deplorest,

And moisteneth the heath-bell that weeps on his breast.

LESSON CII.

The Harvest Moon.-W. MILLAR.

All hail! thou lovely queen of night,

Bright empress of the starry sky!
The meekness of thy silvery light

Beams gladness on the gazer's eye,
While from thy peerless throne on high

Thou shinest bright as cloudless noon,
And bidd'st the shades of darkness fly

Before thy glory-Harvest moon!
In the deep stillness of the night,
When
weary

labor is at rest,
How lovely is the scene how bright

The wood—the lawn-the mountain's breast,
When thou, fair Moon of Harvest! hast

Thy radiant glory all unfurled,
And sweetly smilest in the west,

Far down upon the silent world.
Dispel the clouds, majestic orb!

That round the dim horizon brood,
And hush the winds that would disturb

The deep, the awful solitude,
That rests upon the slumbering flood,

The dewy fields, and silent grove,
When midnight hath thy zenith viewed,

And felt the kindness of thy love.
Lo! scattered wide beneath thy throne,

The hope of millions richly spread,
That seems to court thy radiance down

To rest upon its dewy bed :

« AnteriorContinuar »