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SOLILOQUY OF A DUELLIST.
They all at length have left me-long I wish'd
While round me with officious care they stood,
To dress this paltry wound, to be alone ;
And now I find that solitude is dreadful-
Dreadful to one, upon whose burning soul,
The weight of murder rests! Oh, would to heaven
This day were blotted from the scroll of time:
Or, as indeed it seems, that some wild dream
Had wrapp'd me in its horrid tangled maze.
It is a dream,-it must be,-o'er my brain
Such strange bewildering scenes in memory crowd,
As are not, cannot be reality ;
And yet this agony is too intense,
'Twould rive the chains of sleep. This stiffen'd arm,
These bandages, and the sharp pain which shoots
Across my burning temples—these are real-
Oh, no —'t is not the phantasy of sleep-
He does lie bleeding, yonder, pale and dead;
I, too, am slightly wounded. ---Would to heaven
The erring ball, that pierced this guilty arm,
Had found a goal within my guiltier breast,
Ere I had lived to be a murderer-
A hateful murderer, still living on
Beneath the weight, the torment of a curse,
Heavy as that of Cain, the stain of blood
Forever on my conscience, crying out
To heaven for vengeance. Yet my wounded honour
Claim'd, sure, some reparation for the blot
His language on it cast. Could I have lived
Beneath the brand of cowardice, and borne
The sneer and the expression of contempt,
That would have follow'd me from every lip?
gave the challenge, and could I refuse?
I could not—yet I might-I could—I could
The offence was mine, and mine is all the guilt.
Why o'er my heated passions could I not
One instant hold the reins of self-control?
One single moment of deliberate thought
And cloudless reason, would have spared me all
This guilt, this agony. The approving smiles
Of peaceful conscience, and mine own respect,
Had balanced well the idle laugh of fools-
And now, what am I now? I dare not think !
The stain of life-blood is upon my soul-
The life-blood of my friend-he was my friend,
And I have kill'd him! Oh, that this dark hour
Of deep remorseful anguish might recall
The moments that have pass’d. My wife!--my wife!
I cannot meet thee thus. I hate myself,
All whom I have loved, and e'en thou wilt hate me.
Oh! would that I were dead-I will not live
To meet thy tearful eye in sorrow bent
O’er one who once could wake its proudest smile.
I cannot pray- I dare not call on Heaven,
To pardon my offence-before the throne,
Even at the mercy-seat, his bleeding form
Would mock my agony, and drive me thence.
How can I look on those whose hearts my hand
Has made so desolate? His mother's eye
Has often smiled in kindness on my boyhood,
And such has been my gratitude, to wring
The last bright drops of comfort from her heart,
And cloud the evening of her life with woe.
His sisters, in their tears, demand of me
Their loved, their murder'd one and there he lies,
Cut off in all the bloom of health and youth.
There lies the fatal instrument, and there
Its fellow lies to tempt me-loaded still ;
I dare not think--the future and the past
Are fraught alike with images of horror.
Blood calls for blood, and mine own hand shall pay
The debt of justice. Crime shall wash out crime-
I dare not look into eternity-
Oh, God! Oh, God! forgive me for this deed !
THE WIFE'S LAMENT.
Loud howls the wintry blast, the rain descends,
And patters heavy on the ice-glazed roof;
But yet he comes not. 'Tis a dreary night-
Long since, the midnight bell hath tolld the hour.
And long, long since, my womanish fears had framed
Some reason dread, for absence thus prolong’d,
But that so oft 'tis thus. Oh! had I once
But even thought that thus thy love might change,
I should have shudder'd at the bare surmise,
And chid myself in anger for the thought.
now, I feel it true, and yet I live,
I live to feel thy heart, thyself estranged,
From all that once it loved—to sit alone,
And number out the weary midnight hours
That waste with thee in revelry and mirth,
And weep in sadness at thy long delay.
Oh, Henry! once-but I will not look back,
Nor think of present, past, or future scenes,
Or thought would madden me.
But hark ! again
The watch proclaims the second morning hour,
And still he lingers. Sure, some dire mischance
Delays his coming—but it is not so—
How often I have wept in terror wild,
And almost wish'd 't were rather guilt, than harm,
That kept him from my arms—and he has come,
And I have half forgotten all my woe,
In joy at his approach, till his cold frown
Has chill'd my heart to stone! And yet this night,
While all the elements seem bent on war,
He surely could not, would not, leave me thus,
And join the laugh of riot. Oh, Henry, Henry,
Changed, cruel, as thou art, I love thee still !
My peace, my life, are woven in thy fate,
And freely would I give that life for thine.
And thou—thou couldst not change, so wholly change
From all I knew thee once -thou lov’st me yet;
It is some secret anguish breaks thy peace,
And thence thine alter'd looks—But, hark! he comes,
Thank heaven, he is safe! Be dry, my tears !
My face must wear a smile at his approach ;
I will not greet him save with looks of joy,
Although my aching heart in anguish bleeds,
And mourns his early alienated love !
The Slave-ship was winding her course o'er the ocean,
The winds and the waters had sunk into rest ;
All hush'd was the whirl of the tempest's commotion,
That late had awaken'd the sailor's devotion,
When terror had kindled remorse in his breast.
And onward she rode, though by curses attended,
Though heavy with guilt was the freight that she bore, Though with shrieks of despair was the midnight air rended, And ceaseless the groans of the wretches ascended,
That from friends and from country forever she tore. ûn the deck, with his head on his fetter'd hand rested,
He who once was a chief and a warrior stood; One moment he gain’d, by his foes unmolested, To think o'er his woes, and the fate he detested,
Till madness was firing his brain and his blood.
“Oh, never !” he murmur'd in anguish, “ no, never !
These limbs shall be bent to the menial's toil !
They have reft us, my bride—but they shall not forever
Your chief from his home and his country dissever-
No! never will I be the conqueror's spoil
“Say! long didst thou wait for my coming, my mother?
bend o’er the desert, my sister, your eye ? And weep at the lengthen’d delay of your brother, As each slow passing moment was chased by another,
And still he appear'd not a tear-drop to dry. “ But ye shall-yes, again ye shall fondly embrace me!
We will meet my young bride in the land of the blest : Death, death once again in my country shall place me, One bound shall forever from fetters release me!"
He burst them, and sunk in the ocean's dark breast.
ART thou chief of the white men that crowd on the strand ?
No broad gleaming sword flashes bright in thy hand-
No plume, proudly waving, sits light on thy brow-
Nor with hate and contempt does thine eye darkly glow.
I have seen the white chieftains, but proudly they stood ;
Though they callid us their brethren, they thirst for our blood :
With the peace-belt of wampum they stretch'd forth one hand,
With the other they wielded the death-doing brand.
On their lip was the calumet-war on their brow;
But thine scowls not with hatred-a chieftain art thou ?
My brethren are those whom thou see'st on the strand,
My friends, whom I govern with fatherly hand;
We worship the spirit who rules from above,
Our watchword is peace, and our motto is love.
We fight not, we war not, for life or for land,
And the weapons of death never darken our hand.
The land that in purchase ye cheerfully give,
Will we, for our friends and our brethren, receive;
But we will not deprive you, by force or by fraud,
Of the land that yourselves and your fathers have trod.
Then deep be the tomahawk buried from sight;
The peace-tree shall bloom where it slumbers in night.
We will bury from sight and from mem'ry the dead;
We will plant o'er the spot where their blood has been shed;
grave shall the green maize its tassels expand :
But whether the white men by force wrest our land,
Or whether they win it in war or in peace,
Our hunting grounds narrow, our tribes still decrease.
O’er the land that I purchase ye freely may rove;
We will dwell in the spirit of brotherly love-
By mutual kindness we both shall be blest,
Your wrongs, as the white man’s, be promptly redrest.