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YES! there are real mourners.-I have seen
A fair, sad girl, mild, suffering, and serene;
Attention (through the day) her duties claim'd,
And to be useful as resign'd she aim'd:
Neatly she drest, nor vainly seem'd t' expect
Pity for grief, or pardon for neglect ;
But, when her wearied parents sunk to sleep,
She sought her place to meditate and weep:
Then to her mind was all the past display'd,
That faithful memory brings to sorrow's aid:
For then she thought on one regretted youth,
Her tender trust, and his unquestion'd truth;
In ev'ry place she wander'd, where they'd been,
And sadly-sacred held the parting scene,
Where last for sea he took his leave-that place
With double interest would she nightly trace;
For long the courtship was, and he would say,
Each time he sail'd, This once, and then the day:"
Yet prudence tarried; but, when last he went,
He drew from pitying love a full consent.
Happy he sail'd, and great the care she took,
That he should softly sleep, and smartly look ;
White was his better linen, and his check
Was made more trim than any on the deck;
And every comfort men at sea can know,
Was hers to buy, to make, and to bestow :
For he to Greenland sail'd, and much she told,
How he should guard against the climate's cold,
Yet saw not danger; dangers he'd withstood,
Nor could she trace the fever in his blood:
His messmates smil'd at flushings on his cheek,
And he too smil❜d, but seldom would he speak ;
For now he found the danger, felt the pain,
With grievous symptoms he could not explain;
Hope was awaken'd, as for home he sail'd,
But quickly sank, and never more prevail'd.
He call'd his friend, and prefac'd with a sigh
A lover's message—" Thomas, I must die:
Would I could see my Sally, and could rest
My throbbing temples on her faithful breast,
And gazing, go!-if not, this trifle take,"
And say, till death I wore it for her sake;
Yes! I must die-blow on sweet breeze, blow on!
Give me one look, before my life be gone,
Oh! give me that, and let me not despair,
One last fond look-and now repeat the prayer."
He had his wish, had more; I will not paint
The lovers' meeting: she beheld him faint,-
With tender fears, she took a nearer view,
Her terrors doubling as her hopes withdrew;
He tried to smile, and, half succeeding, said,
"Yes! I must die ;" and hope for ever fled.
Still long she nursed him; tender thoughts, meantime,
Were interchang'd, and hopes and views sublime.
To her he came to die, and every day
She took some portion of the dread away:
With him she pray'd, to him his Bible read,
Sooth'd the faint heart, and held the aching head;
She came with smiles the hour of pain to cheer;
Apart, she sigh'd; alone, she shed the tear;
Then, as if breaking from a cloud, she gave
Fresh light, and gilt the prospect of the grave.
One day he lighter seem'd, and they forgot
The care, the dread, the anguish of their lot;
They spoke with cheerfulness, and seem'd to think,
Yet said not so—" perhaps he will not sink:"
A sudden brightness in his look appear'd,
A sudden vigour in his voice was heard;—
She had been reading in the book of prayer,
And led him forth, and placed him in his chair;
Lively he seem'd, and spoke of all he knew,
The friendly many, and the favourite few;
Nor one that day did he to mind recall,
But she has treasur'd, and she loves them all ;
When in her way she meets them they appear
Peculiar people-death has made them dear.
He nam'd his friend, but then his hand she prest,
And fondly whisper'd "Thou must go to rest;"
"I go," he said; but, as he spoke, she found
His hand more cold, and fluttering was the sound!
Then gaz'd affrighten'd; but she caught a last,
A dying look of love, and all was past!
She plac'd a decent stone his grave above,
Neatly engrav'd-an offering of her love;
For that she wrought, for that forsook her bed,
Awake alike to duty and the dead;
She would have griev'd, had friends presum'd to spare
The least assistance-'twas her proper care.
Here will she come, and on the grave will sit,
Folding her arms, in long abstracted fit;
But, if observer pass, will take her round,
And careless seem, for she would not be found ;
Then go again, and thus her hour employ,
While visions please her, and while woes destroy.
Forbear, sweet maid! nor be by fancy led,
To hold mysterious converse with the dead;
For sure at length thy thoughts, thy spirit's pain,
In this sad conflict, will disturb thy brain;
All have their tasks and trials; thine are hard,
But short the time, and glorious the reward;
Thy patient spirit to thy duties give,
Regard the dead, but, to the living, live.
1. Describe the appearance of this real]
2. How did she employ herself during the day?
3. When her parents retired to rest what did she do?
4. What place did she visit nightly? 5. In what way had she shown her great care for the sailor's comfort at sea?
6. Where was the vessel bound for when he made his last voyage?
7. What proofs of disease appeared on his cheek?
8. Feeling himself sinking what said he to Thomas his shipmate?
9. What were his words to the wind? 10. Did he reach his home again? 11. How did Sally act towards him in his dying state?
12. How did she appear in his presence? 13. How felt she when alone? 14. What made Sally think one day "perhaps he will not sink"?
15. What had she been doing before she led him to his chair?
16. Of whom did he speak when there ? 17. Afraid he might fatigue himself, what did she say to him?
18. What was his reply?
19. In what sense were these words of his fulfilled?
20. At whose expense was the stone placed above his grave?
21. Why did she wish no aid from friends in this matter?
22. Ah me! where may she now too of ten be found?
23. If seen by any one what will she do? 24. What might her excessive grief cause?
25. Does God appoint trials for all? 26. In our trials how should we act, both towards the living and the dead?
27. Who alone can bring us to heaven, where there is no death?
XXXVIII. THE PRISONER OF CHILLON.
THE Chateau de Chillon, is situated at the extremity of the Lake of Geneva, and in its dungeons, we are told in history that the early reformers were confined and executed. In the cells are still to be seen seven or rather eight pillars with rings fastened in them for the fetters and the fettered,-and on the pavement are left the traces of the steps of Bonnivard who was imprisoned here for many years. This much is fact,-the details of the poem, however, are entirely the creation of the poet's fancy. According to the poem, Bonnivard is confined with his two brothers in these dungeons on account of their religion,-his other three brothers and his father had fallen before this under the hand of the persecutors. These three brothers are fastened to pillars, but in such a way that they cannot see each other's faces. They cheer one another by songs and stories, but at last the second eldest who had been "a hunter of the hills," and one to whom "fettered feet" was "the worst of ills" dies of a broken heart. We will give four extracts from the poem, beginning first, with the account of the younger brother's death, which according to Lord Jeffrey is the most tender and beautiful passage in the poem.
DEATH OF THE YOUNGER PRISONER.
But he, the favourite and the flower,
Most cherish'd since his natal hour,
His mother's image in fair face,
The infant love of all his race,
His martyr'd father's dearest thought,
My latest care, for whom I sought
To hoard my life, that his might be
Less wretched now, and one day free;
He, too, who yet had held untired
A spirit natural or inspired-
He, too, was struck, and day by day
Was wither'd on the stalk away.
Oh, God! it is a fearful thing
To see the human soul take wing
In any shape, in any mood:-
I've seen it rushing forth in blood,
I've seen it on the breaking ocean
Strive with a swoln convulsive motion,
I've seen the sick and ghastly bed
Of Sin delirious with its dread;
But these were horrors-this was woe
Unmix'd with such-but sure and slow:
He faded, and so calm and meek,
So softly worn, so sweetly weak,
So tearless, yet so tender-kind,
And grieved for those he left behind;
With all the while a cheek whose bloom
Was as a mockery of the tomb,
Whose tints as gently sunk away
As a departing rainbow's ray—
An eye of most transparent light,
That almost made the dungeon bright,
And not a word of murmur-not
A groan o'er his untimely lot,-
A little talk of better days,
A little hope my own to raise,
For I was sunk in silence-lost
In this last loss, of all the most!
And then the sighs he would suppress
Of fainting nature's feebleness,
More slowly drawn, grew less and less:
I listen'd, but I could not hear—
I call'd, for I was wild with fear;
I knew 'twas hopeless, but my dread
Would not be thus admonished;
I call'd, and thought I heard a sound-
I burst my chain with one strong bound,
And rush'd to him: I found him not,
I only stirr'd in this black spot,
I only lived-I only drew
The accursed breath of dungeon-dew;
The last the sole-the dearest link
Between me and the eternal brink,
Which bound me to my failing race,
Was broken in this fatal place.
One on the earth, and one beneath-
My brothers-both had ceased to breathe :
I took that hand which lay so still,
Alas! my own was full as chill;
I had not strength to stir, or strive,
But felt that I was still alive-
A frantic feeling, when we know
That what we love shall ne'er be so.
I know not why
I had no earthly hope-but faith,
And that forbade a selfish death.
Bonnivard's mind bows under the grief consequent on the death of his brothers, and he loses all consciousness of the circumstances of his fate. The first thing that rouses him from his stupor was the carol of a bird at the little window of his prison. We give the passage;—