« FöregåendeFortsätt »
To travel half a mile alone.-Good lady!
What brings you hither? speak!
Was meek, and patient, feeble, old and blind,
But hear me.
Saints forgive me. Had I thought
Mar. No, not by stroke of arm. But learn the To feed remorse, to welcome every sting
Of penitential anguish, yea with tears.
Proof after proof was pressed upon me; guilt
When seas and continents shall lie between us-
Made evident, as seemed, by blacker guilt,
[Confused voices-several of the band enter-
A fool and coward blended to my wish!
But she WILL wake, and she will weep for me,
OSWALD. (to himself.) Strong to o'erturn, strong
Your pupil is, you see, an apt proficient. (ironically.)
This is a paltry field for enterprise.
[Drawing OSWALD towards the cottage — stops short at the door.
Men are there, millions, Oswald,
Who with bare hands would have plucked out thy heart
A deed that I would shrink from;- but to endure,
'Twas nothing more than darkness deepening darkness, And weakness crowned with the impotence of death!
Another of the band. The ruthless traitor!
[Smiles scornfully and exultingly at MARMADUKE Wal. "T is done! (stabs him.)
Let us to Palestine; That may record my story: nor let words
A rash deed!
Wil. (approaching MARMADUKE.) O, my poor
Mar. Discerning monitor, my faithful Wilfred,
Few must they be, and delicate in their touch
Wallace and Wilfred, I commend the lady,
Mar. No more of that; in silence hear my doom: A hermitage has furnished fit relief
To some offenders; other penitents,
Less patient in their wretchedness, have fallen,
Like the old Roman, on their own sword's point.
Note 1, p. 25.
Of the Poems in this class, "THE EVENING WALK" and "DESCRIPTIVE SKETCHES" were first published in 1793. They are reprinted with some unimportant alterations that were chiefly made very soon after their publication. It would have been easy to amend them, in many passages, both as to sentiment and expression, and I have not been altogether able to resist the temptation but attempts of this kind are made at the risk of injuring those characteristic features which, after all, will be regarded as the principal recommendation of juvenile poems.
POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH.
Note 2, p. 39.
'And, hovering, round it often did a raven fly.' From a short MS. poem read to me when an undergraduate, by my schoolfellow and friend, Charles Farish, long since deceased. The verses were by a brother of his, a man of promising genius, who died young.
A man by pain and thought compelled to live, Yet loathing life— till anger is appeased
In Heaven, and mercy gives me leave to die.
Note 3, p. 45. "The Borderers.'
This Dramatic Piece, as noticed in its title-page, was composed in 1795–6. It lay nearly from that time till
within the last two or three months unregarded among my papers, without being mentioned even to my most intimate friends. Having, however, impressions upon my mind which made me unwilling to destroy the MS., I determined to undertake the responsibility of publishing it during my own life, rather than impose upon my successors the task of deciding its fate. Accordingly it has been revised with some care; but, as it was at first written, and is now published, without any view to its exhibition upon the stage, not the slightest alteration has been made in the conduct of the story, or the composition of the characters; above all, in respect to the two leading persons of the drama, I felt no inducement to make any change. The study of human nature suggests this awful truth, that, as in the trials to which life subjects us, sin and crime are apt to start from their very opposite qualities, so are there no limits to the hardening of the heart, and the perversion of the understanding to which they may carry their slaves. During my long residence in France, while the revolution was rapidly advancing to its extreme of wickedness, I had frequent opportunities of being an eye-witness of this process, and it was while that knowledge was fresh upon my memory, that the Tragedy of "The Borderers" -1842. was composed.