Page images



The cold hand of death presses harshly upon me,

The last fearful conflict draws rapidly nigh ; But shame and disgrace lie more heavily on me,

I wish not to live, while I tremble to die. Yet deem not, though friendless—degraded—forsaken,

I write to upbraid thee in bitterness wild; Reproaches are vain : and I seek but to waken

Thy latent remorse for my innocent child.

I once had a father, whose fond heart delighted

To cherish, indulgent, the child of his love ;Ah! how was that partial indulgence requited !

How weak did the thought of that tenderness prove! Yet still, though with curses indignant he spurns me,

His heart may relent, ere my rest shall arrive; For Hope whispers soft, ʼmid the fever that burus me: Where God stoops to pardon, there man must forgive. I once bad a mother-I mean not to wound thee, Though conscience must startle appalled at her

name; Thou know'st with what virtue her confidence

crowned thee, How she sank in despair at the breath of my shame. Alas ! she is fled-yet, in darkest dishonour,

Her bosom was still firm and tender to me;
Her last feeble accents, when death was upon her,

Spoke peace to her daughter and pardon to thee.

And soon shall I follow, where anguish and weeping

10 silence are hushed in the rest of the tomb; But the babe at my bosom unconsciously sleeping— ,

He shared not my guilt-must he share in my doom? I charge thee in death, by each once-cherished token, Of love,-by the young days when innocence

smiled; By the woes thou hast wrought-by the hearts thou

hast broken; By the God who shall judge thee-watch over my.

child !

[graphic][merged small][subsumed][merged small][merged small]


It was in the autumn of the year 1788 that, after traversing Italy from north to south, I first entered the ancient town of Lyons. I had quitted England young and unhappy; and my journey, which had for its object the diversion of those sorrows that have still left their blight upon my heart, and flung a cloud over all my life, was as excursive in its plan as it was utterly...lonely. . Accompanied only by a single servant, I had entered Italy by way of Switzerland; and, visiting the plains of Piedmont, had suffered my course to be bounded, to the westward, by that gigantic, barrier by which nature has linked them to the sky. Hence, after turping eastward to Venice, I had extended my route as far as the Tarentine Gulf; and, returning through Tuscany, embarked for Marseilles, with the view of exploring the rich valleys of Provence and Languedoc.

I have no recollections connected with Lyons, on which I do not linger with an indescribable fondness and delight. Amid that dim and shadowy indistinctness which shrouds, almost all the objects of my memory, I have an impression, as vivid as it was twenty:

« PreviousContinue »