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To lose one's way, they say, is sometimes death!
What, hoa! Holloa ! No tongue replies to me!
What thunder hath the horror of this silence !
• I dare not stop—the day, though not half run,
• Is not less sure to end his course ; and night,
• Dreary when through the social haunts of men
• Her solemn darkness walks, in such a place
• As this, comes wrapped in most appalling fear.'
I dare not stop-nor dare I yet proceed,
Begirt with hidden danger : if I take
This hand, it carries me still deeper into
The wild and savage solitudes I'd shun,
Where once to faint with hunger, is to die :
If this, it leads me to the precipice,
Whose brink with fatal horror rivets him
That treads upon 't, till drunk with fear, he reels
Into the gaping void, and headlong down
Plunges to still more hideous death. Cursed slaves,
To let me wander from them! Hoa-holloa !-
My voice sounds weaker to mine ear; I've not
The strength to call I had, and through my limbs
Cold tremor runs-and sickening faintness seizes
On my heart. O Heaven, have mercy! Do not see
The color of the hands I lift to thee!
Look only on the strait wherein I stand,
And pity it! Let me not sink-Uphold !
Support me ! Mercy !-Mercy!
He stands stupified with terror and exhaustion. Albert enters with his hunting pole, not at first seeing Gesler.]
Alb. I'll breathe upon this level, if the wind Will let me. Ha! a rock to shelter me! Thanks to 't-a man! and fainting. Courage, friend! Courage.—A stranger that has lost his way in
Take heart-take heart : you're safe. How feel you
Alb. You've lost your way upon the hill ?
Ges. I have.
Alb. And whither would you go?
Ges. To Altorf.
Alb. I'll guide you thither.
Ges. You're a child.
Alb. I know
The way; the track I've come is harder far
Ges. The track you've come ! what mean you? Sure you have not been still farther in the mountains ?
Alb. I've travelled from Mount Faigel.
Ges. No one with thee?
Alb. No one but HIM.
Ges. Do you not fear these storms?
Alb. He's in the storm.
Ges. And there are torrents, too,
That must be crossed ?
Alb. He's by the torrent, too.
Ges. You're but a child !
Alb. He will be with a child.
Ges. You're sure you know the way?
Alb. 'Tis but to keep
The side of yonder stream.
Ges. But guide me safe, · I'll give thee gold.
Alb. I'll guide thee safe without.
Ges. Here's earnest for thee. Here—I'll double
Yea, treble it—but let me see the gate
Of Altorf. Why do you refuse the gold ?
Ges. You shall.
Alb. I will not.
I do not covet it;--and though I did,
It would be wrong to take it as the price
Of doing one a kindness.
Ges. Ha !-who taught
Alb. My father.
Ges. Does he live in Altorf?
Alb. No; in the mountains.
Ges. How-a mountaineer?
He should become a tenant of the city :
He'd gain by't.
Alb. Not so much as he might lose by't.
Ges. What might he lose by't?
He also taught thee that ?
Alb. He did.
Ges. His name?
Alb. This is the way to Altorf, Sir.
Ges. I'd know
Thy father's name.
Alb. The day is wasting—we.
Have far to go.
Ges. Thy father's name? I say.
Alb. I will not tell it thee.
Ges. Not tell it me!
Alb. You may be an enemy of his.
Ges. May be a friend.
Alb. May be; but should you be
An enemy-although I would not tell you
My father's name--I'd guide you safe to Altorf.
Will you follow me ?
Ges. Ne'er mind thy father's name.
What would it profit me to know't? Thy hand;
We are not enemies.
Alb. I never had An enemy.
Ges. Lead on.
Alb. Advance your staff
As you descend, and fix it well. Come on.
Ges. What! must we take that step?
Alb. 'Tis nothing ? Come, I'll go before. Ne'er fear-Come on! come on!
My little girl, the other day
(Three years of age a month ago)
Wounded her finger while at play,
And saw the crimson fluid flow.
With pleading optics, raining tears,
She sought my aid, in terror wild ;
I smiling said, “ Dismiss your fears,
And all shall soon be well, my child.”
Her little bosom ceased to swell,
While she replied, with calmer brow
“I know that you can make it well,
But how, papa? I don't see how."
Our children oft entreat us thus
For succour, or for recompense,
They look with confidence to us,
As we should look to Providence,
For each infantile doubt and fear,
And every little childish grief
Is uttered to a parent's ear,
With full assurance of relief.
A grateful sense of favours past,
Incites them to petition now,
With faith in succour to the last,
Although they can't imagine how.
And shall I doubtingly repine,
When clouds of dark affliction lower?
A more tender Father still is mine,
Of greater mercy, love, and power ;
He clothes the lily, feeds the dove,
The meanest insect feels his care ;
And shall not man confess his love,
Man, his own offspring, and his heir ?
Yes, though he slay, I'll trust him still,
And still with resignation bow;
He may relieve, he can, he will,
Although I cannot yet see how.
THE BOYS AND THE FROGS.-A Fable. -
Some school boys, one day,
Who had gone out to play,
By the side of a mill-pond, not far from their school,
Saw a party of frogs,
Diving off from the logs
And stones, on the margin, to swim in the pool.