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Mark it, Cesario, it is true and plain.
The spinsters and the knitters in the sun,
And the free maids that weave their thread with bones,
Do use to chaunt it. It is silly sooth,
And dallies with the innocence of love,
Like the old age.— Shakespear's Twelfth Night.
FAR in the windings of a vale,
Fast by a sheltering wood,
The safe retreat of Health and Peace
A humble cottage stood.
There beauteous Emma flourish'd fair,
Beneath a mother's eye,
Whose only wish on earth was now
To see her blest, and die.
The softest blush that Nature spreads
Gave colour to her cheek:
Such orient colour smiles through heaven,
When vernal morningstreak.
Nor let the pride of great ones scorn
This charmer of the plains:
That sun, who bids their diamond blaze,
To paint our lily deigns.
5. Long had she fill'd each youth with love, Each maiden with despair; And though by all a wonder own'd, Yet knew not she was fair,
Till Edwin came, the pride of swains,
A soul devoid of art;
And from whose eye, serenely mild,
Shone forth the feeling heart.
What happy hours of home-felt bliss
Did love on both bestow!
But bliss too mighty long to last,
Where fortune proves a foe.
His sister, who, like Envy form'd,
Like her in mischief joy'd,
To work them harm, with wicked skill,
Each darker art employ'd.
10. The father too, a sordid man, Who love nor pity knew, Was all unfeeling as the clod - - From whence his riches grew.
11. Long had he seen their secret flame, And saw it long unmov’d: Then with a father's frown at last Had sternly disapprov’d.
In Edwin's gentle heart, a war
Of differing passions strove:
His heart, that durst not disobey
Yet could not cease to love.
13. Deny'd her sight, he ost behind The spreading hawthorn crept, To snatch a glance, to mark the spot Where Emma walk'd and wept.
14. Oft, too, on Stanmore's wintry waste, Beneath the moonlight shade, In sighs to pour his soften’d soul, The midnight mourner stray'd.
15. His cheek, where health with beauty glow'd, . A deadly pale o'ercast: So fades the fresh rose in its prime, Before the northern blast.
The parents now, with late remorse,
Hung o'er his dying bed;
And wearied Heaven with fruitless vows,
And fruitless sorrow shed.
She came; his cold hand softly touch'd,
And bath'd with many a tear;
Fast falling o'er the primrose pale,
So morning dews appear.
But, oh! his sister's jealous care
(A cruel sister she)
Forbade what Emma came to say:
“My Edwin! live for me.”
Now homeward as she hopeless wept
The church-yard path along,
The blast blew cold, the dark owl scream'd
Her lovers funeral song.
Amid the falling gloom of night,
Her startling fancy found
In every bush his hovering shade,
His groan in every sound.
Alone, appall'd, thus had she pass'd,
The visionary vale—
When, lo! the death-bell smote her ear,
Sad-sounding in the gale!
“I feel, I feel this breaking heart
Beat high against my side—”
From her white arm down sunk her head;
She shivering, sigh'd, and died.