« PreviousContinue »
The stars shall fade away, the sun himself
SPEECH OF ROLLA TO THE PERUVIANS.
My brave associates—-partners of my toil, my feelings, and my fame! Can Rolla's words add vigor to the virtuous energies which inspire your hearts? No; — you have judged, as I have, the foulness of the crafty plea by which these bold invaders would delude you. Your generous spirit has compared, as mine has, the motives which, in a war like this, can animate their minds and ours. They, by a strange frenzy driven, fight for power, for plunder, and extended rule—we, for our country, our altars, and our homes. They follow an adventurer whom they fear, and obey a power which they hate: — we serve a monarch whom we love — a God whom we adore. Where'er they move in anger, desolation tracks their progress! Whene'er they pause in amity, affliction mourns her friends. They boast, they come but to improve our state, enlarge our thoughts, and free us from the yoke of error! Yes — they will give enlightened freedom to our minds, who are themselves the slaves of passion, avarice, and pride. They offer us their protection — Yes, such protection as vultures give to lambs, covering and devouring them. They call on us to barter all of good we have inherited and proved, for the desperate chance of something better which they promise. Be our plain answer this: The throne we honor is the people's choice — the laws we reverence are our brave fathers' legacy — the faith we follow teaches us to live in bonds of charity with all mankind, and die with hope of bliss beyond the grave. Tell your invaders this; and tell them too, we seek no change: and, least of all, such change as they would bring us. Sheridan.
EARL OSMOND'S DREAM.
Hark, fellows! Instruments of my guilt, listen to my punishment. Methought I wandered through the low-browed caverns where repose the reliques of my ancestors; — my eye dwelt with awe on their tombs, with disgust on mortality's surrounding emblems ! — Suddenly, a female form glided along the vault: it was Angela! she smiled upon me, and beckoned me to advance. I flew towards her; my arms were already unclosed to clasp her, when suddenly her figure changed, her face grew pale, a stream of blood gushed from her bosom ! — Hassan, 'twas Evelina! such as when she sunk at my feet expiring, while my hand grasped the dagger still crimsoned with her blood ! —" We meet again this night!" murmured her hollow voice !" Now rush to my arms, but first see what you have made me! — Embrace me, my bridegroom! we must never part again!" While speaking, her form withered away! the flesh fell from her bones! her eyes burst from their sockets; a skeleton, loathsome and meagre, clasped me in her mouldering arms! Her infected breath was mingled with mine! her rotten fingers pressed my hand, and my face was covered with her kisses! — Oh, how I trembled with disgust! — And now blue dismal flames gleamed along the walls! the tombs were rent asunder! bands of fierce spectres rushed round me in frantic dance! furiously they gnashed their teeth, while they gazed upon me, and shrieked in loud yell — "Welcome, thou fratricide! — Welcome thou lost for ever!" — Horror burst the bands of sleep; distracted I flew hither: but my feelings — words are too weak, too powerless to express them.— Surely this was no idle dream! 'twas a celestial warning! 'twas my better angel that whispered—" Osmond, repent your former crimes! commit not new ones!"
Angela! — Oh! at that name all again is calm in my bosom. Hushed by her image, my tumultuous passions sink to rest, and my terrors subside into that single fear, her loss ! — My heart-strings are twisted round the maid, and ere I resign her, those strings must
break. If I exist to-morrow night, she shall be mine. If I exist? Ha! whence that doubt ?" We meet again this night!" so said the spectre — dreadful words, be ye blotted from my mind for ever! Hassan, to your vigilance I leave the care of my beloved. Fly to me that instant, should any unbidden footstep approach yon chamber door. I 'll go to my couch again. Follow me, Saib, and watch me while I sleep. Then, if you see my limbs convulsed, my hands clinched, my hair bristling, and cold dews trembling on my brow, seize me, rouse me! Snatch me from my bed! I must not dream again. O faithless sleep, why art thou too leagued with my foes? There was a time, when thy presence brought oblivion to my sorrows; when thy poppy crown was mingled with roses ! — Now, fear and remorse are thy sad companions, and I shudder to see thee approach my couch! Blood trickles from thy garments! snakes writhe around thy brows! thy hand holds the well-known fatal dagger, and plunges it still reeking in my breast! — then do I shriek in agony! then do I start distracted from thy arms! Oh, how I hate thee, sleep! Friend of virtue, oh! how I dread thy
BRUTUS' HARANGUE ON THE DEAD BODY OF
Thus, thus, my friends! fast as our breaking hearts
Would you know why I summon’d you together? Ask ye what brings me here? Behold this dagger, Clotted with gore I Behold that frozen corse ! See where the lost Lucretia sleeps in death ! She was the mark and model of the time, The mould in which each female face was form’d, The very shrine and sacristy of virtue ! The worthiest of the worthy ! not the nymph Who met old Numa in his hallow’d walks, And whisper’d in his ear her strains divine, Can I conceive beyond her ! - the yolmg choir Of vestal virgins bent to her !- Such a mind, Might have abash’d the boldest libertine, And turn’d desire to reverential love And holiest affection I Oh my countrymen ! You all can witness when that she went forth It was a holyday in Rome : old age Forgot its crutch; labor its task! all ran ; And mothers, turning to their daughters, cried “ There, there’s Lucretia ! ”- Now look ye where she lies, That beauteous flower, that innocent sweet rose, Torn up by ruthless violence- gone ! gone ! Say-would you seek instructions ! would you seek What ye should do?- Ask ye you conscious walls Which saw his poison’d brother, saw the incest Committed there, and they will cry, Revenge!Ask yonder senate-house, whose stones are purple With human blood, and it will cry, Revenge Z_ Go to the tomb where lie his murder’d wife, And the poor queen who lov’d him as her son, Their unappeased ghosts will shriek, Revenge ! The temples of the gods, the all-viewing heaven, -The gods themselves - will justify the cry, And swell the general sound- Revenge ! Revenge ! . PAYNE
TELL ON HIS NATIVE MOUNTAINS.
Ye crags and peaks! I 'm with you once again —
I hold to you the hands you first heheld,
To show they still are free. Methinks I hear
A spirit in your echoes answer me,
And hid your tenant welcome to his home
Again! O sacred forms, how proud you look,
How high you lift your heads into the sky!
How huge you are —how mighty, and how free!
Ye are the things that tower, that shine — whose smile
Makes glad — whose frown is terrible — whose forms,
Robed or unrobed, do all the impress wear
Of awe divine! Ye guards of liberty,
I 'm with you once again! I call to you,
With all my voice! I hold my hands to you,
To show they still are free! I rush to you,
As though I could embrace you!
Scaling yonder peak,
The death that threaten'd him. I could not shoot!
'Twas liberty! I turn'd my bow aside,
And let him soar away!