« PreviousContinue »
however affecting the picture was, that I could not bring it nearer me, and that the multitude of sad groups in it
did but distract me
—I took.a single captive, and having first shut him up in his dungeon, I then looked through the twilight of his grated door to take his picture.
I beheld his body half wasted away with long expectation and confinement, and felt what kind of sickness of the heart it was which arises from hope deferred.— Upon looking nearer, 1 saw him pale and feverish : in thirty years the western breeze had not once fanned his blood—he had seen no sun, no moon in all that time— nor had the voice of friend or kinsman breathed thro'
his lattice. His children
But here my heart began to bleed-—and I was forced to go on with another part of the portrait.
He was sitting upon the ground upon a little straw, in the furthest corner of his dungeon, which was alternately his chair and bed: a little calendar of small sticks were laid at the head, notched all over with the dismal days and nights he had passed there—he had one of these little sticks in his hand, and with a rusty nail he was etching another clay of misery to add to the heap. As I darkened the little light he had, he lifted up a hopeless eye towards the dear, then cast it down—shook his head, and went on wit\ his work of affliction. I heard his chains upon his legs, as he turned hie body to lay his little stick upon the bundle—He gave a deep sigh—I saw the iron enter into his soul—I burst into tears—I could not sustain the picture of confinement which my fancy had drawn. Sterne.
CHAP. III. .
CORPORAL TRIM's ELOQUENCE.
MY young master in London is dead, said Oba
—Here is sad news, Trim, cried Susannah, wiping her eyes as Trim stepped into the kitchen,—master Bobby is dead.
I lament for him from my heart and my soul, said
Trim, fetching a sigh poor creature ! poor boy ?—
He was alive last Whitsuntide, said the coachman.— Whitsuntide! alas! cried Trim, extending his right arm, and falling instantly into the same attitude in which he read the sermon,—what is Whitsuntide, Jonathan, (for that was the coachman's name) or Shrovetide, or any tide or time past, to this? .Are we not here now, continued the corporal, (striking the end of his stick perpendicular upon the floor, so as to give an idea of health and stability) and are we not (dropping his hat upon the ground) gone! In a moment!—It was infinitely striking! Susannah burst into a flood of tears. We are not stocks and stones—Jonathan, Obadiah, the cook-maid, all melted—The foolish fat scullion herself, who was scouring a fish-kettle upon her knees, was roused with it.—The •whole kitchen crouded about the corporal.
"Are we not here now,—and gone in a moment?" There was nothing in the sentence—it was one of your self-evident truths we have the advantage of hearing every day ; and if Trim had not trusted more to his hat, than his head, he had made nothing at all of it.
"Are we not here now, continued the corporal, ard are " we not" (dropping his hat plump upon the ground —^and pausing, before he pronounced the word) "gone! in a moment ?" The descent of the hat was as if a heaxy
'tamp of clay had been kneaded into the crown of it.— Nothing could have expressed the sentiment of mortality, of which it was the type and forerunner, like it; his hand seemed to vanish from under it, it fell dead, the corporal's eye fixed upon it, as upon a corpse,—and Susannah burst into a flood of tears.' Sterne.
CHAP. IV. ;,
THE MAN OF ROSS.
——ALL our praises why should Lords engross?
Whose causeway parts the vale with shady rows?
Despairing quacks with curses fled the place,
Of debts and taxes, wife ami children clear,
And what! no monument, inscription, atone?
THE COUNTRY CLERGYMAN.
NEAR yonder copse, where once the garden smil'd, And still where many a. garden flower grows wild; There, where a few torn shrubs the place disclose, The village preacher's modest-mansion rose. A man he was, to all the country dear, And passing rich with forty pounds a year; i Remote from towns he ran his godly race, Nor e'er had chang'd, nor wish'd to change his place; Unpractis'd he to fawn, or seek for power, By doctrines fashion'd to the varying hour;
Far other airhs his heart had learn'd to pf iise, .
Thus to relieve the wretched was his pride}
Beside the bed where parting life was laid,
At church, with meek and unaffected grace, His looks adorn'd the venerable place; Truth from his lips prevail'd with double sway, And fools who came to scoff, remain'd to pray. The service past, around the pious man, With ready zeal each honest rustic ran; E'en children fbllow'd with endearing wile,' ( And pluck'd his gown, to share the good man's smile 5