MORAL TALES IN VERSE, FOUNDED ON REAL EVENTS.

VOL. I.

MORAL TALES IN VERSE, FOUNDED ON REAL EVENTS.

WRITTEN BY THOMAS HULL, OF THE THEATRE ROYAL, COVENT-GARDEN.

DEDICATED, BY PERMISSION, TO HIS GRACE THE DUKE OF LEEDS.

—O! these flaws and starts would well become
A woman's story, at a winter's fire,
Authoriz'd by her grandam.
Shakespeare's Macbeth.

VOL. I.

LONDON: PRINTED FOR, AND UNDER THE DIRECTION OF, GEORGE CAWTHORN, BRITISH LIBRARY, STRAND.

1797.

TO HIS GRACE THE DUKE OF LEEDS.

A FRUIT, a Flower, a Feather, have been accepted by persons of superior station, when tendered as tributes of affection and respect: as such only can the following trifles hope to be accepted; and that they are truly such, is the only apology the Au­thor can make, for having wished to address them to him, whose qualities ennoble rank, and adorn both public and private life.—That this is not the style of Dedication, but the language of Truth, the world can attest, or the Writer would blush to use it. He is [Page vi] equally sensible of, and grateful for the honour of being permitted to subscribe himself

His Grace's highly obliged, and very obedient, humble servant, THOMAS HULL.

PREFACE.

THE following little Compositions, which I have dignified with the title of Moral Tales, have been the employment of several leisure hours, at different periods of time. Some of them have been written many years, as the respective dates specify, but none of them printed till now, except the last in the second volume, of which further mention shall be made in its proper place.

Mr. ADDISON describes himself, as al­ways being possessed of a disposition to exa­mine such old prints and ballads as he saw pasted upon the walls of cottages, &c. I have not only discovered the same turn in myself, (and I would I could find something else [Page viii] more similar to that excellent writer!) but I have ever, even from childhood, felt my at­tention peculiarly engaged by stories re­lated in company, which have contained in them any thing of the marvellous and su­pernatural. Hence it is, probably, that I have so long retained many of the singular events whereon the ensuing compositions are founded.

I have been (I can say it with great truth) repeatedly urged to publish them by friends, who have seen the manuscripts.—The Reader, perhaps, will call them very partial friends: it may be so. And I am ready to acknowledge that, after a careful revisal, they are much better calculated to elicit the approbation of a kind heart, than to obtain the commendation of a critical judgment.

HENRY; OR, VIRTUE ITS OWN REWARD.

ADDRESSED TO JOHN BEARD, ESQ.

1771.

MUSA NEC IMMEMORES NOS SINIT ESSE TUI. From an Inscription in the Cloysters in Westminster Abbey.

ADDRESS TO JOHN BEARD, ESQ.
WRITTEN IN THE YEAR 1771. *

THE Tale, from thee receiv'd, to thee I send,
With all the warmest wishes of a friend,
That thro' life's stream thy private skiff may sail
With easy current, and with quiet gale.
Now calmly moor'd where beauteous Hampton sees
Thames' silver current dimpling with the breeze;
(Where genuine GARRICK, in his fair retreat,
To our lov'd Bard erects the hallow'd seat,)
[Page 4] O! ne'er may Sorrow's envious cloud annoy
Thy private comfort, or convivial joy:
But soft content protect thy chosen haunt,
Till thou no more can'st wish, or Time no more can grant!

VIRTUE ITS OWN REWARD.
TALE I.

I.
Lo! to the North dark scouls the rising storm,
It swells, it bursts with wide-resounding roar,
Quick-gathering clouds the face of day deform,
And the big wave incessant beats the shore.
II.
Now all the caves that hold the winds, unbarr'd,
Each death-denouncing blast at once outflies,
Tremendous sounds, on ev'ry side, are heard;
One universal gloom obscures the skies:
III.
One universal and unvarying gloom,
Save where with momentary cleave it breaks,
To give the flashing lightning's terror room,
While bellowing thunder air, earth, ocean, shakes.
IV.
The shudd'ring peasant from yon distant cot
Views with astonishment th' upturned main,
ThanksHeav'n, which granted him a tranquil lot,
And shields him in his homely thatch again.
V.
Ah! sad ELIZA, what was then thy pain!
What anguish did thy gentle bosom tear!
Didst thou not tortures in each sound sustain,
And all Death's horrors in each object fear?
VI.
Didst thou not frequent turn thy woe-struck eye
Where the drench'd casement pointed to the main,
Reprove, implore the unrelenting sky,
With sobs that heav'd, and tears that stream'd in vain?
VII.
Didst thou not thus th' unpitying storm upbraid?
"Why now your cruel terrors send abroad,
[Page 7] "Why with destructive fires the port invade,
"Where HENRY's vessel seeks a quiet road?
VIII.
"Where HENRY seeks his traffick and his toil,
"To crown with home-felt bliss and soft repose,
"Yet ye, unkind, his honest hopes beguile,
"And bid ELIZA's bosom teem with woes.
IX.
"Perhaps, ye ruthless messengers of Fate,
"Ye mean my HENRY shall no more return,
"Ye mean that here our loves shall close their date,
"The child a sire, the wise a husband mourn.
X.
Her blooming boy, whom now ten suns had cheer'd,
Pitying the first sad sigh his mother heav'd,
Forth to the beach impetuous had repair'd,
Nor felt the blast, nor at the thunder griev'd.
XI.
Still the relentless storm dealt forth its wrath,
Still the swoll'n sky its streaming torrents pour'd,
Still the blue lightning menac'd frequent death,
Louder and louder still vex'd Ocean roar'd.
XII.
And was it, HENRY, in that ruthless hour,
Thy beating vessel sought the port to gain,
By ev'ry dang'rous gust at random tore,
In that dread conflict 'twixt the heav'ns and main?
XIII.
It was.—Ah! hapless man, thy skill is vain!
The Pilot's hand no more the helm obeys,
The sails are rent; the main-mast splits in twain
Heart-piercing yells thewretched suff'rers raise.
XIV.
But Heav'n, regardful of thy virtuous love,
Thy genuine truth, and honest industry,
[Page 9] Bade the disabled hulk self-guided move,
And make her harbour thro' the per'lous sea.
XV.
'Tis done—thy native cliffs appear in view,
The lightnings pause, the thunders cease to roar;
Down to the boat descend the eager crew,
And thro' tumultuous billows seek the shore.
XVI.
Joy, rapture, gratitude, devotion—all
That goodness feels our HENRY's heart possess'd;
He sigh'd, he wept, he wonder'd, he ador'd;
Unutterable transport swell'd his breast.
XVII.
Near, and more near, the plying oars advance,
HENRY devours the land with eager eye;
Now thinks with forward haste the surges dance,
Now thinks with loit'ring pace they back­ward hye:
XVIII.
When from the Pier, before his startled look,
A Child falls headlong in the foaming wave;
HENRY's prompt heart, with instant anguish struck,
Bleeds for the hapless boy, and yearns to save.
XIX.
While he pervades the place, with eye intent,
Where the dividing flood the child receiv'd,
Th' upturning waves the struggling form present—
Again with mighty woe his bosom heav'd.
XX.
All that humanest Pity could persuade,
All that instinctive Piety enjoin,
In one great thought his glowing mind invade,
And swift he plunges in the foaming brine:
XXI.
He plunges, and he grasps—one arm upheaves,
A [...]ove the waters, the declining head,
[Page 11] While, with the other combating the waves,
He ploughs his passage thro' the surfy bed.
XXII.
His toil is o'er—his prize he brings to land,
His prize, no victim yet to hungry Death,
With softest care he lays him on the strand,
Chafes the chill form, to soothe back wand'r­ing breath.
XXIII.
Clear'd from the dripping locks, th' unclosing eyes
With languid sweetness now on HENRY shine,
When, with wild look, and voice suppress'd, he cries,
"It is—Oh! gracious God!—the Boy is mine!
XVIV.
The landed crew the Man of Virtue hail,
The Man of Virtue gath'ring crowds proclaim,
Each to his neighbour gives the wond'rous tale,
And panting rumour labours with his fame.
XXV.
The buzzing train attend with eager pace,
As HENRY speeds to chase ELIZA's tears,
Close to his bosom lock'd in fond embrace,
His rescued treasure to her arms he bears.
XXVI.
The speechless joys of their encount'ring loves
What skill can paint, what language can record?
Replete with bliss the Man of Virtue proves,
THAT DEEDS OF VIRTUE ARE THEIR OWN REWARD.
TALE THE SECOND. …

TALE THE SECOND.

FOSCUE; OR, VICE ITS OWN PUNISHMENT.

ADDRESSED TO * * * * * *

Latius regnes, avidum domando
Spiritum, quam si Libyam remotis
Gadibus jungas.
HORAT. Lib. ii. Od. 2.

ADDRESS TO * * * * * * * *

SPRUNG from an antient, noble line,
Wherein illustrious heroes shine,
Why by unworthy deeds debase
The honours of that splendid race?
Endow'd with Fortune's boundless store,
Whence this absurd desire for more?
Beyond what Av'rice could desire,
Or wild Ambition's thirst inspire,
Is pour'd around, in lavish waste,
To please thine eye, and tempt thy taste:
Why honourable equals shun,
And to inglorious circles run?
Thy time and talents to prophane,
With unremitting search of gain?
[Page 16] Proud parks inclose thee, manors fair,
Prolific meads, and waters clear,
And shalt thou, negligent of fame,
From Tenants hard exactions claim,
Industrious Peasantry oppress,
And make their little po [...]its less?
Young Miser, cease—aspire to know
The godlike pleasure—to bestow.
Seek not for wealth by wealth's abuse,
But place it to its noblest use:
Search where the lab'ring poor abide,
Unshelter'd, by thy forest-side;
Relieve their wants, their spirits cheer,
And bid them bless the coming year.
When hov'ring mildews rot the soil,
And cheat the Farmer's honest toil,
Or when th' Engrosser's churlish door
Withholds the portion of the poor,
Then thy full garners wide expand,
And fill the needy Rustic's hand.
Or seek, beneath the humble shed,
Where modest merit hides his head;
Redeem him from his dark retreat,
And hail him with a happier state.
So may'st thou (by bestowing, blest)
Find boundless treasure in thy breast:
So may'st thou, ere old Time shall spread
His rev'rend honours o'er thy head,
Unperishable stores create,
And hear (unblushing) FOSCUE's fate.

THE TALE OF FOSCUE.
WRITTEN IN IMITATION OF THE OLD ENGLISH BALLAD.
IN TWO PARTS.

PART I.

I.
WHILE France her character maintain'd
For elegance and arts,
What time a lineal Monarch reign'd
Within his people's hearts:
II.
Ere yet the servile foot had learn'd
On Nobles' necks to tread,
Or Anarchy a blinded land
With lawless fury sway'd;
III.
Ere yet a foul Iscariot-band
Prophanely had imbru'd
Their impious, sacrilegious hands
In their mild master's blood, *
IV.
FOSCUE, on LANGUEDOC'S fair plain,
In avarice grown old,
Whose only zeal was thirst of gain,
Whose only God was Gold:
V.
FOSCUE, on LANGUEDOC'S fair plain,
Full long abode had held,
And there, by many a cruel deed,
His sordid bags had fill'd:
VI.
For his the usage was to farm
The Province from the State, *
And to himself from lab'ring hinds
Foul profit to create:
VII.
And his the usage, to exact
Whate'er might ravag'd be,
To the extent of hard-earn'd gains,
From honest industry.
VIII.
Yet many a meadow, fair and wide,
And many a fertile field,
Had wont to Tenant, as to Lord,
An ample tribute yield;
IX.
And many a thrifty family,
Beneath their humble shed,
By daily culture of the soil,
In peace and comfort fed,
X.
Till FOSCUE's avaricious hand
Oppress'd the toiling poor,
Nor heeded he what they endur'd,
So he increas'd his store.
XI.
VALMONT, to better prospects born
Than lab'ring for his bread,
Thro' strange misfortune here was doom'd
To hide his drooping head;
XII.
Where Patience, the enduring child
Of calm Philosophy,
Had taught him to abide his lot,
Whate'er that lot might be.
XIII.
Three Children, and a virtuous Wife,
His age's only store,
He daily toil'd to keep from want,
Nor did he covet more.
XIV.
Protector, lab'rer, tutor, all,
Yet grudg'd he not the toil,
So by his little fire at eve
He could but see them smile.
XV.
Ah! woe the while!—a sudden blight
Spread desolation round,
And VALMONT's labours were bereft
The harvest of his ground.
XVI.
FOSCUE the season's dues demands,
Demands with speech severe,
Nor him the kneeling children move,
Nor him the mother's tear.
XVII.
Their humble furniture he seiz'd,
Their vestments, and their bed,
Nor left them wherewithal to buy
The wretched morrow's bread.
XVIII.
"Hast thou no pity?" VALMONT says,
"Thy end, fell fiend, beware,
"Lest thou, in turn, should'st wail and cry,
"Where none thy cries shall hear."
XIX.
The door rapacious FOSCUE clos'd,
Withdrew, nor look'd behind,
But left the suppliants to endure,
The coming winter's wind.

PART II.

I.
NOT many months were gone and past,
When State-necessities,
Thro' ev'ry Province in the land,
Exacted large supplies.
II.
Strait the penurious FOSCUE hears,
And trembles for his store;
He veils his av'rice with a lye,
And pleads that he is poor.
III.
Pleads, "How should he, alas! have means
"The public wants to aid?
"How scrape together more than serves
"To purchase daily bread?"
IV.
Such were the mean evasions sent
To the State Deputies,
In hope from him they would not claim
A share of the supplies.
V.
Yet, lest a gen'ral search be made,
He frames a secret hold,
Wherein he craftily conceals
His heap of treasur'd gold.
VI.
Some few short days elaps'd, they come,
To FOSCUE's they repair,
Suspecting much some mean deceit,
But FOSCUE is not there.
VII.
They search the dwelling high and low,
They search the land around;
But vain their search, enquiry vain,
No FOSCUE can be found.
VIII.
Some few days more are now elaps'd,
When FOSCUE's house and lands,
Together with the post he fill'd,
Are giv'n to other hands.
IX.
Lo! now the antient edifice
Repair immediate asks,
And the new substitute himself
O'erlooks the workman's tasks.
X.
As the foundation, dang'rous grown,
With caution they explore,
Within the cellar's depth they find
A close-concealed door.
XI.
A key, within its fixture plac'd,
Then challenges amaze,
Which, turning in a sliding lock,
The weighty door they raise.
XII.
Descending, by the taper's light,
Astounded they behold
Old FOSCUE's famish'd carcase stretch'd
Amid his hoarded gold.
XIII.
There hoping to conceal his pelf,
The pond'rous, self-lock'd door,
In vengeance o'er his head had clos'd,
To ope for him no more.
XIV.
Debarr'd, at once, all hope to view
The light of Heav'n again,
What dreadful, complicated pangs
Did FOSCUE not sustain?
XV.
Might not prophetic VALMONT's words
Return upon his ear,
While there condemn'd to "wail and cry,
"Where none his cries could hear?"
XVI.
The Miser's lacerated limbs
Disgusted they survey,
The flesh from either shrivell'd arm
Thro' hunger gnaw'd away.
XVII.
Thus, self-devoted FOSCUE dy'd,
Most strange, but righteous doom!
Since all his hoarded, ill-got wealth
But serv'd to build his tomb.
TALE THE THIRD. …

TALE THE THIRD.

ELDRED; OR, THE JUSTICE OF RETALIATION.

WRITTEN IN THE YEAR 1783.

ADDRESSED TO MISS M * * * * * * * *

With whatsoever measure ye mete, it shall be measured to ye again. ST. MATT. chap. vii. v. 3. Christ's Sermon on the Mount.

ADDRESS TO MISS M * * * * * * * *

I KNOW, my fair, thy early breast
With love of virtue is possess'd;
Be then a steady zeal for Truth
The system of thy rising youth.
If duty to that Providence,
Who gave thee being, strength, and sense,
Within thy heart retain its seat,
Truth will not quit the dear retreat.
An unremitting love of God,
Is thy best guide through life's dim road.
To gild reflection with delight,
As time advances in his flight,
Let duty to thy parent sway
The conduct of each rising day;
On the soft tablet of thy breast
Be this dear precept deep imprest!
[Page 34] Observe it chief, when age or care
Shall silver o'er her ebon hair:
If testy pain unkindly speak,
Thy swelling temper duteous check.
Ah! do not thou augment that pain;
She may, but thou may'st not complain.
Oh! curs'd, above all others, he,
Who, harden'd in impiety,
Transgresses duty's holy bound,
And dares a parent's bosom wound.
Oh! let him tremble, lest he want
That comfort he refus'd to grant!
List, list, my child, with awful ear,
And shudder at the tale you hear.

THE TALE OF ELDRED.
WRITTEN IN THE YEAR 1773.

I.
WELL-nigh consum'd with malady and years,
Now totters ELDRED on life's latest stage,
Down his pale cheek distill incessant tears,
And want and sorrow wear his failing age.
II.
Deep in its hollow cell now fades the eye,
Which once on life's gay prospect brightly shone,
In his shrunk veins the loit'ring pulses die,
Their active course impair'd, their vigour flown.
III.
Where's now the glowing heart that wont to beat
At rapture's call, and warm th' expanding breast?
[Page 36] Chill is the glowing heart, the vital heat;
And life's repairing sources near suppress'd.
IV.
Who, but would melt, as they behold those hairs,
Which erst with burnish'd auburn wont to glow,
Now chang'd by grief and soul-corroding cares,
All whiten'd o'er like winter's drizzled snow?
V.
A beauteous consort bless'd his noon of life,
Who in that noon of life was snatch'd away,
When most he knew to prize, he lost, the wife,
To their first pledge of love an early prey.
VI.
Yet Heav'n ordain'd the infant pledge to live—
O! what a soothing to a father's breast!
His loss to lighten, and his woe relieve,
Were filial duty on his soul impress'd!
VII.
But ELDRED's shameless son, in early youth,
Gave tokens of a thwart, disnatur'd mind,
To froward malice, sullenness, untruth,
And ev'ry opposite to good inclin'd.
VIII.
In manhood's prime, now flies he far astray,
From filial duty, gratitude, and love,
Leaves a sick sire to pain and want a prey,
In lawless pleasures impious paths to rove.
IX.
Wealth, jewels, leases, each paternal right,
His plund'ring hand from his sad father drain'd,
The mansion (once so goodly to the sight)
Disfurnish'd, unrepair'd, alone remains.
X.
Bedrid, and restless, hark! the parent cries;
From morn to eve makes unavailing moan;
[Page 38] Round the bare chamber casts his hopeless eyes,
Where cold winds pierce, and echo groan for groan.
XI.
Ah! miserable man, and are there yet
Severer ills in hard Affliction's store?
Can a son's hand yet greater crimes commit,
Can he inflict, and must thou suffer more?
XII.
Yes, miserable man, there yet remain
Severer ills in hard Affliction's store;
From a son's hand thou yet must more sustain;
He can inflict, and thou must suffer more.
XIII.
For now returning, with distemper'd soul,
From loose associates of his luxury,
Intoxicated with the madd'ning bowl,
And beggar'd by the false bewitching dye,
XIV.
With rage inflam'd, he seeks his father's bed,
That bed, which he himself had robb'd of rest,
There, with wild looks, that scatter'd horrid dread,
He thus unfolds his unrelenting breast.
XV.
"My gold is gone—Hast thou no more, old sire?
"Hast thou no precious gems, no hidden store?
"Be quick to gratify my keen desire."
The parent sighs, "My son, I have no more.
XVI.
"Yet cast not such unduteous looks on me,
"Let not displeasure on a father frown,
"While I had wealth, I gave that wealth to thee;
"All my possessions were they not thine own?
XVII.
"In times less wretched than the present hour,
"Did not a sparing meal my board supply?
"While thou in wanton riot didst devour
"My lavish'd gold in wasteful luxury?
XVIII.
"In all the sickness, all the griefs I bore,
"When almost fainting in the arms of death,
"Thou ne'er wast nigh, my spirits to restore,
"Or raise my lab'ring breast, when scant of breath.
XIX.
"Leave, leave me now, my son, to sigh my last;
"To dye alone—I perish now thro' want;
"No more thy prodigality can waste,
"Thou hast no more to seek, nor I to grant.'
XX.
"Yes, thou hast more; this mansion yet is left,
"This mansion, which by heritage is mine."
[Page 41] "Let me not yet, my son, of this be 'reft,
"Some few short strugglings more, and this is thine.
XXI.
"While painful life remains, O! do not tear
"This only cov'ring from my wretched head;
"No, no, my son; I must, will perish here;
"Then patient wait, till thou shalt see me dead.
XXII.
"The awful moments may yet remain,
"I would employ in peace and pious pray'r;
"That my sad soul some mercy may obtain,
"For, O! my son, guilt, guilt sits heavy there.
XXIII.
"Then from thy brow those frowns and scoulings chase,
"And leave me not with anger in thine eye;
[Page 42] "With one kind glance thank me for what I was,
"So may thy father bless thee ere he die."
XXIV.
"Peace, dotard, peace! rejoins th' unnat'ral son,
"Thy counsel I despise, thy age I scorn;
"Too long old ELDRED's wretched date hath run,
"And wretched I, because of ELDRED born!"
XXV.
This said, the fiend, with fury unrestrain'd,
Twists round his grasp his father's silver hairs,
And drags him, pleading with out stretched hand,
Far as the passage op'ning to the stairs.
XXVI.
When thus the sire's heart-rending screams implore,
"In pity cease; enough thy hand has done;
"Drag not thy father past this guilty floor,
"Thus far, and but thus far I dragg'd my own."
XXVII.
Th' astonish'd wretch foregoes his impious hold,
The storm of rage is in an instant still;
With cruelty and wine no longer bold,
Quick-darting horrors all his senses chill.
XXVIII.
While thus the sire, with falt'ring voice pur­sues—
"Behold, my son, thy father stretch'd in dust;
"Thus Vengeance claims from me its righ­teous dues,
"I own, I own my punishment is just.
XXIX.
"Thus did I on my father's sorrows scoul,
"Thus to the ground his hallow'd person cast:
"But Heav'n so deal with my distracted soul,
"As here I pardon thee!" He sigh'd his last.
XXX.
By reason wak'd, the culprit lives to woe;
The mansion now his sick'ning eyes detest,
O'er his foul hands unceasing torrents flow,
And unremitting tortures gnaw his breast.
TALE THE FOURTH.THE …

TALE THE FOURTH.

THE EXCELLENCE OF SELF-DENIAL.

EXEMPLIFIED IN SIR PHILIP SIDNEY.

WRITTEN IN THE YEAR 1762.

ADDRESS TO THE HON. WILLIAM KEPPEL, ON HIS RETURN FROM THE CONQUEST OF THE HAVANNAH, IN 1762.

OH! thou, whose bosom glows with love of arms,
Whom patriot zeal, and patriot glory charms,
Who kindling courage lov'st, yet lov'st to see
That courage temper'd by humanity;
Whose eye relenting views the crimson'd-blade,
And mourns the slaughter thine own arm has made;
Whose feeling bosom can the chain beguile
Of half its weight, and bid the captive smile,
[Page 48] Relieve the needy, give the wounded rest,
And share the anguish of the meanest breast,
To noble SIDNEY's Tale incline thine ear,
And praise the British Worthy with a tear.

THE TALE OF SIR PHILIP SIDNEY.

Now front to front th' embattled legions stand,
And chide the loit'ring trumpet's slowcommand;
Thy turrets, ZUTPHEN, * the dread scene beheld,
Each toil, each horror of the desp'rate field,
When his stout bands, to hardy dangers bred,
Before thy walls courageous DUDLEY led,
To vindicate against imperious SPAIN
The power and honour of ELIZA's reign.
There fell the pride of fair BRITANNIA's host,
The scholar's, poet's, soldier's, statesman's boast.
[Page 50] There SIDNEY fell, while BERGEL's * rolling flood
Dy'd Yssel's copious stream with noble blood;
There SIDNEY fell; whom Cam's and Isis' shore
Heard their learn'd sons in plaintive verse deplore;
Him PENSHURST still laments thro' all her groves,
And all her Graces mourn, and all her Loves;
And ev'ry shepherd, burthen'd with the tale,
With sighs of sorrow fills the passing gale.
Arcadia still, through all her beauties moans,
The lawns still sigh, and still the forest groans,
In murmurs soft the streams lament him still,
Each fount laments, and ev'ry rippling rill,
Each plant, each shrub, and ev'ryop'ning flow'r,
And ev'ry infant bud, that decks the bow'r;
The very genius of the place complains,
For him, their first, their last, their best of swains.
Say, Muse, when panting for the battle's heat,
First in each danger, and each glorious feat,
[Page 51] What palm was left for SIDNEY then to claim,
To shine superior in the lists of fame?
What wondrous mark was left, what sacred sign,
To prove his soul of origin divine?
At length the trumpet gives the dread com­mand,
Forth rush the leaders of each adverse band;
Nearer and nearer now the troops advance,
Sword clashes sword, and lance engages lance;
And, side by side, o'er Zutphen's bloody plains,
Big horror strides, and death despotic reigns.
Keen hope of glory flashing from his eyes,
Forth to the hottest press brave SIDNEY flies;
The fiery steed, by the great chief bestrode,
Neighs, proudly conscious of his noble load.
Ah! what avails his strength, his martial strain,
His crested beauty, and wide-flowing mane?
The whirring bullet gives the deadly wound,
The proud beast falls, and shakes the echoing ground.
[Page 52] A second steed the rising hero tries,
A second steed in welt'ring slaughter lies.
A third is brought—but while, with active bound,
Th' undaunted warrior, vaulting, spurns the ground,
The thund'ring cannon deals its fellest stroke;
His thigh is torn; the strong-knit bone is broke;
Life's gushing stream its bursting cells forsakes,
The shatter'd splinters jar, the nerves relax.
The furious steed perceives the sclacken'd rein,
And wildly prances o'er the crimson plain.
Torn from his station'd rank, great SIDNEY's heart
Yet pants for fame, he scorns his body's smart,
Clings to his seat, fit bier to hold the brave,
And bear their relicts to the laurel'd grave.
His streaming wound, at length, bold DUDLEY spies,
And mourns his SIDNEY's fate with gushing eyes;
[Page 53] His sinking body the surrounding bands
Receive, obedient to their Lord's commands.
Faint with a waste of blood, on earth they lay
Their noble load, and mournful duty pay;
Friends weep aloud, and ev'n the pausing foe
Regrets the stroke, which laid that hero low.
The suff'rer thus—"O! thou, ally'd in worth,
"As join'd in blood to him that gave me birth,
"The blow is dealt, the fatal ball has sped,
"Which numbers SIDNEY with the hallow'd dead.
"For England's weal my life is nobly spent,
"For England's weal my latest pray'r is sent,
"Be she victorious, and I die content.
"One slender service I alone in treat,
"I faint, I sicken, with excess of heat;
"A burning fever rages thro' my veins,
"And scorching thirst each vital moisture drains.
[Page 54] "One cooling drop to my parch'd lips extend,
"The last sad kindness thou can'st shew thy friend."
A scanty portion the nigh-wasted spring
Alone supplies, the cask with speed they bring:
He sees, and blesses the approaching band,
And eager seizes it, with trembling hand—
When, straight before his view, sad soldiers bear
A dying comrade from the ranks of war,
Who, struggling in extremest torment, lies,
And views the sparkling draught with earnest eyes.
SIDNEY beholds the wretch, and inly grieves,
Th' untasted fluid from his lips he gives,
And thus—"The draught I willingly resign:
"Take it—thy wants are greater still than mine."
Ye, who luxuriate in unbounded store,
On penury unbounded comforts pour—
[Page 55] And ye, possess'd but of a slender share
Of Fortune's gifts, yet heed the poor man's pray'r:
From you more meritorious comes the dole,
Than from their hands who in abundance roll;
From out your scanty cup one drop bestow
On him who sinks in poverty and woe,
And say, like SIDNEY, with a soul benign,
"Take it, thy wants are greater still than mine."
TALE THE FIFTH.THE U …

TALE THE FIFTH.

THE UNCONSCIOUS AVENGER: OR, THE TALE OF ALLEYNE.

IN THE ANTIENT BALLAD STYLE.

IN TWO PARTS.

Raro antecedentem scelestum
Deseruit pede poena claudo.
HORAT.

INTRODUCTION.

AND do ye not the story know
Of ALLEYNE, the good Boy,
Who work'd the murd'rer mickle woe,
And liv'd his mother's joy?
I'll tell ye then—in Cestrian Plains,
The tale full well is known,
Deliver'd down, for many a year,
From parent to the son.
I learn'd it from a mother's tongue,
Who "strok'd my youthful head,"
While on her honey'd words I hung,
Yet heard with silent dread.
A mother, whose maternal care
Few mothers could surpass,
And she was graceful, good, and fair,
And kind as fair she was.
And, as the due her virtues claim,
These filial thanks I pay,
And with her ever-honour'd name
Thus dignify my lay.

THE TALE OF ALLEYNE.

PART I.

I.
THE noon-tide sun with fervid beams
Now gilded ev'ry hill,
When MARIAN sought the willow shade
Beside the ripling rill;
II.
There, as she ply'd the needle's task,
Her bosom throbb'd with woe,
And down her faded cheek full oft
Tears trickled soft and slow.
III.
And often, as she rais'd her eyes
Athwart the distant mead,
And mark'd the entrance of the wood,
Her heart with anguish bled;
IV.
For there she trac'd her WILLIAM's steps,
As he pursu'd his way,
Full lightly to the neighb'ring town,
By morning's ruddy ray,
V.
To sell the produce of his land,
Of grain a plenteous store;
She saw him enter in the wood,
But never saw him more.
VI.
Now five afflicting years had past,
Since she began to mourn
The father of her ALLEYNE dear,
Who never did return.
VII.
ALLEYNE, who knew his mother's wont,
When morn's hard toil was o'er,
Would duly, to appease her grief,
Her pensive haunts explore.
VIII.
Full fifteen years had crown'd the youth,
His form of promise rare,
And comely was he to the view,
And dutiful as fair.
IX.
Daily he grew in the esteem
Of Pastor, Knight, and Squire,
And oft a casual dole obtain'd,
To mend his scanty hire.
X.
Soon as beneath the willow's shade
His mother he descries,
And views her pond'ring o'er the stream
With swoll'n and wat'ry eyes,
XI.
He seats him gently by her side,
And thus he soothes her woe:
"Must then this trickling tide of grief
"For ever, ever flow?
XII.
"And never will the hand of Time
"Abate my mother's pain?
"Ne'er shall the smiles she us'd to wear
"On ALLEYNE shine again?"
XIII.
"Ah! can'st thou marvel," MARIAN cries,
"That thus my sorrows flow?
"Too well, thou know'st, my dearest son,
"My cause for constant woe;
XIV.
"Just such a bright and fervid sun
"As this, enrich'd the plain,
"When WILLIAM left thy mother's side,
"But ne'er return'd again.
XV.
"With him we lost the richest crop,
"That e'er our glebe bestow'd,
"Since when, thou know'st, bleak indigence
"Hath made with us abode."
XVI.
"Too well, I know," the boy replies,
"Why thus thy sorrows flow,
"Young as I am, I sore regret
"And I partake thy woe:
XVII.
"Yet these continual streaming tears
"My mother's health consume;
"And lillies sit upon that cheek,
"Where once the rose did bloom.
XVIII.
"Assuage thy grief, nor let despair
"Thy gentle heart invade,
"Since God doth give me daily strength
"To lend my mother aid:
XIX.
"And late and early will I toil,
"So thou may'st peace enjoy."
Through tears she smil'd, and close embrac'd
Her ALLEYNE, her good Boy.
XX.
Smiles were the only answer made,
She had not power to speak,
But, in complacent silence, wip'd
The drops from off her cheek.
XXI.
And duteous ALLEYNE kept his word,
He early toll'd and late,
And God bestow'd him daily strength
To mend their poor estate.
XXII.
His toils were bless'd; each harvest home
Increas'd their little store,
And in his twentieth year he saw
Want banish'd from their door.
XXIII.
Now (woe the while!) his honest heart
Play'd truant from his breast,
And sore he long'd in nuptial tye
With LUCY to be blest.
XXIV.
LUCY, a neighbour farmer's pride,
Who lov'd alike the youth,
For she had long with pleasure mark'd
His early grace and truth.
XXV.
Each guess'd the pain the other felt,
Yet each that pain conceal'd,
For ALLEYNE made his own desires
To filial duty yield.

PART II.

I.
'TWAS now the morning that precedes
The boly of the year, *
When from the cottage to the green
The rustic tribes repair.
II.
And what their aim!—Oh! glorious orb!
Withhold thy radiance bright,
Nor view the sons of Christian land
In barb'rous deeds delight.
III.
More fell than all the savage race,
That roam the pathless wood,
Is man, who, tyrant-like, imbrues
His hands in harmless blood.
IV.
Was it, when this fair world arose,
At GOD's almighty word,
Was it for this that man was made
O'er all creation lord?
V.
No, monster, no—GOD needs must view,
With anger and disdain,
His fair and useful creatures feel
Unnecessary pain.
VI.
O! ye, my brethren, ye, who boast
Of gentle hearts, forbear
To come yon ruthless rabble nigh,
Whose shoutings rend the air.
VII.
Restrain, unfeeling crew, restrain
The more than savage sound,
Nor with that feather'd victim's blood
Pollute the verdant ground.
VIII.
Remember how with chearful strain
He hail'd each op'ning morn,
And call'd the peasant from his bed,
To reap his ripen'd corn.
IX.
How was he wont around yon barn
To lead his speckled train,
And from the thresher's lofty stroke
Select each scatter'd grain!
X.
How would he watch his broodlings feed
With true parental pride,
And proudly range th' adjacent field,
His feather'd dames beside!
XI.
Now brought to glut an impious crew,
With cordage harsh opprest,
Mute is that throat that crow'd so loud,
And shrunk that martial crest.
XII.
Exulting madly o'er their prey,
The senseless rabble roar,
Loud as the prowling wolves that stray
O'er Afric's torrid shore.
XIII.
The wolf, at hunger's call alone
Destroys the fleecy brood,
But man, the delegate of heav'n,
In sport sheds guiltless blood.
XIV.
Oh! if our HEAV'NLY FATHER's breast
A sorrow can pervade,
It is, when he beholds his trust
So impiously betray'd.
XV.
Now throng the boorish tribes apace,
To view the ruthless play,
And clownish HOBBINOL was there,
And OLIVER the gay.
XVI.
And sullen RUSTAN in the rout
Enjoy'd the savage scene;
RUSTAN with cruel temper fram'd,
And gloomy, low'ring mien.
XVII.
Time was, that he was known to all
The poorest of the poor,
When suddenly the hind appear'd
Possess'd of wond'rous store:
XVIII.
Yet tranquil thought, or chearful look
No treasure could impart,
Some strange reflection lurk'd within,
And prey'd upon his heart.
XIX.
Among the neighb'ring village-swains
As one forlorn he mov'd,
Alike, by aged and by young,
Unsought, and unbelov'd.
XX.
Aloof from the devoted bird
His station RUSTAN took,
Yet at the feather'd victim leer'd
With fell malicious look.
XXI.
Ah! grievous task!—and must the Muse
Unwillingly declare,
(Howe'er averse to cruel scenes)
That ALLEYNE too was there!
XXII.
ALLEYNE, in ev'ry rural sport
The boldest and the best,
False shame and strong request impell'd
To mingle with the rest.
XXIII.
False shame, that oft the wisest wight
Betrays with subtle art,
And with despotic pow'r perverts
The graces of the heart.
XXIV.
Lo! now, the hapless bird is plac'd
Amid the rout accurs'd,
And ALLEYNE, the pernicious cast,
By lot must level first.
XXV.
But gentle pity bids him scorn
To meditate a harm
Against dejected Chanticleer,
Once tenant of the farm.
XXVI.
Wide from the bird the weapon took
A vague and random course,
And surly RUSTAN's leg receiv'd
Its full collected force.
XXVII.
He roars—he screams—the shatter'd limb
With blood deep-stains the ground;
"I sink—I die;" the suff'rer cries,
"And ALLEYNE gives the wound."
XXVIII.
In sad variety of pain,
(Full many a tedious day)
Alike of body and of mind,
Tormented RUSTAN lay.
XXIX.
At closing night in vain he calls
On sleep to seal his eyes,
That med'cine to the pious heart,
To guilt its balm denies.
XXX.
Each moment in his haggard sight
The spectre, Death, appears,
With more than common terror arm'd,
His pointed dart he rears.
XXXI.
The holy Priest, to RUSTAN call'd,
With pitying eye beholds
His dying pangs, while thus the wretch
His hidden guilt unfolds.
XXXII.
"The dreadful hour of just revenge
"At length, I see, is come;
"'Tis GOD, not ALLEYNE, gives the blow,
"And calls me to my doom.
XXXIII.
"Long since, his honest father's steps
"I, guilty wretch, pursued,
"Despoil'd him of his well-earn'd gold,
"And slew him in the wood.
XXXIV.
"The torments of this wasting heart,
"Since then, no tongue can tell;
"Remembrance of the bitter deed
"Still made my mind a hell.
XXXV.
"But ALLEYNE here my heir I make,
"Be his my ill-got store!
"This poor atonement, Lord, accept!"
He groan'd, and spoke no more.
XXXVI.
Thenceforth unclouded happiness
In ALLEYNE'S dwelling reign'd,
For soon, by fair and honest suit,
His LUCY'S hand he gain'd.
XXXVII.
And many years of mutual love
This couple did enjoy,
And years of bliss his mother shar'd,
With ALLEYNE, her GOOD BOY!
TALE THE SIXTH.THE N …

TALE THE SIXTH.

THE NEEDY MAN'S SECURITY; OR, THE TALE OF ALCON.

ADDRESSED TO MY LONG BELOVED FRIEND THOMAS KING, ESQ.

Cast thy bread upon the waters, for thou shalt find it after many days. ECCLES, Chap. [...]i. V. 1.

ADDRESS TO THOMAS KING, ESQ.

QUICK let me snatch the pliant quill,
Ere time his destin'd course fulfill;
Ere all-impairing age shall drain
The vivid juices of the brain,
Quick let me snatch the means to tell,
What mem'ry yet recalls so well.
Now many rolling years have shed
Their various changes o'er my head,
Since, by instinctive ardour caught,
Thy converse and esteem I sought.
O! blest be that propitious hour,
And blest that sympathetic pow'r,
[Page 82] Which my unpractis'd heart inclin'd
To court the union of thy mind!
For Reason now approves the plan,
Which youthful instinct then began.
What precious hours have we enjoy'd,
Tho' veil'd by distance, not destroy'd!
How oft, in those eccentric days,
When Fancy trac'd her vagrant maze;
How oft did SHAKESPEARE's matchless fire
Our converse and our hearts inspire!
How would we fly, with rapture fraught,
From phrase to phrase, from thought to thought!
Now chuckle over FALSTAFF's mirth,
Which found in QUIN a second birth—
Now glow with noble sympathy
At HOTSPUR's martial ecstacy!—
Sometimes thro' ARDEN's forest rove
With Taste, Simplicity, and Love;
Then follow, o'er the blasted heath,
The bloody footsteps of MACBETH—
Admire the Bard's creative art
In this, or that peculiar part;
Then gaze on the stupendous whole,
And marvel at his boundless soul!
How oft with transport did we trace
The nameless, sweet, electric grace,
The fascinating charms that shone
In still-unequall'd WOFFINGTON!
The various beauties re-peruse,
(Embellishing the Comic Muse)
When PRITCHARD's polish'd taste convey'd
What FARQUHAR, CONGREVE, SHAKESPEARE said!
Recall the sentiment that broke
From GARRICK's eye, ere GARRICK spoke!
Or recollect the frantic glance,
The nobly-wild extravagance,
Of CIBBERS energy, when sir'd
With all ALICIA's rage inspir'd;
[Page 84] Or her mellifluous tones of love,
When BARRY's plainings wak'd the grove! *
And have we not, in sportive vein,
To Whim sometimes resign'd the rein,
Letting the giddy rambler run
Thro' all the devious cranks of sun,
Till laughter, in loud peals, would rise,
Term'd folly by the over-wise?
Yet ne'er may we, such Cynics grown,
Prove tasteless to the joys we've known,
But beg of Fortune, "long to use
"The toy that can so well amuse!"
But I digress—Accept the verse,
Nor let the wonders I rehearse
Awake distrust; but mark the tale,
Which, in a lonely western vale,
[Page 85] Recorded is from sire to son,
And when the narrative is done,
If it attract a gen'rous tear,
Grudge not the graceful tribute here;
Admire the worth in ALCON shewn,
And love a heart so like your own.

THE TALE OF ALCON.

THE morn was calm, a gentle gale
Scarce fill'd the boatman's scanty sail;
The sky its brightest splendour gave,
In various beauties, to the wave;
While in the breeze the dancing spray,
Like liquid lightning, seem'd to play.
Long on the beach had HOWEL stood,
Contemplating the placid flood;
At length, the melancholy man
In plaintive accents thus began:
"O! hadst thou, treacherous Ocean, worn
"A look thus mild, on that sad morn,
[Page 88] "When I endeavour'd (all in vain!)
"To land secure my hard-earn'd gain,
"I should not now, from day to day,
"Upon thy naked confines stray,
"And thus recal, with wat'ry eye,
"The date of my calamity.
"What ardour did my mind inflame,
"When near you haven's mouth we came!
"What hope within my bosom grew,
"When yonder point arose to view!
"With premature belief elate,
"I fondly thought indulgent Fate
"Would spare the produce of my toil,
"To make my homely dwelling smile.
"Presumptuous thought!—I could not save
"The scantiest pittance from the wave.
"Afresh I feel each throb, each fear,
"Each horror of the former year;
"Again I see the day o'ercast
"Again I hear the hollow blast,
[Page 89] "Again I hear the billows roar,
"Again they burst upon the shore,
"Again I see my vessel lost,
"And all my earthly wishes crost.
"All, that should be the means of life,
"Of comfort to a faithful wife,
"All, that an infant race should save,
"Deep buried in a wat'ry grave.
"Yet conscious rectitude of heart
"Can marvellous relief impart
"To the endurings of that breast,
"Where guilt was never known a guest,
"And innocence precludes despair,
"Tho' woe, a while, may harbour there.
"O! had I but the means again,
"To 'tempt the fortune of the main,
"Hope whispers still, I could remove
"The sorrows of the hearts I love."
[Page 90] "And know'st thou not?" old EDMUND cried,
Who had his pensive course descried,
And oft had listen'd to the tale,
Which HOWEL squander'd in the gale—
"Hast thou not heard to whom pertain
"The acres of that rich domain,
"Which o'er yon fertile summit spreads,
"And wide commands th' adjacent meads?
"There daily charities proclaim
"To all around good ALCON's name.
"When have the friendless, or the poor,
"Pass'd, unreliev'd, from ALCON's door?
"When did the orphan's piteous cry,
"Or plaining age, in vain, apply?
"Freely to each afflicted soul
"He deals a charitable dole;
"But, chief, o'er industry opprest,
"He pours the fullness of his breast,
[Page 91] "Pleas'd the laborious to sustain,
"Whose honest hands have toil'd in vain;
"To set the active spirit free
"From scorn, that curse of penury,
"And bid the well-intending mind
"Regain its rank among mankind.
"His bounteous deeds I often hear,
"His name and virtues I revere,
"But, ev'n a stranger to his eye,
"How can a wretch, like me, apply?
"My lineage, and the name I own,
"Alike to ALCON are unknown.
"And why should ALCON condescend
"An alien-suff'rer to befriend,
"While hundreds near him daily stand,
"Who claim the blessings of his hand;
"Whose toil hath dress'd his pastures fair,
"Or made his herds their duteous care?
"While life's advent'rous scene was new,
"And golden prospects round me grew,
"What numbers did my friendship court,
"What numbers proffer me support?
"But now the flatt'ring dream is o'er,
"Now means and prospects are no more;
"Nor have I (should thy Lord extend
"His bounteous help) one single friend
"Who would my guarantee become,
"Should I return successless home.
"No! GOD, and GOD alone, must be
"The needy man's security."
Within his eyes big sorrow's tide
Swell'd high, and further speech deny'd,
Old EDMUND of his woe partook,
And left the beach with grieved look;
But, ere the fall of evening shade,
In sorrow to his Lord convey'd
[Page 93] Afflicted HOWEL's fallen state,
His various strokes of adverse fate,
Which ALCON ponder'd in his breast,
While darkness lull'd the world to rest.
Soon as the sun with gladsome ray
Illumines the ensuing day,
ALCON, obscur'd in mean disguise,
With EDMUND to the sea-beach hies.
Poor HOWEL, as was wont, they find
Sighing his sorrows to the wind;
EDMUND his pensive steps pursues,
And the preceding theme renews,
While ALCON slowly loit'ring near,
Partakes it, with attentive ear.
"Why wilt thou not," old EDMUND cries,
"Pursue the measure I advise?
"To ALCON thy distress reveal,
"He may repair, for he can feel."
Again poor HOWEL's doubts out-weigh
His hopes, as on the former day;
He lays anew each sorrow bare,
His diffidence, and his despair;
And, as before his plainings end—
"I must not to thy words attend,
"Not having now one single friend
"Who would my guarantee become,
"Lest I return successless home.
"No! GOD, and GOD alone must be
"The needy man's security."
"I take thy surety," ALCON cries,
"(Doffing in haste his rough disguise)
"From me thou shalt have means again,
"To try thy fortunes on the main,
"And GOD, and GOD alone shall be
"The needy man's security."
Poor HOWEL tries, in vain, to speak,
Convulsive sobs his utt'rance check;
[Page 95] With bursting tears, at length, bedew'd,
Tears only spoke his gratitude:
When ALCON, (O! how meek the mind
Thus by benevolence refin'd!)
The gen'rous ALCON turn'd aside,
As tho' his grace he strove to hide;
While such a joy dilates his heart,
As goodness only can impart;
Such joy as they alone can know,
"Who feel the blessings they bestow."
Not only stores of merchandize
His large munificence supplies,
But to console the advent'rer's mind
For his dear mourners left behind,
He vows their guardian to become,
Till HOWEL shall review his home.
Their parting sigh, their sad embrace,
Allay'd by such transcendant grace,
[Page 96] Once more the merchant rears the sail,
Greeting with smiles the rising gale,
And as he quits the less'ning shores,
Repeated pray'rs for ALCON pours.
Five tedious years have now gone o'er,
And bless'd him with a wond'rous store,
Beyond ev'n hope's extent, his gains
Have recompens'd his anxious pains.
Now his return his thought employs,
Now he anticipates the joys
At honour'd ALCON's foot to lay
His bounteous loan—to wipe away
The tears a sorrowing wife had shed,
To raise her sad, declining head,
And with returning comfort cheer
His little ones, now doubly dear.
His new-accumulated hoard,
Within one precious casket stor'd,
[Page 97] With care he seals, and on the case
(That nothing might the mark efface,
Not ev'n the brine of dashing waves)
His benefactor's name engraves.
This done, the crew with joy behold
The canvas to the wind unfold;
Serenely placid is the air,
The point for England fresh and fair,
Smoothly the vessel cuts the seas,
And HOWEL's mind is wrapp'd in ease.
Thus gently sunk each closing day,
Thus brightly beam'd each dawning ray,
Till one sad morn!—When HOWEL, scar'd
From slumber, to the deck repair'd;
And saw, alas! the twilight grey,
Presage of rising storms betray.
The struggling light in vain essays
T' advance—thick clouds obstruct its rays,
[Page 98] A second midnight seems to reign,
The blast howls dire athwart the main,
And, in one mighty torrent tost,
The vessel bulges on the coast;
The wish'd for coast, the precious bay,
Where all his dearest comforts lay:
Quick springs the leak, it swells amain,
And hope of human aid is vain.
Lo! HOWEL (of his wealth possess'd,
With dread of instant death oppress'd)
Kneels, and with supplicating eye—
"Oh! wonder-working Pow'r, on high,
"Grant this last pray'r! this store command,
"Secure to reach the blessed strand,
"Where ALCON dwells!" then frantic gave
The precious casket to the wave;
When roaring floods, with instant sweep,
Whelm'd vessel—all—within the deep.
[Page 99] Soon as the tempest's rage was o'er,
And Ocean ceas'd his hideous roar,
What time the yielding gloom made way
For the faint beams of op'ning day,
ALCON, whose sympathizing mind
Shar'd in the woes of all mankind,
Had to the blust'ring sea-beach hied,
As wont, (his servants by his side)
From sacrilegious hands to save
What wreck-deliver'd want might crave.
Such objects straight the seas unfold,
As wound his feelings to behold;
For every new-advancing wave
Some added sight of horror gave,
Here, human bodies, swoll'n in death,
There, gasping in their latest breath,
Who sore their dimming eye-balls strain
Tow'rd land, they ne'er must reach again.
While ALCON, with Compassion's eye,
Roams o'er this scene of misery,
The sculptur'd casket strikes the shore,
Which held the ship-wreck'd HOWEL's store,
And as the ebbing waves retreat,
The casket lies at ALCON's seet,
With eager haste, and wild surprize,
Into the strange contents he pries;
Scarce had he spied the mass within,
And HOWEL's grateful tribute seen,
When a new-rising billow waft
That suff'rer, clinging to a raft.
Rais'd, and recover'd on the strand,
He views his store in ALCON's hand:
Equal amazement, equal joy,
Alternately their minds employ.
When HOWEL thus, with eyes uprear'd,
"Was then my supplication beard?
[Page 101] "Involv'd in danger and despair,
"I breath'd one short but fervent pray'r,
"My all then trusted to the sea:
"That all, the waves have brought to thee,
"And, rescued from the threat'ning main,
"I bathe thy honour'd hand again.
ALCON replies, "Thy tears give o'er,
"In silence wonder, and adore;
"Of this thy wealth I claim no part,
"My payment is thy greatful heart.
"With whatsoe'er thou'rt here possess'd,
"Go bless thy dear ones, and be bless'd!
"'T was not the wildly-rolling sea,
"A HAND UNSEEN brought this to me,
"HIS, WHO WAS THY SECURITY."
TALE THE SEVENTH.WHA …

TALE THE SEVENTH.

WHAT IS, IS BEST; OR, THE TALE OF ALVAREZ.

What can make a Man so much in constant good-humour, and shine, (as we call it) as to be supported by what can never fail him? and to be­lieve, that whatever happens to him is the best thing that could possibly befall him? or else HE, on whom it depends, would not have permitted it to have befallen him at all? SPECT. Vol. 1. No. 75.
A quelque chose malheur est bon. French Proverb.

ADDRESS TO A DEPARTED FRIEND.

SHADE of the man by blood allied,
By bonds of friendship nearer tied,
If (wafted to a world unknown)
On us 'tis giv'n thee to look down,
Approve reflections, that review
The early scenes of life we knew,
While, train'd in learning's infant class,
We saw the day in rapture pass:
Kenna * (oft grac'd with mien august
Of GEORGE, the valiant and the just)
[Page 106] Attested then each boyish sport,
Her walks * our Sabbath-day's resort.
Well can my memory retrace
Each cranny of that lovely place;
Where, on each licens'd holiday,
We spent the hours in harmless play,
Till, vanquish'd by the pastime sweet,
The mount reliev'd our weary feet:
The root of friendship then began,
And vegetated strong in man.
When was the hour, the moment known,
(So truly were our likings one)
When either of us disapprov'd,
Or thwarted, what the other lov'd?
The time seems present with me still,
When loit'ring over Beechen-Hill,
[Page 107] The tale, whereon I build my lay,
(To thee well known) thou did'st convey.
What tho' a while, by Fortune's spite,
Fonchale * depriv'd me of thy sight,
Our hearts, by distance, not disjoin'd,
Were in communion sweet combin'd.
Friendship and Love! 'tis ye endear
This transient sublunary sphere,
"And since your choice is always free,
"I bless you for your smiles on me."
Sweet co-mates! may ye ne'er decay
With this our perishable clay,
But bloom triumphant over time,
Improv'd, immortal, and sublime!
[Page 108] O! be it then our blessed fate
(Translated to a happier state)
In recompence for earthly pain,
To know departed friends again!

THE TALE OF ALVAREZ.

WHAT IS, IS BEST! a maxim wise,
Wherein our dearest comfort lies;
Which gives us spirit to abide,
Whate'er mischances may betide,
Care, disappointment, pain, or woe,
In our precarious state below.
This keeps the meek and pious mind
Collected, patient, and resign'd;
This dries the momentary tear
That falls for short afflictions here,
[Page 110] And bids our hopes and wishes rest
On Him, who knows our welfare best;
Who can life's heaviest ills repair
With joys in a sublimer sphere.
Shame to the man who would remove
This basis of our trust above!
Who dares deride, with impious jest,
The refuge of the sorrowing breast!
Shame and contrition be his share!
Shame to the libertine VOLTAIRE! *
In fam'd Madeira's woody Isle,
That rocky, but prolific soil,
[Page 111] From noble Portuguese deriv'd,
In wealth and rank ALVAREZ liv'd.
For (all the pious tributes paid
Due to his father's honour'd shade)
He finds with gold his coffers fill'd,
His fields their plenteous harvests yield;
His board with plate abundant shines,
And purple clusters load his vines.
To filial love and duty true,
His father's rules he kept in view,
Freely he succour'd old and poor,
But chas'd the slothful from his door:
To those who might deserve his grace,
He strove to fill his father's place;
Servants of zeal and honesty
He held as friends in low degree.
Oft as he travers'd wood or plain,
Contemplating his menial train,
[Page 112] Possess'd of sentiments refin'd,
Thus would he commune with his mind:
"Ah! should not they, whom fortunes rude
"Doom to a life of servitude,
"At least, receive a courteous smile,
"To mitigate their sense of toil?
"Ye, for whose pleasures others groan,
"One moment, make their state your own;
"What they deserve with grace requite,
"And make their weary labour light."
Innately good, ALVAREZ' mind
By education was refin'd;
Devout instruction, in his youth,
Had train'd him in the paths of truth,
And various maxims sound and sage
Were written clear on mem'ry's page;
But graven chief, o'er all the rest,
This golden rule, WHAT IS, IS BEST.
[Page 113] To a pure mind and gentle heart
What more could Heaven itself impart,
Than that which tranquilizes life,
And sweetens all—a virtuous wife?
Among the rival fair, who then
Upheld in Fonchale beauty's reign,
Rich SANCHIO's daughter, ISABEL,
By all was granted to excel;
Yet not the beauteous form alone,
Or dimpled smiles distinction won,
Not outward symmetry of feature,
But the instinctive spark of nature,
The glance, with fire electric fraught,
The eye that spoke, the brow that thought;
These were the graces, that impress'd
With ardent passion ev'ry breast.
No wonder all essay'd to move
Bright ISABELLA's heart to love;
[...] [...] [...] [...]
[Page 114] On her each youth's attention hung,
And GUZMAN danc'd, and FLORIO sung;
And VASQUEZ tried her taste to hit
With modes of dress, and strokes of wit.
Not always let the Fop suppose
'Tis the embroidery on his clothes,
The ogled glance, or forward air,
Or servile flattery wins the fair:
Females there are of taste refin'd,
Who see the features in the mind: *
ALVAREZ' manners, modest grace,
His fair soul beaming in his face,
Alone had prevalence to move
Fair ISABELLA's heart to love.
The sire approv'd the daughter's choice,
And, with benign parental voice,
SHAKESPEARE.
[Page 115] His ISABELLA's dower and charms
Consign'd to good ALVAREZ' arms.
HENRIQUEZ, 'mongst the suitor train,
Vindictive, arrogant, and vain,
Enrag'd his rival's bliss beheld,
And black revenge his bosom swell'd;
But, coward-like, in treach'ry's veil
He sought his rancour to conceal,
Till precious mischief might destroy
Their mutual bliss, their bridal joy.
Now by the dearest tie combin'd
The sacred union of the mind,
Their tastes alike, their wishes one,
Each for the other liv'd alone;
With hearts elate, and prospects gay,
The rapt'rous hours danc'd swift away.
Alas! how soon can fate severe
Our brightest hopes disperse in air!
[Page 116] Lo! black descends the ev'ning cloud,
The northern blast is strong and loud,
And all the hemisphere around
Seems in a sable mantle bound:
A summons, of unusual sort,
Cites good ALVAREZ to the port,
Its purport but in part reveal'd,
Part in mysterious hints conceal'd.
Soft ISABEL the mandate reads,
And the requir'd compliance dreads,
For angry gusts now louder rage,
And an increasing storm presage;
The billet firm ALVAREZ hears,
And, smiling, tries to chance her sears.
As to the call ALVAREZ speeds,
And in his haste incautious treads,
The marble stair his step betrays,
And, from the summit to the base,
[Page 117] Headlong he dashes—snapp'd in twain
Each tibia * strong, he smiles in pain,
Smiles, on revolving in his breast,
His great support—WHAT IS, IS BEST.
Relief obtain'd, upon his bed
The patient sufferer gently laid,
Kindly solicitous to seize
The first short interval of ease,
Thus sooths the circle of his friends,
Which round the mournful couch attends.
"My wife! my kindred! nay, restrain
"Those tears, they aggravate my pain.
"O! rather let your thanks arise,
"In grateful tribute, to the skies,
"That, by indulgent Heav'n's award,
"In such extremes, my life was spar'd!
[Page 118] "That graciously he deigns extend
"The bliss I have so newly gain'd.
"My dearer self, my sorrowing wife,
"She teaches me to value life.
"Tho' transient suff'ring I sustain,
"Ought I—nay, dare I to complain?
"Shall we at God's great hand receive
"The comforts he vouchsafes to give,
"And shall we not, with patience due,
"Receive, and bear affliction too?
"Perhaps the pain I suffer here,
"(However tiresome and severe)
"Tho' unperceiv'd by our weak eyes,
"Is but a blessing in disguise. *
"'Tis so; there is a voice within,
"Tells me repining is a sin:
[Page 119] "Unable to explore the ends,
"All-guiding Providence intends,
"With holy confidence I rest
"On this great truth—WHAT IS, IS BEST."
The Power on high vouchsaf'd an ear,
And smil'd propitious on his prayer;
The fractur'd members were replac'd
With more, far more, than usual haste,
Which time and temperance restore
Firm, straight, and useful as before.
Now daily thanks, and fervent praise,
To heaven devout ALVAREZ pays,
For spirits, health, and strength, repair'd,
By late affliction more endear'd;
His kindred, friends, once more he sees
With looks of joy, and hearts at ease,
And hallows, with an annual fast,
The date of his misfortune past.
One doubt alone disturbs his mind,
His best enquiries fail to find
From whence that summons could have come,
That urg'd him to forsake his home,
On that tempestuous close of day,
Which doom'd him to mischance a prey.
When ten revolving seasons more
Of nuptial comfort had flown o'er,
And Heaven ordain'd a blooming race
Should rise in goodness, as in grace,
Their parent's ardent hopes to crown
With truth and virtue, like their own,
A murd'rer (doom'd to expiate
A life of crimes) in awful state
Before ALVAREZ dwelling pass'd,
That morn, that wretched morn his last!
The culprit cast a conscious look,
And thus his confessor bespoke:
"Father, thou tell'st me that, in vain,
"Heaven's pardon I attempt to gain,
"Unless I freely here confess
"Each meditated wickedness;
"Let me then to ALVAREZ kneel,
"And one oppressive crime reveal."
ALVAREZ comes! the murd'rer straight
With shame relieves his bosom's weight.
"Hear, good ALVAREZ, and forgive;
"Recall to mind that fatal eve,
"(Some years o'er-past) when gloom profound
"Obscur'd the whole horizon round,
"A treacherous billet reach'd thy hand,
"Contriv'd to lure thee tow'rd the strand;
"Mine was the mischievous intent,
"This impious hand the mandate sent.
"Hadst thou thereto obedience paid,
"And from thy happy mansion stray'd,
[Page 122] "Ere twenty paces thou hadst past,
"That fatal eye had been thy last:
"Lur'd by the cursed thirst of gain,
"This arm had good ALVAREZ slain.
"HENRIQUEZ sought to have imbrued
"My soul in thy devoted blood;
"He instant fled to INDIA's land,
"Dreading the law's vindictive hand;
"Or keen compunction and remorse
"Might urge him to that devious course.
"One crime may have been his alone,
"I for variety atone:
"He may, with hope, for grace apply,
"Reform, and live; but I must dye."
'My free remission thus receive,
'I bless, lament thee, and forgive.'
So spoke the Sire, then sped away
To his dear inmates to convey
[Page 123] What the sad culprit had confess'd,
Then his sweet offspring thus address'd:
"My children, ever bear in thought
"The lesson I so oft have taught;
"Declar'd I not, then when I lay
"To sad mischance a crippled prey,
"That stroke, (tho' hid from our weak eyes)
"Might be a "blessing in disguise?"
"And was it not? what had I lost,
"Had not the murd'rer's aim been cross'd!
"I had not now, with rapture, press'd
"The best of consorts to my breast;
"Nor pour'd upon my offspring's head
"Such tears, as only fathers shed.
"Oh, as ye journey on in life,
"Thro' paths of labour, woe or strife,
"Unshrinking, unrepining, bear
"Whate'er afflictions interfere,
[Page 124] "Be ever on your minds impres'd,
"This sacred truth, WHAT IS, IS BEST!
END OF VOL. 1.

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