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Widow'd and poor, her angry father gave, A pleasant humour has the girl : her smile
• Again, my Jessy, hear what I advise, For help, and help'd her when her sire denied ; And watch a woman ever in disguise ; When in few years death stalk'd through bower Issop, that widow, serious, subtle, slyand hall,
But what of this-I must have company : Sires, sons, and sons of sons, were buried all : She markets for me, and although she makes She then abounded, and had wealth to spare Profit, no doubt, of all she undertakes, For softening grief she once was doom'd to share : Yet she is one I can to all produce, Thus train'd in misery's school, and taught to feel, And all her talents are in daily use ; She would rejoice an orphan's woes to heal : Deprived of her, I may another find So Jessy thought, who look'd within her breast, As sly and selfish, with a weaker mind : And thence conceived how bounteous minds are But never trust her, she is full of art, bless'd.
And worms herself into the closet heart ; From her vast mansion look'd the lady down Seem then, I pray you, careless in her sight, On humbler buildings of a busy town;
Nor let her know, my love, how we unite. Thence came her friends of either sex, and all " Do, my good Jessy, cast a view around, With whom she lived on terms reciprocal : And let no wrong within my house be found ; They pass'd the hours with their accustom'd ease, That girl associates with—I know not who As guests inclined, but not compellid to please ; Are her companions, nor what ill they do ; Bat there were others in the mansion found, 'Tis then the widow plans, 'tis then she tries For office chosen, and by duties bound;
Her various arts and schemes for fresh supplies ; Three female rivals, each of power possess'd, 'Tis then, if ever, Jane her duty quits, Th' attendant maid, poor friend, and kindred guest. And, whom I know not, favours and admils :
To these came Jessy, as a seaman thrown 0! watch their movements all ; for me 'tis hard, By the rude storm upon a coast unknown
Indeed is vain, but you may keep a guard; The view was flattering, civil seem'd the race, And I, when none your watchful glance deceive, But all unknown the dangers of the place. [freed, May make my will, and think what I shall leave.'
Few hours had pass'd, when, from attendants Jessy, with fear, disgust, alarm, surprise, The lady utter'd—“This is kind indeed ;
Heard of these duties for her ears and eyes ; Believe me, love! that I for one like
Heard by what service she must gain her bread, Hare daily pray'd, a friend discreet and true ; And went with scorn and sorrow to her bed. 0! wonder not that I on you depend,
Jane was a servant fitted for her place, You are mine own hereditary friend.
Experienced, cunning, fravdful, selfish, base ; Hearken, my Jessy, never can I trust
Skill'd in those mean humiliating arts Beings ungrateful, selfish, and unjust;
That make their way to proud and selfish hearts ; But you are present, and my load of care
By instinct taught, she felt an awe, a fear, Your love will serve to lighten and to share : For Jessy's upright, simple character ; Come near me, Jessy ; let not those below Whom with gross flatter' she a while assail'd, of my reliance on your friendship know;
And then beheld with hatred when it fail'd; Look as they look, be in their freedoms free- Yet trying still upon her mind for hold, But all they say do you convey to me."
She all the secrets of the mansion told ; Here Jessy's thoughts 10 Colin's cottage flew, And to invite an equal trus', she drew And with such speed she scarce their absence Of every mind a bold and rapid view; knew.
But on the widow'd friend with deep disdain, * Jane loves her mistress, and should she depart, And rancorous envy, dwelt the treacherous Jane :I lose her service, and she breaks her heart ; In vain such aris ; without deceit or pride, My ways and wishes, looks and thoughts she With a just taste and feeling for her guide, knows,
From all contagion Jessy kept apart,
Jessy one morn was thoughtful, and her sigh Will she not wrong me? ah! I fear the wrong :
The widow heard as she was passing by ; Your father loved me ; now, in time of need, And--" Well!" she said. " is that some distant Watch for my good, and to his place succeed.
swain, ** Blood doesn't bind-ihat girl, who every day Or aught with us, that gives your bosom pain ? Eats of my bread, would wish my life away ; Come, we are fellow sufferers, slaves in thrall, I am her dear relation, and she thinks
And tasks and griefs are common to us all ; To make her fortune, an ambitious minx !
Think not my frankness strange : they love to She only courts me for the prospect's sake,
* That idle creature, keep her in your view, You came a stranger; to my words attend,
“Good Heaven! that one so jealous, envious, Proud, and yet envions, she disgusted sees base,
All who are happy, and who look at ease. Should be the mistress of so sweet a place ; Let friendship bind us, I will quickly show She, who so long herself was low and poor,
Some favourites near us, you'll be bless'd to know Now broods suspicious on her useless store ; My aunt forbids it, but can she expect, She loves to see us abject, loves to deal
To soothe her spleen, we shall ourselves neg.ect Her insult round, and then pretends to feel : Jane and the widow were to watch and stay Prepare to cast all dignity aside,
My free-born feet ; I watch'd as well as they ; For know your talents will be quickly tried ; Lo! what is this? this simple key explores Nor think, from favours past, a friend to gain, The dark recess that holds the spinster's stores ; 'Tis but by duties we our posts maintain: And, led by her ill star, I chanced to see I read her novels, gossip through the town, Where Issop keeps her stock of ratafie;} And daily go, for idle stories, down ;
Used in the hours of anger and alarm, I cheapen all she buys, and bear the curse It makes her civil, and it keeps her warm ; Of honest tradesmen for my niggard purse ; Thus bless'd with secrets both would choose to And, when for her this meanness I display,
hide, She cries, • I heed not what I throw away ;' Their fears now grant me what their scorn denied. Of secret bargains I endure the shame,
My freedom thus by their assent secured, And stake my credit for our fish and game; Bad as it is, the place may be endured ; Oft has she smiled to hear her generous soul And bad it is; but her estates, you know, Would gladly give, but stoops to my control.' And her beloved hoards she must bestow; Nay! I have heard her, when she chanced to come so we can slyly our amusements take, Where I contended for a petty sum,
And friends of demons, if they help us, make." Affirm 'twas painful to behold such care,
“Strange creatures these," thought Jessy, half • But Issop's nature is to pinch and spare.'
inclined Thus all the meanness of the house is mine, To smile at one malicious and yet kind ; And my reward, to scorn her, and to dine. Frank and yet cunning, with a heart to love
“See next that giddy thing, with neither pride And malice prompt—the serpent and the dove. To keep her safe, nor principle to guide ;
Here could she dwell? or could she yet depart? Poor, idle, simple flirt! as sure as fate
Could she be artsnl ? could she bear with art? Her maiden fame will have an early date : This splendid mansion gave the cottage grace, Of her beware ; for all who live below
She thought a dungeon was a happier place ; Have faults they wish not all the world to know; And Colin pleading, when he pleaded best, And she is fond of listening, full of doubt, Wrought not such sudden change in Jessy's breast. And stoops to guilt to find an error out.
The wondering maiden, who had only read · And now once more observe the artful maid, Of such vile beings, saw them now with dread ; A lying, prying, jilting, thievish jade ;
Safe in themselves, for nature has design'd I think, my love, you would not condescend The creature's poison harmless to the kind ; To call a low, illiterate girl your friend :
But all beside who in the haunts are found But in our troubles we are apt, you know. Must dread the poison, and must feel the wound. To lean on all who some compassion show, Days full of care, slow weary weeks pass'd on, And she has flexile features, acting eyes,
Eager to go, still Jessy was not gone; And seems with every look to sympathize ; Her time in trißing or in tears she spent, No mirror can a mortal's grief express
She never gave, she never felt content: With more precision, or can feel it less ;
The lady wonder'd that her humble guest That proud, mean spirit, she by fawning courts, Strove not to please, would neither lie nor jest; By vulgar flattery, and by vile reports ;
She sought no news, no scandal would convey, And, by that proof she every instant gives, But walk'd for health, and was at church to pray; To one so mean, that yet a meaner lives.
All this displeased, and soon the widow cried, “Come, I have drawn the curtain, and you see “Let me be frank; I am not satisfied ; Your fellow actors, all our company ;
You know my wishes, I your judgment trust; Should you incline to throw reserve aside, You can be useful, Jessy, and you must. And in my judgment and my love confide, Let me be plainer, child; I want an ear I could some prospects open to your view, When I am deaf, instead of mine to hear , That ask attention; and, till then, adieu." When mine is sleeping, let your eye awake;
"Farewell !” said Jessy, hastening to her room, When I observe not, observation take ; Where all she saw within, without, was gloom : Alas! I rest not on my pillow laid, Confused, perplex'd, she pass'd a dreary hour, Then threatening whispers make my soul afraid ; Before her reason could exert its power;
The tread of strangers to my ear ascends, To her all seem'd mysterious, all allied
Fed at my cost, the minions of my friends; To avarice, meanness, folly, craft, and pride ; While you, without a care, a wish to please, Wearied with thought, she breathed the garden's Eat the vile bread of idleness and ease." air,
Th' indignant girl, astonish'd, answer'd, “ Nay! Then came the laughing lass, and join'd her there. This instant, madam, let me haste away ;
“My sweetest friend has dwelt with us a week, Thus speaks my father's, thus an orphan's friend! And does she love us ? be sincere and speak; This instant, lady, let your bounty end." My aunt you cannot-Lord! how I should hate The lady frown'd indignant : “What!" she cried, To be like her, all misery and state ;
“ A vicar's daughter with a princess' pride!
And pauper's lot! but pitying, I forgive ;
Grateful for this, that when I think of you, How, simple Jessy, do you think to live? I little fear what poverty can do." Have I not power to help you, foolish maid? The angry matron her attendant Jane To my concerns be your attention paid ;
Summon'd in haste to soothe the fierce disdain. With cheerful mind th' allotted duties take,
"A vile, detested wretch !" the lady cried, And recollect I have a will to make."
" Yet shall she be, by many an effort, tried, Jessy, who felt as liberal natures feel,
And, clogg'd with debt and fear, against her will When thus the baser their designs reveal, Replied, " Those duties were to her unfit, And, once secured, she never shall depart Nor would her spirit to her tasks submit."
Till I have proved the firmness of her heart; In silent scorn the lady sat a while,
Then when she dares not, would not, cannot go, And then replied with stern contemptuous I'll make her feel what 'tis to use me so." smile,
The pensive Colin in his garden stray'd, " Think you, fair madam, that you came to But felt not then the beauties it display'd ; share
There many a pleasant object met his view, Fortunes like mine without a thought or care ? A rising wood of oaks behind it grew; A guest, indeed! from every trouble free, A stream ran by it, and the village green Dress'd by my help, with not a care for me ; And public road were from the gardens seen ; When I a visit to your father made,
Save where the pine and larch the boundary I for the poor assistance largely paid ;
made, To his domestics I their tasks assign'd,
And on the rose-beds threw a softening shade. I fir’d the portion for his hungry hind ;
The mother sat beside the garden door, And had your father (simple man!) obey'd Dress'd as in times ere she and hers were poor; My good advice, and watch'd as well as The broad-laced cap was known in ancient pray'd,
days, He might have left you something with his When madam's dress compellid the village prayers,
praise ; And lent some colour for these lofty airs.
And still she look'd as in the times of old, " In tears, my love! O, then, my sosten'd Ere his last farm the erring husband sold ; heart
While yet the mansion stood in decent state, Cannot resist ; we never more will part;
And paupers waited at the well-known gate I need your friendship, I will be your friend, “Alas! my son !" the mother cried, " and why And thus determined, to my will attend."
That silent grief and oft-repeated sigh? Jessy went forth, but with determined soul True, we are poor, but thou hast never felt To fly such love, to break from such control ; Pangs to thy father for his error dealt; * I hear enough," the trembling damsel cried ; Pangs from strong hopes of visionary gain, " Flight be my care, and Providence my guide : For ever raised, and ever found in vain. Ere yet a prisoner, I escape will make ;
He rose unhappy! from his fruitless schemes, Will, thus display'd, th' insidious arts forsake, As guilty wretches from their blissful dreams; And. as the rattle sounds, will fly the fatal But thou wert then, my son, a playful child, snake.”
Wondering at grief, gay, innocent, and wild, Jessy her thanks upon the morrow paid, Listening at times to thy poor mother's sighs, Prepared to go, determined, though afraid. With curious looks and innocent surprise ;
* Ungrateful creature," said the lady, “ this Thy father dying, thou, my virtuous boy, Could I imagine ?-are you frontic, miss ?
My comfort always, waked my soul to joy ; What! leave your friend, your prospects-is it With ihe poor remnant of our fortune left, true ?"
Thou hast our station of its gloom bereft: This Jessy answer'd by a mild “ Adieu !"
Thy lively temper, and thy cheerful air, The dame replied, “ Then houseless may you Have cast a smile on sadness and despair : rove,
Thy active hand has dealt to this poor space The starving victim to a guilty love ;
The bliss of plenty and the charm of grace ; Branded with shame, in sickness doom'd to nurse And all around us wonder when they find An ill-form'd cub, your scandal and your curse ; Such taste and strength, such skill and powo Sparn'd by its scoundrel father, and ill fed
combined ; By surly rustics with the parish bread :
There is no mother, Colin, no, not one Relent you not?-speak-yet I can forgive ; But envies me so kind, so good a son : Still live with me." * With you,” said Jessy, By thee supported on this failing side, *live?
Weakness itself awakes a parent's pride : No! I would first endure what you describe, I bless the stroke that was my grief before, Rather than breathe with your detested tribe , And feel such joy that 'tis disease no more ; Who long have feign'd, till now their very Shielded by thee, my want becomes my wealth, hearts
And soothed by Colin, sickness smiles at health ; Are firmly fix'd in their accursed parts ;
The old men love thee, they repeat thy praise, Who all profess esteem, and feel disdain,
And say, like thee were youth in earlier days ; And all, with justice, of deceit complain ; While every village maiden cries, · How gay, Whom I could pity, but that, while I stay, How smart, how brave, how good is Colin My terror drives all kinder thoughts away ;
" Yet art thou sad ; alas ! my son, I know Thy heart is wounded, and the cure is slow;
THE STRUGGLES OF CONSCIENCE.
I am a villain ; yet I lie, I am not;
Fool! of thyself speak well :-Fool! do not flatter. When thou hast eased his bosom of its pain,
My Conscience hath a thousand several tongues, 0! I have seen her-she will come again.'
And every tongue brings in a several tale.
Richard III. act v. sc. 3. The matron ceased ; and Colin stood the while Silent, but striving for a grateful smile ;
My Conscience is but a kind of hard Conscience.... He then replied, " Ah! sure, had Jessy stay'd,
The fiend gives the more friendly counsel.
Merchant of Venice, act ii. sc. 2. And shared the comforts of our sylvan shade,
Thou hast it now-and I fear The tenderest duty and the fondest love
Thou play'dst most foully for it. Would not have fail'd that generous heart to
Macbeth, act iii. sc. 1. move;
Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased, A grateful pity would have ruled her breast,
Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow, And my distresses would have made me blest.
Rase out the written troubles of the brain, "But she is gone, and ever has in view
And with some sweet oblivious antidote Grandeur and taste ; and what will then ensue? Cleanse the foul bosom of that perilous stuff Surprise, and then delighi, in scenes so fair and
Which weighs upon the heart ?
16. act v. sc. 3.
Soft! I did but dreamFor many a day, perhaps for many a week,
O! coward Conscience, how dost thou afflict me! Home will have charms, and 10 her bosom speak;
Richard III. act v. sc. 3. But thoughtless ease, and affluence, and pride, Seen day by day, will draw the heart aside : A serious toyman in the city dwelt, And she at length, though gentle and sincere, Who much concern for his religion felt; Will think no more of our enjoyment here.” Reading, he changed his tenets, read again, Sighing he spake—but hark! he hears the ap- | And various questions could with skill maintain ; proach
Papist and quaker if we set aside, Of rattling wheels! and lo! the evening coach; He had the road of every traveller tried ; Once more the movement of the horses' feet There walk'd a while, and on a sudden turn'd Makes the fond heart with strong emotion beat ; Into some by-way he had just discern'd: Faint were his hopes, but ever had the sight He had a nephew, Fulham-Fulham went Drawn him to gaze beside his gate at night; His uncle's way, with every turn content ; And when with rapid wheels it hurried by, He saw his pious kinsman's watchful care, He grieved his parent with a hopeless sigh; And thought such anxious pains his own might And could the blessing have been bought, what spare,
And he, the truth obtain'd, without the toil, might Had he not offer'd, to have Jessy come!
share. She came-he saw her bending from the door, In fact, young Fulham, though he little read, Her face, her smile, and he beheld no more ; Perceived his uncle was by fancy led ; Lost in his joy-the mother lent hor aid
And smiled to see the constant care he took, T'assist and to detain the willing maid;
Collating creed with creed, and book with book. Who thought her late, her present home to make, Al length the senior fix'd ; I pass the sect Sure of a welcome for the vicar's sake :
He call'd a church, 'twas precious and elect; But the good parent was so pleased, so kind, Yet the seed fell not in the richest soil, So pressing Colin, she so much inclined,
For few disciples paid the preacher's toil ; That night advanced ; and then so long detain'd, All in an attic room were wont to meet, No wishes to depart she felt, or feign'd ;
These few disciples at their pastor's feet; Yet long in doubt she stood, and then perforce With these went Fulham, who, discreet and grave, remain'd.
Follow'd the light his worthy uncle gave ; Here was a lover fond, a friend sincere ; Till a warm preacher found a way l'impart Here was content and joy, for she was here : Awakening feelings to his torpid heart: In the mild evening, in the scene around,
Some weighty truths, and of unpleasant kind, The maid, now free, peculiar beauties found ; Sank, though resisted, in his struggling mind; Blended with village tones, the evening gale He wish'd to fly them, but compellid to stay, Gave the sweet night-bird's warblings to the vale ; Truth to the waking Conscience found her way; The youth imbolden'd, yet abash'd, now told For though the youth was call'd a prudent lad, His fondest wish, nor found the maiden cold; And prudent was, yet serious faults he had ; The mother smiling whisper'd—“Let him go Who now reflected—“Much am I surprised, And seek the license!” Jessy answer'd, “ No :" I find these notions cannot be despised ; But Colin went. I know not if they live
No! there is something I perceive at last, With all the comforts wealth and plenty give : Although my uncle cannot hold it fast; But with pure joy to envious souls denied, Though I the strictness of these men reject, To suppliant meanness and suspicious pride ; Yet I determine to be circumspect; And village maids of happy couples say, This man alarms me, and I must begin “They live like Jessy Bourn and Colin Grey." To look more closely to the things within;
These sons of zeal have I derided long,
This Fulham tried : who would to him advance But now begin to think the laughers wrong ; A pound or crown, he gave in turn a chance Nay, my good uncle, by all teachers moved, For weighty prize ; and should they nothing share, Will be preferr'd to him who none approved ; They had their crown or pound in Fulham's ware; Better to love amiss than nothing to have loved." Thus the old stores within the shop were sold Such were his thoughts, when Conscience first for that which none refuses, new or old. began
Was this unjust? yet Conscience could not rest, To hold close converse with th' awaken'd man: But made a mighty struggle in the breast He from that time reserved and cautious grew, And gave th' aspiring man an early proof, And for his duties felt obedience due;
That should they war he would have work enough Pious he was not, but he fear'd the pain
· Suppose," said she," your vended numbers rise Of sins committed, nor would sin again.
The same with those which gain each real prize, Whene'er he stray'd, he found his Conscience (Such your proposal,) can you ruin shun?"rose,
"A hundred thousand," he replied, " to one."Like one determined what was ill t'oppose, “ Still it may happen.”—“ I the sum must pay.'What wrong t'accuse, what secret to disclose : “ You know you cannot.”—“ I can run away." To drag forth every latent act to light,
“ That is dishonest.”—“ Nay, but you must wink And fix them fully in the actor's sight:
At a chance hit; it cannot be, I think.
The uncle died, and when the nephew read Fail I at meeting? am I sleepy there?
Or drink at club beyond a certain pitch ?
Which are your charges ? Conscience, tell me Desire of profit, idle habits check'd,
which ?" (For Fulham's virtue was to be correct ;)
“ 'Tis well,” said she, “but—" “ Nay, I pray, He and his Conscience had their compact made
have done : " Urge me with truth, and you will soon persuade ; Trust me, I will not into danger run." Bat not,” he cried, “ for mere ideal things
The lottery drawn, not one demand was made; Give me to feel those terror-breeding stings." Fulham gain'd profit and increase of trade. "Let not such thoughts," she said, “ your mind "See now," said he-for Conscience yet aroseconfound ;
· How foolish 'tis such measures to oppose : Trifles may wake me, but they never wound; Have I not blameless thus my state advanced ?"In them indeed there is a wrong and right, “ Still," mutter'd Conscience, still it might have But you will find me pliant and polite ;
chanced." Not like a Conscience of the dotard kind,
* Might!" said our hero, “ who is so exact Awake to dreams, to dire offences blind :
As to inquire what might have been a fact ?" Let all within be pure, in all beside
Now Fulham's shop contain'd a curious view Be your own master, governor, and guide; Of costly trifles elegant and new : Alive to danger, in temptation strong,
The papers told where kind mammas might buy And I shall sleep our whole existence long." The gayest toys to charm an infant's eye ; * Sweet be thy sleep," said Fulham; “strong Where generous beaux might gentle damsels please must be
And travellers call who cross the land or seas, The tempting ill that gains access to me :
And find the curious art, the neai device Never will I to evil deed consent,
Of precious value and of trifling price. Or, if surprised, O! how will I repent!
Here Conscience rested, she was find pleased to find,
Thus our young Trader and his Conscience dwelt Who would prevent, to justify the sin ?)
The charge was strong; he would in part conYet these were trifling bickerings, petty jars,
fess Domestic strises, preliminary wars ;
Offence there was: but who offended less ? He ventured little, little she expressid
“ What! is a mere assertion call'd a lie? Of indignation, and they both had rest.
And if it be, are men compellid to buy? Thus was he fix'd to walk the worthy way, 'Twas strange that Conscience on such points When profit urged him to a bold essay
should dwell, A time was that when all at pleasure gamed While he was acting she would call it) well : In lottery chances, yet of law unblamed ;
He bought as others buy, he sold as others sell