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LINES WRITTEN ON THE FIRST LEAF OF A
LADY'S COMMON-PLACE BOOK.
Book ! as fair S-forms the varied line
Book ! o'er her desk should whispering sorrows lean,
Book ! may no canker, no corroding worm,
round S darts his arrowy rays, A silver halo cireling beauty's blaze.
THE DUELLIST, AN ELEGY.
Stranger! who sleeps in yonder nameless grave ?
I saw thee pause and linger o'er the tomb, Where to the gale those thorns their branches wave,
And evening deepens on that yew-tree's gloom.
• There sleeps my friend,' the pensive stranger cried :
« O’er the blank stone have twenty winters past : Yet, as the gale amid that yew-tree sighed,
Methought again I heard him breathe his last.
Yes ! for I saw the last convulsive start,
That spoke the struggle closed of life and death : Felt the last pulse that trembled from his heart;
And heard the sigh that told his parting breath.
. Fixed in his breast the adverse weapon
stood Stranger! when died he in his country's cause ? Blest be the man whose pure and generous blood
Flows for his country's liberty and laws!'
• O why the grief of other days recall ?
Alas ! he died not for his country's sake.
Wielding unhallowed arms 'twas his to fall :
'Twas his in death his country's laws to break.
• One word, one careless word, escaped his tongue ; One careless word, from guile, from anger
free. Blood, blood must cleanse the unsuspected wrong
Meet on the heath, beside the lonely tree'
So spake the foe ; nor, parting, did he hide
The muttered threat, nor glance of scorn behind. Too well
my friend the glance of scorn descried ; And thus explored his own uncertain mind.
- What shall I do? custom ! thy tyrant sway,
To laws of earth or heaven untaught to yield, And thine, whose nod the brave, the base, obey,
Ideal honour ! urge me to the field.
That field perchance consigns thee to the dead,
Affection cries, forbear, forbear the strife ; Think on thy childless mother's hoary head:
Think on thy orphan babes, thy widowed wife !
• Yes, throbs of naturel through my inmost soul,
From nerve to nerve your strong vibrations dartHark, duty speaks--Rebellious pride control,
And bow to heaven's behest the swelling heart.
• What though, be witness heaven ! nor vengeful hate Nor hostile
bosom burn : How can I guiltless tread the brink of fate,
And dare the grief from whence is no return ?
• Though from his breast who braves me to the fight,
Guarding my own, my sword aloof I wave ; What praise, while yet against his lawless might
I stake the sacred trust my Maker gave ?
• How mid assembled angels shall I dare
For judgment throned the Son of God to see ; Afraid for him the sting of scorn to bear,
Who bore the sting of scorn and death for me?
• And is it then so deep a crime to die,
Shielding from taint my yet unspotted name ? Away, vain sophistry! a Christian I,
And fear at duty's call to risk my fame?
Yet how, proud foe, thy cold' insulting eye,
Shunning the offered combat, shall I face? Where hide
head while slander's envious cry, Roused at thy bidding, trumpets my disgrace?
My native woodlands shall I seek, the sneer
Or háunt the town, in every wind to hear
• There skulks the coward,' murmur through the street ?
• What, live to infamy, of fools the scorn,
The dastard's butt, the bye-word of the brave ? No: farewell doubt!'_Beneath the waving thorn,
Go, learn his fate at yonder nameless grave.
'Stranger ! if trials like to his are thine,
Hark to the voice that whispers from his sod. Shame dost thou dread ? the shame of sin decline : Talk'st thou of valour ? dare to fear thy God.'
By LADY FRANCES SCOTT, now LADY DOUGLAS,
On a Skeleton found in Dalkeith Park, at the time when the
Duke of Buccleugh was raising his Fencible Regiment.
Reader ! the mortal part is here interred