Imágenes de página


WILDLY and mournfully the Indian drum

On the deep hush of moonlight forests broke;-
'Sing us a death-song, for thine hour is come.'-
So the red warriors to their captive spoke.
Still, and amidst those dusky forms alone,

A youth, a fair-haired youth of England stood,
Like a king's son; though from his cheek had flown
The mantling crimson of the island blood,
And his pressed lips looked marble.-Fiercely bright
And high around him, blazed the fires of night,
Rocking beneath the cedars to and fro,

As the wind passed, and with a fitful glow
Lighting the victim's face:-thick cypress boughs
Full of strange sound, waved o'er him, darkly red
In the broad stormy firelight;-savage brows,

With tall plumes crested and wild hues o'erspread,
Girt him like feverish phantoms; and pale stars
Looked through the branches as through dungeon bars,
Shedding no hope.-He knew, he felt his doom-
Oh! what a tale to shadow with its gloom
That happy hall in England!-Idle fear!

Would the winds tell it?-Who might dream or hear
The secret of the forests?--To the stake

They bound him; and that proud young soldier strove, His father's spirit in his breast, to wake.

Trusting to die in silence! He, the love
Of many hearts-the fondly reared the fair,
Gladdening all eyes to see!-And fettered there
He stood beside his death-pyre, and the brand
Flamed up to light it in the chieftain's hand;
He thought upon his God.-Hush! hark!—a cry
Breaks on the stern and dread solemnity:-
A step hath pierced the ring!-Who dares intrude
On the dark hunters in their vengeful mood?-
A girl-a young slight girl-a fawn-like child
Of green Savannas and the leafy wild,
Springing unmarked till then, as some lone flower,
Happy because the sunshine is its dower;
Yet one that knew how early tears are shed,—
For hers had mourned a playmate brother dead.

She had sat gazing on the victim long,
Until the pity of her soul grew strong;
And, by its passion's deepening fervour swayed,
Even to the stake she rushed, and gently laid
His bright head on her bosom, and around
His form her slender arms to shield it wound,
Like close Liannes; then raised her glittering eye
And clear-toned voice, that said, 'He shall not die!'

'He shall not die!'-the gloomy forest thrilled
To that sweet sound. A sudden wonder fell
On the fierce throng; and heart and hand were stilled,
Struck down, as by the whisper of a spell.
They gazed, their dark souls bowed before the maid,
She of the dancing step in wood and glade!
And, as her check flushed through its olive hue,
As her black tresses to the night-wind flew,
Something o'ermastered them from that
Something of heaven, in silence felt and seen;
And seeming, to their child-like faith, a token
That the Great Spirit by her voice had spoken.


They loosed the bonds that held their captive's breath;
From his pale lips they took the cup of death;

They quenched the brand beneath the cypress tree;
'Away,' they cried, 'young stranger, thou art free!'



Dan. SIR Fretful, have you sent your play to the managers yet?-or can I be of any service to you?

Sir F. No, no, I thank you; I believe the piece had sufficient recommendation with it.-I thank you, thoughI sent it to the manager of Covent-Garden theatre this morning.

Sneer. I should have thought that it might have been cast (as the actors call it) better at Drury Lane.

Sir F. O! no-never send a play there, while I livehark 'ee! [Whispers Sneer.

Sneer. Writes himself!-I know he does

Sir F. I say nothing-I take away from no man's merit -am hurt at no man's good fortune-I say nothing.-But this I will say, through all my knowledge of life I have observed, that there is not a passion so strongly rooted in the human heart as envy!

Sneer. I believe you have reason for what you say, indeed.

Sir F. Besides, I can tell you it is not always so safe to leave a play in the hands of those who write themselves. Sneer. What, they may steal from them, hey, my dear Plagiary?

Sir F. Steal! to be sure they may; and, serve your best thoughts as gypsies do stolen children, disfigure them to make 'em pass for their own.

Sneer. But your present work is a sacrifice to Melpomene, and he you know never

Sir F. That's no security. A dexterous plagiarist may do anything. Why, sir, for aught I know, he might take out some of the best things in my tragedy, and put them into his own comedy.

Sneer. That might be done, I dare be sworn.

Sir F. And then, if such a person gives you the least hint or assistance, he is apt to take the merit of the whole

Dan. If it succeeds.

Sir F. Ay: but with regard to this piece, I think I can hit that gentleman, for I can safely aver he never read it. Sneer. I'll tell you how you may hurt him more.

Sir F. How?

Sneer. Declare he wrote it.

Sir F. Plague on 't now, Sneer, I shall take it ill.-I believe you want to take away my character as an author. Sneer. Then I am sure you ought to be very much obliged

to me.

Sir F. Hey! sir!

Dan. O you know he never means what he says.

Sir F. Sincerely then-you do like the piece?

Sneer. Wonderfully!

Sir F. But come now,, there must be something that you think might be mended, hey?—Mr. Dangle, has nothing struck you?

Dan. Why, truly, it is but an ungracious thing, for the most part, to

Sir F. With most authors it is just so indeed; they are in general strangely tenacious! But, for my part I am never so well pleased as when a judicious critic points out any defect to me; for what is the purpose of showing a work to a friend, if you do n't mean to profit by his opinion! Sneer. Very true. Why, then, though I seriously admire the piece upon the whole, yet there is one small objection; which, if you 'll give me leave, I 'll mention.

Sir F. Sir, you can't oblige me more.

Sneer. I think it wants incident.

Sir F. You surprise me!-wants incident!

Sneer. Yes; I own I think the incidents are too few.

Sir F. Believe me, Mr. Sneer, there is no person for whose judgment I have a more implicit deference. But I protest to you, Mr. Sneer, I am only apprehensive that the incidents are too crowded.-My dear Dangle, how does it strike you?

Dan. Really I can't agree with my friend Sneer. I think the plot quite sufficient; and the first four acts by many degrees the best I ever read or saw in my life. If I might venture to suggest anything, it is that the interest rather falls off in the fifth.

Sir F. Rises, I believe you mean, sir.

Dan. No, I do n't, upon my word.

Sir F. Yes, yes, you do, upon my soul; it certainly don't fall off, I assure you. No, no, it don't fall off.

Dan. Well, Sir Fretful, I wish you may be able to get rid as easily of the newspaper criticisms as you do of ours. Sir F. The newspapers! Sir, they are the most villanous -licentious-abominable-infernal- -Not that I ever read -No-I make it a rule never to look into a news


Dan. You are quite right; for it certainly must hurt an author of delicate feelings to see the liberties they take.

Sir F. No! quite the contrary; their abuse is, in fact, the best panegyric-I like it of all things. An author's reputation is only in danger from their support.

Sneer. Why that 's true-and that attack, now, on you the other day

Sir F. What? where?

Dan. Ay, you mean in a paper of Thursday: it was completely ill-natured, to be sure.

Sir F. O, so much the better. Ha! ha! ha! I would n't have it otherwise.

Dan. Certainly, it is only to be laughed at, for

Sir F. You do n't happen to recollect what the fellow said, do you?

Sneer. Pray, Dangle,-Sir Fretful seems a little anxious

Sir F. O no!-anxious,-not I,-not the least-I-But one may as well hear, you know.

Dan. Sneer, do you recollect? Make out something.

[Aside. Sneer. I will. [To Dangle.] Yes, yes, I remember perfectly.

Sir F. Well, and pray now-not that it signifies—what might the gentleman say?

Sneer. Why, he roundly asserts that you have not the slightest invention or original genius whatever; though you are the greatest traducer of all other authors living.

Sir F. Ha! ha! ha!-very good!

Sneer. That as to comedy, you have not one idea of your own, he believes, even in your common-place book, where stray jokes and pilfered witticisms are kept with as much method as the ledger of the lost and stolen office.

Sir F. Ha! ha! ha!-very pleasant!

Sneer. Nay, that you are so unlucky as not to have the skill even to steal with taste: but that you glean from the refuse of obscure volumes, where more judicious plagiarists have been before you; so that the body of your work is a composition of dregs and sediments, like a bad tavern's worst wine.

Sir F. Ha! ha!

Sneer. In your more serious efforts, he says, your bombast would be less intolerable, if the thoughts were ever suited to the expression; but the homeliness of the sentiment stares through the fantastic encumbrance of its fine language, like a clown in one of the new uniforms!

Sir F. Ha! ha!

Sneer. That your occasional tropes and flowers suit the general coarseness of your style, as tambour sprigs would a ground of linsey-woolsey; while your imitations of Shakspeare resemble the mimicry of Falstaff's page, and are about as near the standard of the original.

Sir F. Ha!

Sneer. In short, that even the fine passages you steal are of no service to you; for the poverty of your own language prevents their assimilating; so that they lie on the surface

« AnteriorContinuar »