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He saw the hostess reading,—and their eyes | We were indeed as sisters-Should I state Met in good will, and something like surprise: Her quiet end, you would no longer hate: It was not beauty William saw, but more, I see your heart,—and I shall quickly Something like that which he had loved
Something that brought his Fanny to his view,
In the dear time when she was good and true; And his, it seem'd, were features that were
With some emotion- she was not serene: And both were moved to ask what looks like those could mean.
At first she colour'd to the deepest red, That hurried off, till all the rose was fled; She call'd a servant, whom she sent to rest, Then made excuse to her attentive guest; She own'd the thoughts confused,- 'twas very true,
He brought a dear departed friend in view: Then, as he listen'd, bade him welcome there
With livelier looks and more engaging air, And stirr'd the fire of ling, and brush'd the wicker-chair,
Waiting his order with the cheerful look, That proved how pleasant were the pains she took.
prove, Though she deserved not, yet she prized your love: Long as she breathed was heard her William's name—
And such affection half absolves her shame.
The birth-day token-well you know the thing;
This, if I ever-thus I was to speak,
As she had spoken-but I see you weak:
She was not worthy-O! you cannot tell
By what accursed means my Fanny fell!
What bane, compulsion, threats for she
But from such toils what being is secure? Force, not persuasion, robb'd me-You are right;
So has she told me, in her Maker's sight: She loved not vice-O! no, her heart approved
All that her God commanded to be loved; And she is gone Consider! death alone Could for the errors of her life atone
Art thou not Frances?-O, my William! yes!
But spare me, spare thyself, and suffer less:
In my best days, the spring-time of my life,
I was not worthy to be William's wife;
A widow now-not poor, indeed-not cast
In outer darkness-sorrowing for the past,
And for the future hoping-but no more:
Let me the pledges of thy love restore,
And give the ring thou gavest—let it be
A token still of my regard for thee,
But only that, and to a worthier now
Consign the gift.-The only worthy thou!
Replied the lover; and what more express'd
May be omitted—here our tale shall rest.
This pair, our host and hostess of the Fleece, | There were the curate's gentle maids, and Command some wealth, and smile at its increase;
From all the neighbouring villages would
There, as I stole the yew-tree shades among, I saw the parties walking, old and young, Where I was nothing-if perceived, they said,
The man is harmless, be not you afraid;
A poor young creature, who, they say, is
In love, and has in part his senses lost;
His health for certain, and he comes to spend
His time with us; we hope our air will mend
A frame so weaken'd, for the learned tribe
A change of air for stubborn ills prescribe;
And doing nothing often has prevail'd
When ten physicians have prescribed and
So live the pair,--and life's disasters seem
In their unruffled calm a troubled dream;
In comfort runs the remnant of their life-Not that for air or change there's much to
He the fond husband, she the faithful wife.
But nature then has time to take her way;
And so we hope our village will restore
This man to health that he possess'd before.
He loves the garden avenues, the gloom
Of the old chambers, of the tap'stried room,
And we no notice take, we let him go and
So spake a gay young damsel; but she knew Not all the truth, in part her tale was
Is their discourse again the Brothers dwelt
On early subjects-what they once had felt,
Once thought of things mysterious;-Yet
themes that all
With some degree of reverence recal.
George then reverted to the days of old,
When his heart fainted, and his hope was
When by the power of fancy he was sway'd,
And every impulse of the mind obey'd.
Then, my dear Richard, said the Squire, my
Was call'd consumptive-I must seek a place
And soil salubrious, thither must repair,
And live on asses' milk and milder air.
My uncle bought a farm, and on the land
The fine old mansion yet was left to stand,
Not in this state, but old and much decay'd;
Of this a part was habitable made;
The rest who doubts?—was by the spirits
Ghosts of all kinds, who used it as they pleased.
The worthy farmer-tenant yet remain'd,
Of good report-he had a fortune gain'd;
And his three daughters at their school
The air and manner that their swains
The mother-gossip and these daughters three
Talk'd of genteel and social company,
And while the days were fine, and walks
A fresh assemblage day by day were seen.
Much it amused me in the place to be
This harmless cypher, seeming not to see,
seeing all, unnoticed to appear,
Yet noting all; and not disposed to hear,
But to go forth;-break in on no one's plan,
And hear them speak of the forsaken man.
In scenes like these, a mansion so decay'd,
With blighted trees in hoary moss array'd,
And ivy'd walls around, for many an hour
I walk'd alone, and felt their witching power;
So others felt; the young of either sex
Would in these walks their timid minds
By meeting terrors, and the old appear'd, Their fears upbraiding, like the young who fear'd;
Among them all some sad discourse at night
Was sure to breed a terrified delight:
Some luckless one of the attentive dames
Had figures seen like those within the frames,
Figures of lords who once the land possess’d,
And who could never in their coffins rest;
Unhappy spirits! who could not abide
The loss of all their consequence and pride,
"Twas death in all his power, their very
names had died.
These tales of terror views terrific bred,
And sent the hearers trembling to their bed.
In an autumnal evening, cool and still,
The sun just dropp'd beneath a distant hill,
The children gazing on the quiet scene,
Then rose in glory Night's majestic queen ;
And pleasant was the chequer'd light and shade
Her golden beams and maple-shadows made; An ancient tree that in the garden grew, And that fair picture on the gravel threw. Then all was silent, save the sounds that make Silence more awful, while they faintly break; The frighten'd bat's low shriek, the beetle's hum,
With nameless sounds we know not whence they come.
Such was the evening; and that ancient seat The scene where then some neighbours chanced to meet;
Up to the door led broken steps of stone, Whose dewy surface in the moonlight shone; On vegetation, that with progress slow Where man forbears to fix his foot, will grow; The window's depth and dust repell'd the ray Of the moon's light and of the setting day; Pictures there were, and each display'd a face And form that gave their sadness to the place; The frame and canvass shew'd that worms
A second fell, and he who did survive
Was kept by skill and sovereign drugs alive;
O! would she see me! he was heard to say,
No! I'll torment him to his dying day!
The maid exclaim'd, and every Thursday
Save in their works, for years had working Once as she came he cried aloud: Forgive! Her spirit came his wretched soul to fright;
A fire of brushwood on the irons laid
All the dull room in fitful views display'd, And with its own wild light in fearful forms array'd.
In this old Hall, in this departing day,
Assembled friends and neighbours, grave
When one good lady at a picture threw
A glance that caused inquiry-Tell us who?
Never! she answer'd, never while you live, You have my torment been, and I'll be yours! Nor when you die, as long as time endures; That is the lady, and the man confess'd Her vengeful spirit would not let him rest.
But are there ghosts? exclaim'd a timid maid;
My father tells me not to be afraid;
He cries when buried we are safe enough,
And calls such stories execrable stuff.
Your father, child, the former lady cried,
That was a famous warrior; one, they said Has learning much, but he has too much pride;
That by a spirit was awhile obey'd;
In all his dreadful battles he would say,
Or win or lose, I shall escape to-day;
And though the shot as thick as hail came
On no occasion he received a wound;
He stood in safety, free from all alarm,
Protected, heaven forgive him, by his charm:
But he forgot the date, till came the hour
When he no more had the protecting power;
And then he bade his friends around farewell!
I fall! he cried, and in the instant fell.
Behold those infants in the frame beneath!
A witch offended wrought their early death;
She form'd an image, made as wax to melt,
And each the wasting of the figure felt;
The hag confess'd it when she came to die,
And no one living can the truth deny.
But see a beauty in King William's days,
With that long waist, and those enormous
She had three lovers, and no creature knew
The one preferr'd, or the discarded two;
None could the secret of her bosom, see;
Loving, poor maid, th' attention of the
It is impossible for him to tell
What things in nature are impossible,
Or out of nature, or to prove to whom
Or for what purposes a ghost may come;
It may not be intelligence to bring,
But to keep up a notion of the thing;
And though from one such fact there may
An hundred wild improbabilities,
Yet had there never been the truth, I say,
The very lies themselves had died away.
True; said a friend, Heaven doubtless may
A kind of dark and clouded evidence ;
God has not promised that he will not send
A spirit freed to either foc or friend;
He may such proof, and only such, bestow.
Though we the certain truth can never know;
And therefore though such floating stories
No strong or certain vouchers of the thing.
Still would I not, presuming, pass my word
That all such tales were groundless and
But you will grant, said one who sate beside. That all appear so when with judgment tried?
For that concession, madam, you may call, When we have sate in judgment upon all.
An ancient lady, who with pensive smile Had heard the stories, and been mute the while,
Now said: Our prudence had been better shown
By leaving uncontested things unknown;
Yet if our children must such stories hear,
Let us provide some antidotes to fear;
For all such errors in the minds of youth,
In any mind, the only cure is truth;
And truths collected may in time decide
Upon such facts, or prove, at least, a guide:
If then permitted I will fairly state
One fact, nor doubt the story I relate;
I for your perfect acquiescence call,
"Tis of myself I tell.-O! tell us all!
I wish'd to die,—and grief, they say, will kill,
But you perceive 'tis slowly if it will;
That I was wretched you may well believe-
I judged it right, and was resolved to grieve:
I lost my mother when there lived not one,
Man, woman, child, whom I would seek or
The Dean, my uncle, with congenial gloom,
Said: Will you share a melancholy home?
For he bewail'd a wife, as I deplored
My fate, and bliss that could not be restored.
In his cathedral's gloom I pass'd my time,
Much in devotion, much in thought sublime;
There oft I paced the aisles, and watch'd
Of the sun setting on the stones below,
And saw the failing light, that strove to pass
Through the dim coating of the storied glass,
Nor fell within, but till the day was gone
The red faint fire upon the window shone.
Said every being there: then silent was the I took the key, and oft-times chose to stay
Early in life, beneath my parent's roof,
Of man's true honour I had noble proof;
A generous lover who was worthy found,
Where half his sex are hollow and unsound.
My father fail'd in trade, and sorrowing died,
When all our loss a generous youth supplied;
And soon the time drew on when he could
O! fix the happy, fix the early day!
Nor meant I to oppose his wishes, or delay:
But then came fever, slight at first indeed,
Then hastening on and threatening in its
It mock'd the powers of medicine; day by day
I saw those helpers sadly walk away;-
So came the hand-like cloud, and with such
And with such speed, that brought the mighty shower.
Him nursed I dying, and we freely spoke;
Of what might follow the expected stroke;
We talk'd of spirits,of their unknown powers,
And dared to dwell on what the fate of ours;
Bat the dread promise, to appear again,
Could it be done, I sought not to obtain;
But yet we were presuming-Could it be,
He said, O Emma! I would come to thee!
At his last hour his reason, late astray,
Again return'd t'illuminate his way.
In the last night my mother long had kept
L'awearied watch, and now reclined and slept;
The nurse was dreaming in a distant chair,
And I had knelt to soothe him with a prayer;
When, with a look of that peculiar kind
That gives its purpose to the fellow-mind,
His manner spoke-Confide-be not afraid-
I shall remember, this was all convey'd,
I know not what awaits departed man,
Bat this believe I meet thee if I can.
Till all was vanish'd of the tedious day, Till I perceived no light, nor heard a sound, That gave me notice of a world around. Then had I grief's proud thoughts, and said, in tone
Of exultation: World, I am alone!
I care not for thee, thou art vile and base,
And I shall leave thee for a nobler place.
So I the world abused,-in fact, to me
Urbane and civil as a world could be:
Nor should romantic grievers thus complain,
Although but little in the world they gain,
But let them think if they have nothing done
To make this odious world so sad a one,
Or what their worth and virtue that should
This graceless world so pleasant for their sake.
But to my tale:-Behold me as I tread
The silent mansions of the favour'd dead,
Who sleep in vaulted chambers, till their clay
In quiet dissolution melts away
In this their bodies' home - The spirits,
where are they?
And where his spirit? Doors and walls
The embodied spirit, not the spirit freed:
And, saying this, I at the altar knelt,
And painful joys and rapturous anguish felt;
Till strong, bold hopes possess'd me, and
Even at this instant is he at my side;
Yes, now, dear spirit! art thou by to prove
That mine is lasting, mine the loyal love!
Thus have I thought, returning to the Dean.
As one who had some glorious vision seen:
He ask'd no question, but would sit and weep,
And cry, in doleful tone: I cannot sleep!
In dreams the chosen of my heart I view'd,
And thus th' impression day by day renew'd;
I saw him always, always loved to see,
For when alone he was my company:
In company with him alone I seem'd,
And, if not dreaming, was as one who dream'd.
Thus, robb'd of sleep, I found, when evening | The gracious power around me could trans
A pleasing torpor steal upon my frame;
But still the habit drew my languid feet
To the loved darkness of the favourite seat;
And there, by silence and by sadness press'd,
I felt a world my own, and was at rest.
One night, when urged with more than usual
And feeling all that such enthusiasts feel,
I paced the altar by, the pillars round,
And knew no terror in the sacred ground;
For mine were thoughts that banish'd all
I wish'd, I long'd to have that form appear;
And, as I paced the sacred aisles, I cried:
Let not thy Emma's spirit be denied
The sight of thine; or, if I may not see,
Still by some token let her certain be!
At length the anxious thoughts my strength
And sleep o'erpower'd me in my solitude;
Then was I dreaming of unearthly race,
The glorious inmates of a blessed place;
Where lofty, minds celestial views explore,
Heaven's bliss enjoy, and heaven's great King
Him there I sought whom I had loved so
For sure he dwelt where happy spirits dwell!
And make me pass to that immortal state:
Thus shall I pay the debt that must be paid,
And dying live, nor be by death delay'd;
| And when so changed, I should with joy
The heavenly converse, and with him remain.
I saw the distant shade, and went with awe,
But not with terror, to the form I saw :
Yet slowly went, for he I did believe
Would meet, and soul to soul his friend
So on I drew, concluding in my mind,
I cannot judge what laws may spirits bind;
Though I dissolve, and mingle with the blest,
I am a new and uninstructed guest,
And ere my love can speak, he should be first
Thus I began to speak,—my new-born pride,
My love, and daring hope, the words supplied.
Dear, happy shade! companion of the good,
The just, the pure, do I on thee intrude?
Art thou not come my spirit to improve,
To form, instruct, and fit me for thy love,
And, as in love we parted, to restore
The blessing lost, and then to part no more?
Let me with thee in thy pure essence dwell,
Nor go to bid them of my house farewell,
But thine be ever!-How shall I relate
Th' event that finish'd this ecstatic state?
Yet let me try.—It turn'd, and I beheld
An hideous form, that hope and zeal expell'd:
In a dim light the horrid shape appear'd,
That wisdom would have fled, and courage
Pale, and yet bloated, with distorted eyes
Distant and deep, a mouth of monstrous size,
That would in day's broad glare a simple
While thus engaged, I started at a sound,
Of what I knew not, but I look'd around;
For I was borne on visionary wings,
And felt no dread of sublunary things;
But rising, walk'd─A distant window threw
A weak,soft light, that help'd me in my view;
Something with anxious heart I hoped to see,
And pray'd: O! God of all things, let it be!
For all are thine, were made by thee, and thou | Bah! — bother! - blarney! — What is this
Canst both the meeting and the means allow;
Thou canst make clear my sight, or thou
More gross the form that his loved mind shall take,
Canst clothe his spirit for my fleshly sight,
Or make my earthly sense more pure and
So was I speaking, when without a sound
There was a movement in the sacred ground:
I saw a figure rising, but could trace
No certain features, no peculiar face;
But I prepared my mind that form to view,
Nor felt a doubt,—he promised,and was true!
I should embrace his angel, and my clay,
And what was mortal in me, melt away.
O! that ecstatic horror in my frame,
That o'er me thus, a favour'd mortal, came!
Bless'd beyond mortals, and the body now
I judged would perish, though I knew not
He heard my words, and cried, with savage shout,
Love, lover, longing, in an instant fled.—
Now I had vice and impudence to dread;
And all my high-wrought fancies died away
To woman's trouble, terror, and dismay.
What, said the wretch, what is it you would
Wouldst hang a man for peeping in a grave?
Search me yourself, and try if you can feel
Aught I have taken,-there was nought to
"Twas told they buried with the corpse
To pay the hazard,—I have made the proof,
Nor gain'd a tester-What I tell is true;
But I'm no fool, to be betray'd by you,-
I'll hazard nothing, curse me if I do!
The light increased, and plainly now appear`d
A knavish fool whom I had often fear'd,
But hid the dread; and I resolved at least
Not to expose it to the powerful beast.