Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

and ogled the daughters, by which means in three days I made the

progress

I related to you. Arn. You have been expeditious indeed. I fear where that devil Lady Patchet is concerned there can be no good—but is there not a son ?

66 Thorn. Oh! the most ridiculous creature in nature. He has been bred in the country, a bumpkin all his life, till within these six years, when he was sent to the University, but, the misfortunes that have reduced his father falling out, he is returned, the most ridiculous animal you ever saw, a conceited disputing blockhead. So there is no great matter to fear from his penetration. But come, let us begone, and see this moral family, we shall meet them coming from the field , and you will see a man who was once in affluence, maintaining by hard labour a numerous family. “ Arn. Oh! Thornhill, can you wish to add infamy to their poverty ?

[Exeunt."

There also remain among his papers three Acts of a Drama, without a name,-written evidently in haste, and with scarcely any correction, the subject of which is so wild and unmanageable, that I should not have hesitated in referring it to the same early date , had not the introduction into one of the scenes of “ Dry be that tear, be hush'd that sigh," proved it to have been produced after that pretty song was written.

The chief personages upon whom the story turns are a band of outlaws, who, under the name and disguise of Devils , have taken up their residence in a gloomy wood, adjoining a village, the inhabitants of which they keep in perpetual alarm by their incursions and apparitions. In the same wood resides a hermit, secretly connected with this band, who keeps secluded within his cave the beautiful Reginilla, hid alike from the light of the sun and the eyes of men. She has, however, been indulged in her prison with a glimpse of a handsome young huntsman, whom she believes to be a phantom, and is encouraged in her belief by the hermit, by whose contrivance this, huntsman (a prince in disguise) has been thus presented to her. The following is--as well as I can make it out from a manuscript not easily decipherable— the scene that takes place between the fair recluse and her visitant. The style, where style is attempted , shows, as the reader will perceive, a taste yet immature and unchastened :

" Scene draws, and discovers Reginilla asleep in the Cave. Enter Pevidor and other Devils, with the Huntsman - unbind him, and

exeunt.

Hunts. Ha! Where am I now? Is it indeed the dread abode of guilt, or refuge of a band of thieves ? it cannot be a dream. (sees Reginilla.) Ha! if this be so, and I do dream , may I never wake-itis-my beating

me,

heart acknowledges my dear, gentle Reginilla. l'll not wake her, lest, if it be a phantom, it should vanish. Oh, balmy breath! but for thy soft sighs that come to tell me it is no image, I should believe.

(bends down towards her.) a sigh from her heart !—thus let me arrest thee on thy way. ( kisses her.) A deeper blush has flushed her cheek—sweet modesty! that even in sleep is conscious and resentful.—She will not wake, and yet some fancy calls up those frequent sighs - how her heart beats in its ivory cage, like an imprisoned bird - or as if to reprove the hand that dares approach its sanctuary! Oh, would she but wake, and bless this gloom with her bright eyes!-Soft, here's a lute--perhaps her soul will hear the call of harmony.

I “ Oh yield , fair lids, the treasures of my heart,

Release those beams that make this mansion bright;
From her sweet sense, Slumber, tho' sweet thou art ,

Begone, and give the air she breathes in light,
“ Or while, oh Sleep, thou dost those glances hide,

Let rosy slumbers still around her play,
Sweet as the cherub Innocence enjoy'd,

When iu thy lap, new boru, in smiles he lay.
“And thou , oh Dream , that com’st her sleep to chicer,

Oh take my shape, and play a lover's part;
Kiss her from and whisper in her ear,

Till her eyes shine, 'tis night within my beart. Reg. ( waking.) The phantom , father, ( seizes his hand.) ah, do not, do not wake me then. (rises.)

Hunts. (kneeling to her.) Thou beauteous sun of this dark world , that mak’st a place, so like the cave of death, a heaven to me, instruct me how I may approach thee-how address thee and not offend.

Reg. Oh how my soul would hang upon those lips! speak on-and yet, methinks, he should not kneel so—why are you afraid, Sir ? indeed, I cannot hurt you. Hunts. Sweet innocence , I'm sure thou would'st not.

Reg. Art thou not he to whom I told my name, and didst thou not say thine was

Hunts. Oh blessed be the name that then thou told'st-it has been ever since my charnı, and kept me from distraction. But, may I ask how such sweet excellence as thine could be hid in such a place ?

Reg. Alas, I know not-for such as thou I never saw before, nor any like myself.

Hunts. Nor like thee ever shall - but would'st thou leave this place, and live with such as I am ?

Reg. Why may not you live here with such as I? Hunts. Yes, but I would carry thee where all above an azure canopy extends, at night bedropt with gems, and one more glorious lamp, that

' I bave taken the liberty here of supplying a few rhymes and words that are wanting in the original copy of the song. The last line of all runs ihns in the ianuscript :

“ Till her eye shines , I live in darkest night.” , which , not rhyming as it ought, I have ventured to alter as above.

yields such bashful light as love enjoys-while underneath, a carpet shall be spread of flowers to court the pressure of thy step, with such sweet whispered invitations from the leaves of shady groves or murmuring of silver streams, that thou shalt think thou art in Paradise.

" Reg. Indeed !

Hunts. Ay, and I'll watch and wait on thee all day, and cull the choicest flowers, which while thou bind'st in the mysterious knot of love, I'll tune for thee no vulgar lays, or tell thee tales shall make thee weep yet please thee-while thus I press thy hand, and warm it thus with kisses.

Reg. I doubt thee not-but then my Governor has told me many a tale of faithless men, who court a lady but to steal her peace and fame, and then to leave her. Hunts. Oh never such as thou art-witness all.....

Reg. Then wherefore couldst thou not live here? For I do feel, tho' tenfold darkness did surround this spot, I could be blest, would

you

but stay here; and, if it made you sad to be imprison'd thus, I'd sing and play for thee, and dress thee sweetest fruits, and, though you chid me, would kiss thy tear away and hide my blushing face upon thy bosomindeed, I would. Then what avails the gaudy day and all the evil things I'm told inhabit there, to those who have within themselves all that delight and love and heaven can give.

Hunts. My angel, thou hast indeed the soul of love. Reg. It is no ill thing, is it?

Hunts. Oh most divine it is the immediate gift of heaven, which steals into our breast

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

*

*.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

'tis that which makes me sigh thus, look thus-fear and tremble for thee. Reg. Sure I should learn it too, if you would teach me.

(Sound of horn without-Huntsman starts. Reg. You must not go-this is but a dance preparing for my aniusement-oh we have, indeed, some pleasures here-come, I will sing for you the while.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

If thou art sad, i'll kiss away
The tears.....

that flow.
“ If thou would'st play, I'll kiss thee till I bluslı,

Then bide that blush upon thy breast ,
If thou would'st sleep.....

Sball rock thy aching head to rest.
Hunts. My soul's wonder, I will never leave thee.
"( The dance. - Allemande by two Bears.)

"Enter PRVIDOR. Pev. So fond, so soon! I cannot bear to see it. What ho, within (Devils enter.) secure him.

(Seize and bind the Huntsman." The Duke or sovereign of the country, where these events are supposed to take place, arrives at the head of a military force, for the purpose of investing the haunted wood, and putting down, as he says, those “lawless renegades, who, in infernal masquerade, make a hell around him.” He is also desirous of consulting the holy hermit of the wood, and availing himself of his pious consolations and prayers — being haunted with remorse for having criminally gained possession of the crown by contriving the shipwreck of the rightful heir, and then banishing from the court his most virtuous counsellors. In addition to these causes of disquietude, he has lately lost, in a mysterious manner, his only son, who, he supposes, has fallen a victim to these Satanic outlaws, but who, on the contrary, it appears; has voluntarily become an associate of their band, and is amusing himself, heedless of his noble father's sorrow, by making love, in the disguise of a dancing bear, to a young village coquette of the name of Mopsa. A short specimen of the manner, in which this last farcical incident is managed, will show how wide even Sheridan was, at first, of that true vein of comedy, which, on searching deeper into the mine, he so soon afterwards found : “Scene.-The Inside of the Cottage.--MOPSA, LUBIN ( her father), and

Colin ( her lover) discovered.
Enter Pevidor, leading the Bear, and singing.
“ And he dances, dances, dances,

And goes upright like a Christian swain,
And he shows you pretty fancies,

Nor ever tries to shake off his chain. Lubin. Servant , master. Now, Mopsa, you are happy--it is, indeed, a handsome creature. What country does your bear come from?

Pey. Dis bear, please your worship, is of de race of dat bear of St. Antony, who was de first convert he made in de woods. St. Antony

[ocr errors]

bade him never more meddle with man, and de bear observed de com mand to his dying day.

66 Lub. Wonderful!
Pev. Dis generation be all de same-all born widout toots.

Colin. What, can't he bite?. (puts his finger to the Bear's mouth, who bites him.) Oh Lord, no toots! why you-" Pev. Oh dat be only his gum.

(Mopsa laughs. Col. For shame, Mopsa-now,

I
say,

Maister Lubin, mustn't she give me a kiss to make it well?

Lub. Ay, kiss her, kiss her, Colin. " Col. Come,

Miss.

(Mopsa runs to the Bear, who kisses her.) The following scene of the Devils, drinking in their subterraneous dwelling, though cleverly imagined, is such as, perhaps, no cookery of style could render palateable to an English audience.

" SCENE.-The Devil's Cave.

ist Dev. Come, Urial, here's to our resurrection.

2d Dev. It is a toast I'd scarcely pledge-by my life, I think we're happier Kere.

«3d Dev. Why, so think I—by Jove, I would despise the man, who could but wish to rise again to earth , unless we were to lord there. What! sneaking pitiful in bondage, among vile money-scrapers, treacherous friends, fawning flatterers-or, still worse, deceitful mistresses. Shall we, who reign lords here, again lend ourselves to swell the train of tyranny and usurpation ? By my old father's memory, I'd rather be the blindest mole that ever skulked in darkness, the lord of one poor hole where he might say "I'm master here.'

"2d Dev. You are too hot-where shall concord be found, if even the devils disagree ?—Come, fill the glass, and add thy harmony—while we have wine to enlighten us, the sun be hanged! I never thought he gave s0 fine a light, for my part—and then, there are such vile inconveniences --high winds and storms, rains, etc.—oh hang it! living on the outside of earth is like sleeping on deck, when one might, like us , have snug birth in the cabin. ist Dev. True, true, -Helial , where is thy catch ?

" In the earth's centre let me live,

There , like a rabbit will I thrive,
Nor care if fools should call my life infernal;

While men on earth crawl lazily about,

Like snails upon the surface of the nut,

We are , like maggots, feasting in the kernel. ist Dev. Bravo, by this glass; Meli, what say you?

"3d Dev. Come, here's to my Mina-I used to toast her in the upper regions.

ist Dev. Ay, we miss them here.

a

« AnteriorContinuar »