« AnteriorContinuar »
"Pardon (said Silvio with a gushing tear),
"'Tis spring, sweet nymph, but Laura is not here.”
In sending these verses to Mrs. Sheridan, he had also written her a description of some splendid party, at which he had lately been present, where all the finest women of the world of fashion were assembled. His praises of their beauty, as well as his account of their flattering attentions to himself, awakened a feeling of at least poetical jealousy in Mrs. Sheridan, which she expressed in the following answer to his verses -taking occasion, at the same time, to pay some generous compliments to the most brilliant among his new fashionable friends. Though her verses are of that kind which we read more with interest than admiration, they have quite enough of talent for the gentle themes to which she aspired; and there is, besides, a charm about them, as coming from Mrs. Sheridan, to which far better poetry could not pretend.
"Soft flow'd the lay by Avon's sedgy side,
While o'er its streams the drooping willow hung,
To check the opening roses as they sprung.
In vain he bade them cease to court the gale,
He chid her song, and said " It was not Spring."
For still they bloom'd, tho' Silvio's heart was sad,
To other scenes doth Silvio now repair,
To nobler themes his daring Muse aspires;
And see, where radiant Beauty smiling stands,
What various charms the admiring youth surround,
Behold with graceful step and smile sevene,
""Tis thine," he cries, "for thou art beauty's queen."
With beaming lustre see they dart at thee;
Ah! dread their vengeance-yet withhold thy hand,-
Hers is the wreath-obey the just demand.
* As the poem altogether would be too long, I have here omitted five or
According to the Key which has been given me, the name of Stella was meant to designate the Duchess of Rutland.
The Duchess of Devonshire.
"Pardon, bright nymph," (the wond'ring Silvio cries)
For beauteous Amoret* now his eyes pursue.
With gentle step and hesitating grace,
Unconscious of her pow'r the fair one came;
A rosy blush his ardent gaze reprov'd,
The offer'd wreath she modestly declined;-
With wanton gaiety the prize she seized-
But Jessie's all seducing form appears,
Those radiant eyes in safety none could view,
"O God of Love!" with transport Silvio cries,
On Myra's breast the opening rose shall blow, "Reflecting from her cheek a livelier bloom; "For Stella shall the bright carnation glow"Beneath her eyes' bright radiance meet its doom.
"Smart pinks and daffodils shall Flavia grace,
* Mrs. (afterwards Lady) Crewe.
Lady Craven, afterwards Margravine of Anspach.
In gardens oft a beauteous flow'r there grows,
And rears its purple head to deck the green.
This flower, as nature's poet sweetly sings,
Was once milk-white, and heart's-ease was its name, Till wanton Cupid pois'd his roseate wings,
A vestal's sacred bosom to inflame.
With treacherous aim the god his arrow drew,
Heart's-ease no more the wandering shepherds found,
"This flow'r with sweet-brier join'd, shall thee adorn, "Sweet Jessie, fairest 'mid ten thousand fair!
"But guard thy gentle bosom from the thorn,
"Which, tho' conceal'd, the sweet-brier still must bear.
"And place not Love, tho' idle, in thy breast,
"Tho' bright its hues, it boasts no other charm--
"So may thy future days be ever blest,
"And friendship's calmer joys thy bosom warm!"
But where does Laura pass her lonely hours?
Does she still haunt the grot and willow-tree? Shall Silvio from his wreath of various flow'rs Neglect to cull one simple sweet for thee?
"Ah Laura, no," the constant Silvio cries,
"For thee a never-fading wreath I'll twine,
'Though bright the rose, its bloom too swiftly flies,
"No emblem meet for love so true as mine.
"For thee, my love, the myrtle, ever-green,
"Which, when our spring of youth no more is seen,
"Forgive, dear youth," the happy Laura said,
"With pain I mark'd the various passions rise,
"Each anxious doubt shall Laura now forego,
"Then, Silvio, seize again thy tuneful lyre,
"Nor yet sweet Beauty's power forbear to praise;
Again let charms divine thy strains inspire,
"And Laura's voice shall aid the poet's lays."
THE SCHOOL FOR SCANDAL.
MR. SHERIDAN was now approaching the summit of his dramatic fame ;-he had already produced the best opera the language, and there now remained for him the glory of writing also the best comedy. As this species of composition seems, more, perhaps, than any other, to require, that knowledge of human nature and the world which experience alone can give, it seems not a little extraordinary that nearly all our first-rate comedies should have been the productions of very young men. Those of Congreve were all written before he was five-and-twenty. Farquhar produced the Constant Couple in his two-and-twentieth year, and died at thirty. Vanbrugh was a young ensign when he sketched out the Relapse and the Provoked Wife, and Sheridan crowned his reputation with the School for Scandal at six-and-twenty.
It is, perhaps, still more remarkable to find, as in the instance before us, that works which, at this period of life, we might suppose to have been the rapid offspring of a careless, but vigorous fancy,-anticipating the results of experience by