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Is stronger than the legal ; that to break
This yoke is just as excellent an act,
And necessary for the world's advance,
As any just rebellion against force
Which weaves more tangible, therefore weaker,
I speak half-joking ; yet I would you knew
How seriously this matter weighs with me;
How certainly we both regard ourselves
As pioneers of greater liberty,
And therefore, by God's law, of greater love.
This is a postscript; postscripts, so they say,
Contain the pith of letters; judge if mine
Does so or not. My wife, ten days ago,
Wrote to her married sister, answering
A letter which might well be summarised
In these two words,— For shame!' It wounded
Most deeply, yet she wrote most kindly back;
I saw the letter. Well, to-day there comes
A line again in answer ; ‘Much she grieves,'
Saith this pure sister who has sold herself
For money to a monkey, - Much she grieves
“To say that till her sister has evinced,
By marrying the man she calls her husband,
"Some sense of what is decent, she must cease
• To correspond with her.' This is not hers;
It is the banker's. Tell me now, you sage,
Whose brain is full of projects of reform,
What means can be suggested to root out
This moral syphilis,—the love of gold,
Or gain, or fear of some material loss,
That poisons man's existence? I would fain
The whole world were a Corinth, could the taint
Of body be accepted as the price
For purging out the fouler leprosy
Of self-advantage. Trade, religion, art, -
It matters not ; all are alike infected ;
O for a deluge !
MRS. JOHNSTONE TO A FRIEND.
Thornton Grange : Oct. 14, 18–2. My griefs grow greater. Months ago you knew How Gertrude's changed affection wounded me,Changed, though in truth I think she knows it
And only deems, poor child, her duty shown
In teaching me to see more clearly mine.
But is not Eycharis with me? Ah! herein
I find excuse for my long slumbering pen !
Dear friend, I know that when you learn of all
That held me silent, you will summon back
The slight reproach I feel your letter breathes ;
For I have made resolve, after much thought,
And after many prayers, to tell you all.
One child still with me,-Gertrude,—(for the drive
Is nothing for the state she boasts of now,)
With me in bodily presence, though in mind
Departed farther than my heart will bear
To let me think ;—and one still near in soul,
But severed from me by some thousand miles,
And by a gulf of agonising doubt
Too great to speak of calmly, even to you ;-
Which is the greater torment? You will think,
When read my letter, that for Eucharis
My heart should most be troubled ; yet so strange
Reverse of feeling true misfortune works,
That rather does my comfort flow from her;
Comfort, for though her error may be great-
I cannot measure it-herself I know;
And after many conflicts with myself,
And with the sternness of received ideas,
This light, thank God! burns clear without eclipse;-
That to herself she is devoid of sin;
That to her soul no pureness has been lost,
But rather added ; if it were not thus
I could not even speak of her to you.
My darling's letter which you find enclosed, -
(Pray send it back, for I am strangely filled,
With trembling for her safety; such a strain
As must be daily on her cannot work
Her outward welfare,—I may soon be left
With little else to keep her memory clear ;)
This strange wild letter will be spokesman for
Much I would spare myself; what next to say ?
Let me suppose your questions,—has it spread ?
(I know this one your first, for care of me
And for the honour of my darling child.)
Not much, I think, even here, and even here
Report is not so blackening as might be ;
A civil marriage, secretly performed
To cheat my prohibition ; this, I think,
Includes all rumours. (For my will, God knows
It was not wanting to her happiness.