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but with the worm preying at its heart. We find it suddenly withering, when it should be most fresh and luxuriant. We see it drooping its branches to the earth, and shedding leaf by leaf; until, wasted and perished away, it falls even in the stillness of the forest; and as we muse over the beautiful ruin, we strive in vain to recollect the blast or thunderbolt that could have smitten it with decay.
I have seen many instances of women running to waste and self-neglect, and disappearing gradually from the earth, almost as if they had been exhaled to heaven; and have repeatedly fancied, that I could trace their deaths through the various declensions of consumption, cold, debility, languor, melancholy, until I reached the first symptom of disappointed love. But an instance of the kind was lately told to me; the circumstances are well known in the country where they happened, and I shall but give them in the manner in which they were related.
Every one must recollect the tragical story of young E-, the Irish patriot: it was too touching to be soon forgotten. During the troubles in Ireland he was tried, condemned, and executed, on a charge of treason. His fate made a deep impression on public sympathy. He was so young-so intelligent—so generous
-so brave-so every thing that we are apt to like in a young man.
His conduct under trial, too, was so lofty and intrepid. The noble indignation with which he repelled the charge of treason against his country -the eloquent vindication of his name—and his pathetic appeal to posterity, in the hopeless hour of con
demnation—all these entered deeply into every generous bosom, and even his enemies lamented the stern policy that dictated his execution.
But there was one heart, whose anguish it would be impossible to describe. In happier days and fairer fortunes, he had won the affections of a beautiful and interesting girl, the daughter of a late celebrated Irish barrister. She loved him with the disinterested fervour of a woman's first and early love. When every worldly maxim arrayed itself against him; when blasted in fortune, and disgrace and 'danger darkened around his name, she loved him the more ardently for his very sufferings. If, then, his fate could awaken the sympathy even of his foes, what must have been the agony of her, whose whole soul was occupied by his image ? Let those tell who have had the portals of the tomb suddenly closed between them and the being they most loved on earth—who have sat at its threshold, as one shut out in a cold and lonely world, from whence all that was most lovely and loving had departed.
But then the horrors of such a grave !-so frightful, so dishonoured! There was nothing for memory to dwell on that could soothe the pang of separationnone of those tender, though melancholy circumstances, that endear the parting scene—nothing to melt sorrow into those blessed tears, sent, like the dews of heaven, to revive the heart in the parting hour of anguish.
To render her widowed situation more desolate, she had incurred her father's displeasure by her un
fortunate attachment, and was an exile from the paternal roof. But could the sympathy and kind offices of friends have reached a spirit so shocked and driven in by horror, she would have experienced no want of consolation, for the Irish are a people of quick and generous sensibilities. The most delicate and cherishing attentions were paid her, by families of wealth and distinction. She was led into society, and they tried by all kinds of occupation and amusement to dissipate her grief, and wean her from the tragical story of her loves. But it was all in vain. There are some strokes of calamity that scathe and scorch the soul—that penetrate to the vital seat of happinessand blast it, never again to put forth bud or blossom. She never objected to frequent the haunts of pleasure, but she was as much alone there, as in the depths of solitude. She walked about in a sad reverie, apparently unconscious of the world around her. She carried with her an inward wo that mocked at all the blandishments of friendship, and “heeded not the song of the charmer, charm he never so wisely." The
person who told me her story had seen her at a masquerade. There can be no exhibition of fargone wretchedness more striking and painful than to meet it in such a scene. To find it wandering like a spectre, lonely and joyless, where all around is gayto see it dressed out in the trappings of mirth, and looking so wan and wo-begone, as if it had tried in vain to cheat the poor heart into a momentary forgetfulness of sorrow. After strolling through the splendid rooms and giddy crowd with an air of utter abVol. I.
straction, she sat herself down on the steps of an orchestra, and looking about for some time with a "vacant air, that showed her insensibility to the garish scene, she began, with the capriciousness of a sickly heart, to warble a little plaintive air. She had an exquisite voice; but on this occasion it was so simple, so touching—it breathed forth such a soul of wretchedness—that she drew a crowd, mute and silent, around her, and melted every one into tears.
The story of one so true and tender could not but excite great interest in a country remarkable for enthusiasm. It completely won the heart of a brave officer, who paid his addresses to her, and thought that one so true to the dead, could not but prove fectionate to the living. She declined his attentions, for her thoughts were irrecoverably engrossed by the memory of her former lover. He, however, persisted in his suit. He solicited not her tenderness, but her esteem. He was assisted by her conviction of his worth, and her sense of her own destitute and dependent situation, for she was existing on the kindness of friends. In a word, he at length succeeded in gaining her hand, though with the solemn assurance, that her heart was unalterably another's.
He took her with him to Sicily, hoping that a change of scene might wear out the remembrance of early woes. She was an amiable and exemplary wife, and made an effort to be a happy one; but nothing could cure the silent and devouring melancholy that had entered into her very soul. She wasted
away in a slow, but hopeless decline, and at length sunk into the grave, the victim of a broken heart.
It was on her that Moore, the distinguished Irish poet, composed the following lines :
She is far from the land where her young hero sleeps,
And lovers around her are sighing;
For her heart in his grave is lying.
She sings the wild song of her dear native plains,
Every note which he loved awaking-
How the heart of the minstrel is breaking !
He had lived for his love--for his country he died,
They were all that to life had entwined him
Nor long will his love stay behind him!
Oh! make her a grave where the sunbeams rest,
When they promise a glorious morrow;
From her own loved island of sorrow!