صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

of these infuriated cut-throats would mount their horses, and startle the whole valley by their wild yells as they rode

He

Never before had he slept so soundly or so lazily, for the sun was setting. remembered that Phi-Phing had helped him to a full cup, and smiled on him. Reader, when your friend smiles on you, and helps you to a full cup, return the smile, but toss the draught over your shoulder.

As

"With uncouth gallop through the night," discharging their rifles with reckless fury at whatever object was first in view. Some men have been known to collect as much as twenty thousand dollars within a few weeks, and spend it in as many days, in what they term a burst,"-drenching themselves in brandy; gambling, feasting, and visiting, until the whole was gone, when they gathered up their traps, and set off on a new adventure, saying, "there's plenty more where that comes from."

66

One thing was certain. Whampo Whang was a deserted, a ruined man. people usually do under such circumstances, he began to moralise, and regret the spirit of avarice that had led him to forsake his villa, his strong tea, his pork, his opium, all his enjoyment, and his wife! For the first time he remembered he had a wife, and These were the Chinamen's victims. No immediately she appeared to his memory tradesman ever smiled so complacently the best woman in the world. If I might when he sold his profitable mixtures of use a bold simile, I would say that a wife sand and sugar, coffee and beans, sloe leaves is as a commodious harbour which the and tea, sawdust and cocoa, as did Whampo mariner despises when the sea is calm; Whang and Phi-Phing, weighing out although he is very glad to get back to their goods to intoxicated customers. it for shelter from a storm. Indeed a phiWhen the buyer dropped some of his gold-losopher might utter many quaint conceits dust under the scales, or over the counter, and pretty moral maxims upon this exand the sellers offered to return it, he in- ample of Whampo Whang, who now, I variably refused; and this circumstance, say, began to recollect his native land, his noticed by several travellers, besides the paternal emperor, his wife, his meals of Chinamen-whom I should not believe on pork and tea, his opium, and his villa. their own testimony-displays a good trait All these he remembered; but there was of character. By these means the adven- one thing he still forgot, or it might have turers piled up a store of precious coins, mingled his vexation with remorse. Frendust, grains, and fragments; and at length zied with rage against Phi-Phing, who had thought of a return to China, where they cheated him, the idea never occurred to might display to the eyes of the other chil- him that he had cheated others, and that dren of the Sun their glittering booty, all the bond between him and his partner amassed with so much boldness. was of that loose kind called "Honour among thieves." All his thoughts were of vengeance against the poetical speculator who had wronged him; and when he embarked at San Francisco on board a junk bound for Canton, he heard with satisfaction rumours that a certain Chinese gold-digger had been murdered by the Indians at the foot of the Suavey Mountains.

But the pitcher that goeth ninety-nine times to the well may be broken on the hundredth journey! Whampo Whang sat one night in the portable house, and in company with Phi-Phing enjoyed a most delicious repast. They talked of home, with all its dear associations-for having made their fortunes they could afford to be sentimental; and drew fine pictures of the bird's-nest soup, the sea-slugs, and other dainties-fit only for aristocrats that should load their luxurious boards. Phi-Phing smiled on Whampo Whang, and helped him to a full cup.

Next morning the luckless merchant found himself alone in the tent. He looked around to see? Where his friend was?-No!-Where he was?-No! -but where the gold was, and it was gone!

Behold him, then, again with his wife in the loved land of home. Though not quite beggared, he was poor, and his future career

This is all I have heard of him; but I promise the reader I will continue his history, should it happen to be very curious. Most likely he will pass the rest of his days in deserved oblivion and indigence; so that I hope my moral is fully illustrated.

THE LOVES AND THE FATE OF THE DRAGON-
FLY AND THE WATER-LILY.

ON a lake whose bosom the sun-beams kiss'd
When they pierced the morning's gathering mist,
And round whose edge in profusion grew
The laughing eyebright's star of blue,
Couch'd on her leaf in the evening's ray,
A water-lily in beauty lay.

"In vain, in vain through the weary day
Waiting thy coming in grief I lay,
And other dragon-flies hover'd near
Whispering love-tales in mine ear;
But I heeded them not, though they flattered me,
And I gazed on them not-I watched for thee!
"Dragon-fly, dragon-fly, lord of my heart!
Beautiful as a dream thou art;

Fair as the snow was her scallop'd cup
When on her green shield it was folded up;
And brilliantly shone her centre of gold
As it burn'd and flamed in her chalice cold;
And sweet were the delicate streaks of green
That peep'd her moon-like leaves between.
Presently then her golden tongue
Against her waxen white lips rung,
And her song stole forth in a low sweet tone-
A flower-melody all her own;

Musical as a distant bell,

Soft as the wind's expiring swell.

And the mortal ears that heard her chime
So sweet, so sad in that evening-time,
Thought it was but the rustling sigh

*

Awfully shone the mountain's form;

Of the lake-tossed reeds when the breeze swept by; Fearfully, fearfully rang the storm;
But each neighbour flower held its breath,
And listen'd in stillness like to death.
"Dragon-fly, dragon-fly, warrior mine!
The sun's last rays on the lake-waves shine;
Each flower lies hid in its leafy cell,
And slumbers the tell-tale pimpernel;
And the May-fly floats on the waters clear,
But, faithless lover, thou art not here!"

The lightning's red wreaths his temples bound,
And with eddying clouds his brow was crown'd;
And his words came forth in a thunder-tone,
As they rattled between his lips of stone.
Over the meadow, over the lake,
Furiously did the tempest break;

The billows leap'd up in a cold, white spray,
And the mightiest trees were borne away;
And the peasant crouch'd in his cabin warm,
As he heard the clang of that midnight storm.

*

*

*

*

*

In a holy stillness came on the day,
While the fond sun wooed her with his ray,
And her cheek grew red, and her eyes grew bright,
As she bathed in her lover's glances of light;
Till link'd together in beauty and love
They trod the azure plains above.

With thy slender form of burnish'd green,
And thy cuirass all blazing with golden sheen,
And thy air-woven, gauzy wings, that seem
Like the meadow-webs in the morning's gleam!
"Why hast thou stay'd from my longing side?
Hast thou forgotten thine own pure bride?
Oh! can it be that with artful wiles
My yellow sister thy time beguiles?"-
And here her leaflets one might see
Trembling with gentle jealousy.

[blocks in formation]

"As homeward at eve o'erjoy'd I flew
Weaving sweet dreams of love and you,
I met the spirit whose wandering light
Leads mortals astray in the darksome night,
And he told me that a mighty storm
Was hovering over the mountain's form.
"Then I flew, and flew up the hill's dark side
To the cave where the tempest-voices cried;
And as I peep'd into that dreary place
I saw the cloud-spirit's gloomy face;
And I heard the wind-monarch laugh with glee
As he thought on his hour of liberty.
"Then I basten'd back to thee, dear bride,
In danger's hour to guard thy side;
Through the long night to calm thy fear
When the fierce whirlwind swept too near:
Or, should the storm destructive be,
To kiss thy cheek and die with thee!"
The lily heard his love-breathing tale,
And she murmur'd his pardon with lips all pale;
And she bathed his wings in her secret dew,
While he sang of his heart so firm and true:
And all that long eve the flow'rets near
Their whisperings of love could hear.

*

*

*

But all along the landscape's face
The tempest's track the eye could trace;
And though the still lake calmly shone,
And though the snowy spray was gone,
Yet the broken flowers, and leaf-strewn shore,
Told of the step that came before.

But where was the lily, so fond, so fair?
Was she hidden away by a lover's care?
Or had she fled to some kindlier land,
Where flowers are only by zephyrs fann'd?
No sign upon the wave was seen
Where she sate enthroned like a virgin queen.
There, dashing against the rugged shore,
Lay the lifeless lily, but fair no more;
And a shapeless mass by her shatter'd side
Was all that remain'd of her lover's pride:
His gleaming wings, and her chalice bright,
Were quench'd in death on that fatal night.
And other lilies soon flourish'd there,
But none were so true, or none so fair;
And the pitying flowers that near them grew,
The meadow-sweet tall, and eyebright blue,
Dropp'd many a tear the grave above
Of the Dragon-fly, and his Flower Love!
FITZ-JAMES O'BRIEN.

Castle Connel, Co. Limerick.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][graphic]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][graphic][graphic]
[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][merged small][graphic]
« السابقةمتابعة »