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Nay, it was more than thought.. I saw and touched
The bright temptation; and I see it yet.
'T is here, 't is mine,-I have it in possession.
Must I resign it? Must I give it back?
Am I in love with misery and want,

To rob myself, and court so vast a loss?
Retain it, then. But how? There is a way.
Why sinks my heart? Why does my blood run cold?
Why am I thrilled with horror? 'Tis not choice,
But dire necessity, suggests the thought.

[Enter Old Wilmot.]

Old Wilmot. The mind contented, with how little pains The wandering senses yield to soft repose,

And die to gain new life! He's fallen asleep

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Already happy man! What dost thou think,
My Agnes, of our unexpected guest?

He seems to me a youth of great humanity.
Just ere he closed his eyes, that swam with tears,
wrung my hand, and pressed it to his lips;
And, with a look that pierced my soul,

Begged me to comfort thee; and—dost thou hear me?

What art thou gazing on? Fie! 't is not well.

This casket was delivered to you closed;

Why have you opened it? Should this be known,
How mean must we appear!

Agnes. And who shall know it?

O. Wil. There is a kind of pride

a decent dignity, Due to ourselves, which, spite of our misfortunes, May be maintained and cherished to the last. To live without reproach, and without leave To quit the world, shows sovereign contempt And noble scorn of its relentless malice.

Agnes. Shows sovereign madness, and a scorn of sense! Pursue no further this detested theme;

I will not die; I will not leave the world,

For all that you can urge, until compelled.

O. Wil. To chase a shadow, when the setting sun

Is darting his last rays, were just as wise

As your anxiety for fleeting life,

Now the last means for its support are failing.
Were famine not as mortal as the sword,

This warmth might be excused. But take thy choice; shall not die alone.

Die how you will, you

Agnes. Nor live, I hope.

O. Wil. There is no fear of that.

Agnes. Then we 'll live both.

O. Wil. Strange folly! Where's the means?
Agnes. The means are there; those jewels!
O. Wil. Ha! take heed.

Perhaps thou dost but try me; yet, take heed.
There's nought so monstrous but the mind of man,
In some conditions, may be brought to approve.
Theft, sacrilege, treason and parricide,

When flattering opportunity enticed,

And desperation drove, have been committed
By those who once would start to hear them named.
Agnes. And add to these, detested suicide;
Which, by a crime much less, we may avoid.

O. Wil. The inhospitable murder of our guest?
How couldst thou form a thought so very tempting,
So advantageous, so secure and easy,

And yet so cruel, and so full of horror?

Agnes. 'Tis less impiety—less against nature,
To take another's life, than end our own.

O. Wil. It is no matter, whether this or that
Be, in itself, the less or greater crime.
Howe'er, we may deceive ourselves, or others,
We act from inclination, not by rule;

Or none could act amiss. And that all err,
None but the conscious hypocrite denies.

O! what is man his excellence and strength

When, in an hour of trial and desertion,

Reason, his noblest power, may be suborned,

To plead the cause of vile assassination!

Agnes. You're too severe; Reason may justly plead For her own preservation.

O. Wil. Rest contented;
Whate'er resistance I may seem to make,
I am betrayed within; my will's seduced,
And my whole soul infected. The desire
Of life returns, and brings with it a train
Of appetites, that rage to be supplied.
Whoever stands to parley with temptation,
Does it to be o'ercome.

Agnes. Then nought remains

But the swift execution of a deed
That is not to be thought on, or delayed.
We must despatch him sleeping. Should he wake,
"Twere madness to attempt it.

O. Wil. True, his strength,

Single, is more, much more, than ours united.
So may his life, perhaps, as far exceed

Ours in duration, should he 'scape this snare.
Generous, unhappy man! O, what could move thee
To put thy life and fortune in the hands

Of wretches mad with anguish !

Agnes. By what means,

By stabbing, suffocation, or by strangling,-
Shall we effect his death?

O. Wil. Why, what a fiend!

How cruel, how remorseless, how impatient,
Have pride and poverty made thee!

Agnes. Barbarous man!

Whose wasteful riots ruined our estate,

And drove our son, ere the first down had spread
His rosy cheeks, spite of my sad presages,
Earnest entreaties, agonies and tears,

To seek his bread 'mongst strangers, and to perish

In some remote, inhospitable land!

The loveliest youth, in person and in mind,
That ever crowned a groaning mother's pains!
Where was thy pity, where thy patience, then?
Thou cruel husband! thou unnatural father!
Thou most remorseless, most ungrateful man'


To waste my fortune, rob me of my son,

To drive me to despair, and then reproach me!
O. Wil. Dry thy tears;

I ought not to reproach thee. I confess

That thou hast suffered much,

so have we both.

But chide no more; I'm wrought up to thy purpose.
The poor, ill-fated, unsuspecting victim,

Ere he reclined him on the fatal couch,

From which he 's ne'er to rise, took off the sash
And costly dagger which thou sawest him wear,
And thus, unthinking, furnished us with arms
Against himself. Which shall I use?
Agnes. The sash.

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'Tis a dreadful office; and I'll spare

Thy trembling hands the guilt. Steal to the door,

And bring me word if he be still asleep.

Or I'm deceived, or he pronounced himself
The happiest of mankind. Deluded wretch!

Thy thoughts are perishing; thy youthful joys,
Touched by the icy hand of grisly death,


(Exit Agnes.)

Are withering in their bloom. But though extinguished,
He'll never know the loss, nor feel the bitter
Pangs of disappointment. Then I was wrong
In counting him a wretch. To die well pleased,
Is all the happiest of mankind can hope for.
To be a wretch is to survive the loss

Of every joy, and even hope itself,

As I have done. Why do I mourn him, then?
For, by the anguish of my tortured soul,
He's to be envied, if compared with me.


This distinguished divine was taught the history of the Bible by his mother, before he was able to read, by the aid of some Dutch tiles in the chimney; and her pious reflections were the means of producing

permanent religious impressions upon his mind. He was so conscientious a non-conformist, that he rejected the offer of the Duchess of Bedford to educate him for the Church of England. As a preacher, Dr. Doddridge was very much admired. He published some Sermons, and The Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul, but his Family Expositor of the New Testament is considered his ablest work. In 1829, a grandson of his published his correspondence, which is written in a correct and playful style. It seems, from this, that "the young divine was of a susceptible temperament, and was generally in love with some fair one of the neighborhood, with whom he kept up a constant and lively interchange of letters."


You know I love a country life, and here we have it in perfection. I am roused in the morning with the chirping of sparrows, the cooing of pigeons, the lowing of kine, the bleating of sheep, and, to complete the concert, the grunting of swine, and neighing of horses. We have a mighty pleasant garden and orchard, and a fine arbor, under some tall, shady limes, that form a kind of lofty dome, of which, as a native of the great city, you may perhaps catch a glimmering idea, if I name the cupola of St. Paul's. And then on the other side of the house, there is a large space which we call a wilderness, and which, I fancy, would please you extremely. The ground is a dainty greensward; a brook runs sparkling through the middle, and there are two large fish-ponds at one end; both the ponds and the brook are surrounded with willows; and there are several shady walks under the trees, besides little knots of young willows, interspersed at convenient distances. This is the nursery of our lambs and calves, with whom I have the honor to be intimately acquainted. Here I generally spend the evening, and pay my respects to the setting sun, when the variety and beauty of the prospect inspire a pleasure that I know not how to express. I am sometimes so transported with these inanimate beauties, that I fancy I am like Adam in Paradise; and it is my only misfortune, that I want an Eve, and have none but the birds of the air, and the beasts of the field, for my companions.

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