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The chieftain gazed into its eyes,
And pressed it to his throbbing heart, And pointing to the star-lit skies
He bade the captive bird depart. “ Away”! he said, “ to yonder sky! And thither bear a father's sigh, And tell my child—my murdered child On earth so gentle and so mild, That he who spurned the battle storm, Wept o'er a daughter's lifeless form, And felt within his inmost heart How hard a thing it is to part The links of Love—the golden chain Whose clanking is a music-strain. And tell her too, my gentle bird, That ere the forest boughs have heard The stormy tones of winter's breath, Or felt the ice-cold grasp of Death, The vine and meek-eyed flower shall bloom And fade upon her wild-wood tomb. Now wing thee to the "spirit-land”
Up! through the gauze-like clouds above ! Thou hast a chieftain's last command,
A father's words of grief and love !"
He spoke and set the trembler free,
And smiled as in the summer sky
And circled to the orbs on high.
“ Now, Tiger, guard thy gory den!
The baying hound is on thy track !
Shall hurl the bolt of ruin back !
Shall hide with lance of venom armed
Too well that fiendish vow was kept,
The demon of the desperate fight,
Whose path with mangled limbs was piled,
“ Revenge ! Revenge! Ye slew my child !"
KING CHARLES THE SECOND.
All men are more or less fond of gossiping about the classes of society above their own. Hence is it that Stokes, the baker, takes the Home Journal and reads to Mrs. S., as he sips his last cup of coffee, the details of the grand fancy ball given by Mrs. Mott on day of that week, reaching the height of his envy and the bottom of his cup simultaneously. Hence is it that Tompkins, the briefless lawyer, spends his ill-spared pennies for an account of Webster's great plea in the Gerard College case. Hence is it that the sexton tells his assistant, over their game of double dummy for sixpenny points, of the immense fortunes that have been lost and won at the gaming table, and if bookish, speaks of the example of Mr. Fox, the great English orator. Hence is it that Cornelius Matthews beheld with interest the triumphal progress of Dickens in America, sighing meanwhile as he thought of Copy-right and Puffer Hopkins. Hence is it that in England the Morning Post teems with marriages in high life for the benefit of the marriagable in low life, and that the Court paper chronicles the movements of the Royal Babies to be read with avidity by the nobles and gentry throughout the Kingdom. Hence too is the interest we feel in the secret history of courts-that we care more for what tranpires in the bed-chamber of Napoleon than in the Deputy chamber of France, and that George II. surrounded by his vassals at a Coronation banquet is less attractive than the same monarch with Sir Robert Walpole over his mutton and turnips. And hence do I hope to derive the interest of a sketch of the life of the merry monarch, Charles II.
Of few princes of any age have we more authentic and minute accounts than of Charles, and of none can the history be more interesting and romantic. By the death of his brother on the day of his birth, declared Prince of Wales—at 12 years of age, he is a captain of a troop of horse, and in the third year following generalissimo of all his father's forces in England. Driven by sedition and rebellion from home, we find him exposed to poverty and suffering abroad-challenged in open council to mortal combat-insulted in person, which he could not resent, and in his followers which he was unable to avoid—until it seems as though his condition were desperate, and as though the sceptre had departed from Judah.
But again his hopes revive. Scotland and Ireland both open their arms to receive him, and committees from both nations invite the royal exile to be once more king. As he doubts and stands wavering between the two, a messenger from Ireland brings news of the defeat of Ormonde and the triumph of the English Commonwealth. In despair, France becomes his asylum, and receives him with frigid politeness, scanty promises, and still scantier performance, until this uncrowned king, wearied of exile, and sick of anticipation, accepts the renewed offer of his Scottish subjects, and embarks for his new kingdom.
And now a new act of “this eventful history” begins; the scene, the Frith of Comarty and the Scottish court. The actors, Charles and the Presbyterian prelates. Met by the deputies away from land, he signs the Covenant as a condition of his being suffered to come on shore. Pious sermons and lectures of a length to which not even our own experience can suggest a parallel, and of a dullness, which to us would seem incomprehensible, assailed his ear, and made fearful attacks on his equanimity. Restricted from all the pleasures suited to his age and rank, and like Bulwer's hero (who in giving up his profligate acquaintances felt obliged to cut his own father and mother) compelled to censure the policy of one parent and abjure the religion of the other ; driven from the army, whose affection he was winning by his gay urbanity, lest he should corrupt their morals ; tormented by the clergy who had marked him for their prey ; deprived of all English companions save the Duke of Buckingham ; surrounded by objects of ridicule, and forced to repress a smile under penalty of enduring a sermon, King Charles of Scotland seems a miserable pageant and mere shadow of a King.
At length, however, the time for action arrives—the battle of Worcester is fought, and the unfortunate monarch is again a wanderer, and with a price set upon his head. And here it is that the interest of this exciting history begins to deepen. Charles, pursued, becomes a peasant, and in a custume worthy of Petruchio, in a greasy old grey steeplecrowned hat, a green coat threadbare, a leathern doublet stained and soiled, green yarn stockings the worse for wear, a coarse shirt patched and dirty, with his fine hair cropped and his small hands colored, with a crab-tree cudgel, and without gloves, travels over the country by bypaths and under hedges, discovered by many, yet betrayed by none. After suffering many hardships and much anxiety, exposed to the peltings of the storm in the wood at Spring Coppice, when “the heavens," says an old writer, “ wept at these calamities,” and again to the inquiries of a more merciless foe, at one time hidden in an oak tree, at another, in a barn, the king reaches the coast and embarks for France, to be driven thence to Cologne and Bruges. Ten years of pauper pomp in a strange land, of wild misrules, of care drowned in wine, and anxieties dispelled by the soft voice of woman, fill up the interval, until recalled by the unanimous acclamation of the people and Parliament, Charles at the age of thirty, returns to England and the throne.
His reception was most triumphant. It was his birthday. Throngs of delighted subjects met him at every step. London was wild with delight. The roar of cannon and the martial music may have reminded him of Edgehill and Worcester, and the contrast have added a new keenness to his pleasure. The streets strewn with flowers, and the houses hung with tapestry, the bells ringing forth their noisy welcome, the fountains running wine, the various crafts in their rich three-piled velvets, the nobles in their cloth of silver and gold, the ladies crowding the balconies, and welcoming with flowers and smiles the lover of their sex, all united to form a brilliant spectable, that well dserved the quiet satire of the king, that it must have been his own fault that he had been so long away, since all seemed so eager to welcome him home. As a comical afterpiece to this gorgeous pageant, Charles characteristically spent the night in a private house at Lambeth, in the arms of Mrs. Palmer, afterwards Dutchess of Cleveland.
Would we could here linger over the brilliant scenes of the court of the restored monarch, the wits who live in Count Grammont and Pepys, and the beauties whose charms still enchant us in the portrait of Lely! would we could pause to listen to the merry laugh of “old Rowley,” as the courtiers somewhat irreverently styled the King while he applauded or returned the bon mots of Rochester and Shaftesbury ! Would we could long gaze on the features of Portsmouth, Cleveland, Mazarine, and Miss Stewart, but the prompter's bell is ringing and the curtain falls.
The light in which this distinguished man must be viewed by every reader of Macaulay's history, is another proof of the old adage, that, “every one will receive his dues.” Previously, having been considered a pattern of every virtue by those of opposite creeds, and venerated, nay, even adored by those of his own sect, he now stands revealed to the world, if the historian be correct, liable to be led astray from the path of rectitude by the enticements of a vain world.
Yet, notwithstanding all that may in justice be alleged against him, how much is there in his character and life that is truly worthy of admiration and imitation! Where is the man of that period possessing an equally pure and exalted mind and one in whom there was less that is reprehensible? We can point to no one. Even the hitherto virtuous Algeron Sidney did not escape the contamination of a corrupt court, but, sad to think, fell a prey to the bribes of a foreign king. It is indeed to be regretted that one so upright as Penn should yield to the allurements of deceit. Still we must keep in mind that for purity of heart and correctness of purpose the court of James the Second could boast of no superior, nay, much more, not of an equal.
It is a real pleasure to go back to the early life of the conscientious Quaker, and contemplate his character before his pure spirit had been tainted by intercourse with wicked, designing men.
While yet a mere boy his mind was strongly impressed with a sense of religious duty. Amid the “ classic shades" of Oxford he became a convert to those principles, for which he fought and struggled a whole life. Notwithstanding the angry threats of his instructors, he firmly maintained the views he had adopted.
Even a cruel expulsion from College and the unyielding opposition of his father, had no other effect than to make him a more ardent supporter of his doctrines. An exile from the home of his youth, he devoted his time to spreading the belief of his order. He was ever ready to support or defend his views, either in colloquial disputatious or by means of his pen, though the doors of a prison were extended wide to receive him. Alike persecutions the most bitter and distinctions the most honorable which were held out to him, proved entirely unavailing to change his manner of life. Whether immured in the dungeons of Newgate, or traveling amid the sunny vales of France, or treating with the barbarous hordes of North America, the pure doctrines of benevolence which he professed were ever his consolation, his support, and his guide.
The colony which Penn planted upon this continent, will be an everlasting monument to his genius and benevolence. His soul was oppressed with grief at the persecutions which were visited upon the unoffending Quakers as well as other " dissenters." Fortunately, a refuge was found for them amid the savages and wild beasts of America. His heart expanded with holy ardor, as in imagination he saw a com