صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني



T midnight, when mankind are wrapp'd in peace,

And worldly fancy feeds on golden dreams; To give more dread to man's most dreadful hour; At midnight, 'tis presum'd, this pomp will burst From tenfold darkness; sudden as the spark From smitten steel; from nitrous grain the blaze. Man, starting from his couch, shall sleep no more! The day is broke, which never more shall close! Above, around, beneath, amazement all! Terror and glory join'd in their extremes! Our God in grandeur, and our world on fire! All nature struggling in the pangs of death! Dost thou not hear her? Dost thou not deplore Her strong convulsions, and her final groan? Where are we now? Ah me! the ground is gone, On which we stood, LORENZO! while thou mayst, Provide more firm support, or sink forever! Where? how? from whence? vain hope! It is too late! Where, where, for shelter, shall the guilty fly, When consternation turns the good man pale?

Great day! for which all other days were made; For which earth rose from chaos, man from earth; And an eternity, the date of gods, Descended on poor earth-created man! Great day of dread, decision, and despair! At thought of thee, each sublunary wish Lets go its eager grasp, and drops the world; And catches at each reed of hope in heav'n. At thought of thee! And art thou absent then, LORENZO! no; 'tis here; it is begun; Already is begun the grand assize, In thee, in all. Deputed conscience scales The dread tribunal, and forestals our doom: Forestals; and by forestalling, proves it sure. Why on himself should man void judgment pass?


Is idle nature laugh ag at her sons?
Who conscience sent, her sentence will support,
And God above assert that God in man.

Thrice happy they, who enter now the court


in their bosoms: but how rare! Ah me! that magnanimity how rare! What hero like the man who stands himself; Who dares to meet his naked heart alone; Who hears, intrepid, the full charge it brings, Resolv'd to silence future murmurs there? The coward flies; and flying is undone. (Art thou a coward? No.) The coward flies; Thinks, but thinks slightly; asks, but fears to know; Asks “What is truth?” with Pilate; and retires; Dissolves the court, and mingles with the throng; Asylum sad! from reason, hope, and heav'n!

Shall all, but man, look out with ardent eye, For that great day, which was ordain'd for man? O day of consummation! Mark supreme (If men are wise) of human thought! nor least, Or in the sight of angels, or their King! Angels, whose radiant circles, height o'er height, Order o'er order rising, blaze o'er blaze, As in a theatre, surround this scene, Intent on man, and anxious for his fate: Angels look out for thee; for thee, their Lord, To vindicate his glory; and for thee, Creation universal calls aloud, To disinvolve the moral world, and give To Nature's renovation brighter charms.

[ocr errors]



Lionel. How do you do, girls, how do you do? I


you do? I glad to see you, upon my

soul I am. [Shaking them hard by the hand. Lavinia. I thought, brother, you had been at Dr. Marchmont's!

Lion. All in good time, my dear; I shall certainly visit the old gentleman before long.

Lav. Gracious, Lionel!--If my mother

Lion. My dear little Lavinia, [Chucking her under the chin] I have a mighty notion of making visits at my own time and appointment, instead of my mamma's.

Lav. O Lionel! and can you just now

Licn. Come, come, don't let us waste our precious moments in this fulsome moralizing. If I had not luckily been hard by, I should not have known the coast was clear. Pray where are the old folks gone tantivying

Camilla. To Cleves. Lion. To Cleves! What a happy escape! I was upon the point of going thither myself. Camilla, what is the matter with thee, my little duck?

Cam. Nothing—I am only thinking-Pray when do

you go to Oxford:

Lion. Poh, poh, what do you talk of Oxford for? you have grown quite stupid, girl. I believe you have lived too long with that old maid of a Margland. Pray how does that dear creature do? I am afraid she will grow melancholy from not seeing me so long. Is she as pretty as she used to be? I have some notion of sending her a suitor.

Lav. O brother, is it possible you can have such spirits?

Lion. O hang it; if one is not merry

when one can, what is the world good for? Besides, I do assure you, I fretted so consumedly hard at first, that for the life of me I can fret no longer.

Cam. But why are you not at Dr. Marchmont's?

Lion. Because, my dear soul, you can't conceive how much pleasure these old doctors take in lecturing a youngster who is in any disgrace. Cam. Disgrace!

Lav. At all events, I beseech you to be a little caresul; I would not have my poor mother find you

here for the world.

Lion. O, as to that, I defy her to desire the meeting less than I do. But come, let us talk of something else. How go on the classics? Is my old friend, Dr. Orkborne, as chatty and amusing as ever?

Cam. My dear Lionel, I am filled with apprehension and perplexity. Why should my mother wish not to see you? And why--and how is it possible you can wish not to see her?

Lion. What, don't you know it all?

Cam. I only know that something is wrong; but how, what, or which way, I have not heard. Lion. Has not Lavinia told


then? Lav. No; I could be in no haste to give her so much pain.

Lion. You are a good girl enough. But how came you here, Camilla? and what is the reason you have not seen my mother yourself?

Can. Not seen her! I have been with her this half hour.

Lion. What! and in all that time did she not tell you?

Cam. She did not name you.

Lion. Is it possible? Well, she is a noble creature, I must confess. I wonder how she could ever have such a son. And I am still less like my father than I am like her. I believe in my conscience, I was changed in the cradle. Will you own me, young ladies, if some

villanous attorney or exciseman should claim me by and by?

Cam. Dear Lionel, do explain to me what has happened. You talk so wildly, that you make me think it important and trifling twenty times in a minute.

Lion. O, a horrid business! Lavinia must tell you. I'll withdraw till she has done. Don't despise me, Ćamilia. I am confounded sorry, I assure you. [Going; and then immediutely returning:] Come, upon the whole, I had better teil it to you myself: for she'll make such a dismal ditty of it, that it won't be over this half yeak The sooner we have done with it, the better. It will only put you out of spirits. You must know I was in rather a bad scrape at Oxford last year

Cam. Last year! and you never told us of it before!

Lion. O'twas about something you would not understand; so I shall not mention particulars now. It is enough for you to know, that two or three of us wanted a little cash! Well, so-in short, I sent a letter-somewhat of a threatening sort-to old uncle Relvil; and

Cam. O Lionel!

Lion. O, I did not sign it. It was only begging a little money, which he can afford to spare very well; and just telling him, if he did not send it to a certain place which I mentioned, he would have his brains blown out.

Gam. How horrible!

Lion. Poh, poh; he had only to send the money, you know, and then his brains might keep their place. Besides, you can't suppose there was gunpowder in the words; though, to be sure, the letter was charged with a few volleys of oaths. But, would you believe it! the poor old gull was fool enough actually to send the money where it was directed.

Lav. Hold, hold, Lionel! I cannot endure to hear you speak in such disgraceful terms of that worthy man. How could you treat that excellent uncle in

« السابقةمتابعة »