Page images

struggle was still carried on, and pestilence was dread. ed from the enormous accumulation of putrifying bodies. Nothing in the whole course of the siege so much embarrassed Palafox as this evil. The only remedy was to tie ropes to the French prisoners, and push them forward amid the dead and dying, to remove the bodies, and bring them away for interment. Even for this necessary office there was no truce, and it would have been certain death to the Arragonese who should have attempted to perform it ; but the prisoners were in general secured by the pity of their own soldiers, and in this manner the evil was, in some degree, diminished.”



The Bachelor, one evening on returning home, found his Nymph in a state of tremour amounting almost to alarm. Her countenance was pale, and her eyes bright and startled ; a hectic flush now and then passed over her cheek, and in the same moment her lips became livid. Her dark hair fell in pythian disorder over her shoulders, and the whole apparition was sublime and mystical. “ What has happened? What has terrified you ?” cried the kind and affectionate Benedict. She, however, made him no immediate answer ; but, flinging back her hair, took a paper which was lying before her on the table, and said, " Have you ever read the ballads of Bürger, the German poet ?"

“ No; neither the poets nor the prosers of that nation, you know, are favourites of mine."

“ Then,” exclaimed Egeria, “ you deny yourself the high sensations of delightful horror, an impassioned sentiment, which the writers of no other language have so effectually succeeded in exciting. Here have I, for the last hour, been in a state of agitation which I know not how to describe. I have felt something like what I conceive to be the rapture of the bard in the paroxysms of his inspiration. It is quite astonishing what effect a man of genius may produce, when he happens to employ the proper current of his powers ; I say happens, because I am of opinion, that authors are not always aware of the peculiarities in which the real pith of their talent lies; and Bürger is an instance of how much a man may write without lighting upon his proper vein.He may be said to be the father of our taste for German literature, and yet he owes all his fame amongst us to these two simple ballads : the translations have indeed been executed with a degree of felicity and energy that gives them the force and spirit of originality; I never read them but with renewed and augmented interest,”-and, with these words, she began to read”—

At break of day, with frightful dreams

Lenora struggled sore ;
· My William, art thou slane,' said she;

Or dost thou love no more?'

He went abroade with Richard's host,

The Paynim foes to quell;

But he no word to her had writt,

An he were sick or well.

With sowne of trump, and beat of drum,

His fellow-soldyers come;
Their helmes bydeckt with oaken boughs,

They seeke their long'd-for home.

And ev'ry road and ev'ry lane

Was full of old and young, To gaze at the rejoicing band,

To hail with gladsome toung.

" Thank God ! their wives and children saide,

Welcome ! the brides did saye: But greete or kiss Lenora gave

To none upon that daye.

She askte of all the passing traine,

For him she wisht to see:
But none of all the passing traine

Could tell if lived hee.

And when the soldyers all were bye,

She tore her raven haire,
And cast herself upon the growne

In furious despaire.

Her mother ran and lyfte her up,

And clasped in her arme, • My child, my child, what dost thou ail ?

God shield thy life from harm !'

“O mother, mother! William's gone !

What’s all besyde to me?

There is no mercye, sure, above !

All, all were spar'd but hee !

• Knell downe, thy paternoster saye,

'Twill calm thy troubled spright; The Lord is wyse, the Lord is good :

What hee hath done is right.'

O mother, mother ! say not so;

Most cruel is my fate: I prayde, and prayde ; but watt avayld !

'Tis now, alas ! too late.'

Our Heavenly Father, if we praye,

Will help a suff'ring childe; Go take the holy sacrament:

So shall thy grief grow milde.'

• O mother, what I feel within,

No sacrament can staye ;
No sacrament can teche the dead

To bear the sight of daye.'

May be, among the heathen folk

Thy William false doth prove, And puts away his faith and troth,

And takes another love.

· Then wherefore sorrow for his loss?

Thy moans are all in vain :
And when his soul and body parte,

His falsehode brings him paine.'

• O mother, mother! gone is gone:

My hope is all forlorne ;

The grave mie only safeguard is

O, had I ne'er been borne !

'Go out, go out, my lampe of life:

In grislie darkness die ;
There is no mercye, sure, above !

For ever let me die.'

• Almighty God! O do not judge

My poor unhappy childe; She knows not what her lips pronounce,

Her anguish makes her wilde.

‘My girl, forget thine earthly woe,

And think on God and bliss ; For so, at least, shall not thy soule

Its heavenly bridegroom miss.'

“O mother, mother! what is blisse,

And what the fiendis celle ? With him 'tis heaven any where,

Without my William, helle.

'Go out, go out, my lampe of life;

In endless darkness die :
Without him I must loathe the earth,

Without him scorn the skye.'

And so despaire did rave and rage

Athwarte her boiling veins ; Against the Providence of Heaven

She hurlde her impious strains.

She bet her breaste, and wrung her hands,

And rollde her tearlesse eye,

« PreviousContinue »