« הקודםהמשך »
O horrid, horrid thought! « To what new trials is Albina brought! • Do thou, O God!' (exclaims the wretched fair)
from this last despair ! Let instant death attend by thy command,
And stop a mother's facrilegious hand: • Take back, thyself, his yet untainted breath,
Nor let Albina's crimes be multiplied in death!'
Forth from her tortur'd breast proceeds one figh,
And one big tear rolls slowly from each eye,
As, sudden rising with uplifted hands,
O'er the sweet babe in fix'd despair the stands,
His sleeping beauty once again to view,
The bids the world and him adieu !
Then, turning quick, with half-averted eyes,
To the cold bosom of the river flies ;
And, plunging headlong, vainly hopes to find
Eternal respite for her wounded mind.
Th' astonish'd earl, who this sad scene had view'd,
With swiftest steps the Aying fair pursu'd;
But, ah! too late he reach'd the river's side,
Her form was sunk beneath the closing tide.
Yet still Earl Elwin o'er the margin bent,
And ey'd the circling flood with looks intent;
Till, in the midst, the bubbling liquid rose,
As if to mourn the hapless fair-one's woes ;
And instant, on it's lucid bosom bore
Albina's foating form towards the shore ;
Then with an out-stretch'd arm eífay'd to reach
The finking fair, and draw her to the beach :
But still too distant from the river's side,
Again the finks beneath the clofing tide!
Now, in despair, he rolls his anxious eyes,
up, again, he sees the hubbles rise ;
Again beholds-Albina's form
And finds the friendly flood has brought her near :
With eager joy then stretches forth his hand,
And trembling drags his welcome prize to land.
Long tried the earl each life-renewing aid,
No vital spark his searching eyes survey'd ;
No flow pulsation lab'ring in her veins,
No glow of life to recompense his pains :
The chilling stream had check'd life's crimson tide,
And the rais’d arm dropp'd lifeless by her fide!
Hopeless to save-unwilling to refrain-
Each life-renewing art he tries again ;
And oft to Heav'n uplifts his speaking eyes,
As from his heart the warm petition flies.
At length, a gleam of hope revives his frame :
He feels-or thinks he feels--the vital flame!
Cold, fudd'ring fits, her gentle breast convulse,
And life, returning, throbs in ev'ry pulse;
Her languid eyes, flow-opening, meet the light,
And instant lose, again, the pow'r of fight;
The refluent blood each former channel seeks,
And the warm glow of life spreads mantling o'er her cheeks.
Now the keen anguish of Albina's pains,
Wakes ev'ry nerve, and spreads thro' all her veins.
She groans she raves-he heaves her lab'ring breast-
Gnashes her teeth-and madly grasps her veft!-
Then, in a moment, quite compos'd appears,
And drowns each feature in a flood of tears.
While o'er th' afflicted fair Earl Elwin kneels,
And for each pang an equal anguish feels;
Sudden he hears, among the distant trees,
The vacant mufick of a mind at ease:
And while he listens with attentive ears,
Full in his view the jocund swain appears.
Soon as the earl's extended arm he fpies,
Swift down the steep the sturdy peasant fies.
Inftructed now, resumes an equal speed,
And darts like lightning cross the neighb'ring mead,
To where a little farm's neat mansion stood,
Hard by the border of Earl Elwin's wood:
Thence quick returning, with a fellow-fwain,
They bear Albina gently o'er the plain.
Close by her fide the earl himself attends,
Directs their course, and kind assistance lends;
Nor in his fondling arms disdains to bear
The lovely offspring of the wretched fair.
By slow degrees, and with their labour warm,
They reach at length the hospitable farm ;
Where the good dame exerts her utmost care,
In due attention to the hapless fair.
Meanwhile the earl for his physician sends,
And waits the tedious hour till he attends :
Nor quits Albina, till from him he learns,
No fatal fymptom his best skill discerns ;
Then lets all know he will their cares repay,
And homeward bends his folitary way.
From scenes of forrow turn we now our eyes,
To where Augufta's tow'ring fanes arise:
From scenes where Vice, dejected, shuns the day,
To where she flaunts it in the solar ray.
The gay Lothario here his dwelling chose,
Before he fail'd to meet his country's foes;
In tented fields to purchase deathless fame,
And raise the honours of an ancient name.
Forgot each precept good Ernesto taught,
His bosom freed from ev'ry anxious thought;
Where Pleasure leads, he follows in the train,
Nor sees how false her arts—her joys how vain !
With Wit, misnam’d, he drains the spicy bowl,
Nor fears the drug that ennervates his soul ;
With wanton beauty spends the laughing hours,
Nor sees the latent thorn beneath the flow'rs;
With defp'rate wretches joins in fatal play,
And lets his fortune be the villain's prey:
Nor does the thought of poor Albina's woes,
Amidst his mad career, once interpose.
While thus the recreant youth his time employs, In wasteful pleasures, and unhallow'd joys ; Surpriz'd he reads the following stern command, Nor scarce can hold it in his trembling hand.
• Return, Lothario, by the morning's light;
• Or never meet, again, thy injur'd father's sight!'
Late as it was, he mounts his fleetest steed,
And flies to Elwin Hall with utmost speed:
For well he knew the earl brook'd no delay,
And fear-not duty-taught him to obey.
Arriv'd-Lothario now the earl attends,
And on his knee with due submission bends;
Implores forgiveness, if his youth has err'd-
Enquires the crime-begs his defence be heard-
Nor fears-(so great his art, so small his shame)
To clear each blot, and vindicate his fame.
« 'Tis faid, Lothario,' (thus the earl began, By Mew of doubt to hide his settled plan)
That old Ernesto's daughter, whom you know • Was chaste as ice, and fair as drifted snow, · Some nine months fince, by too much love betray'd, • Fell in the snare designing Vice had laid !
Awhile, 'tis said, the base assassin strove • To calm her griefs, insulting her with love: • Till now, her growing shame, so long conceal'd, · The villain knew, muft quickly be reveal'd; « Unmindful of his vows, he quits the fair, • Frantick with grief, the victim of despair !
< But still Albina’s yet unspotted name • Escap'd the tainting breath of busy Fame;
• Till yefter' morn, unable to sustain
· The load of woes attendant on her pain,
• Her new-born babe with fainting steps the bore,
To where the Ifis laves her fertile shore ;
• And ere affiftancé could arrive to save,
• Desp'rate the plung'd in the o'erwhelming wave!
• The child yet lives-and, as I mean to shew • How much I share in good Ernesto's woe, * Severe resentment shall the father feel, every wound he
I'll strive to heal. • Now, 'look, Lothario, that you
· These are the crimes--the wretch, they say, is you?"
Spite of the lye the perjur'd villain speaks,
The dew of nature damps his bloodless cheeks,
As, with unmatch'd audacity, he cries,
• Within the conscious breast no fears arise !
• Once--let me own ! -I thought Albina's charms
• Might richly fill the proudest monarch's arms;
* And still, still möre, my inexperienc'd youth,
* Admir'd her seeming virtue, love, and truth.
Caught in the snare, I woo'd her to my side, • And meant to ask her as my future bride : . But soon, in foreign courts, I learn’d to know "The sex's arts--and smil'd at fancied woe;
Returning, view'd her with a brother's sight, "And saw each action in it's proper light. ' A secret something ftruggling in her breaft, • The stiAcd figh, and tear in vain repress'd;
Spoke plain as language, that the faithless fair 'Was now unworthy of Earl Elwin's heir. • I left her then-nor think I aught of blame * Can juftly light on my much-injur'd fame!
• Her end I mourn - forgive these flowing tears-Shrouded in death, her crime no more appears : • Time will unveil the myst'ry of her fate!" • Nor let, till then, Lothario feel thy hate.'