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And lofty pride bare its aspiring head
At our approach, and once more bend before us.
A pleasing dream! 'Tis past; and now I wake
More wretched by the happiness I've lost;
For sure it was a happiness to think,
Though but a moment, such a treasure mine.
Nay, it was more than thought. I saw and touched
The bright temptation, and I see it yet.
'Tis here—-'tis 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 sink 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 Wilmnt.]
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
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 in tears,
He wrung my hand, and pressed it to his lips;
And with a look that pierced me to the soul,
Begged me to comfort thee : and-Dost thou hear me?
What art thou gazing on? Fie, 'tis 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?

0. 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.

0. 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:
Die how you will, you shall not die alone.

Agnes. Nor live, I hope.
0. Wu. There is no fear of that.
Agnes. Then we'll live both.
0. Wil. Strange folly! Where 's the means ?
Agnes. The means are there; those jewels.

0. 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.

0. 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.

0. 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.
0, 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.

0. 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 dispatch him sleeping : should he wake,
'T were madness to attempt it.

0. 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?

0. Wi. 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 dawn 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.

0. 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 that thou saw'st him wear;
And thus, unthinking, furnished us with arms
Against himself. Which shall I use?

Agnes. The sash.
If you make use of that, I can assist.

0. Wil. No.
'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.

[Excit Agnes.)
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,
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.

The Conscious Lovers, a drama belonging to this period, was written by Sir Richard Steele, and combines moral instruction with amusement; but in all other respects it is a languid, if not an insipid performance. The Distressed Mother was translated from Racine, by Ambrose Philips, and was highly successful. The · Zara' of Voltaire was, about the same time, adapted w the English stage, by Aaron Hill, who wrote also some original dramas; none of which, however, require particular notice.

Lecture the Twenty-Flinth.




THE productions of the early part of this period, in the

department of prose, possess much of the nervous force and originality of the preceding era, and, at the same time, approximate to that elegance in the choice and arrangement of words, which, in English composition, has since been attained. The principal writers in philosophical and political dissertation, besides Milton and Cowley, whom we have already noticed under the department of poetry, are Sidney, Temple, Thomas Burnet, and Locke; in history, Lord Clarendon, and Bishop Burnet; in divinity, Calamy, Baxter, Barrow, Tillotson, South, Stillingfleet, Sherlock, and Barclay; in miscellaneous literature, Walton, Fuller, L'Estrange, and Brown; and in physical science, Boyle, Barrow, Newton, and some others, whose works, however, were chiefly written in Latin. Bunyan, the celebrated author of Pilgrim's Progress,' belongs also to this era, but can not be ranged in either of the previous classes.

Toward the close of this period, a much higher polish and greater degree of refinement was attained in prose writing, than had previously been known ; but the attainment, it must be confessed, was made at the expense of its energy and strength. A new species of literature also, at this time, originated, which consisted in short essays on men and manners, published periodically, and commenting on the events of private life, and the dispositions of ordinary men. The idea had never before been entertained, either in England or in any other country, of a work in which the writer should undertake to meet the public several times each week with a brief paper, either discussing some feature of society, or relating some lively tale, allegory, or anecdote. The credit of commencing this new branch of literature is due to Sir Richard Steele, a gentleman of English parentage, but born in Ireland, while his father acted as secretary to the Duke of Ormond, lord

lieutenant of that kingdom. Of this we shall have occasion to speak more particularly in its appropriate place. In the following remarks upon the prose writers of the age upon which we are now about to enter, we shall not attempt to observe any other classification than that which the order of time suggests.

IZAAK WALTon, one of the most interesting and popular writers of this age, was an English worthy of the simple antique cast, who retained, in the heart of London, and in the midst of close and successful application to business, an unworldly simplicity of character, and an inextinguishable fondness for country scenes, pastimes, and recreations. He possessed also a power of natural description and lively dialogue, that has rarely been surpassed. The slight tincture of superstitious credulity and innocent eccentricity which pervades his works, gives them a finer zest, and more original flavor, without detracting from their higher power to soothe, instruct, and delight.

Walton was born in the town of Strafford, in the month of August, 1593. Of his family, his early years, and his education, we have no memorials. According to Anthony Wood, he acquired a competency, by following, in London, the occupation of a linen-draper, at first in a shop in Cornhill, seven feet and a half long, and five wide, and afterward in Fleet street, where he had one half of a shop, the other half being occupied by a hosier. He had a more pleasant and spacious study, however, in the fields and rivers in the neighborhood of London, 'in such days and times as he laid aside business, and went a-fishing with honest Nat and R. Roe.'

In 1632, Walton married Anne, the daughter of Thomas Ken, of Farnival's Inn, and sister of Dr. Ken, bishop of Bath and Wells. This respectable connection introduced him to the acquaintance of the eminent men and dignitaries of the church, at whose houses he passed much of his time in his latter years, especially after the death of his wife, “a woman of remarkable prudence, and of the primitive piety. Walton retired from business in the fifty-first year of his age, and lived forty years afterwards in uninterrupted leisure. He died at Winchester, on the fifteenth of December, 1683, while residing with his son-in-law, Dr. Hawkins, prebendary of Winchester cathedral.

Walton's first literary production was the Life of Dr. Donne, prefixed to a collection of the doctor's sermons, published in 1640. It was his original design not to write this work, but merely to collect the materials for Sir Henry Wotton, who was to execute the task. But Sir Henry's death intervening, Izaak reviewed his forsaken collections, and resolved that the world should see the best plain picture of the author's life that his artless pencil, guided by the hand of truth, could present.' The memoir is circumstantial, and one of the most deeply interesting biographies in the language. He next wrote, with equal felicity, the Life of Sir Henry Wotton. Walton's principal production, The Complete Angler, or Contemplative Man's Recreation, appeared in 1653, and such was its popularity, that four other edi

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