Abbildungen der Seite

For war, for danger, for renown, for aught
Where imminent deadly peril may be staked
Against a noble name.

A noble name !
He pants for that! And I that with a word--
Oh, may I? dare I?

Noble lady, no.
The Count is dangerous, and this rash youth-

Countess. True ; true. And I expect my powerful kinsman, ,
The Baron Zutphen; he shall hear my story,
My sad, sad story, Conrade. Oh, the strife
of love so long pent in, so strong, so deep,
So gushing through the heart, with bitter fear!
And I, that ne'er have known the dear delight
To give him pleasure-Oh, to think that I
Could with a word, one word-I must away-
I dare not trust myself

. Good Conrade, help me
Back to the castle.

Rest thee here awhile,
Dear lady.—How she trembles !-Nay, sit down :
Command thyself.

Enter Theodore and Bertha.


Who call'd me mother?
The. Let me support her ;-lady, lean on me.
Countess. His very tone!

How art thou, dearest mother?
Countess. Better.

But still thou tremblest, and so pale !
The. Oh, do not rise! You are too weak.

A strong
And a kind arm supports me.

Never, madam,
Was it so honour'd. Would that all my life
Might pass as this brief moment !

I think-

The. And for my father's sake, perhaps-
Countess. Thy father !-aye, indeed—thy father! Theodore,
I have a boon to ask of thee.

A boon!
Say, madam, a command.

Well-a command.
Conrade has told me thou wilt to the wars;
I have a powerful kinsman, young, and brave,
High in the Emperor's favour ; I expect him
At Lindorf in the autumn. Be content
To wait his coming, and my first request
Shall be, that he will guide thee in that path
Of stainless honour which himself hath trod.
Say wilt thou wait till then ?

How can poor Theodore,
The humble, low-born Theodore, deserve
This wondrous bounty! Not for the wide world,
Not even for her, would I deceive such goodness.
Madam, all poor and lowly as I am,
Yet I have dared to love --Oh, pardon me !

[ocr errors]

Even if you banish, pardon !_Who could see
Your Bertha and not love her ?

And what

My Bertha to such love ?

My dearest mother,
What is that proud word rank? What hath it been,
But the stern prison-bolt that barr'd me out
From air, and sunshine, and the song of birds,
And the sweet scent of flowers? And must it now

Enter Frederick.
Fred. Thank Heaven, she's found I-I have sought you
Every where, madam. I have that to tell
Which may not brook delay.

Is the Count Lindori

Fred. My gracious lady, he is dead.
Con. Dead !

Even so.

Last night Count Lindorf died.
Countess. No, no, he lives ! the real Count Lindorf lives !
My son ! my son! my own, my very son !
Thou, for whose sake I have endured to live
In prison and in sorrow—thou art mine,
My Theodore! In the face of all the world
I will proclaim thee rightful Count of Lindorf.

The. Mother! I do not ask if this be real,
My heart has always claim'd thee. Yes; I am
Thy son, thy very son.

And the poor

What then is she ?

Countess. My daughter, still my daughter.
The. Bertha, my sister !

No; thy wife. Will that
Please thee as well ? And our dear Conrade's child.

Con. My own sweet child.

My son, thy speaking eyes
Demand my story. Briefly let me tell
A grief which eighteen years have left as fresh
As yesterday. Thy father was a man
Born to lead all hearts captive. Such he was
As thou art now. Look at the features, Frederick
The shape, the air.

It is his very self.
Countess. I loved him—we were in our bridal year
Oh, how I loved him! So did all the world,
Except his envious brother. They went forth
Together, at the break of day, to hunt
Here in this very forest ; and at eve,
One-only one--return'd. Mine-Mine-O God!
The agony, the frightful agony.
When he at last was brought 1-0 God !

My mother!
Countess. Some tale was told of direful accident-
Would that I could believe ! But from that hour
Peace, rest, and appetite, and natural smiles,
Forsook the conscious fratricide-Oh, guilt
Hath well aveng'd us! But, ere yet the flush

Of bold triumphant guilt had paled to fear
And dark remorse, did Conrade overhear-
For I was great of thee, my Theodore,
And grief and horror had brought on my pains
This Lindorf bribed a ruffian to secure
My infant, if a male. Thou, sweetest Bertha,
A new-born innocent babe, wert in the castle ;
And he, and my kind nurse, and she the kindest
And faithfullest of all, thy blessed mother,
Contrived, I scarcely conscious, to exchange
My boy for his fair girl.-

A boundless debt
We owe thee, Conrade.

Pay it to my Bertha.
The. She is herself that debt! What was the life
Of fifty, such as I, compared to Bertha ?
A paltry boon, scarce worth my thanks, dear father !
She is the treasure ! She-

Cease, flatterer, cease!
I must go tend my fawn.

My son, I long
To see you in your castle.

You will find
The Baron Zutphen there to greet you, madam.
He came to proffer succour and protection
To you and Lady Bertha ; he will now
Welcome his brave young kinsman. Not a heart,
Vassal or servant, but will feel the joy
of this discovery.

Countess. Theodore, my son,
How proud I am of that unwonted word !
Let us go meet the Baron. Bertha, Conrade,
Daughter and friend, come with me ; this kind cousin
Must see how rich I am. My own dear son !



THERE is a humble, unpretending England ; and though many of these

kind of poetry, limited in its sub- are the avowed productions of men of ject--the production alike of the learn- learning and genius, yet by far the ed and the ignorant, the high and low, greatest number, like the songs of the the rich and poor - which, alike in- peasantry, are the production of humteresting to all, has failed to obtain ble and nameless persons. I have not much regard from those to whom it failed to observe, that the inscriptions addresses instruction : I mean Epi- which spoke the plainest sense, extaphs. The living naturally wish to pressed the happiest sentiments, conshun all intercourse with the dead; and tained the richest poetry, and gave the though the latter, in many a warning most original and vivid portraiture of line, lift up their voice, and call aloud past beauty or worth, were generally from the ground, we heed not the post- ihe works of obscure persons, whose humous counsel, but tread over the names are unknown to literature ; and gravel, or the green sod, which covers who, probably both before and after, our ancestor's dust, without even whist- sought no intercourse with the muse. I ling to keep our courage up. In the shall only transcribe now a few of these course of a long and busy life, I have epitaphs, which seem not generally read many epitaphs in various parts of known, and confine myself rather to


the curious than the beautiful. The seem of the same opinion; and we following very simple and affecting epi- hope all the tailors of the district lay taph expresses more in few words than the virtues of their righteous brother to we usually observe in this kind of com- heart, and seek to practise them in their position :

lives : Nineteen years a maiden,

Here lies entomb’d, within this vault so dark, One year a wife,

A tailor, soldier, cloth-drawer, and clerk ; One hour a mother,

Death snatch'd him hence, and also from And so I lost my life.

him took

His needle, thimble, sword, and prayer The brevity of the following is of

book. a different nature, and approaches too He could no longer work nor fight : what close to the epigrammatic:

then ?

He left the world, and faintly cried, Amen. Life is uncertain, death is sure ;

Sin is the wound, and Christ the cure. There is some conceit in this plain An inscription in Kingston church- epitaph at Southampton, but it will yard, Surrey, seems to be composed on be forgiven for the sake of the comthe judicious precept of Butler: mencing line : For brevity is very good,

A plain rough man, but without guile or Where we are, or are not understood.


Goodness bis aim, and honesty his guide ; It is as follows:

Could all the pomps of this vain world des

Live well, die never,
Die well, and live for ever.

And only after death desired to rise.
Many wretched conceits, middling

One on a young man at Chichester

will not be read without emotion : jokes, obscure compliments, as well as innumerable lines, are cut in stone. The Art thou in health and spirits gay? following, on a child, will be found at I too was so the other day ; Brighton :

And thought myself of life as safe,

As thou who read'st my epitaph.
He tasted of life's bitter cup,
Refused to drink the potion up;

Honest Stephen Rumbold, of OxBut turn'd his little head aside,

ford, is thus briefly remembered : Disgusted with the taste, and died.

He lived one hundred and five, Those who die at peace with the

Sanguine and strong ;

An hundred to five world, and leave rich legacies to their

You live not so long. relations, commonly come in for a very reasonable share of good qualities in

In the epitaph on a Marine at Chitheir epitaphs. There is some bitter- chester, the writer has made an adroit ness contained in two lines on a tomb- turn from mortal to spiritual warfare. stone at Pentonville:

There are many military inscriptions Death takes the good—too good on earth to them are very happy:

scattered about the country, but few of stay, And leaves the bad—too bad to take away. Here lies a true soldier, whom all must apAn inscription at Islington is in bet- Much hardship he suffer'd at home and

plaud; ter taste and gentler feeling. It is on a abroad ; child some months old ; and, brief as it But the hardest engagement he ever was in, is, contains a fine sentiment:

Was the battle of Self in the conquest of

Sin. Here virtue sleeps--restrain the pious tear!

A soldier died suddenly in Hampshire He waits that judgment which he cannot fear.

from drinking small beer after a hot The merry people of Cheshire min- march, and this is his epitaph : gle no gall in their remembrance of Here sleeps in peace a Hampshire grenatheir benefactors. We have, ourselves,

dier, always loved the calling of a tailor, and Who caught his death by drinking cold

small beer. thought, with the old Scottish poet, Soldiers, be wise, from his untimely fall ; that he is more than man, rather than And when you're hot, drink strong, or none less. The inhabitants of Cheshire

at all.

The following ludicrous addition stone was removed from the garden, was made by the officers in garrison the old inscription effaced and its place when they restored the decayed monu- supplied by an epitaph from another ment :

hand. An honest soldier never is forgot,

In the church-yard of Bayswater, Whether he died by inusket or by pot.

mid-way down the ground on the left An old fisherman of Kent is thus hand, leaning against the wall, obscurremembered in the church-yard of ed by nettles and rank grass, unnoticed, Hythe :

and perhaps unknown, stands a rude

memorial of common rough stone, inHis net old fisher George long drew, debted to no gifted and cunning hand

Shoals upon shoals he caught, Till Death came hauling for his due,

for beauty of form, and to no elegant And made poor George his draught.

mind for the inscription with which it Death fishes on through various shades ;

is covered. It is the tomb-stone of In vain it is to fret ;

Laurence Sterne. Perhaps his counNor fish or fisherman escapes Death's all-enclosing net.

trymen who are so patriotic, so witty, I like the unassuming epitaph of in their remembrances, so fond of num

when the wine is good, so affectionate John and Martha Wright ;—it says bering Sterne among those steady lights much in small space :

which contribute to the fixed splendour Plain in their form, but rich they were in of Ireland, may reflect, while they

mind : Religious, quiet, honest, meek, and kind.

laugh and wonder, and weep over his Nor do I dislike the lines on Sophia dead, and have the grace to propose to

pages, that he sleeps among the vulgar Bovil, a child of two years old : honour themselves by erecting a monRest soft thy dust, wait the Almighty's will, ument to his memory. That the noRise with the just, and be an angel still. ble, the wealthy, the witty, and the

The following ludicrous verse, though gay, left the interment of Sterne and none of the happiest

, happens to be a the erection of his grave-stone, to merecent production :

chanics and strangers, is a reproach that Here fast asleep, full six feet deep,

can never be removed. And seventy summers ripe, George Thomas lies in hopes to rise,

* Near this place lies the body of And smoke another pipe.

The Reverend Laurence Sterne, A. M.

Died Sept. 13, 1768, aged 53 years. It was almost one of the last acts of Horne Tooke to 'cause a vault to be This monumental stone was erected to the made in his garden, surmounted by a

memory of the deceased by two brother

Masons; for although he did not live to slab of black marble, for which he

be a member of their society, yet all his wrote the following inscription, and incomparable performances evidently caused it to be engraved with directions prove him to have acted by rule and that his executors should fill up the

square. They rejoice in this opportunity blank :

of perpetuating his high and irreproacha

ble character to after ages. John Horne Tooke, late proprietor, now occupier of this spot, What did it boot him, ridiculed, abused, born in 1736, died in

By fools insulted, and by prudes accused; Contented and grateful.

In him, mild reader, view thy future fate; His singular request to be buried in his Like him, despise what were a sin to hate,

&c. &c.

w. &s. own garden was not complied with : he was interred at Ealing; the tomb- Cumberland, Aug. 1821.

* See Ath. vol. iii. pp. 114, 142, 434 ; vol. v. p. 309.

« ZurückWeiter »