Imágenes de páginas


Lord Mowbray.

Amelia, his daughter.
Persons... Maurice, Amelia's husband.

William, a Boy of six years old, the son of Maurice

and Amelia.

Scene, the inside of a Cottage
Amelia at work singing, Maurice enters during her Song.

The red rose is queen of the garden bower

That glows in the sun at noon;
And the lady lily 's the fairest flower

Whose white bells swing in the breeze of June;
But they, who come 'mid frost and food,

Peeping from hedge or root of tree,
The primrose and the violet bud,

They are the dearest flowers to me.
The nightingale’s is the sweetest song

That ever the rose has heard;
And when the lark chaunts yon clouds among

The lily looks up to the heavenly bird ;
But the robin with his eye of jet,

Who pipes from the bare boughs merrily
To the primrose pale and the violet,

He is the dearest bird to me.
Am. Ah, art thou there? I thought I was alone.
Hast thou been long returned ?

Even now.

I'm glad ;
For I would feel thy presence,-as I used
When I, a conscious girl, if thou didst come
Behind my chair, knew thee without the aid
Of eye or ear. Á wife's love is as strong ;
Her sense should be as quick.

But maiden love
Is mix'd with shame, and doubt, and consciousness,
Which have a thousand eyes, a thousand ears.
Amelia, thou art pale. Nay, if thou smilest
Thou wilt be pale no longer : thy sick smile
Is fitly wedded to a varying blush,
That flutters tremulously in thy fair cheek
Like shivering wings of new caught butterflies.
Ah, there it is!

Mau. .

But thou wast pale,
Stooping so long o'er that embroidery,
That irksome toil. Go forth into the air.

Am. Not yet; there still is light enough to work,
I have one flower to finish. Then I'll fly
To the sweet joys of busy idleness,

To our sweet garden; I am wanted there,
So William says; the freshening showers to-day
Have scattered my carnations ; I must raise
Their clear and odorous beauties from the dark
Defiling earth.

Mau. That task is done.

By thee,
After thy hard day's toil? Oh what a fond

[ocr errors]

And foolish lover-husband I have got !
Art thou not weary?

Only just enough
To feel the comfort, sweetest, of

repose, Of such repose as this, here at thy feet Extended, and my head against thy knee.

Am. Even as that sweet and melancholy princé, Hamlet the Dane, lay at Ophelia's feet His lady-love. Wast thou not thinking so?

Mau. I was.

Am. And I was likening thee to one-
Dost thou remember-'tis the prettiest nioment
Of that most marvellous and truest book-
When her so dear Sir Charles at Harriot's feet
Lay turning up his bright face smilingly ;-
Dost thou remember?

Mau. Banterer! Where is William ?

Am. That is a secret. Do not question me,
Or I shall tell. He will be shortly back.

[Sings. ]
But they who come 'mid frost and flood,
Peeping from hedge or root of tree,
The primrose and the violet bud,

They are the dearest flowers to me.
Mau. How much thou lov'st that song!

He loves it so,
Our William : If far off within the wood
He do but catch one clear and singing note
Of that wild cheerful strain, he scuds along
With his small pretty feet, like the young brood
Of the hen-partridge to her evening call.

Mau. Well, but where is he?


Nay, tell
Am. To-day at noon, returning from the farm,
Where on some trifling errand I had sent him,
He left the path in chase of that bright insect
The burnished dragon-fly, with net-work wings
So beautiful. His shining guide flew on,
Tracing the channel of the rippling spring
Up to its very source: there William lost him;
But looking round upon that fairy scene
Of tangled wood and bubbling waters clear,
He found a fairy carpet; strawberries
Spread all about, in a rich tapestry
Of leaves and blushing fruit, and he is gone
With his own basket that his father made him,
His own dear father, to bring home his prize
To that dear father.

Prythee, love, say on.
This is a tale which I could listen to
The live-long day.

And will it not be sweet
To see that lovely boy, blushing all over,
His fair brow reddening, and his smiling eyes
Filling with tears, his scarlet lips far ruddier
Than the red berries, stammering and forgetting
The little pretty speech that he has conn'd
But speaking in warm kisses ?.. Will it not .

me, love,

Be sweet to see my precious William give
The very first thing he can call his own
To him who gives him all? My dearest husband,
Betray' me not ;-pretend an ignorance,
And wonder why that cream and bread stand there,
And why that china bowl. Thy precious boy!

Mau. Thy precious boy! Amelia, that child's heart
Is like thee as his face.

Liker to thee
Are both. Our blessing !, What a world of love
Dwells in that little heart!

Too much ! too much!
He is too sensitive. I would he had
An airy playmate full of mirth and jests.

Am. Nature's his playmate ; leaves and flowers and birds
And the young innocent lambs are his companions;
He needs no other. In his solitude
He is as happy as the glittering beetle
That 'lives in the white rose. My precious boy!

Mau. What are these? Tears! My own Amelia, Weep'st thou for happiness? What means this rain That falls without a cloud. Fy! I must chide thee?

Am. Yes, you are right. Useless—not causeless-tears ! They will have way.-Forgive me, dearest husband ! This is our wedding-eve. Seven years ago I stole, a guilty wanderer, from my home, My old paternal home !

-and with the gush of motherly love another thought rushed inMy father!

Mau. My Amelia !

Have past since last I saw him ;—and that last!
The pangs of death were in my heart, when I
Approach'd to say good night. He had been harsh
All day, had press'd Lord Vernon's odious love,
Had taunted at thy poverty-my Maurice !
But suddenly, when I all vainly tried
To falter out good night, in his old tone
Of fond familiar love, and with the name
Which from his lips seem'd a caress, he said,
God bless you Emily! That blessing pierced
My very soul. Oft in the dead of night
I seem to hear it. Would he bless me now?
Oh, no! no! no!,

My own beloved wife,
Think not too deeply-there will come a time-

Am. Oh Maurice! All the grandeur that she left
The splendid vanities, ne'er cost thy wife
A sigh, contented in her poverty,
Happy in virtuous love. But that kind voice-
That tender blessing--that accustomed name
Of fondness !-Oh! they haunt my very dreams :
They crowd upon my waking thoughts; then most
When some sweet kindness of my lovely boy,
Some sign of glorious promise, tells my heart
How little I deserve-

My Emily!
Am. No, not from thee, not even from thee, that name ;-
"Tis sacred to those dear and honour'd lips.
Which ne'er will breathe it more.-I am ungrateful
Thus to repine, whilst thou and our dear boy-

Seven years

Where can he now be loitering! These dark clouds
Portend a storm.

Already the large drops
Come pattering on the vine leaves. I will seek —

Enter William.
Am. He's here. My William, wherefore did st thou stay
Bo long?-And where's the basket ?

Kiss me first.
Am. Now, where's the basket ?

I had fill'd it half,
When a strange gentleman came through the wood
And sat down by me.

Did he eat the strawberries?
Wil. Dear mother, no. He talked to me, and then
I could not gather them.

What said he, dearest ?
Wil. He ask'd my name and your's, and where I lived,
And kiss'd me.

And what else?

Calld me dear boy,
Said that a storm was coming on, and ask'd
If I would go with him.

Ha! what said'st thou
To that, my

William ?

No. But then I ask'd him
To come with me to my dear home. Look there!
Do you not see that tall man in the porch-
His head against the woodbine ? That is he.
Am. Dear Maurice, bring him in.

[Exit Maurice. Wil.

I am so sorry
That it is grown so dark, you will not see
What a sweet face he has; only he's older-
I think he's like you, mother; and he kiss'd me
As you do now, and cried.

Oh, can it be!
Re-enter Maurice with Lord Mowbray.
Lord M. If I intrude-

That voice!. O father! father!
Pardon ! Oh, pardon!
Lord M.


I'm your daughter-
Call me so, father! For these seven years
I have not seen your face. Disown me not-
Call me your daughter! Once from your dear lips
Let me hear that dear sound! Call me your Emily,
And bless my dear, dear child! For such a blessing
I'd be content to die. William, kneel here;
Hold up your innocent hands.
Lord M.

Rise, Madam, rise.
Am. Oh, call me once your daughter, only once,
To still my longing heart! My William, pray
For your poor mother.

Oh, forgive us, Sir,
Pray, pray forgive us!
Lord M.

Madam, I have sought
A half-hour's shelter here from this wild storm ;
And as your guest_I pray you to forbear.

These harrowing words. I am but lately risen
From a sick bed.

My wife, compose thyself ;
Retire awhile.

[Exit Amelia.
Please you to sit, my lord.
Lord M. I thank you, Sir.—You have a pleasant cottage
Prettily garlanded with rose and woodbine,
And the more useful vine. Has it been long
Your home?

Lord M.

And you have left the army?
Mau. Yes, since the peace. I could not bear to drag
My sweet Amelia through the homeless wanderings
Of a poor soldier's life. This is a nest,
However lowly, warm, and full of love
As her own heart. Here we have been most happy.

Five years.

Ye are poor.

[Re-enter Amelia, with a light and a basket.] Mau. [meeting her.] Thou tremblest still. Am.

I could not stay away.
It is such joyful pain to look upon him;
To hear his voice ;-I could not stay away.
William, there is thy basket. Offer it.

Lord M. No; my dear boy.

Now blessings on his head.
For that kind word!
Lord M.

Surely she was not always
So thin and pale !_Your husband says, Amelia,
That you are happy.

I have only known
One sorrow.

Lord M.

Not that! not that!
Lord M. You have implored my blessing on your son ;-
I bless him.

Am. On my knees I offer up
My thanks to Heaven and thee. A double blessing
Was that, my father ! on my heart it fell
Like balm.

Lord M. I will do more. Give me that boy,
And he shall be my heir. Give me that boy.

Am. My boy! give up my boy!
Lord M.

Why he must be
A burthen. Ye are poor.

A burthen! William !
My own dear William !
Lord M.

Miserably poor
Ye are: deny it not.

We earn our bread
By honest labour.

And to work for him
Is such a joy! My William, tremble not !
Weep not, my William ! Thou shalt stay with me;
Here on my lap, here on my bosom, William !

Lord M. Why thou may’st have another child, and then

Am. Oh! never one like this—this dearest child
Of love and sorrow! Till this boy was born
Wretchedly poor we were ; sick, heart-sick, desolate,
Desponding ; but he came, a living sun-beam!
And light and warmth seem'd darting through my breast

« AnteriorContinuar »