H́nh ảnh trang


Colonel T had a grave and pensive cast of manners when I first knew him, in the flower of our mutual youth. Without doubt there is a marked congeniality in some of the circumstances of your and my destiny.* To me as to you, Colonel Tappeared interesting in that juvenile period, from a dignified seriousness, an air of refined attachment, not to a present but an absent object. His brother officers confirmed the idea which that shaded address, if I may so express myself, had excited, and named the late Lady Middleton, then Miss Georgiana Chadwick, as the lovely source of its pensiveness.

I made an experiment upon his heart, as he will tell you, and own that I was not its first passion. I felt a wish to hear from himself the history of his mind, and to pour the balm of pity into the wounds of love. My experiment succeeded; the shock of jealousy was apparent. I did not like to see him suffer, and almost instantly told him that the intelligence was fabulous, and invented for a test of the truth of the report which had reached me. He ingeniously acknowledged that it was not unfounded, talked freely to me of his impression and of its hopeless nature. It was only in the latter part of many weeks' association, that he gave me slight and transient hints of transferring attachment.

The regiment then removing, we separated with tender, but not visibly impassioned regret. Two years after, in the winter, 1764, we met accidentally in London, renewed our friendship, which soon became mutual, and acknowledged love; but in him so apparently reasonable and serene, as not once to inspire an idea that, if authority should break our engagement, his passion would prove unextinguishable. My father, on discovering, disapproved and dissolved it. I believed, that so placid a lover would not suffer severely for the disappointment, nor once imagined that his attachment would be proof against time. This conviction extinguished that part of my own regard, which was more tender than esteem, and left my heart vacant to receive another impression more instant and enthusiastic than I had ever previously experienced. Its vivacity induced me to think, that I had till then mistaken friendship for love. This happened the ensuing year, 1765. The inspirer was the present general, then Cornet Va native of Lichfield, but absent six years to receive a military education in France and at Dublin, where he was page to the lord-lieutenant. At that period he returned, with the united graces of early youth, the dignity of manhood, and with politeness which had the first polish. He was tall, and, in my eyes, ex

* Addressed to the wife of Colonel Tmost interesting woman.

and himself, an ingenious and

tremely lovely. If my susceptibility of these attractions was culpable fickleness to Mr. T, Mr. V-'s inconstancy to me, avenged it at full.

During three months, in which we were frequently together, V had appeared assiduously attentive, and ardently attached to me. His behaviour then suddenly altered from enamoured fervour to cool civility, bordering upon utter neglect.

I believed this change resulted from higher views, excited from ambition, awakened by the remonstrance of a person person whom he believed his friend, and who, I knew, was not mine. His father and sisters had observed our growing attachment with pleasure, and seemed to regret its dissolution.

I felt, during a short time, tortured and wretched in the extreme; but I had pride, high spirits, intellectual resources, and fancied myself not born to be the victim of contemned affection, I resolved, however, not again to hope that I could be the object of lasting passion, I had proposals of marriage from several, whom my father wished me to approve; but such sort of overtures, not preceded by assiduous tenderness, and which expected to reap the harvest of love without having nursed its germs, suited not my native enthusiasm, nor were calculated to inspire it. I had known what it was to love, to all the excess of the sentiment; and the sweetness and vivacity of the impression, though obliterated by ingratitude, was not forgotten. My liberty seemed a thousand times preferable to the dispiriting fetters of an unimpassioned connexion.

The changed V—, soon after deserting me, joined his regiment in Ireland, and staid there two years. On his return, he attached himself to one of my most intimate friends; a graceful, but not beautiful, young lady. Her fortune, in her own possession, exceeded my future prospects. Yes, to her he devoted his attentions, on whose bosom I had shed those mingled tears of indignation and lacerated tenderness which he had caused to flow.

Their loves, however, nothing weakened my amity to her; they carried with them my best wishes to the altar, and I heard their nuptial peals without a sigh. She died in childbirth the next year. Her early fate excited my sorrow, and his sufferings my sympathy. I wrote a monody on her death. It has never been published, but may one day appear in a collection of my poems. General, then captain Vafter the elapse of a few years, married the daughter of a man of rank, and high in military command, and soon again became a widower. By the co-operation of his father-in-law's interest, with the distinguished gallantry of his own conduct, in the course of this disastrous war, he rose to the rank of general.

Four years after parental authority had dissolved my engagements to Colonel T, we again accidentally met in London. Imagine my feelings when he declared his unceasing affection, and told me that he had returned to England, with the hope that an acquisition to his fortune would induce my father to consent to our union! Conceive the shame of which I became susceptible, on finding myself so much surpassed in constancy! Never had Colonel T said, either with his lip or pen, that he could not become indifferent to me. Not one of his letters had ever breathed a tenth part of the enthusiastic partiality to me of which yours is so full.

Yet ah! how humiliating was my consciousness! I could not, on the instant, explain my sentiments; but I wrote to him the next day, confessing the change in my heart respecting himself; but I forget whether pride did, or did not, withhold the circumstance which had produced it, and the acknowledgment that I had been, in my turn forsaken.

Here is a world of egotism-into which the retrospections of your letter has betrayed me. So intimately relating to him you love, perhaps it may not prove wearying.


No, dear Madam, I was not, as you suppose, favoured with a letter from General Washington, expressly addressed to myself; but, a few years after peace was signed between this country and America, an officer introduced himself, commissioned from General Washington to call upon me, and to assure me, from the General himself, that no circumstance of his life had been so mortifying as to be censured in the Monody on André, as the pitiless author of his ignominious fate; that he had laboured to save him, that he requested my attention to papers on the subject, which he had sent by this officer for my perusal.

On examining them, I found they entirely acquitted the General. They filled me with contrition for the rash injustice of my censure. With a copy of the proceedings of the court-martial that determined André's condemnation, there was a copy of a letter from General Washington to General Clinton, offering to give up André in exchange for Arnold, who had fled to the British camp, observing the reason there was to believe that the apostate General had exposed that gallant English officer to unnecessary danger, to facilitate his own escape: copy of another letter from General Washington to Major André, adjuring him to state to the commander in chief his unavoidable conviction of the selfish perfidy of Arnold, in suggesting that plan of disguise, which ex

posed André, if taken, to certain condemnation as a spy, when, if he had come openly in his regimentals, and under a flag of truce, to the then unsuspected American general, he would have been perfectly safe: copy of André's high-souled answer, thanking General Washington for the interest he took in his destiny; but, observing that, even under conviction of General Arnold's inattention to his safety, he could not suggest to General Clinton any thing which might influence him to save his less important life by such an exchange.


In the first paroxysm of anguish for the fate of my beloved friend, I wrote that Monody under the belief that he was basely murdered, rather than reluctantly sacrificed to the belligerent customs and law. I have since understood the subject better. General Washington allowed his aid-de-camp to return to England after peace was established, and American independence acknowledged ; and he commissioned him to see me, and request my attention to the papers he sent for my perusal; copies of his letters to André, and André's answers, in his own hand, were amongst them. Concern, esteem, and pity, were avowed in those of the general, and warm entreaties that he would urge General Clinton to resign Arnold in exchange for himself, as the only means to avert that sacrifice which the laws of war demanded. Mr. André's letters breathed a spirit of gratitude to General Washington for the interest he took in his preservation, but firmly declined the application to General Clinton. The other papers were minutes of the court-martial, from which it appeared, that General Washington had laboured to avert the sentence against André, and to soften the circumstances of disguised dress, and of those fatal drawings of the enemies' outworks and situation, which placed him in the character of a spy rather than that of a negotiator. The general's next fruitless endeavour was to have obtained the grant of poor André's petition, to die a less disgraceful death. His voice, though commander of the American armies, counted but as one on the court-martial. General Washington did me the honour to charge his aid-de-camp to assure me, that no circumstance of his life had given him so much pain as the necessary sacrifice of André's life, and that next to that deplored event, the censure passed upon himself in a poem which he admired, and for which he loved the author; also to express his hope, that, whenever I reprinted the Monody, a note might be added, which should tend to acquit him of that imputed inexorable and cruel severity which had doomed to ignominous death a gallant and amiable prisoner

of war.



Mecenas atavis edite regibus, &c.


DREAD Sir! half human, half divine,
Descended from a lengthen'd line,
Of heroes famed in story-
Of Ocean, undisputed lord;
Of Europe and her recreant horde,
The "riddle, jest, and glory."
What various sports attract your sons!
Some to Hyde Park escape from Duns,

In Curricle or Tandem:
In dusty clouds envelop'd quite,
Like Jove, who, from Olympus' height,
Hurls thunderbolts at random.

One draws his gold from Lombardstreet,

And 'mongst the Barons buys a seat;

The Lord knows why or wherefore! Another, give him rural sports, And crowded cities, splendid courts, He not a jot will care for.

The merchant, baulk'd by Boreas, vents His idle anger, and laments

Some luckless speculation; Of ease, and Clapham Common talks, But soon on Gresham's murmuring walks,

Resumes his daily station.

This makes the jolly God his theme,
In claret drowns Aurora's beam,

And riots with the friskers:
That a dragoon, delights in war,
And clatters, thoughtless of Mamma,
In high-heel'd boots and whiskers.
Me toil and ease alternate share,
Books, and the converse of the fair,
(To see is to adore 'em)

AMBROSE AND HIS DOG. From a volume of MS. Poems, called, "The Minor Minstrel."


Author of the Peasant's Fate, Scenes of Youth, &c.

THE clock had struck the midnight hour,

And all the village slept, Save JULIA-list'ning to the show'r, She, lonely, watch'd and wept. For, ere the sun peep'd o'er the hill,

To town her AMBROSE went: And sure some unexpected ill

Must his return prevent!

What, though the wood he pass'd beside,

He needed nothing fear;
For honest Dobbin was his guide,
And faithful Tray was there.

The heath was wild! the roads were bad;

'Twas dark, and dreary too; 'Twas cold; but he was doubly clad, And well the way he knew.

Thus while she ponder'd, clam'rous


Poor Tray, with scratch and whine. The mistress rose; and much to blame His rudeness did incline.

As gladly she the door unbarr'd,
Her weary man to greet,
The gen'rous dog with kind regard,
Rush'd fondling round her feet.

He moan'd; he howl'd; he seiz'd her


And drew her gently forth; She follow'd him across the down, For she had prov'd his worth.

With these, and London for my home, Beside the road the quarries lay,

I envy not the joys of Rome,

The Circus or the Forum!

If you, great sir, will deign to vote For Horace in his London coat,

Nor check my classic fury; My lofty head, whene'er I sit To judge a new play in the pit,

Shall touch the dome of Drury.

Capacious, dark and deep;

The steed had swerv'd one step astray,

And tumbled down the steep.

There lay poor Ambrose stunn'd and


Unhurt his beast stands by; And thither Tray with frisking tail, Attracts his mistress' eye.

« TrướcTiếp tục »