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STANZAS FOR MUSIC.
J. H. WIFFEN, ESQ.
That stole into my ear like music dying
Answering the nightingale, or zephyrs sighing
It discomposed my joys.
Happier by far than this; that living breath
Winged the blue wave : passed were the gates of death,
Looked upwards on thy face.
Checked my fond passion with an air austere
Than lute or zephyr thou mad'st answer—" Fear;
Oh! tell me, dreamt I true ?
THE FEMALE SPLENETIC. THERE are a thousand ways of being disagreeable, and of being 80 with full effect; but we will suppose our present proficient in the “ art of ingeniously tormenting” to be a married woman, and newly married, in order to account for the undue attention paid to her caprices.
After innumerable objections and delays on the part of this privileged tormentor, imagine a “ Rural Excursion” planned, and the party formed; the latter consisting of the obsequious husband, his much enduring sister, and the bride's-maid, and groom's-man, who are lovers for the time being. The simple minded reader may fancy, too, that out of such harmonious mate. rials it would be difficult to manufacture discord; alas! “ full little doth he know that hath not tried,"-or rather been tried! On the eventful morning, when every thing is in its “ gayest, happiest attitude," and the expectations of the whole party are as highly raised as their spirits, their evil genius comes down to breakfast with an intolerable head-ache, (a gentleman's pain when he is jealous, and a lady's whenever she wants an excuse for an ill humour), sympathy—eau de Cologne, even eau de vie are applied in vain ;--the head-ache is obstinate, but the lady " will not deprive others of pleasure,” the carriages are ordered to the door, and with an air of martyr-like resignation, she takes her seat in the chaise between her husband and sister-in-law. The unmarried pair follow in a Gig, When a short time has elapsed, and the lovers are deeply engrossedin interesting conversation, the tormentor discovers that the noise of the carriage wheels increases her head-ache ;-that riding with the windows up makes her sick, and that riding with them down gives her a pain in her face. She accordingly displaces the bride's maid, but has, of course, an insurmountable dread of her husband's driving. This new arrangement and division of companions, having sufficiently damped the general spirit of enjoyment, by the time the party arrive at the place of destination, matters are in ad
mirable training for the vagaries of the unhappy heroine. If the scenery is characterised by wild grandeur, she is warm in praise of a flat and fertile country ;—if she is called upon to admire a picturesque ruin, she either eulogises some modern mansion, or is insufferable in her recollections of a finer relic a hundred miles off. If the object of interest is a nobleman's park, she has either “ no taste for the beauties of nature,” or, her pleasures are of “ a social and domestic character ; 'if a magnificient collection of pictures is submitted to her inspection, she regrets her inability to see the value of “ coloured canvas,” or meekly declares that she has no genius,-plain common sense suffices her ;” and so on throughout the regular vocabulary of spiteful inuendo. If by chance she does admire any thing, it is invariably what the rest of the party declare to be worthless, while the things they approve are in her sight perfectly execrable. The only objects she wishes to see are either those which her companions have seen before, or have no curiosity to see at all.
But dinner is our heroine's hour of triumph. That every single dish should be badly cooked is a matter of course, -" this is of no consequence to her, she is not nice, thank God!-a crust is sufficient—but she does think some one need not have ordered the two things she so particularly detests :”-it may be that on this occasison“ some un-natural tears she sheds,” the obnoxious viands (sure to be the greatest delicacies at table) are removed, and harmony is restored. Alas! no such luck ;-a complete danıp has been thrown over the party;-conversation languishes;-on the husband's brow is a frown, caused by, and correspondent with, that on his lady's—the lovers sigh over the past, and the unfortunate sister dreads the future! Should the weather prove cloudy, the lady-wife is vehement in her regrets that some other day had not been chosen, and becomes poetical in her descriptions of parties of pleasure in which she bore a part—“be. fore she was married.” This clause is followed by a sigh, intended for her lord's; private hearing. Should, however, the weather, scenery, and dinner be obstinately comme il faut, as a last resource, her morning head-ache returns with redoubled violence : she cannot stir-she dare not be left aloneif the lovers effect their escape from the scene of torment, the sister and the husband must remain behind, and fail, even then, in alleviating either her fancied pain, or real pettishness. If they converse with each other, the “ noise goes through her head,”-if silent, they take “ no pains to amuse her,”—if the gentleman laughs," he has no feeling,”-if he looks serious, “ he makes her low spirited,”- and thus she goes on through an interminable et-cetera of complaints.
The ride home is in character,--she is suddenly seized with fears lest her bride's maid should take cold in the night air, and insists on the gentlemen occupying the gig, and enjoying the moonlight ride together. She, herself, either falls asleep, or maintains a sulky silence, broken at intervals by grievous sighs,—but the probability is, that, arrived at home, the time of tormenting being expired, her spirits and good humour return, and she suddenly discovers that there was beauty and delight in the very objects which, at the time, she pronounced “ flat, stale, and unprofitable !” Thus to dissent—to disapprove—to contradict—are sure means of spoiling a party of pleasure,-methods too of such easy practice, that neither wit nor wisdom, mind nor manner, are requisite; in short, nothing more than a tolerable stock of SELFISHNESS and ILL HUMOUR !
RICHARD DE ROSSAYNE ;
OR, THE GOLDEN HELMET. The moon was shining brightly over the track of country between Basel and Hohenelms, as a solitary knight pricked his steed by the banks of the lordly and glittering Rhine. The plain was lit with soft showers of light, and the dark woods from which the warrior had just emerged, were fringed with the same illumination, which rested like a radiant crown on the summit of its profound masses of foliage. Few stars were discernible, so completely was their faint twinkling overpowered by the flood of radiance that streamed from the full-orbed planet.
Sound there was none, save the rushing of the mighty waters, and the leisurely tramp of the knight's steed, as slackening the reins he suffered it to abate its speed. It was midnight, and he bethought him of his lady love, whose straw-coloured scarf was bound over his left shoulder, and whose glove, of the same colour, was attached to the saliant lion that crested his helmet.
The horseman was, apparently, a man of might. His height appeared to be somewhat above the common standard, an impression strengthened by the lofty plume of sable feathers that waved and nodded on his morion. His frame was athletic, and strongly set, and fitted to bear the weight of his heavy black armour. His steed was a dark chesnut, and as it paced along seemed by its motions to be conscious of the dignity of its rider.
The knight gazed on the moon; the same moon was beaming on the bower of his lady in a far distant country. How quicker than the moonbeam's course were his thoughts transferred to happy England, to the land of his love! The graceful form, the countenance, whose lineaments were all his own, the waving tresses, and the eye whose smile was more than bright, because it, too, was his; as the warrior thought of these things his head declined for a moment upon his breast, and once he sighed; but the next moment his heart was stirred with a noble ambition to render himself worthy of so glorious a prize. He put spurs to his horse, and sought in rapid motion a relief from overcharged feeling.
When next he slackened his pace, the scene was lovelier than before. He stood by the lake of Constance. Here, were its placid waters with which the mighty river was for ever mingling ; there, were the mistenshrouded mountains of Switzerland; behind him, the territory he had passed, and before him, a verdant plain, bounded by woods. One artificial object only appeared amid these works of nature.
This was a lofty and solitary tower, raising its black outline on the southern extremity of the plain. It was unsheltered by trees, and had a bleak and spectral aspect. Our knight was inclined to visit it. Should its keeper be of gentle sort, he might obtain rest, food, and lodging ; things to which even knights were under the necessity of paying occasional attention. If the castellan were a churl, there would, at least, be an opportunity for an adventure ; and what stronger inducement could a knight desire ? He turned his horse's head in the direction of the tower, but forthwith stayed the rein, observing by his side a tall figure, clothed in the habit of a palmer. · Ha ! who art thou ?'
My dress may tell you, sir knight; a poor palmer from the Holy Land.' * But whence camest thou on the instant-I saw thee not till now ?'
· That may be, worshipful sir ; I followed you.' • Followed me; and my horse at its full speed; thy pace must have been rapid, • It was indeed.'
• Well, enough; no matter to me who thou art, or whence thou comest. Is this country known to thee?'
• I know it well; there are few I do not know.'
• Thou canst tell me, then, perchance, to whom yon sulky looking tower belongs ?
• Herman Schwartz; a rich baron and a good lance.'
• Stay, sir knight; I am myself bound thither, and will conduct you, for the road is not very accessible to strangers.'
Though the knight did not refuse the palmer's proffered guidance, yet he felt he knew not why, that he would willingly have dispensed with it. There was something in his laconic mode of expression, in his dry decided tone, that he relished not. There was something strange, too, to say the least of it, in the manner of their meeting. The countenance of his companion, the knight had not been able to catch a glimpse of. Notwithstanding all this, they had not proceeded far ere he again addressed him.
• How is it that this Herman, whom thou callest rich, lives in a single tower more fit for a marauding freebooter than a knight of worship, as thou reportest him ?'
• He that guards a treasure, if he be wise, will not place it on the top of a hill to be a temptation to all who may behold it. Herman Schwartz has a daughter, said to be the fairest of her sex !!
• I deny it,' exclaimed the knight, the fairest of womankind is far away in my own England, where she thinks of her true knight, whose lance shall maintain her beauty's supremacy.'
• Or of his deputy, perchance.' • How; what is thy meaning ?'
• Only with your pardon, worshipful sir, that it may be that your lady may listen during your absence to some other knight, whose talk may while away the time until your return.'
• Silence! blasphemer,' and the knight as he spoke aimed a blow at the palmer with the butt end of his lance, which, had it taken effect, would probably, have been followed by a tolerably complete prostration. But the palmer dived under the horse's belly, and stood unharmed on the other side.
The knight laughed. It is well for thee that thy supple joints can thus enable thee to escape the effects of thy saucy tongue. But, come along, and be cautious how thou meddlest with such subjects again.'
• There is a trifling remark which I would fain be allowed to make.' • Speak, what is it!
• The knight who may visit Herman's tower, and behold his lovely daughter, may learn that there are more than one pair of eyes worthy of worship.'
Never, palmer, never. May my helmet be wanting in the battle, when I prove false, for a moment, either in thought or deed, to her to whom I have sworn fidelity.'
* Amen' quoth the palmer, and they proceeded.
It was not long ere they arrived at a thick though small wood that stood between them and the building of which they were in quest. The palmer took upon himself the office of guide, and threading a narrow and dark defile, was followed by the knight. The wood cleared, they stood on a
small plain, at the extremity of which was a deep moat, crossed by a drawbridge. On one of the outer posts of the bridge hung a horn.
Will thy lungs serve us here palmer,' said the knight, 'if not, hand me the horn.'
The palmer made no reply, but placing the instrument to his mouth, made every echo about the plain babble again and again with the blast he produced.
A voice from the other side of the moat demanded of them their business, in terms that would not have discredited Stentor himself.
Say,' replied the knight to the valiant Herman Schwartz, that an English knight, Richard of Rossayne, desires to trespass on his hospitality for a few hours.'
* Add, that the palmer Piers Heymel also awaits his pleasure,' said the knight's companion.
A minute had scarcely elapsed when the answer came.
* Herman Schwartz, the lord of this castle greets the English knight, and entreats him to honour with his company the poor house he has visited. The presence of the palmer is likewise desired.'
As the messenger spake, the chains of the draw-bridge relaxed, and suffered their burthen to descend. Richard and his companion crossed it, and were ushered by a seneschal into the tower.
The knight was introduced to a lofty and spacious chamber, at the entrance of which he was received by Herman Schwartz. The accustomed courtesies having been mutually exchanged, Rossayne took the seat to which his host conducted him at the board, which, though it was an hour past midnight, was but just spread for the baron's evening repast. Besides himself and Herman, there were three knights at the table, and several personages of an inferior rank, all seemingly military retainers, who sat at the lower end of the board.
The apartment was furnished in a style of mingled rudeness and magnificence, not uncommon to the country and the age. The rich tapestry with which the walls were hung, shook with the wind that obtained, through various crannies, admission into the room. The guests sat upon huge benches of blackened oak. The ponderous table was of the same material, but was covered with a highly embroidered cloth, and laden with massy plate. The floor was strewn with rushes, and the ceiling consisted of enormous masses of bare stone laid transversely from wall to wall.
The feast was ample, the wines rich and plentiful, the host courteous, and the knights as they related the history of their chivalrous exploits, grew gay and joyous.
* And now,' said their host, let each man drink to his own lady love ; fill to the brim worthy sirs.' The goblets were filled to overflowing. • Amice Grey,' said Rossayne.
Gertrude Rosenberg,' exclaimed the knight who sat opposite. * Isabel de Lyons,' shouted the third.
I drink to all your ladies,' said Schwartz, and continuing as they res placed their cups, “I am a widowed knight, and have no true love to drink to. But there is yet a damsel in this tower, to whom if your courtesies will so far favour her, we will fill a cup, Rosaline Schwartz, my daughter.'
Most willingly,' replied Rossayne, and they drank accordingly. 'Nay, I must trespass yet further,' said Schwartz. It is the custom