« PreviousContinue »
Mad. G.– As she goes away.) We'll have it with oil then. (M. G. left to himself, remains some time motionless and stupefied before his desk. At last, when he begins to compose himself, when his ideas return, and he resumes his pen, his children come knocking at the door and call out) Dinner, papa !-papa, dinner. It is waiting for you.
M. G.-/ Throwing his pen on one side.) And thus passes the day of a man of letters !
ORIGINAL IRISH SONG.
THE FAREWELL TO KILLARNEY.*
EDITED BY MRS. CRAWFORD.
When death demands the tribute which none can deny,
While thus I am lamented by each lovely maid,
Adieu, sweet Killarney, I shall see thee no more!
It was on a lovely morning in the early autumn that a happy family party was assembled to spend the day in the delightful shades of Killarney, previously to the departure of one of them, a young officer, who, in a few days, was to rejoin his regiment. After they had dined, the wine was circulated, the song went round, the social converse flowed,
" And all went merry as a marriage bell,” when suddenly the young officer became pensive and abstracted, and withdrawing from the company, he threw himself upon a shady bank, lost in his own contemplations. A strong and painful presentiment had come across his mind that he was visiting that endeared and pleasant scene for the last time. After surveying the luxuriant woods, the silver lake, and the happy group which he had just quitted, he put down his thoughts in unpremeditated verse ; and on the evening before his departure, he placed in the hands of one of his sisters the foregoing song, in which I ħave made only some slight alterations. The presentiment proved to be but too correct. The regiment to which he belonged was ordered on foreign service, and he shortly afterwards fell, far from his friends and from his native Ireland.
Such were the particulars related to me by an Irish lady from the neighbourhood of Killarney, from whom I had both the air and the words of the song, more than twenty years ago.
EDMUND AND ANNA;
A TRADITIONARY LEGEND.
“This afternoon will seal my earthly felicity; I shall be the happiest man alive !" ejaculated Edmund, on the morning of the day on which he was to lead his Anna to the hymeneal altar.
It was no marvel though Edmund exulted in the near approach of the hour which was to consummate the nuptials of two of the most devoted lovers the world ever witnessed; for Anna was possessed of every quality, mental and personal, which could be supposed to administer to the bliss of him who was fortuned to be her husband. But independently of Anna's abstract fascinations, there were circumstances which must of themselves have produced in the breast of Edmund a peculiar attachment to her. Five suitors had importunately solicited her hand in marriage during her courtship with him: and among these was Melvyn, a neighbouring nobleman, high in the esteem of his sovereign, Alexander the Second. But Edmund, though inferior in station to Melvyn and each of his four other rivals, was unhesitatingly and decidedly preferred to them all. And no less fervent was the affection with which he regarded Anna. His entire existence was bound up in hers, and the world, and life itself, when weighed in the balance with her, were found to be incalculably wanting.
The nuptial morn of the youthful lovers was one of the most congenial and pleasant which ever burst on the world since its creation. It was in the month of April. The superficies of the earth was beautifully carpetted with new-born grass-the garden, the orchard, the hedge, the plantation, the forest, all smiled in their new coverings. The sun poured forth his beams with more than wonted profusion, tinging the entire of creation with an exquisitely yellow radiance ; innumerable choristers of every species of the singing tribe imparted, by the melody of their warblings, additional charms to that bright morn. Nature herself, in fine, seemed on this occasion to be jubilant at the approaching nuptials of a pair who were so worthy of each other.
The vassals of Emerson, Anna's father, exulted without measure at the circumstance of their cheiftain's only daughter being about to be united to the youth of her choice; and as all were that evening to participate in the ample festivities of the baronial hall, they attired themselves in the best costume of their clan, and prepared to celebrate the joyous event with all becoming respect for their chieftain and the young bride and bridegroom.
The afternoon arrived, and at the hour of five, the beautiful bride approached the hymeneal altar, accompanied by her maids of honour, and the wives and daughters of the more respectable of her father's vassals. Edmund was present at the appointed hour, luxuriating in waking dreams of the matchless bliss which was about to be sealed from henceforth to him. The venerable Abbot of Kinloss, a man who was verging on seventy years of age, and whose countenance eloquently discoursed of his unaffected piety, stationed himself beside the interesting couple, and before proceeding to go through the matrimonial ceremony, he uttered, with a mingled air of mildness and solemnity, the usual behest of “Join hands." The lovers stretched out their respective hands to each other; Anna's was white as the unsunned snow, while her beautiful countenance was suffused with a deep blush, indicative of her modesty-a blush which, if possible, imparted new fascinations to that unrivalled face. The reverend abbot now commenced the marriage ritual. With uplifted hands, and a visage beaming with benignity, he was addressing his orisons to that Being in whose service the greater portion of his life had been spent, imploring his special benediction on the youthful pair now standing at the altar, when an arrow from some invisible bow infixed itself in his heart. That instant he dropped on the foor, at the feet of the party who surrounded him. All present were horror-struck at the strange circumstance, and gazed on each other in mute amazement, simultaneously listening at the same time, as if by instinct, in the hope they would hear such sounds in some part of the large hall as would lead them to the discovery of the foeman ; but the first thing that broke the death-like momentary silence that prevailed was the expiring groan of Heaven's aged servant. The bride fainted at the appalling scene; and while the bridegroom was in the act of raising her up, Melvyn, attended by a host of myrmidons, suddenly appeared at the portals of the hall, their flaming eyes speaking the deeds of blood on which they were intent.
“See to the protection of Anna!” cried Edmund, and he clenched his dagger in his hand. He burned to revenge himself on his deadly foe, but he could not so far master his feelings of affection for his bride as to quit her to engage in combat with Melvyn. Apprised of the presence of the unhallowed intruders, the clansmen of Edmund's virtual father-in-law rushed to the aid of their chieftain, his daughter, and her bridegroom. The hall was now crowded with foemen, ranged under two great divisionseach willing and prepared to shed the last drop of his blood in the quarrel of their respective chieftains.
The conflict now commenced with the utmost fierceness on each side ; the clashing of the instruments of death might have been heard far and wide, till at length, overpowered by superior
numbers, the clansmen of Emerson were almost all strewed on the floor of the hall, either already in the embraces of death, or momentarily expecting to be so, from the number and severity of their wounds. Edmund and Emerson defended Anna with a more than mortal bravery ; but Melvyn and his leading vassals at last surrounded them, wrenched their daggers from them, and consequently rendered her further protection beyond the compass of human courage and power.
'Spare the two miscreants," — referring to Emerson and Edmund—“spare the two miscreants, that mortification may be their portion,” cried Melvyn, addressing himself to his surviving clansmen, as he seized the affrighted Anna in his arms, and proceeded with her to the door. A steed was there in waiting, which he mounted, and placing Anna before him, he galloped off with his prize to his own castle, only four miles distant, followed by his vassals.
“Thou art now in safe custody, young bride,” said he to Anna, as one of his servants shut the ponderous iron gate which fronted his walled castle.
On reaching his mansion, Melvyn led Anna into the most splendid apartment in it, and having placed before her the most delicious refreshment the house could afford, he pressed her to partake of it, but she refused.
“ Is not thy foolish obstinacy yet overcome, lady ?” said he to her, in a half sneering tone. 'Whether, think you,” continued the haughty chieftain, "are a dungeon and chains, or being made the lady of Melvyn Castle, most to be preferred ? ”
Anna was silent.
“Nay, young maid, hast not thou the use of that member so characteristic of thy sex ?” said Melvyn, sarcastically.
Anna, who had but partially recovered from her swoon when wrested from the arms of Edmund, and who had taken it for granted that both he and her father had been the victims of Melvyn's limitless fury, implored the chieftain, in accents which were repeatedly interrupted by the irrepressible grief which swelled her gentle bosom, and which vented itself in an ocean of tears, to terminate her life that instant, as an act of tender mercy.
“ A few hours of a solitary dungeon will perhaps bring thee to thy senses, and cure thee of thy regards for Edmund; if not, I shall then wed thee per force !” said Melvyn; and so saying, he dragged the agonized Anna to a gloomy cell, in which he was wont to incarcerate the persons of those of his vassals who had incurred his displeasure.
The enraged chieftain then despatched a special messenger for a priest to unite him and Anna together in marriage, but being some distance from home, several hours elapsed before his services could be obtained.
Emerson and Edmund, who, though worsted in the conflict between them and Melvyn's party, had been permitted to enjoy their liberty unmolested after the latter had decamped with Anna, began to muse on the calamity which had befallen them, and to think whether or not it was within the range of possibility to do anything for the recovery of the person of the bride.
Edmund was intimately acquainted with the localities of Melvyn's castle and its vicinity, and knew that after sunset there was one part of its walls defended only by one person, which to adventurous spirits it would be perhaps practicable to scale, and if they could succeed in this, and slay the sentinel, they might undiscovered enter the castle itself, and yet rescue Anna from the haughty chieftain.
The project wore a sufficiently clesperate aspect ; but Edmund --yes, and Emerson too, though comparatively advanced in years, were both in that reckless state of mind which fitted them to undertake any enterprise within the confines of practicability.
Calling to their assistance, and acquainting them with their project, the most spirited of those of Emerson's vassals who had survived the recent conflict, the bridegroom and the bride's father accordingly armed themselves at every point, and hastened to the neighbourhood of Melvyn's walled castle.
The sun had buried himself below the western horizon two hours before they left Emerson's hall on their adventurous purpose. The night was exceedingly dark; hours had to elapse before the moon would show her visage, and not one of the countless lesser luminaries, which at other times bestud and sparkle in the firmament, was visible to the eye; all were enshrouded from mortal gaze by one apparently vast cloud. Emerson, Edmund, and their party, amounting in all to twelve, arrived at the part of the wall they were to attempt to scale, and one of the tallest and stoutest of their number placed himself in the position best adapted for enabling the others to avail themselves of the assistance of his shoulders, in endeavouring to scale it. Edmund, with sword in hand, was the first to make the attempt, and on reaching the sum. mit was astonished to find there was no sentinel there. Impressed with the idea, from the different voices he heard on the outside and not being able from the pitchy darkness of the night to correct his error-that there were a vast number of regularly organized besiegers, the sentinel, instead of standing at his post, ran to the castle, for the purpose of giving the alarm. The remaining ten instantly followed Edmund, but the eleventh, not having any one to assist him to scale the wall, was necessitated to remain outside. Edmund's party were at the castle almost contemporaneously with the sentinel, and at the most important part of it before him. The brilliant illumination visible in one of the most spacious apartments led them immediately to it. Edmund unceremoni