Page images
PDF
EPUB

The silken sails flap in the breeze

With the low murmuring sound
Which the excited senses please

And lull to peace profound !
Friends, blessings, prayers, attend thee, too,

And waftures from the shore,
As did they that ill-fated crew

Who saw their homes no more !
Thy foot's on the uncertain deck,

Love guides thy step the while :
How bright the smile his lips doth deck!

How bright thy answering smile!
How calm the sea! how clear the sky!

How bland the fanning air !
There is no danger lurking nigh,

No brooding storm to scare!
Lady! deceitful is that calm,

Deceitful are those skies ;
Soon, soon, to terrify, alarm,

The tempest will arise.
Then be prepared to furl the sails,

To breast the rising surge ;
Look, look to Heaven! that but avails

Thy devious course to urge !
Seat Resignation at the helm,

Let God thy pilot be,
And he will never overwhelm

Thy vessel in the sea.
This is no world for love and case,

But active trial and strife;
And hourly sorrows fret and teaze

The woman when a wife.
No more on others must she lean,

But on her own strong mind,
And in herself in every teen

Support and comfort find.
Nay, others will upon her rest,

And look to her for aid,
And she will feel upon her breast

A weary burden laid.
She is the dial where the rays

Of home-joys concentrate;
She is the wasat * prop that stays

Tott'ring domestic state.
Her husband on her doth rely

For all the bliss he hath ;

“Wasat is the centre or strongest prop of an Arab tent. The Arabians often seize hold of it, when they take a solemn oath, to give it more weight-meaning, it they violate it, may the prop give way and fall and crush their wives and children.” - Arabian Readings,

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

"Pray for those thou lovest; thou wilt never have any comfort of his friendship for whom thou dost not pray."

Parr.

Yes, pray for those thou lovest—thou mayst vainly, idly seek
The force of fervid tenderness by feeble words to speak;
Go, kneel before thy Father's throne, and meekly, humbly there
Ask blessings for the lov'd one in the silent hour of prayer.

Yes, pray for those thou lovest; if uncounted wealth were thine,
The treasures of the boundless deep, the riches of the mine,
Thou couldst not to thy cherish'd friend so dear a gift impart
As the earnest benediction of a deeply-loving heart.

Seek not the worldling's friendship, it shall droop and wane ere long,
In the cold and heartless glitter of the pleasure-loving throng;
But seek the friend who, when thy prayer for him shall murmur'd be,
Breathes forth in faithful sympathy a fervent prayer for thee.

And should thy flowery path of life become a path of pain,
The friendship formed in bonds like these thy spirit shall sustain ;
Years may not chill, nor change invade, nor poverty impair,
The love that grew and flourished at the holy time of prayer.

THE POACHER;

OR,

THE CRIMINAL FROM LOSS OF HONOUR.

A TRUE STORY.-TRANSLATED FROM THE GERMAN OF SCHILLER.

CHRISTIAN WOLF was the son of an inn-keeper in an inland town of Germany (the name of which, for reasons which will appear in the sequel, we must conceal), and, until his twentieth year, helped his mother, his father being dead, to attend to the public-house. The business was bad, and Wolf had idle hours. Even from his school days he was known as an unsteady boy. Grown-up maid. ens brought complaints of his impudence, and the youngsters of the little town did homage to his ingenious head. Nature had neglected his person ; a little, unsightly figure, frizzled hair of a disagreeable blackness, a flattened nose and swelled upper lip, which was, moreover, driven from its right direction by the kick of a horse, gave a repulsiveness to his aspect which scared all women from him, and offered abundant food for the wit of his companions.

He desired to attain what was denied him; because he inspired dislike he determined to please. He was sensitive, and persuaded himself that he loved. The maiden whom he chose ill-used him; he had cause to fear that his rival was more fortunate. Yet the girl was poor ; a heart that remained closed to his protestations would perhaps open itself to his presents; but want oppressed himself, and the idle attempt to give some worth to his exterior swallowed up the little which he gained by an inn not much frequented. Too indolent and too ignorant to help up his disordered economy by speculation, too proud and also too delicate to exchange the master which he had hitherto been for the peasant, and to give up his adored freedom, he saw but one expedient before him, which thousands before him and after him have seized on with better fortune—the expedient of stealing genteelly. His native town bordered on a crown forest; he became a poacher; and the produce of his depredations found its way faithfully into the hands of his beloved.

Among Johanna’s lovers was Robert, a huntsman in the employ of the forester. He soon remarked the advantage which the liberality of his rival had gained over him, and he sought with jealousy after the source of this change. He showed himself more assiduously at the Sun- this was the sign of the inn-his watchful eye, sharpened by jealousy and envy, soon discovered to him whence this money flowed. Not long before a strict edict against poaching had been renewed, which condemned the transgressor to the house of correction. Robert was unwearied in stealing upon the secret walks of his enemy; at last he succeeded in seizing the imprudent man in the act. Wolf was arrested, and with difficulty, and only by the sacrifice of his whole little fortune, succeeded in turning aside the appointed punishment by a fine.

Robert triumphed; his rival was beaten out of the field, and Johanna's favour for the beggar was lost. Wolf knew his enemy, and this enemy was the happy possessor of his Johanna. A pressing feeling of want joins with offended pride, necessity and jealousy rush in combined upon his sensibility, hunger drives him out in the wide world, revenge and passion hold him fast. He becomes a second time a poacher; but Robert's redoubled watchfulness overreaches him again. Now he experiences the whole severity of the law, for he has nothing more to give, and in a few weeks he is consigned to the house of correction.

The year of punishment was passed ; his passion increased by absence, and his obstinacy had risen under the pressure of misfortune. He had scarcely obtained freedom, when he hurried to the place of his birth to show himself to his Johanna ; he appears, men fly from him. Pressing necessity has at last bent his pride and overcome his effeminacy; he offers himself to the rich of the place, and wishes to labour for daily wages. The farmer shrugs his shoulders at the weak and delicate man; the compact frame of his strong competitor supplants him with this unfeeling patron. He ventures a last trial. One office is still empty--the last, the lowest post of an honourable name; he turns to the herdsman of the town, but the peasant will intrust his swine to no good-for-nothing fellow. Disappointed in all projects, turned back from every place, he becomes for the third time a poacher, and for the third time the misfortune overtakes him of falling into the hands of his watchful enemy.

The double relapse had aggravated his guilt. The judges looked in the book of laws, but not one looked into the frame of mind of the accused. The mandate against poaching required an exemplary satisfaction, and Wolf was condemned—the sign of the gallows burnt upon his back-to labour three years at the fortifications.

This period also passed away and he left the fortifications, but quite changed from when he entered them. Here begins a new epoch in his life ; let us hear himself, as he afterwards made confession to his spiritual assistant and before the court of justice.

" I entered the fortifications,” he said, “ an erring man, and left them a villain. I had still something in the world which was dear to me, and my pride bent under the disgrace. When I

was brought to the fortifications they confined me with three-andtwenty prisoners, among whom were two murderers, and the rest all noted thieves and vagabonds. They scoffed at me when I spoke of God, and set me on to say shameful blasphemies against the Saviour. They sang loose songs to me, which I, a careless boy, did not hear without disgust and horror ; but what I saw practised revolted my sense of decency still more. No day went by without an infamous life being repeated, or a worse event invented. At first I fled from these people, and crept away from their conversation as much as was possible for me, but I wanted a living creature, and the barbarity of my jailers had even denied me my dog. The labour was hard and tyrannical, my body sickly; I required assistance, and if I am to speak sincerely, I required compassion, and this I had to buy with the last remains of my conscience; so I at length accustomed myself to what was most horrible, and in the last quarter of a year I had gone beyond my masters.

“From this time I languished for the day of my freedom as I languished for revenge. All men had injured me, for all were better and happier than I. I considered myself as the martyr to natural rights, and as a victim to the law. Gnashing my teeth, I ground my chains when the sun rose behind my fortifications; an extensive prospect is twofold hell to a prisoner. The free draught of wind which whistled through the air-hole of my tower, and the swallow which settled on the iron rod of my gate, appeared to provoke me with their freedom, and made my confinement so much the more frightful to me. Then I vowed unappeasable, glowing hatred to all that resembled mankind, and what I vowed I have fairly performed.

“My first thought, as soon as I saw myself free, was my native town. The fewer hopes I could entertain for my future livelihood there, the more food did my hunger after revenge promise to itself. My heart beat more wildly as the church tower rose from afar off through the thicket; it was no longer the heart-felt pleasure that I had experienced on my first return-the recollection of all the hardships, all the persecutions I had once suffered there woke up at once from a frightful, deadly sleep. All my wounds bled afresh, all my scars re-opened. I redoubled my pace, for it refreshed me to terrify my enemy, in anticipation, by my sudden appearance; and I now thirsted as earnestly after fresh degradation as I had formerly trembled at it.

“ The bells were ringing for vespers when I stood in the midst of the market-place. The people were swarming to the church. I was soon recognised; every one who met me stepped back frightened. I had hitherto been very fond of children, and even now I could not avoid involuntarily offering a boy who capered past me a small coin. The boy stared at me for a moment and threw the

« PreviousContinue »