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With branded and convicted poverty,
From the ungenial refuge of a gaol
Into the general air.
'Tis sweet to see
The day-dawn creeping gradual o'er the sky:
The silent sun at noon is bright and fair,
And the calm eve is lovely; but 'tis sad
To sink at eve on the dark dewy turf,
And feel that none in all the countless host
Of glimmering stars beholds one little spot,
One humble home of thine. The vast void sky,
In all its trackless leagues of azure light,
Has not one breath of comfort for the wretch
enfranchises, A brother freeman of the midnight owl, A sworn acquaintance of the howling winds And flaggy-pinion'd rain. Now Leonard leaves The prison gates ;—but whither will he go? Must he, the high-born, high-soul'd youth, implore The stinted kindness of offended kinCrave pardon for the deadly sin of need; And wrench from shame, not love, a pittance less Than goes to feed the hounds? 'This he must do, Or eat the bread of loathsome beggary; For though he did not scorn the honest plough, He knew not how to guide it. Rustic churls Bemock'd his threadbare, pale gentility,
And would not grant him leave to toil for hire.
Oh, cruel fate !-his spirit stoop'd to beg
A shelter for his mother—'Twas refused.
No matter- There was kindness in the clouds,
And son and mother lay secure, beneath
The sylvan roof of charitable boughs.
The Lady, proudest of the proud, forgot
Her in-bred pride, and wept consoling tears,
And praying-pour'd a blessing on her child.
There is more mercy in the merciful God
Than e'er inhabited the pregnant eyes
Of men, who waste unprofitable tears
For all imaginable woes, and leave
uncomforted, to wail their own. There came a kinsman from a foreign land, O'erfraught with wealth,—whose British heart, un
Had stood the siege of Oriental suns,
And the dire sap of all-transmuting gold-
A rich good man.—He blamed the tardy winds
Which would not let him free his old kind coz
From durance vile of helpless poverty ;
But still the son survived—the widow'd wife
Still drew her woeful breath—and he had power
To call the orphan to a friendly home-
To bid the widow wear her comely weeds
Beside a plenteous and a smiling board.
Few days transpired, and Leonard was again
The heir of thousands—the undoubted lord
Of his paternal acres, all redeem'd.
The ancient pictures re-assumed their place
In the old smoky hall—the antique arms
In dusty state resumed their dusk repose.
The branching trophies, and the furry spoils
Of many an oft-related, endless chase,
Found their due station ; while the worn-out steeds,
Repurchased, roam'd the venerable park,
From vilest drudgery freed. The hallow'd bones
Of the late lord, unearth'd, were laid in state
With old, ancestral, lordly rottenness;
And if the pride of earth be known in Heaven,
Earth's noblest pride--then Leonard's Angel sire
Look'd down exultant on his marble tomb,
And blest his only child.
And shall no drop
Of all this blessing comfort Susan's soul?
Right sorry now, I ween, her sordid sire
For his o'er-prudent haste, and breach of faith :-
He saw his daughter's beauty marr'd with tears ;
Her soul benumb’d with dull continuous woe,
And a strange wildness in her sad, soft eye,
That rather told of visionary gleams,
And silent commerce with the viewless world,
Than aught which man may love. If e'er she spake,
Her voice was hollow as the moaning wind,
An echo of despair. Yet she would sing
Throughout the long hours of the frosty night:
It would have wrung your very heart to hear her-
She sang so like a ghost. “Will the proud youth,"
Thus, measuring other natures by his own,
Her father thought—“Will Leonard love her still?
Will the large-acred heir, whom late I spurn'd,
Accept my child—when all her bloom is fled-
Her eye no longer bright-and her sweet wits
By sorrow crazed ? I did him grievous wrong-
And will he sue me
And give the glory of his ancient name-
The lusty verdure of his years, and all
His hopes on earth, to a poor moonstruck maid,
The daughter of his father's enemy?"
Base, slanderous fears! For Leonard's love was strong
Beyond the might of mutability.
No rash impatience of the youthful blood,
No sudden liking of enamour'd sense,
His vow had prompted—and no change of hue,
Nor loss of lively cheer, the work of woe,
Could shake his truth. I need not say—how soon
His suit renew'd, nor with what faint excuse
By Susan's sire admitted.—Oh, blind haste !
Of unadvised bliss, that came so late,
And wrought its tyrannous effect so soon.
For sorrow had become the element,
The pulse, the sustenance of Susan's soul,
And sudden joy smote like the fire of Heaven,
That, while it brightens, slays. A hectic flush,
Death's crimson banner, cross'd her marble cheek-
And it was pale again.—The strife was past,
She lies, a virgin corse, in Leonard's arms.
He saw her shrouded relics laid to rest
In his ancestral sepulchre. That done,
He was a wanderer long in foreign lands:
But when the greenness of his agony
Was sere with age, the hoary man return'd;
And after some few years in virtue spent,
He died. His bones repose in Susan's grave;
And he is with her, in the land where love,
Immortal and unstain'd, is all in all.