Page images

"From your deportment, Sir! I deem
That you have worn a sword,
And will not hold in light esteem
A suffering woman's word;
There is my covert, there perchance
I might have lain concealed,
My fortunes hid, my countenance
Not even to you revealed.

"Tears might be shed, and I might pray,
Crouching and terrified,
That what has been unveiled to day,
You would in mystery hide;

But I will not defile with dust

The knee that bends to adore
The God in heaven;-attend, be just;
This ask I, and no more!

"I speak not of the winter's cold,
For summer's heat exchanged,
While I have lodged in this rough hold,
From social life estranged;

Nor yet of trouble and alarms:
High Heaven is my defence;
And every season has soft arms
For injured Innocence.

"From Moscow to the Wilderness
It was my choice to come,

Lest virtue should be harbourless,
And honour want a home;

And happy were I, if the Czar
Retain his lawless will,

To end life here like this poor deer,
Or a lamb on a green hill."

"Are you the Maid," the Stranger cried,
"From Gallic parents sprung,
Whose vanishing was rumoured wide,
Sad theme for every tongue;
Who foiled an Emperor's eager quest ?
You, Lady, forced to wear
These rude habiliments, and rest
Your head in this dark lair!"

But wonder, pity, soon were quelled;
And in her face and mien

The soul's pure brightness he beheld
Without a veil between:
He loved, he hoped,-a holy flame
Kindled 'mid rapturous tears;
The passion of a moment came
As on the wings of years.

"Such bounty is no gift of chance,"
Exclaimed he; "righteous Heaven,
Preparing your deliverance,

To me the charge hath given.
The Czar full oft in words and deeds
Is stormy and self-willed;

But, when the Lady Catherine pleads,
His violence is stilled.

"Leave open to my wish the course,
And I to her will go ;

From that humane and heavenly source,
Good, only good, can flow."

Faint sanction given, the Cavalier
Was eager to depart,

Though question followed question, dear

To the Maiden's filial heart.

Light was his step,-his hopes, more light,
Kept pace with his desires;

And the fifth morning gave him sight
Of Moscow's glittering spires.

He sued:-heart-smitten by the wrong,
To the lorn Fugitive

The Emperor sent a pledge as strong
As sovereign power could give.

O more than mighty change! If e'er
Amazement rose to pain,
And joy's excess produced a fear

Of something void and vain ;

'Twas when the Parents, who had mourned

So long the lost as dead,

Beheld their only Child returned,

The household floor to tread.

Soon gratitude gave way to love
Within the Maiden's breast:
Delivered and Deliverer move
In bridal garments drest;

Meek Catherine had her own reward;

The Czar bestowed a dower; And universal Moscow shared The triumph of that hour.

Flowers strewed the ground; the nuptial feast Was held with costly state;

And there, 'mid many a noble guest,

The Foster-parents sate;

Encouraged by the imperial eye,

They shrank not into shade;

Great was their bliss, the honour high
To them and nature paid!



Page 1.

'Ecclesiastical Sonnets.'

DURING the month of December, 1820, I accompanied a muchbeloved and honoured Friend in a walk through different parts of his estate, with a view to fix upon the site of a new Church which he intended to erect. It was one of the most beautiful mornings

of a mild season, —our feelings were in harmony with the cherishing influences of the scene; and such being our purpose, we were naturally led to look back upon past events with wonder and gratitude, and on the future with hope. Not long afterwards, some of the Sonnets which will be found towards the close of this series were produced as a private memorial of that morning's occupation.

The Catholic Question, which was agitated in Parliament about that time, kept my thoughts in the same course; and it struck me that certain points in the Ecclesiastical History of our Country might advantageously be presented to view in verse. According y, I took up the subject, and what I now offer to the reader was the result.

When this work was far advanced, I was agreeably surprised to find that my friend, Mr. Southey, had been engaged with similir views in writing a concise History of the Church in England. If our Productions, thus unintentionally coinciding, shall be found to illustrate each other, it will prove a high gratification to me, whi:" I am sure my friend will participate.


January 24, 1822.


For the convenience of passing from one point of the subject to another without shocks of abruptness, this work has taken the shape of a series of Sonnets: but the Reader, it is to be hoped, will find that the pictures are often so closely connected as to have

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »