Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

LESSON LI.

The same subject, continued.

[Scene after the Marriage. — Enter the Duke, leading in Juliana.]

Duke. [Brings a chair forward, and sits doien.] You are welcome home.

Juliana. Home! You are merry ! — this retired spot Would be a palace for an owl!

Duke. 'T is ours.

Jul. Ay, for the time we stay in it.

Duke. By Heaven,
This is the noble mansion that I spoke of!

Jul. This ! — You are not in earnest, though you bear it With such a sober brow. — Come, come, you jest!

Duke. Indeed, I jest not; were it ours in jest, We should have none, wife,

Jul. Are you serious, sir?

Duke. I swear, as I'm your husband, and no duke.
Jul. No duke?

Duke. But of my own creation, lady.

Jul. Am I betrayed ? — Nay, do not play the fool1 It is too keen a joke.

Duke. You '11 find it true.

Jid. You are no duke, then?

Duke. None.

Jul. Have I been cozened?
And have you no estate, sir, —
No palaces nor houses?

Duke. None but this : —
A small snug dwelling, and in good repair.

Jul. Nor money, nor effects?

Duke. None that I know of. "Jul. And the attendants who have waited on us —

Duke. They were my friends; who, having done my business, Are gone about their own.

Jul. Why, then, 't is clear. —
That I was ever born ! — What are you, sir?

Duke. [Rises.] I am an honest man,—that may content you.

Young, nor ill-favored, — should not that content you?
I am your husband, and that must content you.

Jul. I will go home! [Going.

Duke. You are at home, already. [Staving her.

Jul. I '11 not endure it! — But remember this — Duke, or no duke, I '11 be a duchess, sir!

Duke. A duchess! You shall be a queen, — to all Who, by the courtesy, will call you so.

Jul. And I will have attendance!

Duke. So you shall, —
When you have learnt to wait upon yourself.

Jul. To wait upon myself! Must I bear this?
I could tear out my eyes, that bade you woo me,
And bite my tongue in two, for saying yes!

Duke. And if you should, 't would grow again. —
I think, to be an honest yeoman's wife
(For such, my would-be duchess, you will find me)
You were cut out by nature.

Jul. You will find, then,
That education, sir, has spoilt me for it. —
Why! do you think I '11 work?

Duke. I think't will happen, wife.

Jul. What! Rub "and scrub Your noble palace clean?

Duke. Those taper fingers
Will do it daintily.

Jul. And dress your victuals?
(If there be any). — 0! I could go mad!

Duke. And mend my hose, and darn my nightcaps neatly;

Wait, like an echo, till you 're spoken to —
Jul. Or like a clock, talk only once an hour?
Duke. Or like a dial; for that quietly

Performs its work, and never speaks at all.

Jul. To feed" your poultry and your hogs! — 0, monstrous!

And when I stir abroad, on great occasions, •
Carry a squeaking tithe-pig to the vicar;
Or jolt with higgler's wives the market trot,
To sell your eggs and butter!

Duke. Excellent!
How well you sum the duties of a wife!
Why, what a blessing I shall have in you!

Jul. A blessing!

Duke. When they talk of you and me,
Darby and Joan shall no more be remembered; —
We shall be happy!

Jul. Shall we? *

Duke. Wondrous happy!
O, you will make an admirable wife!

Jul. I '11 make a devil!

Duke. What?

Jul. A very devil!

Duke. O, no! We '11 have no devils.

Jul. I '11 not bear it!
I '11 to my father's ! —

Duke. Gently; you forget
You are a perfect stranger to the road.

Jul. My wrongs will find a way, or make one!

Duke. Softly!
You stir not hence, except to take the air;
And then I '11 breathe it with you.

Jul. What!— confine me?

Duke. 'T would be unsafe to trust you yet abroad.

Jul. Am I a truant schoolboy?

Duke. Nay, not so;
But you must keep your bounds.

Jul. And if I break' them
Perhaps you '11 beat me.

Duke. Beat you!
The man that lays his hand upon a woman,
Save in the way of kindness, is a wretch
Whom't were gross flattery to name a coward.
I '11 talk to you lady, but not beat you.

Jul. Well, if I may not travel to my father,
I may write to him, surely ! — And I will —
If I can meet within your spacious dukedom
Three such unhoped-for miracles, at once,
As pens, and ink, and paper.

Duke. You will find them
In the next room. — A word before you go. —
You are my wife, by every tie that's sacred;
The partner of my fortune and my bed —

Jul. Your fortune!

Duke. Peace! — No fooling, idle woman! Beneath the attesting eye of Heaven I've sworn To love, to honor, cherish, and protect you. No human power can part us. What remains, then? To fret, and worry and torment each other, And give a keener edge to our hard fate, By sharp upbraidings, and perpetual jars ?—

Or, like a loving and a patient pair
(Waked from a dream of grandeur, to depend
Upon their daily labor for support),
To soothe the taste of fortune's lowliness
With sweet consent, and mutual fond endearment ? —
Now to your chamber, —write whate'er you please;
But pause before you stain the spotless paper
With words that may inflame, but cannot heal!
Jul. Why, what a patient worm you take me for!
Duke. I took you for a wife; and, ere I've done,
I '11 know you for a good one.

For a right woman, full of her own sex;

Who, when she suffers wrong, will speak her anger;

Who feels her own prerogative, and scorns,

By the proud reason of superior man,

To be taught patience, when her swelling heart

Cries out revenge! [Exit.

Duke. Why, let the flood rage on! There is no tide in woman's wildest passion But hath an ebb. —I've broke the ice, however. Write to her father! ^- She may write a folio — But if she send it! — 'T will divert her spleen, — The flow of ink may save her blood-letting. Perchance she may have fits !—They are seldom morti Save when the doctor's sent for. Though I have heard some husbands say, and wisely, A woman's honor is her safest guard, Yet there's some virtue in a lock and key.

So, thus begins our honey-moon. — 'T is well!
For the first fortnight, ruder than March winds,
She '11 blow a hurricane. The next, perhaps,
Like April, she may wear a changeful face
Of storm and sunshine; and, when that is past,
She will break glorious as unclouded May;
And where the thorns grew bare, the spreading blossoms
Meet with no lagging frost to kill their sweetness.
Whilst others, for a month's delirious joy,
Buy a dull age of penance, we, more wisely,
Taste first the wholesome bitter of the cup,
That after to the very lees-shall relish;
And to the close of this frail life prolong
The pure delights of a well-governed marriage.

[graphic]

[Locks the door.

/ LESSON LII.

The Treasures of the Deep. Mrs. Hemans.

1. What hid'st thou in thy treasure-caves and cells, Thou hollow-sounding and mysterious main?

Pale glistening pearls, and rainbow-colored shells,
Bright things which gleam unrecked of and in vain.
Keep, keep thy riches, melancholy sea!
We ask not such from thee.

2. Yet more, the depths have more! What wealth untoiJ, Far down, and shining through their stillness, lies!

Thou hast the starry gems, the burning gold,
Won from ten thousand royal argosies.
Sweep o'er thy spoils, thou wild and wrathful main!
Earth claims not these again!

3. Yet more, the depths have more! Thy waves have rolled Above the cities of a world gone by!

Sand hath filled up the palaces of old,
Sea-weeds o'ergrown the halls of revelry!
Dash o'er them, ocean, in thy scornful playj
Man yields them to decay!

4. Yet more, the billows and the depths have more! High hearts and brave are gathered to thy ,breast! They hear not now the booming waters roar,

The battle-thunders will not break their rest.
Keep thy red gold and gems, thou stormy grave!
Give back the true and brave!

5. Give back the lost and lovely! Those for whom The place was kept at board and hearth so long;

The prayer went up through midnight's breathless gloom,
And the vain yearning woke 'midst festal song!
Hold fast thy buried isles, thy towers o'erthrown —
But all is not thine own!

6. To thee the love of woman hath gone down; Dark flow thy tides o'er manhood's noble head,

O'er youth's bright locks, and beauty's flowery crown!
Yet must thou hear a voice — Restore the dead!
Earth shall reclaim her precious things from thee! —
Restore the dead, thou sea!

« AnteriorContinuar »