Beautiful vision!—as I contemplate thee, an internal harmony is communicated to my mind, a moral brightness, a tacit analogy of mental purity; a calm like that we ascribe in fancy to the favored inhabitants of thy fairy regions, “argent fields.”
I marvel not, O moon, that heathen people, in the “olden times,” did worship thy deity—Cynthia, Diana, Hecate. Christian Europe invokes thee not by these names now—her idolatry is of a blacker stain: Belial is her God—she worships Mammon.
False things are told concerning thee, fair planet—for I will ne’er believe that thou canst take a perverse pleasure in distorting the brains of us, poor mortals. Lunatics! moonstruck! Calumny invented, and folly took up, these names. I would hope better things from thy mild aspect and benign influences.
Lady of Heaven, thou lendest thy pure lamp to light the way to the virgin mourner, when she goes to seek the tomb where her warrior lover lies.
Friend of the distressed, thou speakest only peace to the lonely sufferer, who walks forth in the placid evening, beneath thy gentle light, to chide at fortune, or to complain of changed friends, or unhappy loves.
Do I dream, or doth not even now a heavenly calm descend from thee into my bosom, as I meditate on the chaste loves of Rosamund and her Clare!
* * * * *
Allan Clare was just two years older than Rosamund. He was a boy of fourteen, when he first became acquainted with her—it was soon after she had come to reside with her grandmother at Widford.
He met her by chance one day, carrying a pitcher in her hand, which she had been filling from a neighboring well—the pitcher was heavy, and she seemed to be bending with its weight.
Allan insisted on carrying it for her—for he thought it a sin that a delicate young maid, like her, should be so employed, and he stand idle by.
Allan had a propensity to do little kind offices for everybody—but at the sight of Rosamund Gray, his first fire was kindled—his young mind seemed to have found an object, and his enthusiasm was from that time forth awakened. His visits, from that day, were pretty frequent at the cottage.
He was never happier than when he could get Rosamund to walk out with him. He would make her admire the scenes he admired—fancy the wild flowers he fancied—watch the clouds he was watching—and not unfrequently repeat to her poetry which he loved, and make her love it.
On their return, the old lady, who considered them yet as but children, would bid Rosamund fetch Mr. Clare a glass of her currant-wine, a bowl of new milk, or some cheap dainty which was more welcome to Allan than the costliest delicacies of a prince’s court.
The boy and girl, for they were no more at that age, grew fond of each other—more fond than either of them suspected.