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Concluding remarks on an Epic Poem of Giles Scroggins and Molly Brown.
The circumstance which rendered Giles Scroggins peculiarly ineligible as a bridegroom eminently qualified him as a tenant for one of those receptacles in which defunct mortals progress to “that bourne from whence no traveller returns.” Fancy the bereaved Molly, or, as she is in grief, and grief is tragical, Mary Brown, denuded of her scarf and black gloves, turning faintly from the untouched cake and tasteless wine, and retiring to the virtuous couch, whereon, with aching heart, the poet asserts she, the said
“Poor Molly, laid her down to weep;”
and then contemplate her the victim of somnolent consequences, when—
“She cried herself quite fast asleep,”
Here an ordinary mind might have left the maiden and reverted “to her streaming eyes,” inflamed lids, dishevelled locks, and bursting sigh, as satisfactory evidences of the truth of her broken-heartedness, but the “great anonymous” of whom we treat, scorns the application of such external circumstances as agents whereby to depict the intenseness of the passion of the ten thousand condensed turtle-doves glowing in the bosom of his heroine. Sleep falls upon her eyes; but the “life of death,” the subtle essence of the shrouded soul, the watchful sentinel and viewless evidence of immortality, the wild and flitting air-wrought impalpabilities of her fitful dreams, still haunt her in her seeming hours of rest. Fancy her feelings—
“When, standing fast by her bed-post,
A figure tall her sight engross’d,”
and it cried—
“‘I be’s Giles Scroggins’ ghost.’”
Such is the frightful announcement commemorative of this visitation from the wandering spirit of the erratic Giles. Death has indeed parted them. Giles is cold, but still his love is warm! He loved and won her in life—he hints at a right of possession in death; and this very forgetfulness of what he was, and what he is, is the best essence of the overwhelming intensity of his passion. He continues (with a beautiful reliance on the faith and living constancy of Molly, in reciprocation, though dead, of his deathless attachment) to offer her a share, not of his bed and board, but of his shell and shroud. There is somewhat of the imperative in the invitation, which runs thus:—
“The ghost it said so solemnly,
’Oh, Molly, you must go with me,
All to the grave, your love to cool.’”
We have no doubt this assumption of command on the part of the ghost—an assumption, be it remembered, never ventured upon by the living Giles—gave rise to some unpleasant reflections in the mind of the slumbering Molly. Must is certainly an awkward word. Tell any lady that she must do this, or must do that, and, however much her wishes may have previously prompted the proceeding, we feel perfectly satisfied, that on the very shortest notice she will find an absolute and undeniable reason why such a proceeding is diametrically opposed to the line of conduct she will, and therefore ought to, adopt.