Tales eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 328 pages of information about Tales.
Nor good nor evil can you beings name,
Who are but rooks and castles in the game;
Superior natures with their puppets play,
Till, bagg’d or buried, all are swept away.” 
   Such were the notions of a mind to ill
Now prone, but ardent and determined still: 
Of joy now eager, as before of fame,
And screen’d by folly when assail’d by shame,
Deeply he sank; obey’d each passion’s call,
And used his reason to defend them all. 
   Shall I proceed, and step by step relate
The odious progress of a Sinner’s fate? 
No—­let me rather hasten to the time
(Sure to arrive!) when misery waits on crime. 
   With Virtue, prudence fled; what Shore possessed
Was sold, was spent, and he was now distressed: 
And Want, unwelcome stranger, pale and wan,
Met with her haggard looks the hurried man: 
His pride felt keenly what he must expect
From useless pity and from cold neglect. 
   Struck by new terrors, from his friends he fled,
And wept his woes upon a restless bed;
Retiring late, at early hour to rise,
With shrunken features, and with bloodshot eyes: 
If sleep one moment closed the dismal view,
Fancy her terrors built upon the true: 
And night and day had their alternate woes,
That baffled pleasure, and that mock’d repose;
Till to despair and anguish was consign’d
The wreck and ruin of a noble mind. 
   Now seized for debt, and lodged within a jail,
He tried his friendships, and he found them fail;
Then fail’d his spirits, and his thoughts were all
Fix’d on his sins, his sufferings, and his fall: 
His ruffled mind was pictured in his face,
Once the fair seat of dignity and grace: 
Great was the danger of a man so prone
To think of madness, and to think alone;
Yet pride still lived, and struggled to sustain
The drooping spirit and the roving brain;
But this too fail’d:  a Friend his freedom gave,
And sent him help the threat’ning world to brave;
Gave solid counsel what to seek or flee,
But still would stranger to his person be: 
In vain! the truth determined to explore,
He traced the Friend whom he had wrong’d before. 
   This was too much; both aided and advised
By one who shunn’d him, pitied, and despised: 
He bore it not; ’twas a deciding stroke,
And on his reason like a torrent broke: 
In dreadful stillness he appear’d a while,
With vacant horror and a ghastly smile;
Then rose at once into the frantic rage,
That force controlled not, nor could love assuage. 
   Friends now appear’d, but in the Man was seen
The angry Maniac, with vindictive mien;
Too late their pity gave to care and skill
The hurried mind and ever-wandering will: 
Unnoticed pass’d all time, and not a ray
Of reason broke on his benighted way;
But now he spurn’d the straw in pure disdain,
And now laugh’d loudly at the clinking chain. 
   Then, as its wrath subsided by degrees,
Project Gutenberg
Tales from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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