Tales eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 328 pages of information about Tales.
Who play’d for ten dull years a scoundrel part,
To worm yourself into a Widow’s heart? 
Now, when you guarded, with superior skill,
That lady’s closet, and preserved her Will,
Blind in your craft, you saw not one of those
Opposed by you might you in turn oppose,
Or watch your motions, and by art obtain
Share of that wealth you gave your peace to gain. 
Did conscience never” —
                        “Cease, tormentor, cease —
Or reach me poison;—­let me rest in peace!”
“Agreed—­but hear me—­let the truth appear.” 
“Then state your purpose—­I’ll be calm and hear.” 
“Know then, this wealth, sole object of your care,
I had some right, without your hand, to share;
My mother’s claim was just—­but soon she saw
Your power, compell’d, insulted, to withdraw: 
’Twas then my father, in his anger, swore
You should divide the fortune, or restore. 
Long we debated—­and you find me now
Heroic victim to a father’s vow;
Like Jephtha’s daughter, but in different state,
And both decreed to mourn our early fate: 
Hence was my brother servant to your pride,
Vengeance made him your slave, and me your bride. 
Now all is known—­a dreadful price I pay
For our revenge—­but still we have our day: 
All that you love you must with others share,
Or all you dread from their resentment dare:  —
Yet terms I offer—­let contention cease;
Divide the spoil, and let us part in peace.” 
   Our hero trembling heard—­he sat, he rose —
Nor could his motions nor his mind compose;
He paced the room—­and, stalking to her side,
Gazed on the face of his undaunted bride,
And nothing there but scorn and calm aversion spied. 
He would have vengeance, yet he fear’d the law;
Her friends would threaten, and their power he saw;
“Then let her go:”  but, oh! a mighty sum
Would that demand, since he had let her come;
Nor from his sorrows could he find redress,
Save that which led him to a like distress;
And all his ease was in his wife to see
A wretch as anxious and distress’d as he: 
Her strongest wish, the fortune to divide,
And part in peace, his avarice denied;
And thus it happen’d, as in all deceit,
The cheater found the evil of the cheat;
The Husband griev’d—­nor was the Wife at rest;
Him she could vex, and he could her molest;
She could his passion into frenzy raise,
But, when the fire was kindled, fear’d the blaze;
As much they studied, so in time they found
The easiest way to give the deepest wound;
But then, like fencers, they were equal still, —
Both lost in danger what they gain’d in skill;
Each heart a keener kind of rancour gain’d,
And, paining more, was more severely pain’d,
And thus by both was equal vengeance dealt,
And both the anguish they inflicted felt.



Project Gutenberg
Tales from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook