Sighing he spake—but hark! he hears th’ approach
Of rattling wheels! and, lo! the evening coach;
Once more the movement of the horses’ feet
Makes the fond heart with strong emotion beat:
Faint were his hopes, but ever had the sight
Drawn him to gaze beside his gate at night;
And when with rapid wheels it hurried by,
He grieved his parent with a hopeless sigh;
And could the blessing have been bought—what sum
Had he not offer’d to have Jesse come!
She came—he saw her bending from the door,
Her face, her smile, and he beheld no more;
Lost in his joy—the mother lent her aid
T’assist and to detain the willing Maid;
Who thought her late, her present home to make,
Sure of a welcome for the Vicar’s sake:
But the good parent was so pleased, so kind,
So pressing Colin, she so much inclined,
That night advanced; and then, so long detain’d,
No wishes to depart she felt, or feign’d;
Yet long in doubt she stood, and then perforce remain’d.
Here was a lover fond, a friend sincere;
Here was content and joy, for she was here:
In the mild evening, in the scene around,
The Maid, now free, peculiar beauties found;
Blended with village-tones, the evening gale
Gave the sweet night-bird’s warblings to the vale:
The Youth, embolden’d, yet abash’d, now told
His fondest wish, nor found the maiden cold;
The Mother smiling whisper’d, “Let him go
And seek the licence!” Jesse answer’d “No:”
But Colin went.—I know not if they live
With all the comforts wealth and plenty give;
But with pure joy to envious souls denied,
To suppliant meanness and suspicious pride;
And village-maids of happy couples say,
“They live like Jesse Bourn and Colin Grey.”
THE STRUGGLES OF CONSCIENCE.
I am a villain; yet I lie, I am not:
Fool! of thyself speak well: —Fool! do not flatter.
My conscience hath a thousand several tongues,
And every tongue brings in a several tale.
Shakespeare, Richard III.
My conscience is but a kind of hard conscience . .
. The fiend
gives the more friendly counsel.
Merchant of Venice.
Thou hast it now—and I fear
Thou play’dst most foully for it.
Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased,
Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow,
Rase out the written troubles of the brain,
And with some sweet oblivious antidote
Cleanse the foul bosom of that perilous stuff
Which weighs upon the heart?
I did but dream.
Oh! coward conscience, how thou dost afflict me.