University of Virginia Library




Keen was the blast, and bleak the morn,
When Lucy took her way,
To seek the wretch, whose perjur'd vows
Had led her youth astray:
A warrior he, though little fam'd
For warlike trophies won,
Who well might boast of triumphs gain'd
O'er many a maid undone:
Of honour nice, his gaming debts
Full punctually he paid,
His valour he in duels oft
And midnight broils display'd:


In British arms, but not, I deem,
With heart of British mould,
For British hearts are firm and true,
And tender as they're bold:
If such, he ne'er, in social guise,
Poor Lucy to decoy,
Had shar'd her parents' friendly board,
And stol'n their only joy:
Had scorn'd to pledge the marriage vow,
And basely steal away,
While all compos'd in slumbers sweet
The injur'd damsel lay:
Alas! she ne'er suspected ill,
Who never ill design'd,
And void of art, ne'er knew the guile
Of man's degenerate mind:
As spotless as the blooming flower,
Which long unheeded grew,
She little reck'd her beauty's power,
Or e'er its dangers knew:


With ev'ry Christian virtue grac'd,
She serv'd in early youth
Her God, her parents, and her friends,
With duty, love, and truth:
Blest in the harmless, homely joys
The rural plains afford,
She liv'd by ev'ry maid belov'd,
By ev'ry swain ador'd,
Who, when at each revolving May
They cull'd the vernal grove,
Were proud to raise the garland gay
Her taper fingers wove:
To her in winter's hour, oppress'd
With cold and hunger sore,
The aged peasants would repair,
And bless her friendly door.
At her request, the dairy oft
And farmer's stack supplied
That aid, the guardians of the poor
Their pressing wants denied:


And when the stack or dairy fail'd,
She'd bring her little store,
And give her mite, and heave a sigh,
And wish that little more.
O! days of innocence and peace!
O! nights of sweet repose,
From you those balmy blessings flow
Which virtue only knows!
Such were the days that Lucy knew,
Such harmless nights as these
Calm'd ev'ry scene, made labour light,
And ev'ry object please:
But ah! farewell those blissful scenes
Which midst its native plains
Fond childhood views with partial eyes,
And age itself retains;
Scenes which in sweet remembrance give
That sadly pleasing joy,
Not all the busy cares of life,
Or rolling years destroy;


The spot where erst her parents glad
Her infant sports survey'd,
And where so late with pride they view'd
Their sweet unblemish'd maid;
Farewell her youthful joys; the dance,
The roundelay, and glee,
By self-taught lads and lasses sung
Beneath her favourite tree:
The Sunday walk, the village bells
That charm'd the silent glen,
The warbling birds—poor Lucy ne'er
Shall taste those joys again!
By passions torn, which ne'er till now
Her gentle nature knew,
With many a home-felt pang she bad
Her native plains adieu;
That city gay the fair one sought
With heart oppress'd with woe,
To which the fair with woful hearts
Are seldom wont to go,


To London bent her hasty steps
In evil hour, to prove
Her base deceiver's plighted vows,
And claim his lawful love:
Ne'er thought her image from his soul
So quickly could depart,
But tears and soft persuasive sighs
Might still recall his heart:
Vain hope! his love, his plighted vows
Exchang'd for oaths profane,
He to his gambling haunts had flown,
And cast the desp'rate main,
Unmindful of a tender wife,
Who erst like Lucy fair
To him her ample portion gave,
And snatch'd him from despair,
But now neglected and forlorn
Her lonely vigils kept,
While round her knees her pensive babes
Stood wond'ring why she wept.


Mean time her eager anxious way
From morning's dawning light,
Poor Lucy held, till length'ning shades
Announc'd th'approaching night:
When lo! her devious steps she took,
The beaten road unknown,
Where frozen show'rs had o'er the ground
Their fleecy mantle thrown:
She who so late at close of day,
Beside the cheerful blaze,
Was wont to ply the needle's toil,
And chant her blithsome lays,
At that chill hour, bewilder'd stood,
Nor aught survey'd around
But snow-clad hills, and lonely streams
In icy fetters bound:
“Oh heaven! she cry'd, is this a dream,
“Or vision of despair,
“Or do I live, my virtue fled,
“A living death to bear?


“Shameless I left my parents' house,
“And shame forbad return,
“Though sure they oft on Lucy call'd,
“For Lucy still they mourn;
“For me they sigh'd the live-long day,
“'Till moaning in their bed,
“For me, ungrateful wretch, for me
“Their mingled tears they shed:
“How could I dare to them unknown
“His letters to receive,
“These letters base, that made me first
“His artful tale believe?
“These tokens of his broken faith
“Which in my breast I wore
“So near my heart, have kiss'd so oft,
“Shall ne'er upbraid me more:
“Be all remembrance of my wrongs
“Each distant trace remov'd,
“That I so wicked and disgrac'd,
“And he so faithless prov'd:


“This bonnet gay, his treach'rous gift,
“Shall like my hair be torn,
“This kerchief, once so nice and fine,
“Now frozen and forlorn
“I work'd with so much cost and care
“To dight my wedding day,
“This love-knot too, for him design'd,
“Shall to the winds away—
“Oh! could my wounded spirit bring
“The perjur'd traitor here,
“I'd rend the heart, and flatt'ring tongue
“Of him I held so dear—
“Kind Heav'n forbid—if thou ordain'st
“We must for ever part,
“Oh! may I ne'er such malice bear,
“Such hatred in my heart—
“No—let my kind forgiveness plead
“His cause at Mercy's seat
“And may he still, where'er he goes
“With ev'ry blessing meet!—


“'Tis cold—'tis very cold—methinks
“In pity to my grief,
“Sweet slumbers o'er my senses steal,
“I'll seek their kind relief.”—
Alas! she dropp'd, life's genial warmth
Congeal'd at ev'ry pore—
Death's iron hand her eyelids clos'd—
She slept to wake no more.