« PreviousContinue »
Themselves, when some alarming shock of fate
THE LAST HOURS OF ELLEN WOODVILLE.
A few hours before her death, she found herself considerably better: it was evening—a calm, beautiful, moonlight evening; and she requested to be removed to the sofa by the window. Ellen remained silent for a few minutes, she raised her meek eyes to heaven, her countenance wore an expression of something almost celestial, it appeared as if “illumined by a ray divine;" and so tranquil, so heavenly was her whole appearance, that she seemed as if already an inhabitant of the world unseen. In this state she remained for some time, apparently communing with her own heart, and absorbed in solemn meditation; after which, she requested her mother would read that sublime and touching prayer in the 17th chapter of John. Ellen was powerfully affected, she took the precious volume from the hands of her afflicted parent, and placing it into those of Mr. Harman, said, “ Keep that, Edward! for my sake; it has been my guide through life, and my comforter in death; oh! may it also be yours!” After a long pause, which none sought to interrupt, she took a ring from her finger-it was one which he had given her in happier days—and putting it on that of her lover,—“Wear that, too, Edward !” her pale lips quivered, and a tear accompanied the gift; it was the last gush of human feeling: all after was tranquillity and peace.
Mr. Harman was inexpressibly affected; he kissed both the dear and valued gifts; he knelt and clasped her thin transparent hands;—“In my heart of hearts, Ellen!” he articulated, “will I treasure up your words: next to the holy book of God, they will be the guide of my remaining days; and when they are ended, may we meet again, in that land of blessedness to which you first pointed out the way.” Here Ellen observed her sister weeping; she beckoned her to approach, and gently taking her hand, said, “ Dry these tears, my kind, affectionate Lucy! nor grieve for me: it is the hand of a Father which is leading me away, and shall I unwillingly follow its direction? no, no, I have long looked forward to this hour; and my entire faith in the infinite goodness and mercy of God, as declared unto us by his Son, leaves me no shadow of a doubt with respect to my future happiness. I feel,” added she, tenderly embracing her, “ I can say no more: farewell, then, my dear, my only sister! may we meet in heaven!” Death was now fast approaching; a considerable alteration had taken place in her countenance, but it still retained its calmness and placidity: she once more opened her eyes, and raising them to heaven, faintly ejaculated, “O my Father! thou hast guided me through life-thou supportest me in death! what but the incense of an adoring heart, have I to offer for all?" Then, taking the hand of her mother, who, pale and motionless, sat regarding her with looks of the most touching anguish,—“ God bless you, my dearest, best of parents!-oh, farewell! Adieu, dear Lucy–Edward—” a smile accompanied the words, and she sunk exhausted on the pillow. They were the last she ever spoke: very soon after, a restlessness took place, and a difficulty of breathing; and during these painful moments, all stood round the bed, contemplating the last, faint struggles of mortality. At length, after a pause of perfect stillness, a marked appearance of sensibility revisited the eyes of the dying saint. She turned them upon each of her friends with
a smile of ineffable sweetness, and then towards heaven to their resting-place;—her pale lips moved, but no sound was uttered; and the last incense of her devout and grateful heart, silently ascended to the throne of grace and mercy.
PRISONER OF CHILLON.
O God! it is a fearful thing
I listen’d, but I could not hear-
I know not why
I could not die,
A light broke in upon my brain
It was the carol of a bird;
The sweetest song ear ever heard,
But then by dull degrees came back
And tamer than upon the tree;
And seem'd to say them all for me!
Or broke its cage to perch on mine,
Sweet bird! I could not wish for thine! Or if it were, in winged guise, A visitant from Paradise; For-Heaven forgive that thought! the while Which made me both to weep and smile ; I sometimes deem'd that it might be My brother's soul come down to me; But then at last away it flew, And then 'twas mortal_well I knew, For he would never thus have flown, And left me twice so doubly lone,Lone-as the corse within its shroud, Lone as a solitary cloud,