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-"Alas, what drove him mad?"
"I cannot say
A lady came with him from France, and when
She left him and returned, he wandered then
About yon lonely isles of desert sand,
Till he grew wild. He had no cash nor land
Remaining the police had brought him here.
Some fancy took him, and he would not bear
Removal, so I fitted up for him
Those rooms beside the sea, to please his whim; And sent him busts, and books, and urns for flowers,
Which had adorned his life in happier hours,
And instruments of music. You may guess
A stranger could do little more or less
For one so gentle and unfortunate;
And those are his sweet strains which charm the
From madmen's chains, and make this hell appear A heaven of sacred silence, hushed to hear."
"Nay, this was kind of you,—he had no claim, As the world says."
"None but the very same Which I on all mankind, were I, as he, Fallen to such deep reverse. His melody Is interrupted now: we hear the din Of madmen, shriek on shriek, again begin:
Let us now visit him: after this strain,
Пe ever communes with himself again,
And sees and hears not any."
These words, we called the keeper, and he led
To an apartment opening on the sea-
There the poor wretch was sitting mournfully
Near a piano, his pale fingers twined
One with the other; and the ooze and wind
Rushed through an open casement, and did sway
His hair, and starred it with the brackish spray:
His head was leaning on a music-book,
And he was muttering; and his lean limbs shook.
His lips were pressed against a folded leaf,
In hue too beautiful for health, and grief
Smiled in their motions as they lay apart,
As one who wrought from his own fervid heart
The eloquence of passion: soon he raised
His sad meek face, and eyes lustrous and glazed,
And spoke,-sometimes as one who wrote, and
His words might move some heart that heeded not,
If sent to distant lands;-and then as one
Reproaching deeds never to be undone,
With wondering self-compassion;—then his
Was lost in grief, and then his words came each
Unmodulated and expressionless,-
But that from one jarred accent you might guess
It was despair made them so uniform :
And all the while the loud and gusty storm Hissed through the window, and we stood behind, Stealing his accents from the envious wind, Unseen. I yet remember what he said Distinctly, such impression his words made.
"Month after month," he cried, "to bear this load,
And, as a jade urged by the whip and goad,
To drag life on—which like a heavy chain
Lengthens behind with many a link of pain,
And not to speak my grief—oh, not to dare
To give a human voice to my despair;
But live, and move, and, wretched thing! smile on,
As if I never went aside to groan;
And wear this mask of falsehood even to these
Who are most dear-not for my own repose.
Alas! no scorn, nor pain, nor hate, could be
So heavy as that falsehood is to me-
But that I cannot bear more altered faces
Than needs must be, more changed and cold embraces,
More misery, disappointment, and mistrust,
To own me for their father. Would the dust
Were covered in upon my body now!
That the life ceased to toil within my brow!
And then these thoughts would at the last be fled
Let us not fear such pain can vex the dead.
"What Power delights to torture us? I know That to myself I do not wholly owe
What now I suffer, though in part I may.
Alas! none strewed fresh flowers upon the way
Where, wandering heedlessly, I met pale Pain,
My shadow, which will leave me not again.
If I have erred, there was no joy in error,
But pain, and insult, and unrest, and terror;
I have not, as some do, bought penitence
With pleasure, and a dark yet sweet offence;
For then if love, and tenderness, and truth,
Had overlived Hope's momentary youth,
My creed should have redeemed me from repenting;
But loathed scorn and outrage unrelenting
Met love excited by far other seeming
Until the end was gained :-as one from dreaming Of sweetest peace, I woke, and found my state Such as it is.
"O thou, my spirit's mate! Who, for thou art compassionate and wise, Wouldst pity me from thy most gentle eyes If this sad writing thou shouldst ever see; My secret groans must be unheard by thee; Thou wouldst weep tears, bitter as blood, to know Thy lost friend's incommunicable woe. Ye few by whom my nature has been weighed In friendship, let me not that name degrade, By placing on your hearts the secret load Which crushes mine to dust. There is one road To peace, and that is truth, which follow ye!
Love sometimes leads astray to misery.
Yet think not, though subdued (and I may well
Say that I am subdued)-that the full hell
Within me would infect the untainted breast
Of sacred nature with its own unrest;
As some perverted beings think to find
In scorn or hate a medicine for the mind
Which scorn or hate hath wounded: oh, how vain
The dagger heals not, but may rend again.
Believe that I am ever still the same
In creed as in resolve; and what may tame
My heart, must leave the understanding free,
Or all would sink under this agony.
Nor dream that I will join the vulgar lie,
Or with my silence sanction tyranny,
Or seek a moment's shelter from my pain
In any madness which the world calls gain,—
Ambition, or revenge, or thoughts as stern
As those which make me what I am; or turn
To avarice, or misanthropy, or lust:
Heap on me soon, O grave, thy welcome dust!
Till then the dungeon may demand its prey;
And Poverty and Shame may meet and say,
Halting beside me in the public way,
'That love-devoted youth is ours: let's sit
Beside him he may live some six months yet.’--
Or the red scaffold, as our country bends,
May ask some willing victim; or ye, friends,
May fall under some sorrow, which this heart
Or hand may share, or vanquish, or avert;