Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

But then', the horrours of such a grave'l-so frightful, so dishonoured! There was nothing for memory to dwell on', that could sooth the pang of separation - none of those tender', though melancholy', circumstances', that endear the parting scene—nothing to melt sorrow into those blessed tears', sent', like the dews of heaven', to revive the heart in the parting hour of anguish'.

To render her widowed situation more desolate', she had incurred her father's displeasure by her unfortunate attachment, and was an exile from the paternal roof'. But could the sympathy and kind offices of friends have reached a spirit so shocked and driven in by horrour', she would have experienced no want of consolation', for the Irish are a people of quick and generous sensibilities'. The most delicate and cherishing attentions were paid her', by families of wealth and distinction! She was led into society'; and they tried by all kinds of occupation and amusement to dissipate her grief', and wean her from the tragical story of her loves'. But it was all in vain'. There are some strokes of calamity that scath and scorch the soul —that penetrate to the vital seat of happiness'—and blast it', never again to put forth bud or blossom'. She never objected to frequent the haunts of pleasure', but she was as much alone there', as in the depths of solitude'. She walked about in a sad revery', apparently unconscious of the world around her'. She carried with her an inward wo that mocked at all the blandishments of friendship', and “heeded not the song of the charmer', charm he ever so wisely'."

The person who told me her story', had seen her at a masquerade' There can be no exhibition of far-gone wretchedness more striking and painful than to meet it in such a scene'. find wandering', like a spectre', lonely and joyless', where all around is gay'—to see it dressed out in the trappings of mirth', and looking so wan and wo-begone', as if it had tried in vain to cheat the poor heart into a momentary forgetfulness of sorrow'. After strolling through the splendid rooms and giddy crowd with an air of utter abstraction', she sat herself down on the steps of an orchestra', and looking about for some time with a vacant air', that show. ed her insensibility to the garish scene', she began', with the capriciousness of a sickly heart', to warble a little plaintive air'. She had an exquisite voice'; but on this occasion', it was so simple—so touching —it breathed forth such a soul of wretchedness',—that she drew a crowd', mute and silent, around her', and melted every one to tears'.

The story of one so true and tender', could not but excite great interest in a country remarkable for enthusiasm'. It completely won the heart of a brave officer', who paid his addresses to her', and thought, that one so true to the dead', could not but prove affectionate to the living! She declined his attentions', for her thoughts were irrevocably engrossed by the memory of her former lover! He', however, persisted in his suit'. He solicited not her tenderness', but her esteem' He was assisted by hem

conviction of his worth', and her sense of her own destitute and dependant situation', for she was existing on the kindness of friends'. In a word', he at length succeeded in gaining her hand, though with the solemn assurance', that her heart was unalterably another's!

He took her with him to Sicily', hoping that a change of scene might wear out the remembrance of early woes! She was an amiable and ex emplary wife', and made an effort to be a happy one'; but nothing could cure the silent and devouring melancholy that had entered into her very soul: She wasted away in a slow but hopeless decline', and at length sank into the grave', the victim of a broken heart'.

It was on her that Mr. Moore', the distinguished Irish poet', composed the following lines':

She is far from the land where her young hero sleeps',

And lovers around her are sighing';
But coldly she turns from their gaze', and weeps',

For her heart in his grave is lying
She sings the wild song of her dear native plains',

Every note.which he loved awaking
Ah'! little they think', who delight in her strains',

How the heart of the minstrel is breaking!!
He had lived for his love for his country he died';

They were all that to life had intwined him-
Nor soon shall the tears of his country be dried',

Nor long will his love stay behind him.
Oh'! make her a grave where the sunbeams rest',

When they promise a glorious morrow';
They'll shine o'er her sleep', like a smile from the wesť,

From her own loved island of sorrow!,

Speech of Robert Emmet,

Esq. before Lord Norbury, on an Endictment for High Treason.-Extract. What have I to say', why sentence of death should not be pronounced on me according to law'? I have nothing to say that can alter your predetermination', nor that will become me with

any view to the mitigation of that sentence which you are here to pronounce', and which I must abide by'. But I have that to say which interests me more than life', and which you have laboured' (as was necessarily your office to do', in the present circumstances of this oppressed country') to destroy'. I have much to say why my reputation should be rescued from the load of false accusation and calumny which has been heaped upon it'.

to say

I do not imagine that', seated where you are', your minds can be so free from impurity as to receive the least impression from what I am going to utter'. I have no hopes that I can anchor my character in the breast of a court constituted and trammel. led as this is'. I only wish', and it is the utmost I expect', that your lordships may suffer it to float down your memories', un. tainted by the foul breath of prejudice', until it finds some more hospitable harbour to shelter it from the storms by which it is at present buffeted'. Were I only to suffer death', after being adjudged guilty by your tribunal', I should bow in silence', and meet the fate that awaits me without a murmur'; but the sen. tence of the law', which delivers my body to the executioner', will', through the ministry of that law', labour', in its own vindication', to consign my character to obloquy'--for there must be guilt SOMEWHERE'; whether in the sentence of the court', or in the catastrophe', posterity must determine'.

A man in my situation', has to encounter', not only the difficulties of fortune', and the force of power over minds which it has corrupted or subjugated , but also the difficulties of established prejudice'. The man dies', but his MEMORY lives'. That mine may not perish', that it may live in the respect of my countrymen', I seize upon this opportunity to vindicate myself from some of the charges alleged against me'. When my spirit shall be wafted to a more friendly port', when my shade shall have joined the bands of those martyred heroes who have shed their blood on the scaffold and in the field', in defence of their country and of virtue', this is my hope'-I wish that my memory and name may animate those who survive me'; while I look down with complacency on the destruction of that perfidious government'. . which upholds its domination by blasphemy of the Most High'—which displays its power over men'.. as over the beasts of the forest'—which sets man upon his bro. ther', and lifts his hand', in the name of God', against the throat of his fellow'.. who believes or doubts a little more or a little less than the government standard'-a government'. . which is steeled to barbarity by the cries of the orphans and the tears of the widows which it has made'. [Here Lord Norbury interrupted Mr. Emmet, saying, that those wicked enthusiasts who felt as he did, were not equal to the accomplishment of their wild designs.]

I appeal to the immaculate God'- I swear by the throne of HEAVEN', before which I must shortly appear-by the blood

of the murdered patriots who have gone before me'-—that my conduct has been', through all this peril', and through all my purposes', governed only by the convictions which I have utter. ed', and by no other motive than that of their cure', and the emancipation of my country from the superinhuman oppression under which she has so long and too patiently travailed'; and I confidently hope', that', wild and chimerical as it may appear', there are still union and strength in Ireland sufficient to accomplish this noblest enterprise'. Of this I speak with the confidence of intimate knowledge', and with the consolation that appertains to that confidence'. Think not', my lord', I

say

this for the petty gratification of giving you a transitory uneasiness'. A man who never yet raised his voice to assert a LÎE', will not hazard his character with posterity by asserting a falsehood on a subject so important to his country', and on an occasion like this'. Yes', my lord', a man who does not wish to have his epitaph written until his country is liberated', will not leave a weapon in the power of Envy to impeach the probity which he means to preserve even in the grave to which tyranny consigns him. [Here he was again interrupted by the judge.]

Again I say', that what I have spoken was not intended for your lordship', whose situation I commiserate', rather than ênoy': my expressions were for my countrymen'. If there is a true Irishman present', let my last words cheer him in the hour of afliction'. [Here he was again interrupted by the court.] I have always understood it to be the duty of a judge', when a prisoner has been convicted', to pronounce the sentence of the law': I have also understood', that judges sometimes think it their duty to hear with patience', and to speak with humanity'; to exhort the victim of the laws', and to offer', with tender benignity', their opinions of the motives by which he was actuated in the crime of which he had been adjudged guilty'—that a judge has thought it his duty so to do', I have no doubt'; but where is the boasted freedom of your institutions'—where is the vaunted impartiality and clemency of your courts of justice', if an unfortunate prisoner', whom your policy', not pure justice', is about to deliver into the hands of the executioner', is not suffer. ed to explain his motives sincerely and truly', and to vindicate the principles by which he was actuated'?

My lord', it may be a part of the system of angry justice to bow a man's mind by humiliation to the purposed ignominy of the scaffold': but worse to me than the purposed shame', or the scaffold's terrours', would be the shame of such foul and unfounded imputations as have been laid against me in this court'. You', my lord', are a judge'; I am the supposed cul. prit'-I am a man'; you are a man also'. By a revolution of power', we might change places', though we never could change characters'. If I stand at the bar of this court', and dare not vindicate my character', what a farce is your justice'! If I stand at this bar', and dare not vindicate my character', how dare you calumniate it'? Does the sentence of death', which your unhallowed policy inflicts upon my body', also condemn my tongue to silence', and my reputation to reproach'? Your executioner may abridge the period of my existence'; but', while I exist', I shall not forbear to vindicate my character and motives from your aspersions'; and', as a man to whom fame is dearer than life', I will make the last use of that life in doing justice to that reputation which is to live after me', and which is the only legacy I can leave to those I honour and love', and for whom I am proud to perish'. As men', we must appear', on the great day', at one common tribunal'; and it will then remain for the Searcher of all hearts to show a collective universe', who was engaged in the most virtuous actions', or actuated by the purest motives'--my country's oppressors', or'-[Here he was interrupted', and told to listen to the sentence of the law'.]

My lord', shall a dying man be denied the legal privilege of exculpating himself', in the eyes of the community', from an undeserved reproach thrown upon him during his trial', by charging him with ambition', and attempting to cast away', for a paltry consideration', the liberties of his country'? Why did your lordship insult me'?—or', rather', why insult justice', by demanding of me why sentence of death should not be pronounced? I know', my lord', that form prescribes that you should ask the question': the form also presumes a right of answering'. This', no doubt', may be dispensed with'; and so might the whole ceremony of the trial', since sentence was already pronounced at the castle before your jury was empan, nelled': your lordships are but the priests of the oracle'—and I submit to the sacrifice'; but I insist on the whole of the FÔRMS'. [Here the court desired him to proceed'.]

I am charged with being an emissary of France'. An emissary of France'! and for what end'? It is alleged that I wished to sell the independence of my country'! - And for what end'? Was this the object of my ambition'? And is this the mode by which a tribunal of justice reconciles contradictions? No'; I am no emissary'. My ambition was to hold a place among the deliverers of my country'-not in power', not in profit', but', in the glory of the achievement'. Sell my country's independence

« AnteriorContinuar »