« VorigeDoorgaan »
at once the cause and punishment of your errors. I myself will become your partner in exile; for it is to my estate in Ireland I banish you for the summer. You have already got through the "first rough brakes" of your profession: as you can now serve the last term of this season, I see no cause why Coke upon Lyttleton cannot be as well studied amidst the wild seclusion of Connaught scenery, and on the solitary shores of the steep Atlantic," as in the busy bustling precincts of the Temple.
I have only to add, that I shall expect your undivided attention will be given up to your professional studies; that you will for a short interval resign the fascinating pursuits of polite literature and belles lettres, from which even the syren spell of pleasure could not tear you, and which snatched from vice many of those hours I believed devoted to more serious studies. I know you will find it no less difficult to resign the elegant theories of your favourite Lavater, for the dry facts of law reports, than to exchange your duodecimo editions of the amotory poets for heavy tomes of cold legal disquisitions; but happiness is to be purchased, and labour is the price; fame and independence are the result of talent united to great exertion, and the elegant enjoyments of literary leisure are never so keenly relished as when tasted under the shade of that flourishing laurel which our own efforts have reared to mature perfection. Farewell! my agent has orders respecting the arrangement of your affairs. You must excuse the procrastination of our interview till we meet in Ireland, which I fear will not be so immediate as my wishes would incline. I shall write to my banker in Dublin to replenish your purse on your arri val in Ireland, and to my Connaught steward, to pre
pare for your reception at M- house. Write to me
Once more, farewell!
TO THE EARL OF M--,
HE who agonized on the bed of Procrustes reposed on a couch of down, compared to the sufferings of him who, in the heart he has stabbed, beholds the pulse of generous affection still beating with an invariable throb for the being who has inflicted the wound.
I shall offer you no thanks, my Lord, for the generosity of your conduct, nor any extenuation for the errors of mine.
The gratitude the one has given birth to the remorse which the other has awakened, bid equal defiance to expression. I have only (fearfully) to hope, that you will not deny my almost forfeited claim to the title of your son.
TO J. D. ESQ. M. P.
WE are told in the splendid Apocrypha of ancient Irish fable, that when one of the learned was missing on the continent of Europe, it was proverbially said,
* Amandatus est ad disciplinum in Hibernia.” But I cannot recollect, that in its fabulous or veracious history, Ireland was ever the mart of voluntary
exile to the man of pleasure: so that when you and the rest of my precious associates miss the track of my footsteps in the oft-trod path of dissipation, you will never think of tracing its pressure to the wildest of the Irish shores, and exclaim "Amandatus est ad,” &c. Tc. Sc.
However, I am so far advanced in the land of Druidism on my way to the "Island of Saints," while you, in the emporium of the world, are drinking from the cup of conjugal love a temporary oblivion to your past sins and wickedness, and revelling in the first golden dreams of matrimonial illusion.
I suppose an account of my high crimes and misdemeanours, banishment, &c. &c. have already reached your ears; but while my brethren in transportationare offering up their wishes and their hopes on the shore, to the unpropitious god of winds, indulge me in the garrulity of egotism, and suffer me to correct the overcharged picture of that arch caricature report, by giving you a correct ebauche of the recent circumstances of my useless life.
When I gave you convoy as far as Dover on your way to France, I returned to London, to
"Surfeit on the same
and yawn my joys."
And was again soon plunged in that dreadful vacillation of mind from which your society and conversation had so lately redeemed me.
Vibrrating between an innate propensity to right, and an habitual adherence to wrong; sick of pursuits I was too indolent to relinquish, and linked to vice, yet still enamoured of virtue; weary of the useless, joyless inanity of my existence, yet without energy, without power to regenerate my worthless being; daily losing
ground in the minds of the inestimable few who were still interested for my welfare, nor compensating for the loss, by the gratification of any one feeling in my own heart, and held up as an object of fashionable popularity for sustaining that character, which of all others I most despised; my taste impoverished by a vicious indulgence, my senses palled by repletion, my heart chill and unawakened, every appetite depraved and pampered into satiety, I fled from myself, as the object of my own utter contempt and detestation, and found a transient pleasurable inebriety in the wellpractised blandishments of Lady C--.
You, who alone know me, who alone have openly condemned, and secretly esteemed me, you who have wisely culled the blossom of pleasure, while I have sucked its poison, know that I am rather a mechant par air, than from any irresistable propensity, to indiscrimiuate libertinism. In fact, the original sin of my nature militates against the hackneyed modes of hackneyed licentiousness; for I am too profound a volup tuary to feel any exquisite gratification from such gross pursuits as the "suvinish multitude" of fashion ennoble with that name so little understood, pleasure. Misled in my earliest youth by "passion's meteor ray," even then, my heart called (but called in vain) for a thousand delicious refinements to give poignancy to the mere transient impulse of sense.
Oh! my dear friend, if in that sunny season of existence, when the ardours of youth nourish in our bosom a thousand indescribable emotions of tenderness and love, it had been my fortunate destiny to have met with a being, who-but this is an idle regret, perhaps an idle supposition;-the moment of ardent iscepe tibility is over, when woman becomes the aut spell
which lures us to good or ill, and when her omnipotence, according to the bias of her own nature, and the organization of those feelings on which it operates, determines in a certain, degree our destiny through life-leads the mind through the medium of the heart to the noblest pursuits, or seduces it through the medium of the passions to the basest career.
That I became the dupe of Lady C-, and her artful predecessor, arose from the want of that "something still unpossessed," to fill my life's dreadful void. I sensibly felt the want of an object to interest my feelings, and labored under that dreadful interregnum of the heart, reason and ambition; which leaves the craving passions open to every invader. Lady Cperceived the situation of my mind, and-but spare me the detail of a connection which even in memory, produces a nausea of every sense and feeling. Suffice it to say, that equally the victim of the husband's villany as the wife's artifice, I stifled on its birth a threatened prosecution, by giving my bond for the sum I was unable to liquidate it was given as for a gambling debt, but my father, who had long suspected, and endeavoured to break this fatal connection, guessed at the truth, and suffered me to become a guest (mal voLuntaire) in the King's bench. This unusual severity on his part, lessened not on mine the sense of his indulgence to my former boundless extravagance, and I determined to remain a prisoner for life, rather than owe my liberty to a new imposition on his tenderness by such solicitings as have hitherto been invariably crowned with success, though answered with reprehension.
I had been already six weeks a prisoner, deserted by those gay moths that had fluttered in the beams of