Henry Livingston, Jr.
Henry Livingston's Poetry

For the New-York Weekly Museum.

A Tale - Drawn from Real Life.

I ONCE was told a damsel fair,
Who was her parents' darling care,
From long indulgence peevish grown,
Could cry when pleas'd, when pleas'd could frown:
The coquette and the prude affect,
Her views so artfully direct;
That you would think she was sincere,
Whene'er she smil'd or dropt a tear.
Habit at last had form'd her mind,
To change and turn just as the wind,
She oft would feign what ne'er she felt,
And in one moment freeze and melt;
By nature fair but spoil'd by art,
She could almost act any part:
In dress so elegant and neat,
An angel could not look more sweet,
No one could shew a tastier gown,
She was the belle of all the town.

One luckless day this pretty maid,
By some mishap herself betray'd;
It seems somehow - (my mem'ry fails
Besides I'm bad at telling tales)
But so it was, this little jade
At last a full confession made,
Which in a letter she did send,
To one - I think she call'd her friend.
I can't the exact story tell,
But here is the original;
Which for the sake of killing time,
One rainy day I turn'd to rhyme,
And if it will afford you pleasure,
You may read it at your leisure.--

"Believe me my much loved Miss,
I blush while I am writing this;
You know the love I have for you
Is very great - indeed 'tis true;
But I have acted such a part,
That it has almost broke my heart;
For when I heard you was unwell,
I wrung my hands my grief to tell;
I beat my breast I tore my hair,
Like one o'erwhelm'd with deep despair,
Then shriek'd till I could shriek no more,
And in a swoon dropt on the floor!
'Help help!' - I heard my parents cry,
At their commands the servants fly,
'Run run - the doctor quick - don't stay -
My child is dying - haste, away'-

"All now was in confusion thrown,
And ev'ry hope of life was flown,
Each face in sabled grief was clad,
Each eye was moist, each heart was sad,-
Around my bed in sore amaze,
My parents stand and sadly gaze
Now seem resign'd now burst in tears,
Express alternate hopes and fears!--

"While thus my friends my fate deplore,
Wide open flies the parlour door,
The doctor enter'd in great haste,
And soon himself beside me plac'd:
My pulse he felt, then shook his head,
Seem'd half to smile, but nothing said;
With critic eye survey'd my face,
And seem'd my very thoughts to trace;
He own'd the symptoms "wond'rous strange,"
But thought he could "effect a change,"
Then from his case he drew his lance,
And I - awoke out of my trance!--

"Sorrow now fled from every eye,
Each clouded brow turn'd into joy;
Gratulation from great and small,
Was heard resounding through the hall,
And when all thought my danger fled,
The doctor said I must be bled!
The thoughts of bleeding made me shiv'r,
And I declar'd I felt quite clev'r;
So up I jumpt brisk as a mouse,
The doctor laugh'd and left the house!-
Astonishment now seiz'd each breast,
And for a while each tongue supprest;
So great so sudden the surprise,
No one could scarce believe his eyes:
But Oh! what torments wrung my heart,
When all at least cried out "what art!"--
Guilt, conscious guilt sat in my look,
I felt like one that's thunder-struck!
Then like a sinner in distress,
"Confess'd my guilt and wickedness.--

(To be concluded in our next.)

"How subject we to folly's call,
Into what errors do we fall!
A disease called Affectation,
(Well known to folks in high fashion)
Directed by some evil fiend,
Admittance found into my mind;
And conjur'd up the picked passion,
Of which I've giv'n you a relation.
Altho I feign'd myself so sick,
You plainly see 'twas all a trick;
A trick by which a graceless wife,
often torments her husband's life,
When she a favour would extort
Of the pecuniary sort;
And yet the cheat he cannot see,
But thinks it all reality:
Then to compose his dying elf,
Instead of med'cine give her pelf;
Quick are its virtues and 'tis sure
To bring relief - but not a cure!
For in a week or two perhaps,
She falls into a deep relapse,
When all her pranks are acted o'er
Perhaps ten times worse than before! --

"From hence my dearest friend I've found,
Inconsistency knows no bound;
And those that on her ways attend,
Trav'l round a circle without end.
How careful then to keep a guard,
Weigh well each action and each word,
Turn a deaf ear to tittle tattle,
And unmeaning silly prattle,
So shall we 'scape a world of strife,
Sail smoothly down the stream of life.
And when this earthly voy'ge is o'er,
Land safely on the blissful shore,
The haven where our toils shall cease,
There dwell in everlasting peace.--


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