Written by Barbara
(10/6/2005 4:43 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Benwick suicide?, penned by Cheryl
One of my copies of Persuasion includes an excerpt from The Giaour in it. If this was the kind of thing on Captain Benwick's mind, suicidal thoughts do not seem very unlikely. Anne was being a good friend to him to suggest he read more prose:
She was my life's unerring light:
That quench'd what beam shall break my night?
Oh ! Would it shone to lead me still,
Although to death or deadliest ill !
Why marvel ye, if they who lose
This present joy, this future hope,
No more with sorrow meekly cope;
In phrensy then their fate accuse;
In madness do those fearful deeds
That seem to add but guilt to woe?
Alas ! the breast that inly bleeds
Hath nought to dread from outward blow:
Who falls from all he knows of bliss,
Cares little into what abyss.
And, a little farther on in the poem:
And she was lost --- and yet I breathed,
But not the breath of human life:
A serpent round my heart was wreathed,
And stung my every thought to strife.
Alike all time, abhorr'd all place,
Shuddering I shrunk from Nature's face,
Where every hue that charm'd before
The blackness of my bosom wore.
The rest thou dost already know,
And all my sins, and half my woe.
But talk no more of penitence;
Thou seest I soon shall part from hence:
YIKES!!! Gloomy and more than a little suicidal, I think.
On the other hand, this poem is probably not the best thing in th e world for Anne to be dwelling on either. Another excerpt:
But this was taught me by the dove,
To die --- and know no second love.
This lesson yet hath man to learn,
Taught by the thing he dares to spurn:
The bird that sings within the brake,
The swan that swims upon the lake,
One mate, and one alone, will take.
And let the fool still prone to range,
And sneer on all who cannot change,
Partake his jest with boasting boys;
I envy not his varied joys,
But deem such feeble, heartless man
Less than yon solitary swan.
Here is a link to more of the poem, if anyone is interested: