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round the dull light of a lamp in the cabin, that made the gloom more ghastly, every one had his tale of shipwreck and disaster. I was particularly struck with a short one
related by the captain. 5 “ As I was once sailing,” said he, “in a fine, stout
ship, across the banks of Newfoundland, one of the heavy fogs, that prevail in those parts, rendered it impossible for me to see far ahead, even in the daytime; but at night
the weather was so thick that we could not distinguish 10 any object at twice the length of our ship. I kept lights
at the mast-head, and a constant watch forward to look out for fishing-smacks, which are accustomed to lie at anchor on the banks. The wind was blowing a smacking
breeze, and we were going at a great rate through the 15 water. Suddenly the watch gave the alarm of a sail
ahead !' but it was scarcely uttered till we were upon her. She was a small schooner at anchor, with her broadside towards us. The crew were all asleep, and had neglected
to hoist a light. We struck her just amidships. The 20 force, the size and weight of our vessel, bore her down
below the waves; we passed over her, and were hurried
on our course.
“ As the crashing wreck was sinking bencath us, I had a glimpse of two or three half-naked wretches rushing 25 from her cabin; they had just started from their beds to
be swallowed shrieking by the waves. I heard their drowning cry mingling with the wind. The blast that bore it to our ears swept us out of all further hearing. I shall
never forget that cry! It was some time before we could 30 put the ship about, she was under such headway. We
returned, as nearly as we could guess, to the place where the smack was anchored. We cruised about for several hours in the dense fog. We fired several guns, and lis
tened if we might hear the halloo of any survivors; but 35 all was silent - we never heard nor saw anything of theme
It was a fine sunny morning when the thrilling cry of “land !” was given from the mast-head. I question whether Columbus, when he discovered the New World, felt a more
delicious throng of sensations, than rush into an Ameri5 can's bosom when he first comes in sight of Europe. There
is a volume of associations in the very name. It is the land of promise, teeming with everything of which his childhood has heard, or on which his studious
have pondered. 10 From that time until the period of arrival, it was
all feverish excitement. The ships of war, that prowled like guardian giants around the coast; the headlands of Ireland, stretching out into the channel; the Welsh moun
tains, towering into the clouds; all were objects of intense 15 interest. As we sailed up the Mersey, I reconnoitred the
shores with a telescope. My eye dwelt with delight on neat cottages, with their trim shrubberies and green grassplots. I saw the mouldering ruins of an abbey overrun
with ivy, and the taper spire of a village church rising 20 from the brow of a neighboring hill all were character
istic of England.
(WILLIAM COWPER was born at Berkhampstead, in Hertfordshire, England, November 26, 1731, and died April 25, 1800. He was of an extremely delicate and sensitive organization; and he had the misfortune, when only six years old, to lose an affectionate mother, whom he has commemorated in one of the most popular and beautiful of his poems. He was educated at Westminster school, where his gentle nature suffered much at the hands of older and rougher lads. He spent some time in the study of the law, and was called to the bar; but his morbid temperament was found unequal to the discharge of professional and official duties. He declined the struggles and the prizes of an active career, and retired into the country, to a life of seclusion; living for many years in the family of Mr. Unwin, an English clergymnan. His first volume of poems, containing “ Table Talk,'
,"" Hope," " The Progress of Error." "Charity,” &c., was published in 1782, when he was fifty-one years old. It rarely happens that a poet's first appearance is so late in life. This volume did not
attract much attention. But in 1784 he published “The Task,” which was received with much more favor. Its vigorous and manly style, its energetic moral tone, and its charming pictures of natural scenery and domestic life, were soon appreciated, although the general taste, at that time, preferred a more artificial style of poetry. After the publication of“ The Task,” he spent some years upon a translation of Homer into blank verse, published in 1791.
Many of Cowper's smaller pieces still enjoy great and deserved popularity. Like many men of habitual melancholy, he had a vein of humor running through his nature. His “John Gilpin” is a well-known instance of this; and the same quality throws a frequent charm over his correspondence. Cowper's life is full of deep and sad interest. His mind was more than once eclipsed by insanity, and often darkened by melancholy. He had tender and loving friends, who watched over him with affectionate and untiring interest. His most intimate friendships were with women; and there is a striking contrast between the masculine vigor of his style and his feminine habits and manner of life.
His letters are perhaps the best in the language. They are not superior, as intellectual efforts, to those of Gray, Walpole, Byron, or Scott; but they have in the highest degree that conversational ease and playful grace which we most desire in this class of writings. They are not epistolary essays, but genuine letters - the unstudied effusions of the heart, meant for no eye but that of the person to whom they are addressed. Cowper's life has been written, and his poems and prose writings edited, by Southey; and they form a work of great interest and permanent value in literature.]
O FOR a lodge in some vast wilderness,
Of unsuccessful or successful war,
My soul is sick, with every day's report
It does not feel for man; the natural bond 10 Of brotherhood is severed as the flax
That falls asunder at the touch of fire.
To enforce the wrong, for such a worthy cause 15 Dooms and devotes him as his lawful prey.
Lands intersected by a narrow frith
Thus man devotes his brother, and destroys ;
Weeps when she sees inflicted on a beast.
And hang his head, to think himself a man?
To carry me, to fan me while I sleep,
I had much rather be myself the slave,
And they themselves once ferried o'er the wave
Slaves cannot breathe in England; if their lungs
That's noble, and bespeaks a nation proud
And let it circulate through every vein
XXXVII. - CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE.
TENNYSON. (ALFRED TENNYSON, a living poet of England, was born at Somersby, Lincolnshire, in 1810. He has published two volumes of miscellaneous poetry; also, “ The Princess," a narrative, in blank verse; a volume called “In Memoriam ;' “ Maud,” in which an unhappy love story is told in a broken and frag.
mentary way; and “Idyls of the King,” comprising four poems founded on the legends of King Arthur.
He is a man of rare and fine genius, whose poetry is addressed to refined and cultivated minds. The music of his verse and his skill in the use of language are alike excellent. He is a poet of poets; and, in general, is only fully ap preciated by those who have something of the poetical faculty themselves. He is more valued by women than by men, and by young men than by old. He is evidently a man of the finest organization, and his poetry is of the most exquisite and ethereal cast. He has an uncommon power of presenting pictures to the eye, and often in a very few words. His pages are crowded with subjects for the artist. A portion of what he has written is rather remote from the beaten track of human sympathies and feelings; but that he can write popular poetry is shown by his well-known “May Queen."
His volume called “In Memoriam," is a very remarkable book. It is a collection of one hundred and twenty-nine short poems, written in a peculiar and uniform metre, which were called forth by the early death of Arthur Henry Hallam, the eldest son of the historian, a young man of rare excellence of mind and character, the intimate friend of Tennyson, and betrothed to his sister. Such a book will not be welcome to all minds, nor to any mind at all periods and in all moods; but it contains some of the most exquisite poetry which has been written in our times, and some of the deepest and sweetest effusions of feeling to be found any where.
The following spirited poem commemorates a gallant and desperate charge made by a brigade of English light-horse at the battle of Balaklava, in the Crimea, October 25, 1854, under circumstances that seemed to insure the destruction of the whole body. The order to charge was supposed to have been given under a mistake; but nothing was ever distinctly known about it, as Captain Nolan, who delivered it, was the first man who fell. Of six hundred and thirty who started on the charge only a hundred and fifty returned.]