Слике страница

Curld as they come, they strike with furious force,
And then, reflowing, take their grating course,
Raking the rounded flints, which ages past
Roll'd by their rage, and shall to ages last.

Far off the peterel in the troubled way
Swims with her brood, or flutters in the spray;
She rises often, often drops again,
And sports at ease on the tempestuous main.

High o'er the restless deep, above the reach
Of gunner's hope, vast flights of wild-ducks stretch ;
Far as the eye can glance on either side,
In a broad space and level line they glide;
All in their wedgelike figures from the north,
Day after day, flight after flight, go forth.

In-shore their passage tribes of seagulls urge, And drop for prey within the sweeping surge; Oft in the rough opposing blast they fly Far back, then turn, and all their force apply, While to the storm they give their weak, complaining Or clap the sleek white pinion to the breast, (cry; And in the restless ocean dip for rest.

Darkness begins to reign; the louder wind Appals the weak and awes the firmer mind; But frights not him, whom evening and the spray In part conceal-yon prowler on his way: Lo! he has something seen; he runs apace, As if he fear'd companion in the chase; He sees his prize, and now he turns again, Slowly and sorrowing : “Was your search in vain?" Grufily he answers, “ 'Tis a sorry sight! A seaman's body : there'll be more to-night !"

Hark! to those sounds! they're from distress at

sea :

How quick they come! What terrors may there be !
Yes, 'tis a driven vessel : I discern
Lights, signs of terror, gleaming from the stern;

[ocr errors]

Others behold them too, and from the town
In various parties seamen hurry down;
Their wives pursue, and damsels, urged by dread,
Lest men so dear be into danger led ;
Their head the gown has hooded, and their call
In this sad night is piercing like the squall;
They feel their kinds of power, and when they meet,
Chide, fondle, weep, dare, threaten, or entreat.

See one poor girl, all terror and alarm,
Has fondly seized upon her lover's arm ;
- Thou shalt not venture ;” and he answers No!
I will not :” still she cries, “ Thou shalt not go."

No need of this; not here the stoutest boat Can through such breakers, o'er such billows float: Yet may they view these lights upon the beach, Which yield them hope, whom help can never reach.

From parted clouds the moon her radiance throws On the wild waves, and all the danger shows; But shows them beaming in her shining vest, Terrific splendour! gloom in glory dress’d! This for a moment, and then clouds again Hide every beam, and fear and darkness reign.

But hear we now those sounds ? Do lights apI see them not! the storm alone I hear: [pear? And, lo! the sailors homeward take their way; Man must endure : let us submit and pray.

Such are our winter views; but night comes on: Now business sleeps, and daily cares are gone; Now parties form, and some their friends assist To waste the idle hours at sober whist; The tavern's pleasure or the concert's charm Unnumber'd moments of their sting disarm; Playbills and open doors a crowd invite, To pass off one dread portion of the night; And show, and song, and luxury combined, Lift off from man this burden of mankind.

Others, advent'rous, walk abroad and meet
Returning parties pacing through the street;
When various voices, in the dying day,
Hum in our walks, and greet us in our way;
When tavern-lights flit on from room to room,
And guide the tippling sailor staggering home :
There, as we pass, the jingling bells betray
How business rises with the closing day:
Now walking silent by the river's side,
The ear perceives the rippling of the tide ;
Or measured cadence of the lads who tow
Some enter'd hoy, to fix her in her row;
Or hollow sound, which from the parish bell
To some departed spirit bids farewell !

Yes! there are real mourners : I have seen A fair, sad girl, mild, suffering, and serene; Attention (through the day) her duties claim'd, And to be useful as resign'd she aim'd: Neatly she dressd, nor vainly seem'd t' expect Pity for grief, or pardon for neglect; But when her wearied parents sunk to sleep, She sought her place to meditate and weep: Then to her mind was all the past display'd, That faithful memory brings to sorrow's aid : For then she thought on one regretted youth, Her tender trust, and his unquestion'd truth; In ev'ry place she wander'd, where they'd been, And sadly sacred held the parting scene : Where last for sea he took his leave : that place With double interest would she nightly trace; For long the courtship

was, and he would say,
Each time he sail'd, "This once, and then the day.”
Yet prudence tarried, but when last he went,
He drew from pitying love a full consent.

Happy he sail'd, and great the care she took,
That he should softly sleep and smartly look;
White was his better linen, and his check
Was made more trim than any on the deck;

And every comfort men at sea can know
Was hers to buy, to make, and to bestow :
For he to Greenland sail'd, and much she told
How he should guard against the climate's cold;
Yet saw no danger; dangers he'd withstood,
Nor could she trace the fever in his blood :
His messmates smiled at flushings in his cheek,
And he too smiled, but seldom would he speak;
For now he found the danger, felt the pain,
With grievous symptoms he could not explain";
Hope was awaken'd as for home he sail'd,
But quickly sank, and never more prevail'd.

He call'd his friend, and prefaced with a sigh
A lover's message : “ Thomas, I must die :
Would I could see my Sally, and could rest
My throbbing temples on her faithful breast,
And gazing go! if not, this trifle take,
And say, till death I wore it for her sake;
Yes! I must die : blow on, sweet breeze, blow on!
Give me one look before my life be gone!
Oh! give me that, and let me not despair,
One last, fond look—and now repeat the prayer.”

He had his wish, had more: I will not paint The lovers' meeting : she beheld him faint : With tender fears, she took a nearer view, Her terrors doubling as her hopes withdrew; He tried to smile, and, half succeeding, said, “Yes, I must die ;" and hope for ever fed. Still long she nursed him: tender thoughts mean

time Were interchanged, and hopes and views sublime. To her he came to die, and every day She took some portion of the dread away; With him she pray'd, to him his Bible read, Sooth'd the faint heart, and held the aching head: She came with smiles the hour of pain to cheer; Apart she sighd; alone she shed the tear;

Then, as if breaking from a cloud, she gave
Fresh light, and gilt the prospect of the grave.
One day he lighter seemd, and they forgot
The care, the dread, the anguish of their lot ;
They spoke with cheerfulness, and seem'd to think,
Yet said not so—“ Perhaps he will not sink :"
A sudden brightness in his look appeard,
A sudden vigour in his voice was heard ;
She had been reading in the Book of Prayer,
And led him forth, and placed him in his chair;
Lively he seem'd, and spoke of all he knew,
The friendly many, and the favourite few;
Nor one that day did he to mind recall
But she has treasured, and she loves them all ;
When in her way she meets them, they appear
Peculiar people : death has made them dear.
He named his friend, but then his hand she press'd,
And fondly whisperid, “ Thou must go to rest;"
"I go," he said ; but, as he spoke, she found
His hand more cold, and fluttering was the sound !
Then gazed affrighted; but she caught a last,
A dying look of love-and all was past!

She placed a decent stone his grave above,
Neatly engraved-an offering of her love;
For that she wrought, for that forsook her bed,
Awake alike to duty and the dead;
She would have grieved had friends presumed to
The least assistance—'twas her proper care. [spare

Here will she come, and on the grave will sit, "Folding her arms in long, abstracted fit; But if observer pass, will take her round, And careless seem, for she would not be found; Then go again, and thus her hour employ, While visions please her, and while woes destroy.

[ocr errors]
« ПретходнаНастави »