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Th' eternal empire of the main to keep,
And guide her squadrons o'er the trembling deep.
Her left propitious bore a mystic shield,
Around whose margin rolls the wat'ry field.
There her bold genius, in his floating car,
O'er the wild billow hurls the storm of war
And lo! the beasts, that oft with jealous rage
In bloody combat met, from age to age,
Tam'd into union, yok'd in friendship's chain,
Draw his proud chariot round the vanquish'd main.
From the broad margin to the centre grew
Shelves, rocks, and whirlpools, hideous to the
Th' immortal shield from Neptune she receiv'd,
When first her head above the waters heav'd.
Loose floated o'er her limbs an azure vest;
A figur'd scutcheon glitter'd on her breast;
There, from one parent soil, for ever young,
The blooming rose and hardy thistle sprung.
Around her head an oaken wreath was seen,
Inwove with laurels of unfading green.
Such was the sculptur'd prow--from van to rear,
Th’ artillery frown'd, a black tremendous tier!
Embalm'd with orient gum above the wave,
The swelling sides a yellow radiance gave.
High o'er the poop, the flattering winds unfurl'a
Th’ imperial flag that rules the wat'ry world.
Deep-blushing armors all the tops invest;
And warlike trophies either quarter drest:
Then tower'd the masts; the canvas swell'd on high ;
And waving streamers floated in the sky.
Thus the rich vessel moves in trim array,
Like some fair virgin on her bridal day.
Thus like a swan she cleaves the wat’ry plain,
The pride and wonder of the Ægean main !
DISTRESS OF THE VESSEL-HEAVING OF THE GUNS
No season this for counsel or delay !
Too soon th' eventful moments haste away!
Here perseverance, with each help of art,
Must join the boldest efforts of the heart.
These only now their misery can relieve;
These only now a dawn of safety give !
While o'er the quivering deck, from van to rear,
roll in terrible career,
Rodmond, Arion, and a chosen crew,
This office in the face of death pursue.
The wheel'd artillery o'er the deck to guide,
Rodmond descending claim'd the weather-side.
Fearless of heart the chief his orders gave;
Fronting the rude assaults of every wave.
Like some strong watch-tower nodding o'er the deep,
Whose rocky base the foaming waters sweep,
Untam'd he stood; the stern aerial war
Had mark'd his honest face with many a scar.-
Meanwhile Arion, traversing the waist,
The cordage of the leeward guns unbrac'd,
And pointed crows beneath the metal plac'd.
Watching the roll, their forelocks they withdrew,
And from their beds the reeling cannon threw.
Then, from the windward battlements unbound,
Rodmond's associates wheel th' artillery round;
Pointed with iron fangs, their bars beguile
The ponderous arms across the steep defile;
Then, hurl'd from sounding hinges o'er the side,
Thundering they plunge into the flashing tide.
COUNCIL OF OFFICERS—ALBERT'S DIRECTIONS TO
PREPARE FOR THE LAST EXTREMITIES.
Again the chief th' instructive draught extends,
And o'er the figur'd plane attentive bends;
To him the motion of each orb was known,
That wheels around the sun's refulgent throne:
But here, alas, his science nought avails !
Art droops unequal, and experience fails.
The different traverses, since twilight made,
He on the hydrographic circle laid ;
Then the broad angle of lee-way explor'd,
As swept across the graduated chord.
Her place discover'd by the rules of art,
Unusual terrors shook the master's heart;
When Falconera's rugged isle he found
Within her drift, with shelves and breakers bound;
For if on those destructive shallows tost,
The helpless bark with all her crew are lost:
As fatal still appears, that danger o'er,
The steep St. George, and rocky Gardalor.
With him the pilots of their hopeless state
In mournful consultation now debate.
Not more perplexing doubts her chiefs appal
When some proud city verges to her fall ;
While ruin glares around, and pale affright
Convenes her councils in the dead of night-
No blazon'd trophies o'er their concave spread,
Nor storied pillars rais'd aloft the head :
But here the queen of shade around them threw
Her dragon-wing, disastrous to the view !
Dire was the scene, with whirlwind, hail, and shower;
Black melancholy ruld the fearful hour !
Beneath tremendous roll'd the flashing tide,
Where fate on every billow seem'd to ride-
Enclos’d with ills, by peril unsubdu'd,
Great in distress the master-seaman stood:
Skill'd to command; deliberate to advise ;
Expert in action; and in council wise;
Thus to his partners, by the crew unheard,
The dictates of his soul the chief referr'd:
Ye faithful mates, who all my trouble share,
Approv'd companions of your master's care !
To you, alas ! 'twere fruitless now to tell
Our sad distress, already known too well!
This morn with favouring gales the port we left,
Though now of every flattering hope bereft:
No skill nor long experience could forecast
Th' unseen approach of this destructive blast.
These seas, where storms at various seasons blow,
No reigning winds nor certain omens know.
The hour, th' occasion all your skill demands;
A leaky ship embay'd by dangerous lands,
Our bark no transient jeopardy surrounds ;
Groaning she lies beneath unnumber'd wounds.
'Tis ours the doubtful remedy to find;
To shun the fury of the seas and wind.
For in this hollow swell, with labour sore,
Her flank can bear the bursting floods no more :
Yet this or other ills she must endure;
A dire disease, and desperate is the cure !
Thus two expedients offer'd to your choice,
Alone require your counsel and your
These only in our power are left to try;
To perish here, or from the storm to fly.
The doubtful balance in my judgment cast,
For various reasons I prefer the last.
'Tis true, the vessel and her costly freight,
To me consign'd, my orders only wait;
Yet, since the charge of every life is mine,
To equal votes our counsels I resign;
Forbid it, Heaven, that, in this dreadful hour,
I claim the dangerous reins of purblind power!
But should we now resolve to bear away,
Our hopeless state can suffer no delay.
Nor can we, thus bereft of every sail,
Attempt to steer obliquely on the gale ;