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Who, patient in adversity, still bear
The firmest front when greatest ills are near!
The truth, though grievous, I must now reveal,
That long in vain I purpos'd to conceal.
Ingulf'd, all helps of art we vainly try,
To weather leeward shores, alas ! too nigh.
crazy bark no longer can abide
The seas that thunder o'er her batter'd side;
And, while the leaks a fatal warning give,
That in this raging sea she cannot live,
One only refuge from despair we find;
At once to wear and scud before the wind.
Perhaps ev’n then to ruin we may steer;
For broken shores beneath our lee appear ;
But that's remote, and instant death is here;
Yet there, by Heaven's assistance, we may gain
Some creek or inlet of the Grecian main ;
Or, shelter'd by some rock, at anchor ride,
Till with abating rage the blast subside.
But if, determin’d by the will of Heaven, Our helpless bark at last ashore is driven, These counsels follow'd, from the wat'ry grave Our floating sailors in the surf may save.
And first let all our axes be secur'd, To cut the masts and rigging from a board. Then to the quarters bind each plank and oar, To float between the vessel and the shore. The longest cordage too must be convey'd On deck, and to the weather-rails belay'd. So they who haply reach alive the land, Th' extended lines may fasten on the strand.
Whene'er, loud thundering on the leeward shore,
While yet aloof we hear the breakers roar,
Thus for the terrible event prepar'd,
Brace fore and aft to starboard every yard.
So shall our masts swim lighter on the wave,
And from the broken rocks our seamen save.
Then westward turn the stem, that every mast
May shoreward fall, when from the vessel cast.
When o'er her side once more the billows bound,
Ascend the rigging till she strikes the ground:
And when you hear aloft th' alarming shock
That strikes her bottom on some pointed rock,
The boldest of our sailors must descend,
The dangerous business of the deck to tend:
Then each, secur'd by some convenient cord,
Should cut the shrouds and rigging from the board.
Let the broad axes next assail each mast!
And booms, and oars, and rafts to leeward cast.
Thus, while the cordage stretch'd ashore may guide
Our brave companions through the swelling tide,
This floating lumber shall sustain them o'er
The rocky shelves, in safety to the shore.
till the last,
O cling securely on each faithful mast!
Though great the danger, and the task severé,
Yet bow not to the tyranny of fear !
If once that slavish yoke your spirits quell,
Adieu to hope! to life itself farewell!
I know, among you some full oft have view'd, With murd’ring weapons arm'd, a lawless brood,
On England's vile inhuman shore who stand,
The foul reproach and scandal of our land !
To rob the wanderers wreck'd upon
These, while their savage office they pursue,
Oft wound to death the helpless plunder'd crew,
Who, 'scap'd from every horror of the main,
Implor'd their mercy, but implor'd in vain.
But dread not this !-a crime to Greece unknown,
Such blood-hounds all her circling shores disown:
Her sons, by barbarous tyranny opprest,
Can share affliction with the wretch distrest:
Their hearts, by cruel fate inur'd to grief,
Oft to the friendless stranger yield relief.
With conscious horror struck, the naval band
Detested for a while their native land.
They curs’d the sleeping vengeance of the laws,
That thus forgot her guardian sailor's cause.
Mean while the master's voice again they heard,
Whom, as with filial duty, all rever'd.
No more remains—but now a trusty band
Must ever at the pump industrious stand;
And while with us the rest attend to wear,
Two skilful seamen to the helm repair !
O Source of life ! our refuge and our stay!
Whose voice the warring elements obey,
On thy supreme assistance we rely;
Thy mercy supplicate, if doom'd to die!
Perhaps this storm is sent, with healing breath,
From neighbouring shores to scourge disease and
'Tis ours on thine unerring laws to trust:
With thee, great Lord! “ whatever is, is just."
THE VESSEL GOING TO PIECES-DEATH OF ALBERT.
And now, lash'd on by destiny severe,
With horror fraught the dreadful scene drew near!
The ship hangs hovering on the verge of death,
yawns, rocks rise, and breakers roar beneath!
In vain, alas! the sacred shades of yore
Would arm the mind with philosophic lore;
In vain they'd teach us, at the latest breath,
To smile serene amid the pangs of death.
Even Zeno's self, and Epictetus old,
This fell abyss had shudder'd to behold.
Had Socrates, for godlike virtue fam'd,
And wisest of the sons of men proclaim'd,
Beheld this scene of phrenzy and distress,
His soul had trembled to its last recess!
O yet confirm my heart, ye powers above,
This last tremendous shock of fate to prove;
The tottering frame of reason yet sustain !
Nor let this total ruin whirl my brain !
In vain the cords and axes were prepard, For now th' audacious seas insult the yard ; High o'er the ship they throw a horrid shade, And o'er her burst, in terrible cascade. Uplifted on the surge, to heaven she flies, Her shatter'd top half buried in the skies,
Then headlong plunging thunders on the ground,
Earth groans ! air trembles ! and the deeps resound!
Her giant bulk the dread concussion feels,
And quivering with the wound, in torment, reels.
So reels, convuls'd with agonizing throes,
The bleeding bull beneath the murd'rer's blows.
Again she plunges! hark! a second shock
Tears her strong bottom on the marble rock!
Down on the vale of death, with dismal cries,
The fated victims shuddering roll their eyes
In wild despair, while yet another stroke,
With deep convulsion, rends the solid oak:
Till like the mine, in whose infernal cell
The lurking demons of destruction dwell,
At length asunder torn her frame divides,
And crashing spreads in ruin o'er the tides.
As o'er the surge the stooping main-mast hung, Still on the rigging thirty seamen clung: Some, struggling, on a broken crag were cast, And there by oozy tangles grappled fast: Awhile they bore th' o'erwhelming billows rage, Unequal combat with their fate to wage; Till all benumb'd and feeble they forego Their slippery hold, and sink to shades below. Some, from the main-yard-arm impetuous thrown On marble ridges, die without a groan. Three with Palemon on their skill depend, And from the wreck on oars and rafts descend. Now on the mountain-wave on high they ride, Then downward plunge beneath th' involving tide;