« ПретходнаНастави »
ing my money; but the goverr.ment wanted men, and so I was pressed for a sailor, before ever I could set foot on shore.
The boatswain found me, as he said, an obstinate fellow; insisted that I understood my business, but that I liked to be idle; but I knew nothing of sea-business, and he beat me, without considering what he was about. I had still, however, my forty pounds, and that was some comfort to me under every beating; and the money I might have had to this day, but that our ship was taken by the French; and sc I lost all.
Our crew were carried into Brest, and many of them died, because they were not used to live in a jail; but, for my part, it was nothing to me; for I was seasoned. One night, as I was asleep on the bed of boards, with a warm blanket about me, — for I always loved to lie well, -I was awakened by the boatswain, who had a dark lantern in his hand. “ Jack," says he to me, “will you knock out the French sentry's 'brains ?” “I don't care," says I, striving to keep myself awake, “if I lend a hand.”
" Then follow me,” says he, "and I hope we shall do up the business for them.” So up I got, and went with him to fight the Frenchmen. I hate the French, because they are all slaves, and wear wooden shoes.
Though we had no arms, one Englishman is able to bea five French at any time; so we went down to the door, where both the sentries were posted, aná, rushing upon them, seized their arms in a moment, and knocked them down From thence, nine of us ran together to the quay, and, seizing the first boat we met, got out of the harbor, and put to sea.
We had not been here three days before we were taken up by the Dorset privateer, and we consented to run our
Pressed, (for impressed,) forced into service. - Boatswain, pronounced bösn, an officer on board a ship, who has charge of the boats, rigging, anchors, and cables, and whose duty it is to summon the crew. - - Quay, (pronounced kē,) an artificial bank or wharf, by the side of the sea or a river, for convenience in loading or unloading vessels. -- Privateer, an armed vessel, owned by one or more private individuals, and licensed by govern ment to take an enemy's ships as prizes.
chance. However, we had not as much good luck as we expected. In three days, we fell in with the Pompadour privateer, of forty guns, while we had but twenty-three; so to it we went, yard-arm and yard-arm. The fight lasted for three hours, and I verily believe we should have taken the Frenchmen, had we but had some more men left behind ; but unfortunately we lost all our men, just as we were going to get the victory.
I was once more in the power of the French; and I believe it would have gone hard with me, had I been brought back to Brest ; but, by good fortune, we were retaken by the Viper. I had almost forgot to tell you, that, in that engagement, I was wounded in two places; I lost four fingers off the left hand, and my leg was shot off. If I had had the good fortune to have lost my leg, and use of my hand, on board a king's ship, and not aboard a privateer, I should have been entitled to clothing and maintenance during the rest of my life; but that was not my chance. One man's · born with a silver spoon in his mouth, and another with a wooden ladle. However, I enjoy good health, and will forever love liberty and Old England. Liberty, property, and Old England forever! Huzza !
Thus saying, he limped off, leaving me in admiration at his intrepidity and content; nor could I avoid acknowledging that an habitual acquaintance with misery serves, better than philosophy, to teach us to despise it.
40. Song of the Angels.
No sooner had the Almighty ceased, but all
With jubilee, and loud hosannas filled
there grows; And flowers aloft shading the fount of life, And where the river of bliss through midst of heaven Rolls o'er Elysian flowers her amber stream ; With these, that never fade, the spirits elect Bind their resplendent locks inwreathed with beams; Now in loose garlands thick thrown off, the bright Pavement, that like a sea of jasper shone, Impurpled with celestial roses, smiled. Then, crowned again, their golden harps they took, Harps ever tuned, that glittering by their side Like quivers hung, and with preamble sweet Of charming symphony they introduce Their sacred song, and waken raptures high; No voice exempt, no voice but well could join Melodious part, such concord is in heaven.
Thee, Father, first they sung Omnipotent, Immutable, Immortal, Infinite, Eternal King; the Author of all being, Fountain of light, thyself invisible Amidst the glorious brightness where thou sit'st Throned inaccessible, but when thou shad'st The full blaze of thy beams, and, through a cloud Drawn round about thee like a radiant shrine, Dark with excessive bright thy skirts appear; Yet dazzle heaven, that brightest seraphim Approach not, but with both wings veil their eyes. Thee next they sang of all creation first, Begotten Son, Divine Similitude,
In whose conspicuous countenance, without cloud
Milton has been crowned. Those who have entered the vast field of criticism, have been overpowered by the majesty of that mind, which darkened by the dazzling beams of its power. His name, like Sirius amid the gems of night, shines brilliantly in the coronet of genius. When his far. off voice strikes the key-note," a sevenfold chorus of hallelujahs and harping symphonies " fill up the melody. His words are words of enchantment; when they are pronounced, the past is present, the distant is near, and the deep mysteries of other worlds are laid open. Perhaps we cannot do better than to conclude what we would say with the following stanza :
Greece, Italy, and England, did adorn.
41. Every Man the Architect of his own Fortune.
“ But chiefly the mould of a man's fortune is his own hands."
“ Fortune a goddess is to fools alono ;
It is wittily remarked by a French writer, that while the Portuguese sailors, before engaging in battle, are prostrate upon deck, imploring their saints to perform miracles in their favor, the British tars are manning their guns and working miracles for themselves. This remark, when rightly interpreted, contains a lively satire upon a species of supersition which misleads the multitude more than any other, and engenders indolence and apathy, under the specious names of contentment and resignation.
There may be some errors, common to the vulgar, more preposterous than this, but few more pernicious, since there is none in which the transition from speculation to conduct is so easy and unavoidable. To believe, for example, that there once
were witches, who made a cockle-shell serve the purpose of a ship, and substituted a broomstick for a balloon, or that there still are fairies, who hold their gambols at midnight, among the romantic glens of Scotland, - is quite a harmless superstition, whose worst effect can be to inake the gossips draw closer round the winter fire, or the farmer more brief in his potations when at market.
But a blind belief in fatalism or destiny, acts as a powerful stimulus to indolence and indecision, and makes men sit down with their arms folded, in Turkish apathy, expecting to obtain, by supernatural means, what Providence has wisely reserved as the reward of virtuous exertions. It cannot, therefore, be too early or deeply instilled into the minds of the youthful and inexperienced, that there are few difficulties which wisdom and perseverance cannot conquer; that the means of happiness, and even riches, are, in some degree, in every man's power, and that misfortune is frequently, if not generally, only another name for misconduct.
Nothing is more common in the world, than for people to flatter their self-esteem, and to excuse their indolence, by referring the prosperity of others to the caprice or partiality of fortune. Yet few, who have examined the matter with attention, have failed to discover, that success is as generally a consequence of industry and good conduct, as disappointment is the consequence of indolence and indecision. Happiness, as Pope remarks, is truly our being's end and aim; and almost every man desires wealth as a means of happiness.
Apathy, (pathos, feeling,) without feeling, indifference: a, 8. -- Specious, plausible, having the appearance of truth or propriety. — Preposterous, having that placed first which ought to be last; hence the meaning, perverted, absurd, foolish : pre, 44. - Pernicious, hurtful, ruinous : ous, 119.