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The one sole interest! No, he could not now
Retain his anger; Nature knew not how;
And so there came a softness to his mind,
And he forgave the usage of mankind.
His cold long fingers now were pressed to mine,
And his faint smile of kinder thoughts gave sign;
His lips moved often as he tried to lend
His words their sound, and softly whispered “ Friend!”
Not without comfort in the thought expressed
By that calm look, with which he sank to rest.
ROBERT SOUTHEY Was born at Bristol A.D. 1774. He was educated at Oxford for the Church, but left the University early, and for a short time studied for the law: he finally adopted literature for his profession, wrote on a great variety of subjects, and was, in 1813, appointed Poet Laureate, a post which he retained till his decease in March. 1843. Dr. Southey's prose works are numerous and valuable. replete with sound information, and useful, because just, reflection. It is not easy to assign his rank as a poet, because he has tried so many experiments with his own powers, that no single work adequately represents his merits. Many of his experiments were failures; but he possessed a warm imagination, a powerful grasp of thought, a high tone of moral feeling, and a style at once noble and unaffected. It may, however, be regretted, that on some occasions, he did not submit his fancy to the control of his judgment.
From THALABA THE DESTROYER.
How beautiful is night!
A dewy freshness fills the silent air,
No mist obscures, nor cloud, nor speck, nor stain,
Breaks the serene of heaven:
In full-orbed glory, yonder moon divine
Rolls through the dark-blue depths.
Beneath her steady ray,
: The desert circle spreads,
Like the round ocean, girdled with the sky.
How beautiful is night!
Who, at this untimely hour,
Wanders o'er the desert sands?
No station is in view,
Nor palm-grove islanded amid the waste.
The mother and her child,
The widowed mother and the fatherless boy,
They at this untimely hour,
Wander o'er the desert sands.
Alas! the setting sun
Saw Zeinab in her bliss,
Hodeirah's wife beloved,
The fruitful mother late,
Whom, when the daughters of Arabia named,
They wished their lot like hers:
She wanders o'er the desert sands
A wretched widow now,
The fruitful mother of so fair a race
With only one preserved,
She wanders o'er the wilderness.
No tear relieved the burden of her heart; Stunned with the heavy woe, she felt like one Half-wakened from a midnight dream of blood.
But sometimes, when the boy
Would wet her hand with tears,
And looking up to her fixed countenance,
Sob out the name of MOTHER, then did she
Utter a feeble groan.
At length, collecting, Zeinab turned her eyes
To heaven, exclaiming, “Praised be the Lord!
He gave, He takes away!
The Lord our God is good !”
From MADOC. Not with a heart unmoved I left thy shores, Dear native Isle! oh, not without a pang, As thy fair uplands lessened on the view, Cast back the long involuntary look! The morning cheered our outset; gentle airs Curled the blue deep, and bright the summer-sun Played o’er the summer-ocean, when our barks Began their way.
And they were gallant barks, As ever through the raging billows rode! And many a tempest's buffeting they bore.
Their sails all swelling with the eastern breeze,
Their tightened cordage clattering to the mast,
Steady they rode the main; the gale aloft
Sung in the shrouds, the sparkling waters hissed
Before, and frothed, and whitened far behind.
Day after day with one auspicious wind,
Right to the setting sun we held our course.
My hope had kindled every heart; they blest
The unvarying breeze, whose unahating strength
Still sped us onward; and they said that Heaven
Favoured the bold emprise.
How many a time,
Mounting the mast-tower-top, with eager ken
They gazed, and fancied in the distant sky
Their promised shore, beneath the evening cloud,
Or seen, low-lying, through the haze of morn!
I, too, with eyes as anxious watched the waves,
Though patient, and prepared for long delay;
For not on wild adventure had I rushed
With giddy speed, in some delirious fit
Of fancy; but in many a tranquil hour
Weighed well the attempt, till hope matured to faith.
Day after day, day after day, the same,-
A weary waste of waters! still the breeze
Hung heavy in our sails, and we held on
One even course; a second week was gone,
And now another passed, and still the same,
Waves beyond waves, the interminable sea!
What marvel if, at length, the mariners
Grew sick with long expectance? I beheld
Dark looks of growing restlessness, I heard
Distrust's low murmuring: nor availed it long
To see and not perceive. Shame had awhile
Repressed their fear, till, like a smothered fire,
It burst, and spread with quick contagion round,
And strengthened as it spread. They spake in tones
Which might not be mistaken; they had done
What men dared do, ventured where never keel
Had cut the deep before; still all was sea,
The same unbounded ocean! to proceed
Were tempting Heaven'.
In despairing mood
I sought my solitary cabin; there,
Confused with vague tumultuous feelings, lay,
And to remembrance and reflection lost,
Knew only I was wretched.
Cadwallon found me; shame, and grief, and pride,
And baffled hope, and fruitless anger, swelled
Within me. All is over! I exclaimed;
Yet not in me, my friend, hath time produced
These tardy doubts and shameful fickleness;
I have not failed, Cadwallon! Nay, he cried,
The coward fears which persecuted me,
Have shown what thou hast suffered. We have yet
One hope: I prayed them to proceed a day,-
But one day more ;—this little have I gained,
And here will wait the issue; in yon bark
I am not needed, they are masters there.
One only day! The gale blew strong, the bark
Sped through the waters; but the silent hours
Who make no pause, went by; and centred still,
We saw the dreary vacancy of heaven
Close round our narrow view, when that brief term,
The last poor respite of our hopes, expired.
They shortened sail, and called, with coward prayer,
For homeward winds. Why, what poor slaves are we;
In bitterness I cried: the sport of chance;
Left to the mercy of the elements,
Or the more wayward will of such as these,
Blind tools and victims of their destiny!
Yea! Madoc! he replied; the elements
Master indeed the feeble powers of man!
Not to the shores of Cambriax will thy ships
Win back their shameful way! or He, whose will
Unchains the wind, hath bade them minister
To aid us, when all human hope was gone,
Or we shall soon eternally repose
From life's long voyage.
As he spake, I saw
The clouds hang thick and heavy o’er the deep,
And heavily, upon the long low swell,
The vessel laboured on the labouring sea.
The reef-points rattled on the shivering sail;
2 Cambria, the ancient name of Wales.
At fits the sudden gust howled ominous,
Anon with unremitting fury raged;
High rolled the mighty billows, and the blast
Swept from their sheeted sides the showery foam.
Vain were now all the seamen's homeward hopes,
Vain all their skill;—we drove before the storm.
'Tis pleasant, by the cheerful hearth, to hear
Of tempests, and the dangers of the deep,
And pause at times, and feel that we are safe;
Then listen to the perilous tale again,
And, with an eager and suspended soul,
Woo terror to delight us. But to hear
The roaring of the raging elements,
To know all human skill, all human strength,
Avail not; to look round, and only see
The mountain-wave incumbent, with its weight
Of bursting waters, o'er the reeling bark:
Oh God! this is indeed a dreadful thing!
And he who hath endured the horror once
Of such an hour, doth never hear the storm
Howl round his home, but he remembers it,
And thinks upon the suffering mariner!
Onward we drove; with unabating force
The tempest raged; night added to the storm
New horrors, and the morn arose o'erspread
With heavier clouds. The weary mariners
Called on Saint Cyric's aid; and I too placed
My hope on Heaven, relaxing not the while
Our human efforts.
Three dreadful days and nights we drove along;
The fourth, the welcome rain came rattling down:
The wind had fallen, and through the broken cloud
Appeared the bright dilating blue of heaven.
Emboldened now, I called the mariners.
Vain were it should we bend a homeward course,
Driven by the storm so far: they saw our barks,
For service of that long and perilous way
Disabled, and our food belike to fail.
Silent they heard, reluctant in assent;
Anon, they shouted joyfully. I looked
And saw a bird slow sailing over-head,
His long white pinions by the sun-beam edged,
As though with burnished silver :-never yet
Heard I so sweet a music as his cry!