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Yet more the depths have more! What wealth untold
Won from ten thousand royal argosies!
-Sweep o'er thy spoils, thou wild and wrathful main!
Yet more-the depths have more! Thy waves have roll❜d
Sand hath fill'd up the palaces of old,
-Dash o'er them, ocean! in thy scornful play,
Yet more—the billows and the depths have more!
The battle-thunders will not break their rest!
—Keep thy red gold and gems, thou stormy grave!
Give back the lost and lovely!—those for whom
To thee the love of woman hath gone down,
As thus the snows arise, and foul and fierce
A dire descent beyond the power of frost!
Smooth'd up with snow; and what is land-unknown,
In the loose marsh, or solitary lake,
Where the fresh fountain from the bottom boils!
These check his fearful steps; and down he sinks
Thinking o'er all the bitterness of death,
Mix'd with the tender anguish nature shoots
Through the wrung bosom of the dying man,—
PERHAPS the finest sunsets of any, take place in the West India seas during the rainy season. In the morning, the horizon is encircled by a range of clouds, the masses of which gradually increase in magnitude till noon. They then become motionless and unchanging, and float indolently in the overpowering fervour of day; but when the sun has declined considerably, new masses start up from the place at which he will set, as if to prepare for his reception. After he sinks behind them, he remains for a little time completely shrouded; but the obscuring volumes are at length divided by a chasm, through which a magnificent burst of splendour flashes forth with startling rapidity. Every flake now rolls away from before him, and his orb, dilated into glorious magnitude, pouring floods of golden light, and sublimely curtained with clouds of the most dazzling tints, throws a parting smile upon the ocean, whose mirrored bosom placidly receives the radiant gift, and reflects back the whole celestial pageantry with a chaste and tempering mellowness. But as the moment of dipping approaches, the
sun's glare falls unequally upon the gigantic clouds, and lights them with gorgeous dyes on one side, while they remain black, portentous, and pregnant with thunder on the other, and seem to await, with lurid impatience, the time when their controlling luminary will disappear, and leave them to burst into tempest, and discharge their pent-up wrath upon the bosom of night: at last he sinks below the horizon, and darkness almost instantaneously involves both ocean and sky.
Sunset, as seen in the Southern Atlantic, has a more sober magnificence than in the West India seas. The clouds are equally brilliant in colour, but are less fantastically arranged; the light is nearly as vivid, but has not the tropical glare and fierceness just described; and the reflection upon the sea is quite as beautiful, but not so dazzling and extensive.
The most lovely and impressive sunset I ever witnessed, took place at the mouth of the St. Lawrence, where the river is thirty miles wide. I was on board ship, and we lay in the middle of the majestic stream, the surface of which was perfectly calm, and apparently without current. Several vessels had anchored within a mile of our station, and the sound of the voices and rattling of cordage, which occasionally proceeded from them, were the only vibrations that agitated the air. A number of belugas, or white whales, sported silently on the still expanse around us, raising their backs gradually above it, in the form of a snowy crescent, and then gliding downwards with graceful smoothness and elegance. On one side, the dreary coast of Labrador, lightened by the glow of sunset into an appearance of richness and verdure, occupied the horizon; and, on the other, the barren mountains of the American coast were dimly visible. Before us we traced the windings of the St. Lawrence, and saw them studded with islands, and narrowing into more intense beauty, until they were lost amidst the recesses of accumulated hills and forests. The sun was set
ting serenely on a land of peace—a land which was calling the children of misery to her bosom, and offering them the laughing joys of ease and plenty. We were in the midst of the most magnificent of nature's works, these appearing still more magnificent, from our having seen nothing but ocean and sky for many preceding weeks. We had just entered the gates of a new world, and it was impossible to view the glorious sunset which illumed its skies, without mingled emotions of awe, gratitude, and exultation.
Sunset in the East Indies is as deficient in grandeur, gloriousness, and impressive magnificence, as is the country in which it takes place. The horizon is usually cloudless, and the sun, even when about to disappear, emits a glare and heat nearly as concentrated and scorching as he does at noon-day. He is not encircled with orient colours and fanciful forms, nor tempered by kindly vapours, but descends in all the unadorned and unattractive simplicity that characterises the face of nature in the eastern tropics.
But where, after all, shall we find sunsets equal to British ones?—where such serenely beautiful horizons—such rich and varied dyes—such mellowness of light—such objects to be irradiated by it, and evenings so happily adapted for contemplating them? The mixture of fierceness and gloom in a West India sunset, call to mind the coarseness of the people there, and the implacable deadliness of the climate. The milder glories of one in the Southern Atlantic, can be enjoyed at sea only where every thing else is unpleasing. The effect of a similar scene in America, is injured by the want of objects of antiquity, and of the lofty associations connected with them; and, in India, the tropical glare attending the departure of day, forces us to imprison ourselves while it is taking place, and to remember that we are in exile. A British sunset alone excites no regretful ideas; its placid beauty is heightened by that of the scenery which it embellishes, while the quiet imagery of its horizon, and