페이지 이미지

skilfully heightens this trait by shewing its effect on the commiseration of Rodmond, the roughest of his characters, who guides the victim of misfortune to lay hold of a sail.

"A flash, quick glancing on the nerves of light,
Struck the pale helmsman with eternal night:
Rodmond, who heard a piteous groan behind,
Touch'd with compassion, gaz'd upon the blind;
And, while around his sad companions crowd,
He guides th' unhappy victim to the shroud.
Hie thee aloft, my gallant friend! he cries;
Thy only succour on the mast relies!"


The effect of some of his sea-phrases is to give a definite and authentic character to his descriptions; but that of most of them, to a landsman's ear, resembles slang, and produces obscurity. His diction too generally abounds with common-place expletives and feeble lines. His scholarship on the shores of Greece is only what we should accept of from a seaman; but his poem has the sensible charm of appearing a transcript of reality, and leaves an impression of truth and nature on the mind.


[ocr errors]


O'ER the gay vessel, and her daring band,
Experienc'd Albert held the chief command:

Though train'd in boisterous elements, his mind
Was yet by soft humanity refin'd.
Each joy of wedded love at home he knew;
Abroad confest the father of his crew!
Brave, liberal, just, the calm domestic scene
Had o'er his temper breath'd a gay serene.
Him science taught by mystic lore to trace
The planets wheeling in eternal race;
To mark the ship in floating balance held,
By earth attracted and by seas repell'd;

Or point her devious track, through climes unknown, That leads to every shore and every zone.

He saw the moon through heaven's blue concave


And into motion charm th' expanding tide;
While earth impetuous round her axle rolls,
Exalts her watery zone, and sinks the poles.
Light and attraction, from their genial source,
He saw still wandering with diminish'd force;
While on the margin of declining day,
Night's shadowy cone reluctant melts away.-
Inur'd to peril, with unconquer'd soul,
The chief beheld tempestuous ocean's roll;
His genius, ever for the event prepar'd,
Rose with the storm, and all its dangers shar'd.

The second powers and office Rodmond bore: A hardy son of England's furthest shore! Where bleak Northumbria pours her savage In sable squadrons o'er the northern main; That, with her pitchy entrails stor'd, resort, A sooty tribe! to fair Augusta's port.


Where'er in ambush lurk the fatal sands,
They claim the danger; proud of skilful bands ;
For while with darkling course their vessels sweep
The winding shore, or plough the faithless deep,
O'er bar and shelf the watery path they sound,
With dextrous arm; sagacious of the ground:
Fearless they combat ev'ry hostile wind,
Wheeling in mazy tracks with course inclin'd.
Expert to moor, where terrors line the road;
Or win the anchor from its dark abode:
But drooping and relax'd in climes afar,
Tumultuous and undisciplin'd in war.
Such Rodmond was; by learning unrefin'd,
That oft enlightens to corrupt the mind:
Boisterous of manners; train'd in early youth
To scenes that shame the conscious cheek of truth;
To scenes that nature's struggling voice control,
And freeze compassion rising in the soul!
Where the grim hell-hounds, prowling round the

With foul intent the stranded bark explore-
Deaf to the voice of woe, her decks they board,
While tardy justice slumbers o'er her sword-
Th' indignant Muse, severely taught to feel,
Shrinks from a theme she blushes to reveal!
Too oft example, arm'd with poisons fell,
Pollutes the shrine where mercy loves to dwell:
Thus Rodmond, train'd by this unhallow'd crew,
The sacred social passions never knew:
Unskill'd to argue; in dispute yet loud;
Bold without caution; without honours proud;

In art unschool'd, each veteran rule he priz❜d,
And all improvement haughtily despis'd:
Yet though full oft to future perils blind,
With skill superior glow'd his daring mind,
Through snares of death the reeling bark to guide,
When midnight shades involve the raging tide.

To Rodmond next, in order of command,
Succeeds the youngest of our naval band.
But what avails it to record a name
That courts no rank among the sons of fame?
While yet a stripling, oft with fond alarms,
His bosom danc'd to nature's boundless charms;
On him fair science dawn'd in happier hour,
Awakening into bloom young fancy's flower;
But frowning fortune with untimely blast
The blossom wither'd, and the dawn o'ercast.
Forlorn of heart, and by severe decree
Condemn'd reluctant to the faithless sea,
With long farewell he left the laurel grove,
Where science and the tuneful sisters rove.-
Hither he wander'd, anxious to explore
Antiquities of nations now no more;
To penetrate each distant realm unknown,
And range excursive o'er th' untravell'd zone.
In vain !-for rude adversity's command,
Still on the margin of each famous latid,
With unrelenting ire his steps oppos'd,
And every gate of hope against him clos'd.
my verse, ye blest Pierian train,

To call Arion this ill-fated swain !

For, like that bard unhappy, on his head
Malignant stars their hostile influence shed.
Both, in lamenting numbers, o'er the deep,
With conscious anguish taught the harp to weep;
And both the raging surge in safety bore
Amid destruction panting to the shore.
This last our tragic story from the wave
Of dark oblivion haply yet may save;
With genuine sympathy may yet complain,
While sad remembrance bleeds at ev'ry vein.

Such were the pilots; tutor'd to divine Th' untravell'd course by geometric line; Train'd to command, and range the various sail, Whose various force conforins to every gale.Charg'd with the commerce, hither also came A gallant youth, Palemon was his name; A father's stern resentment doom'd to prove, He came, the victim of unhappy love! His heart for Albert's beauteous daughter bled; For her a secret flame his bosom fed... Nor let the wretched slaves of folly scorn This genuine passion, nature's eldest born! 'Twas his with lasting anguish to complain, While blooming Anna mourn'd the cause in vain.

Graceful of form, by nature taught to please, Of power to melt the female breast with ease, To her Palemon told his tender tale, Soft as the voice of summer's evening gale.. O'erjoy'd, he saw her lovely eyes relent; The blushing maiden smil'd with sweet consent.

« 이전계속 »