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As, far divided from his parent deep,
The sea-born infant cries, and will not sleep,
Raising his little plaint in vain, to rave
For the broad bosom of his nursing wave:
The woods droop'd darkly, as inclined to rest,
The tropic-bird wheel'd rock-ward to his nest,
And the blue sky spread round them like a lake
Of peace, where piety her thirst might slake.
But through the palm and plantain, hark, a voice!
Not such as would have been a lover's choice
In such an hour to break the air so still!
No dying night-breeze, harping o'er the hill,
Striking the strings of nature, rock and tree,
Those best and earliest lyres of harmony,
With echo for their chorus; nor the alarm
Of the loud war-whoop to dispei the charm;
Nor the soliloquy of the herinit owl,
Exhaling all his solitary soul,
The dim though large-eyed winged anchorite,
Who peals his dreary pæan o'er the night ;-
But a loud, long, and naval whistle, shrili
As ever startled through a sea-bird's bill;
And then a pause, and then a hoarse "Hillo!
Torquil! my boy! what cheer? Ho, brother, ho!"
"Who hails?" cried Torquil, following with his eye
The sound. "Here's one!" was all the brief reply.
But here the herald of the self-same mouth
Came breathing o'er the aromatic south,
Not like a "bed of violets" on the gale,
But such as wafts its cloud o'er grog or ale,
Borne from a short frail pipe, which yet had blown
Its gentle odours over either zone,
And, puff'd where'er winds rise or waters roll,
Had wafted smoke from Portsmouth to the Pole,
Opposed its vapour as the lightning flash'd,
And reek'd, 'midst mountain billows unabash'd,
To Æolus a constant sacrifice,
Through every change of all the varying skies.
And what was he who bore it?—I may err,
But deem him sailor or philosopher.'
Sublime tobacco! which from east to west
Cheers the tar's labour or the Turkman's rest
Which on the Moslem's ottoman divides
His hours, and rivals opium and his brides;
Magnificent in Stamboul, but less grand,
Though not less loved, in Wapping or the Strand;
Divine in hookas, glorious in a pipe,
When tipp'd with amber, yellow, rich, and ripe;
Like other charmers, wooing the caress
More dazzlingly when daring in full dress;
Yet thy true lovers more admire by far
Thy naked beauties-Give me a cigar!
Through the approaching darkness of the wood
A human figure broke the solitude,
Fantastically, it may be, array'd,
A seaman in a savage masquerade;
Such as appears to rise from out the deep,
When o'er the Line the merry vessels sweep,
1 Hobbes, the father of Locke's and other philosophy, was an inveterate smoker,-even to pipes beyond computation.
And the rough Saturnalia of the tar
Flock o'er the deck, in Neptune's borrow'd car;'
And, pleased, the god of ocean sees his name
Revive once more, though but in mimic
Of his true sons, who riot in a breeze
Undreamt of in his native Cyclades.
Still the old god delights, from out the main,
To snatch some glimpses of his ancient reign.
Our sailor's jacket, though in ragged trim,
His constant pipe, which never yet burn'd dim,
His foremast air, and somewhat rolling gait,
Like his dear vessel, spoke his former state;
But then a sort of kerchief round his head,
Not over tightly bound, or nicely spread;
And, stead of trowsers (ah! too early torn!
For even the mildest woods will have their thorn),
A curious sort of somewhat scanty mat
Now served for inexpressibles and hat;
His naked feet and neck, and sunburnt face,
Perchance might suit alike with either race.
His arms were all his own, our Europe's growth,
Which two worlds bless for civilizing both;
The musket swung behind his shoulders, broad
And somewhat stoop'd by his marine abode,
But brawny as the boar's; and, hung beneath,
His cutlass droop'd, unconscious of a sheath,
Or lost or worn away; his pistols were
Link'd to his belt, a matrimonial pair-
(Let not this metaphor appear a scoff,
Though one miss'd fire, the other would
These, with a bayonet, not so free from rust
As when the arm-chest held its brighter trust,
Completed his accoutrements, as night
Survey'd him in his garb heteroclite.
"What cheer, Ben Bunting?" cried (when in full view Our new acquaintance) Torquil; "Aught of new?" "Ey, ey," quoth Ben, "not new, but news enow; A strange sail in the offing."-"Sail! and how? What! could you make her out? It cannot be; I've seen no rag of canvas on the sea." "Belike," said Ben, "you might not from the bay But from the bluff-head, where I watch'd to-day, I saw her in the doldrums; for the wind Was light and baffling."-" When the sun declined Where lay she? had she anchor'd?”—" No, but still She bore down on us, till the wind grew still." "Her flag?"-"I had no glass; but, fore and aft Egad, she seem'd a wicked-looking craft." "Arm'd ?"-" I expect so-sent on the look-out ;'Tis tine, belike, to put our helm about." "About?-Whate'er may have us now in chase, We'll make no running fight, for that were base; We will die at our quarters, like true men."
THE fight was o'er: the flashing through the gloom,
Which robes the cannon as he wings a tomb,
Had ceased; and sulphury vapours upwards driven
Had left the earth, and but polluted heaven:
The rattling roar which rung in every volley
Had left the valleys to their melancholy;
No more they shrick'd their horror, boom for boom;
The strife was done, the vanquish'd had their doom;
The mutineers were crush'd, dispersed, or ta'en,
Or lived to deem the happiest were the slain.
Few, few, escaped, and these were hunted o'er
The isle they loved beyond their native shore.
No further home was theirs, it seem'd, on earth,
Once renegades to that which gave them birth;
Track'd like wild beasts, like them they sought the wild,
As to a mother's bosom flies the child;
But vainly wolves and lions seek their den,
And still more vainly men escape from men.
Beneath a rock whose jutting base protrudes
Far over ocean in his fiercest moods,
When scaling his enormous crag, the wave
Is hurl'd down headlong like the foremost brave,
And falls back on the foaming crowd behind,
Which fight beneath the banners of the wind,
But now at rest, a little remnant drew
Together, bleeding, thirsty, faint, and few;
But still their weapons in their hands, and still
With something of the pride of former will,
As men not all unused to meditate,
And strive much more than wonder at their fate.
Their present lot was what they had foreseen,
And dared as what was likely to have been;
Yet still the lingering hope, which deem'd their lot
Not pardon'd, but unsought-for or forgot,
Or trusted that, if sought, their distant caves
Might still be miss'd amidst that world of waves,
Had wean'd their thoughts in part from what they saw
And felt-the vengeance of their country's law.
Their sea-green isle, their guilt-won paradise,
No more could shield their virtue or their vice:
Their better feelings, if such were, were thrown
Back on themselves,-their sins remain'd alone.
Proscribed even in their second country, they
Were lost; in vain the world before them lay;
All outlets seem'd secured. Their new allies
Had fought and bled in mutual sacrifice;
But what avail'd the club and spear and arm
Of Hercules, against the sulphury charm,
1 "That will do for the marines, but the sailors won't be deve it." is an old saying, and one of the few fragments of former jealousies which still survive (in jest only) between These gallant services.
The magic of the thunder, which destroy'd
The warrior ere his strength could be employ'd?
Dug, like a spreading pestilence, the grave
No less of human bravery than the brave!1
Their own scant numbers acted all the few
Against the many oft will dare and do;
But though the choice seems native to die free,
Even Greece can boast but one Thermopylæ,
when she has forged her broken chain
Back to a sword, and dies and lives again!
Beside the jutting rock the few appear'd,
Like the last remnant of the red-deer's herd;
Their eyes were feverish, and their aspect worn,
But still the hunter's blood was on their horn.
A little stream came tumbling from the height,
And straggling into ocean as it might,
Its bounding crystal frolick'd in the ray,
And gush'd from cleft to crag with saltless spray;
Close on the wild wide ocean, yet as pure
And tresh as innocence, and more secure,
Its silver torrent glitter'd o'er the deep,
As the shy chamois' eye o'erlooks the steep,
While far below the vast and sullen swell
Of ocean's Alpine azure rose and fell.
To this young spring they rush'd,- all feelings first
Absorb'd in passion's and in nature's thirst,-
Drank as they do who drink their last, and threw
Their arms aside to revel in its dew;
Cool'd their scorch'd throats, and wash'd the gory staja▾
From wounds whose only bandage might be chains;
Then, when their drought was quench'd, look'd sa ̧
As wondering how so many still were found
Alive and fetterless :-but silent all,
Each sought his fellow's eyes, as if to call
On him for language which his lips denied,
As though their voices with their cause had died.
Stern, and aloof a little from the rest,
Stood Christian, with his arms across his chest.
The ruddy, reckless, dauntless hue, once spread
Along his check, was livid now as lead ;
His light-brown locks, so graceful in their flow,
Now rose like startled vipers o'er his brow.
Still as a statue, with his lips compress'd
To stifle even the breath within his breast,
Fast by the rock. all menacing but mute,
He stood; and, save a slight beat of his foot,
Which deepen'd now and then the sandy dint
Beneath his heel, his form seem'd turn'd to flint.
Some paces further, Torquil lean'd his head
Against a bank, and spoke not, but he bled,-
Not mortally-his worst wound was within:
His brow was pale, his blue eyes sunken in,
And blood-drops, sprinkled o'er his yellow hair,
Show'd that his faintness came not from despair,
But nature's ebb. Beside him was another,
Rough as a bear, but willing as a brother,-
1 Archidamus, King of Sparta, and son of Agesilaus, whor he saw a machine invented for the casting of stones and darus. exclaimed that it was "the grave of valour." The same ste has been told of some knights, on the first application of gan powder; but the original anecdote is in Plutarch.
Ben Bunting, who essay'd to wash, and wipe, And bind his wound-then calmly lit his pipeA trophy which survived a hundred fights,
A beacon which had cheer'd ten thousand nights. The fourth and last of this deserted group
Even as he spoke, around the promontory,
Which nodded o'er the billows high and hoary,
A dark speck dotted ocean: on it flew,
Like to the shadow of a roused sea-mew:
Walk'd up and down-at times would stand, then stoop Onward it came-and, lo! a second follow'd
To pick a pebble up-then let it drop
Then hurry as in haste-then quickly stop-
Then cast his eyes on his companions-then
Half whistle half a tune, and pause again-
And then his former movements would redouble,
With something between carelessness and trouble.
This is a long description, but applies
To scarce five minutes past before the eyes;
But yet what minutes! Moments like to these
Rend men's lives into immortalities.
At length Jack Skyscrape, a mercurial man,
Who flutter'd over all things like a fan,
More brave than firm, and inore disposed to dare
And die at once than wrestle with despair,
Exclaim'd"God damn!" Those syllables intense,-
Nucleus of England's native eloquence,
As the Turk's "Allah!" or the Roman's more
Pagan "Proh Jupiter!" was wont of yore
To give their first impressions such a vent,
By way of echo to embarrassment.
Jack was embarrass'd,-never hero more,
And as he knew not what to say, he swore;
Nor swore in vain: the long congenial sound
Revived Ben Bunting from his pipe profound;
He drew it from his mouth, and look'd full wise,
But merely added to the oath his eyes;
Thus rendering the imperfect phrase complete-
A peroration I need not repeat.
But Christian, of a higher order, stood
Like an extinct volcano in his mood;
Silent, and sad, and savage,-with the trace
Of passion reeking from his clouded face.
Till lifting up again his sombre cye,
It glanced on Torquil who lean'd faintly by.
"And is it thus ?" he cried, "unhappy boy!
And thee, too, thee my madness must destroy."
He said, and strode to where young Torquil stood,
Yet dabbled with his lately-flowing blood;
Seized his hand wistfully, but did not press,
And shrunk as fearful of his own caress;
Inquired into his state, and, when he heard
The wound was slighter than he deem'd or fear'd,
A moment's brightness pass'd along his brow,
As much as such a moment would allow.
"Yes," he exclaim'd, "we are taken in the toil,
But not a coward or a common spoil;
Dearly they have bought us-dearly still may buy,—
And I must fall; but have you strength to fly?
'T would be some comfort still, could you survive;
Our dwindled band is now too few to strive.
Oh! for a sole canoe! though but a shell,
To bear you hence to where a hope may dwell!
For me, my lot is what I sought; to be,
In life or death, the fearless and the free."
Now seen-now hid-where ocean's vale was hollow'u,
And near, and nearer, till their dusky crew
Presented well-known aspects to the view,
Till on the surf their skimming paddles play,
Buoyant as wings, and flitting through the spray;
Now perching on the wave's high curl, and now
Dash'd downward in the thundering foam below,
Which flings it broad and boiling, sheet on sheet,
And slings its high flakes, shiver'd into slect:
But floating still through surf and swell, drew nigh
The barks, like small birds through a louring sky.
Their art seem'd nature-such the skill to sweep
The wave, of these born playmates of the deep.
And who the first that, springing on the strand,
Leap'd like a Nereid from her shell to land,
With dark but brilliant skin, and dewy eye
Shining with love, and hope, and constancy?
Neuha,--the fond, the faithful, the adored,
Her heart on Torquil's like a torrent pour'd;
And smiled, and wept, and near and nearer clasp'd,
As if to be assured 't was him she grasp'd;
Shudder'd to see his yet warm wound, and then,
To find it trivial, smiled and wept again.
She was a warrior's daughter, and could bear
Such sights, and feel, and mourn, but not despair.
Her lover lived,-nor foes nor fears could blight
That full-blown moment in its all delight:
Joy trickled in her tears, joy fill'd the sob
That rock'd her heart till almost HEARD to throb,
And paradise was breathing in the sigh
Of nature's child and nature's ecstacy.
The sterner spirits who beheld that meeting
Were not unmoved; who are when hearts are greeting?
Even Christian gazed upon the maid and boy
With tearless eye, but yet a gloomy joy
Mix'd with those bitter thoughts the soul arrays
In hopeless visions of our better days,
When all 's gone-to the rainbow's latest ray.
"And but for me!" he said, and turn'd away;
Then gazed upon the pair, as in his den
A lion looks upon his cubs again;
And then relapsed into his sullen guise,
As heedless of his further destinies.
But brief their time for good or evil thought;
The billows round the promontory brought
The plash of hostile oars-Alas! who made
That sound a dread? All round them seem'd array'd
Against them save the bride of Toobonai:
She, as she caught the first glimpse o'er the bay,
Of the arm'd boats which hurried to complete
The remnant's ruin with their flying feet,
Beckon❜d the natives round her to their prows,
Embark'd their guests, and launch'd their light canoes,
In one placed
But she and
She fix'd him in aur ɔn--bang! away!
They clear the cens, dan dig the bay,
And towards a group o. 1.es, fià as bear
The sea-bird's nost za fal's srf-hollow'd lair,
They skim the blue tops of ', 'billows; fast
They flew, and fast their fere pursuers chased.
They gain upon them-row they lose again,-
Again make way and menace o'er the main;
And now the two canoes in chase divide,
And follow different courses o'er the tide,
To baffle the pursuit-Away! away!
As life is on each paddle's flight to-day,
And more than life or lives to Neuha: love
Freights the frail bark, and urges to the cove-
And now the refuge and the foe are nigh—
Yet, yet a moment!-Fly, thou light ark, fly!
saved by comrades twain; on! østener. again.
WHITE as a white sail on a dusky sea,
When half the horizon's clouded and half free,
Fluttering between the dun wave and the sky,
Is hope's last gleam in man's extremity.
Her anchor parts; but still her snowy sail
Attracts our eye amidst the rudest gale:
Though every wave she climbs divides us more,
The heart still follows from the loneliest shore.
Not distant from the isle of Toobonai,
A black rock rears its bosom o'er the spray,
The haunt of birds, a desert to mankind,
Where the rough seal reposes from the wind,
And sleeps unwieldy in his cavern dun,
Or gambols with huge frolic in the sun;
There shrilly to the passing oar is heard
The startled echo of the ocean bird,
Who rears on its bare breast her callow brood,
The feather'd fishes of the solitude.
A narrow segment of the yellow sand
On one side forms the outline of a strand;
Here the young turtle, crawling from his shell
Steals to the deep wherein his parents dwell;
Chipp'd by the beam, a nursling of the day,
But hatch'd for ocean by the fostering ray;
The rest was one bleak precipice, as e'er
Gave mariners a shelter and despair,
spot to make the saved regret the deck
Which late went down, and envy the lost wreck. Such was the stern asylum Neuha chose
To shield her lover from his following foes;
But all its secret was not told; she knew
In this a treasure hidden from the view.
Ere the canoes divided, near the spot,
The men that mann'd what held her Torquil's lot, By her command removed, to strengthen more The skiff which wafted Christian from the shore. This he would have opposed: but with a smile She pointed calmly to the craggy isle,
And bade him "speed and prosper." She would take The rest upon herself for Torquil's sake.
They parted with this added aid; afar
proa darted like a shooting star,
And gain'd on the pursuers, who now steer'd
Right on the rock which she and Torquil near'd.
They pull'd; her arm, though delicate, was free
And firm as ever grappled with the sea,
And yielded scarce to Torquil's manlier strength.
The prow now almost lay within its length
Of the crag's steep, inexorable face,
With nought but soundless waters for its base;
Within a hundred boats' length was the foe,
And now what refuge but their frail canoe?
This Torquil ask'd with half-upbraiding eye,
Which said "Has Neuha brought me here to die? Is this a place of safety, or a grave,
And yon huge rock the tombstone of the wave?"
They rested on their paddles, and uprose
Neuha, and, pointing to the approaching foes,
Cried, "Torquil, follow me, and fearless follow!"
Then plunged at once into the ocean's hollow.
There was no time to pause-the foes were near-
Chains in his eye and menace in his ear:
With vigour they pull'd on, and as they came,
Hail'd him to yield, and by his forfeit name.
Headlong he leap'd-to him the swimmer's skill
Was native, and now all his hope from ill;
But how or where? He dived, and rose no more;
The boat's crew look'd amazed o'er sea a id shore
There was no landing on that precipice,
Steep, harsh, and slippery as a berg of ice.
They watch'd awhile to see him float again,
But not a trace rebubbled from the main:
The wave roll'd on, no ripple on its face,
Since their first plunge, recall'd a single trace;
The little whirl which eddied, and slight foam,
That whiten'd o'er what seem'd their latest home,
White as a sepulchre above the pair,
Who left no marble (mournfu! as an heir),
The quiet proa, wavering o'er the tide,
Was all that told of Torquil and his bride;
And but for this alone, the whole might seem
The vanish'd phantom of a seaman's dream.
They paused and search'd in vain, then pull'd away.
Even superstition now forbade their stay.
Some said he had not plunged into the wave,
But vanish'd like a corpse-light from a grave;
Others, that something supernatural
Glared in his figure, more than mortal tall;
While all agreed, that in his cheek and eye
There was the dead hue of eternity.
Still as their oars receded from the crag,
Round every weed a moment would they lag,
Expectant of some token of their prey;
But no-he'd melted from them like the spray.
And where was he, the pilgrim of the deep,
Following the Nereid? Had they ceased to weep
For ever? or, received in coral caves,
Wrung life and pity from the softening waves?
Did they with ocean's hidden sovereigns dwell,
And sound with mermen the fantastic shell?
Did Neuha with the mermaids comb her hair,
Flowing o'er ocean as it stream'd in air?
Or had they perish'd, and in silence slept
Beneath the gulf wherein they boldly leap'd?
Young Neuha plunged into the deep, and he
Follow'd: her track beneath her native sea
Was as a native's of the element,
So smoothly, bravely, brilliantly she went,
Leaving a streak of light behind her heel,
Which struck and flash'd like an amphibious steel.
Closely, and scarcely less expert to trace
The depths where divers hold the pearl in chase,
Torquil, the nursling of the northern seas,
Pursued her liquid steps with art and ease.
Deep-deeper for an instant Neuha led
The way then upward soar'd-and, as she spread
Her arms, and flung the foam from off her locks,
Laugh'd, and the sound was answer'd by the rocks.
They had gain'd a central realm of earth again,
But look'd for tree, and field, and sky, in vain.
Around she pointed to a spacious cave,
Whose only portal was the keyless wave,'
(A hollow archway by the sun unseen,
Save through the billows' glassy veil of green,
In some transparent ocean holiday,
When all the finny people are at play),
Wiped with her hair the brine from Torquil's eyes,
And clapp'd her hands with joy at his surprise;
Led him to where the rock appear❜d to jut
And form a something like a Triton's hut,
For al was darkness for a space, till day
Through clefts above let in a sober'd ray;
As in some old cathedral's glimmering aisle
The dusty monuments from light recoil,
Thus sadly in their refuge submarine
The vault drew half her shadow from the scene.
Forth from her bosom the young savage drew
A pine torch, strongly girded with gnatoo;
A plantain leaf o'er all, the more to keep
Its latent sparkle from the sapping deep.
This mantle kept it dry; then from a nook
Of the same plantain leaf, a flint she took,
A few shrunk wither'd twigs, and from the blade
Of Torquil's knife strack fire, and thus array'd
The grot with torchlight. Wide it was and high,
And show'd a self-born Gothic canopy;
The arch uprear'd by nature's architect,
The architrave some earthquake might erect;
The buttress from some mountain's bosom hurl'd,
When the poles crash'd and water was the world;
Or harden'd from some earth-absorbing fire,
While yet the globe reek'd from its funeral pyre;
The fretted pinnacle, the aisle, the nave,2
Were there, all scoop'd by darkness from her cave.
1 Of this cave (which is no fiction) the original will be found in the 9th chapter of Mariner's Account of the Tonga Islands. I have taken the poetical liberty to transplant it to Toobonai, the last island where any distinct account is left of Christian and his comrades.
2 This may seem too minute for the general outine (in Mariner's Account) from which it is taken. But few men have travelled without seeing something of the kind-on land, that
Without adverting to Elora, in Mungo Park's last 'ournal
There, with a little tinge of phantasy,
Fantastic faces moped and mow'd on high,
And then a mitre or a shrine would fix
The eye upon its seerning crucifix.
Thus Nature play'd with the stalactites,
And built herself a chapel of the seas
And Neuha took her Torquil by the hand,
And waved along the vault her kindled brand,
And led him into each recess, and show'd
The secret places of their new abode.
Nor these alone, for all had been prepared
Before, to soothe the lover's lot she shared;
The mat for rest; for dress the fresh gnatoo,
And sandal-oil to fence against the dew;
For food the cocoa-nut, the yam, the bread
Born of the fruit; for board the plantain spread
With its broad leaf, or turtie-shell which bore
A banquet in the flesh if cover'd o'er;
The gourd with water recent from the rill,
The ripe banana from the mellow hill;
A pine-torch pile to keep undying light,
And she herself, as beautiful as night,
To fling her shadowy spirit o'er the scene
And make their subterranean world serene.
She had foreseen, since first the stranger's sail
Drew to their isle, that force or flight might fail,
And form'd a refuge of the rocky den
For Torquil's safety from his countrymen.
Each dawn had wafted there her light canoe,
Laden with all the golden fruits that grew;
Each eve had seen her gliding through the hour
With all could cheer or deck their sparry bower,
And now she spread her little store with smiles,
The happiest daughter of the loving isles.
She, as he gazed with grateful wonder, press'a
Her shelter'd love to her impassion'd breast;
And, suited to her soft caresses, told
An elden tale of love,-for love is old,
Old as eternity, but not outworn
With each new being born or to be born:1
How a young Chief, a thousand moons ago,
Diving for turtle in the depths below,
Had risen, in tracking fast his ocean prey,
Into the cave which round and o'er them lay;
How, in some desperate feud of after time,
He shelter'd there a daughter of the clime,
A foe beloved, and offspring of a foe,
Saved by his tribe but for a captive's woe;
How, when the storm of war was still, he led
His island clan to where the waters spread
Their deep green shadow o'er the rocky door,
Then dived-it seem'd as if to rise no more:
His wondering mates, amazed within their bark
Or deem'd him mad, or prey to the blue shark;
(if my memory do not err, for there are eight years since read the book) ho mentions having met with a rock or mountain so exactly resembling a Gothic cathedral, that only minute inspection could convince him that it was a work of nature. 1 The reader will recollect the epigram of the Greek Anthol ogy, or its translation into most of the modern languages "Whoe'er thou art, thy master see, He was, or is, or is to be."