Page images
PDF
EPUB

And shake him from thee ;-the vile strength

he wields For earth's destruction, thou dost all despise, Spurning him from thy bosom to the skies, And send'st him, shiv'ring, iu thy playful

spray, And howling, to his gods, where haply lies

IIis petty hope in some near port or bay, And dashest him again to earth; there let him lay.

The armaments which thunder-strike the

walls
Of rock-built cities, bidding nations quake,
And monarchs tremble in their capitals;
The oak leviathans, whose huge ribs make
Their clay creator the vain title take
Of lord of thee, and arbiter of war ;-
These are thy toys, and as the snowy flake

They melt into thy yeast of waves, which mar Alike the Armada's pride, or spoils of Trafalgar.

Thy shores are empires, changed in all save

thee. Assyria, Greece, Rome, Carthage,* what are

they? Thy waters wasted them while they were free, And many a tyrant since ; their shores obey

*“On those shores were the four great empires of the world : the Assyrian, the Persian, the Grecian, and the Roman. All our religion, almost all our law, almost all our arts, almost all that sets us above savages, has come to us from the shores of the Mediterranean." -Boswell's Life of Dr. Johnson.

The stranger, slave, or savage; their decay Ilas dried up realms to deserts : --not so thou, Unchangeable save to thy wild waves' play

Time writes no wrinkle on thy azure browSuch as creation's dawn beheld, thou rollest now.

Thou glorious mirror, where th’Almighty's

form Glasses itself in tempests; in all time, Calm or convulsed – in breeze, or gale, or storm, Icing the pole, or in the torrid clime Dark-heaving, boundless, endless, and sub

limeThe image of eternity-the throne Of th’ Invisible ; even from out thy slime

The monsters of the deep are made ; each zone Obeys thee; thou goest forth, dread, fathomless,

alone.

And I have loved thee, Ocean! and my joy Of youthful sports was on thy breast to be Borne, like thy bubbles, onward : from a boy I wantoned with thy breakers—they to me Were a delight; and if the fresh'ning sea Made them a terror, t'was a pleasing fear, For I was as it were a child of thee,

And trusted to thy billows far and near, And laid my hand upon thy mane-as I do here.

The Shipwreck

.

TE HERE were two fathers in this ghastly crew,

And with them their two sons, of whom the one Was more robust and hardy to the view;

But he died early : and when he was gone, His nearest messmate told his sire, who threw One glance on him, and said, "Heaven's will

be done! I can do nothing;” and he saw him thrown Into the deep, without a tear or groan.

The other father had a weaklier child,

Of a soft cheek, and aspect delicate : But the boy bore up long, and with a mild

And patient spirit held aloof his fate : Little he said, and now and then he smiled,

As if to win a part from off the weight He saw increasing on his father's heart, With the deep, deadly thought, that they must

part.

And o'er him bent his sire, and never raised

His eyes from off his face, but wiped the foam From his pale lips, and ever on him gazed : And when the wished-for shower at length

was come,

And the boy's eyes, which the dull film half

glazed, Brightened, and for a moment seemed to roam, He squeezed from out a rag some drops of rain Into his dying child's mouth ; but in vain !

The boy expired: the father held the clay,

And looked upon it long; and when at last Death left no doubt, and the dead burden lay Stiff on his heart, and pulse and hope were

past, He watched it wistfully until away

'Twas borne by the rude wave wherein 'twas

cast;

Then he himself sunk down all dumb and shivering, And gave no sign of life, save his limbs quivering.

'Twas twilight, and the sunless day went down

Over the waste of waters ; like a veil, Which, if withdrawn, would but disclose the frown

Of one whose hate is masked but to assail. Thus to their hopeless eyes the night was shown,

And grimly darkled o'er their faces pale, And the dim, desolate deep: twelve days had Fear

Been their familiar, and now Death was here Then rose from sea to sky the wild farewell Then shrieked the timid, and stood still the

braveThen some leaped overboard with dreadful yell,

As eager to anticipate their grave;

And the sea yawned around her, like a hell.

And down she sucked with her the whirling wave,
Like one who grapples with his enemy,
And strives to strangle him before he die.
And first one universal shriek there rushed,

Louder than the loud ocean-like a crash
Of echoing thunder ; and then all was hushed,

Save the wild wind and the remorseless dash Of billows; but at intervals there gushed,

Accompanied by a convulsive splash,
A solitary shriek, the bubbling cry
Of some strong swimmer in his agony.

the Field of Waterloo.

(From Childe Harold.) The first verse consists of some reflections, given in the form of a dialogue between Lord Byron and his friend, as they rode over the field some time after the battle.

The second verse begins the narrative:- A ball was given at Brussels by the Duchess of Richmond, the night before the battle of Quatre Bras, which was fought two days before the great battle of Waterloo, A.D. 1915; and many of the English officers were present.

Sir Walter Scott says: -“Childe Harold, though he shuns to celebrate the victory of Waterloo, gives us here a most beautiful description of the evening which preceded the battle of Quatre Bras, the alarm which called out the troops, and the hurry and confusion which preceded their march. I am not sure that any rerses in our language surpass, in vigour and in feeling, this most beautiful description."

TOP! for thy tread is on an Empire's dust !

An earthquake's spoil is sepulchred below! Is the spot mark'd with no colossal bust,

r column trophied for triumphal show?

« PreviousContinue »