Page images
PDF
EPUB

THB EMIGRANT.

•• The tedious hours move heavily away.

And each long minute seems a lazy day." Otwat.

u But hope, bold taster of delight 1

Shows from a rising ground possession nigh;
Shortens the distance, or o'erlooks it quite." Dxydzn.

See the poor exile from his native skies,
—Refuge withheld him wheresoe'er he hies*,

• The following anecdote will prove that our poetess does not represent woes only imaginary. A French officer, of good family and some distinction, who never quitted Paris till after the king's imprisonment had rendered his services useless, and who had received several wounds in his cause, was travelling on foot, as it suited his circumstances, and arrived iate in the evening at the city of Modena: he was refused admittance at the gate, and informed that it was by the duke's positive com. mands.—"It is impossible," said the French emigrant, "thatthe duke could give so inhuman an order."—" His coach is driving up," returned the officer; "you may hear it from himself." The emigrant advanced towards the carriage, and stopt it.—" Who are you?" said the duke.—" Who am 1!" returned the emigrant, tearing open his bosom, " I am one of those fools who have abandoned their home, their fortune, and their friends: 1 am covered with wounds, an exile, a wanderer forsuch as you; »nd I am denied admittance at your gates. But I'll return to my country, and if I appear at the head of an armed force, see if you will refuse me then."

The barbarous weakness of the Duke of Modena did nnt how. ever preserve him from plunder. When Buonaparti overran Italy, he sent a deputation to him, representing his having re. fused shelter to the Frencli emigrants, as a plea for indulgence on the part of the conqueror: yet it availed him nothing; he was even reproached for his inhospitality, and was soon re. duced to the necessity of emigrating himself.

Denied-the wretched shelter to retain,

Which wearied, fainting stops could hardly gain;—

Roaming, unguided, his bewilder'd way,

Through darkness, tempests, dangers, and dismay:

Oft woe-worn, sad, nor finding as he goes,

Rest for his head, nor pity for his woes.

With added anguish he recals to mind,

The home and tender ties he leaves behind;

Perchance a tister, gick'ning in her bloom,

Insult, and scorn, and poverty her doom;

A drooping mother's unprotected years,

To sink with sorrsw, misery, and fears;

Or fond ideas, a yet tend'rer kind,

Cling closer on his agonizing mind:

Still on his cheek he feels the parting tear,

The last farewell still vibrates on his ear;

Oft as sad retrospects his spirits goad,

He's urg'd to measure back his weary road,

A last embrace, of all he loves, to seal,

And bend his bosom to the reeking steel.

If haply, tedious toils and perils past,
He gains some island's shelter'd coast at last,
Where Britons and benevolence reside,
And safe from persecution he may hide;
As Iris forms her richly-varied bow
Of falling rains, and Sol's enliv'ning glow;
Thus Hope, bright shining on his humid eyes,
Bids vivid colours, painted visions rise,
And, like that orb, which raptur'd we behold,
Makes ev'ry distant prospect gay with gold:
Though often baffled his deluded view,
The meteor still his roving thoughts pursue;

And ev'ry wind that dashes on the shore,
His shipwreck'd cause exalts his hope the more.
Tyrannic scenes, oft varied, still outdone,
Of many tyrants they exchange for one,
Or one too many—with the ceaseless flow
Os deluges of blood, of crimes, of woe,
Still bid him hope the harm will bring its cure—
That ills so various cannot long endure:
Through the black mist's impenetrable gloom,
He sees gigantic shapes of joy to come;
His ancient monarchy, so long deplor’d,
With order, peace, security restor'd;
His native castle from its ashes rise, -
\\\swassals hail him with o'erflowing eyes:
He views the temple still adorn'd and free,
And prostrate myriads bend the willing knee,
His kindred with their wealth, and ancient state,
And ponders what shall be his own best fate;
Place and preferment wait upon his will:
Thus Hope's fair phantoms sooth his sorrows still.

[ocr errors][merged small]

*What form of death could him affright,
Who, unconcern'd, with stedfast sight,
Could view the surges, mountain-steep,

And monsters rolling in the deep ’’ - DRY prin.

* * * * * Strange as it may appear, there is no profession, . to which so little attention has been directed, nor of which so little is accurately known, even in this country, l * that of the British navy. Johnson, as a moralist,

has passed, with all the force of his energetic language a general sentence upon the mariner's character; i sentence which will be a lasting monument of his prejudice. Smollet, the splenetic Smollet, has overcharged his portraits of a British sailor. Cumberland, anxious to do them justice, has drawn, in his novel of Henry, a fine portrait of a naval officer. But, at length, Mr. Clarke, in his sermons on the character and professional duties of seamen, has given us a more correct delineation than has hitherto appeared, of the manners of this interesting and most honourable class of men. This writer, who had sufficient opportunity of knowing the truth, informs us, contrary to the prevailing opinion, that a high sense of religion is a very conspicuous feature in the character of British seamen: that they hence derive a resolution which no peril can affect; and a perseverance in difficulty which no fatigue can overcome; that their generosity, instead of proceeding || from a too profuse, or careless mind, derives its princi- ples from Christianity; that the general humanity of their character arises from that virtue which suffereth long and is kind; and that the general amenity and open candour of their manners flows from a heart, which being thus well regulated by religion, and also by discipline, is always at peace within itself. “They,” such are the words of that eloquent writer, “they who live amidst the vicissitudes of contending elements, whose representation alone, by the pencil of genius, fills the common beholder, though in safety, with dismay, pass their lives in continual survey of the most sublime object of nature, which is the ocean, and in conducting the most wonderful work of art, which is

the ship that bears them through it. Unto them i; given to trace the Creator of the world, in the sublimest of its features; they see him in the ocean, they hear him in the tempest, and look for his protection amidst the -winds and waves." . .... .It is a curious remark that, from this class of

men, the first preachers of Christianity should have

been taken "From what class of men," exclaim*

the same author," did our Saviour select his early followers? Was it from among the great, the rich, or the learned that he chose his disciples? did he go in search of them to the stately palace, or the crowded Sanhedrim? It was from the sea-shore of Judea that he called men from their maratime occupations, to become the first preachers of his gospel: one of the many instances in -which he displayed a mind that regarded not the persons of men; and was itself a mark of distinction, which, amidst the prejudices of that age, was more particularly flattering to the character of mariners."

Indeed the professional conduct of our seamen,

the events which now are daily taking place, are sufficient to raise our ideas of those men to whom this country ha* repeatedly owed its religion and its liberty. Heroism, such as blazes forth in the conduct of our seamen, cannot proceed from any common source: and it must be inspired to them by the sublime truths of Christianity. As mannerists, we must lament the number of naval toxcombs, whose enormous gold-laced hats and drawcansir scymitars make such a conspicuous figure on the parade at Portsmouth, or the long room hill at Plymouth. These are the harmless slaves of the fair sex, -who lead them about like lions with their claws drawn.

« PreviousContinue »