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The Poetical Works of Beattie, Blair, and Falconer by Rev. George Gilfillan [Ed.]

Part 6 out of 7

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[Footnote 33: 'Reef-lines' are only used to reef the mainsail and
foresail; they are passed in spiral turns through the eye-let holes of
the reef, and over the head of the sails between the rope-band legs,
till they reach the extremities of the reef to which they are firmly
extended, so as to lace the reef close up to the yard.]

[Footnote 34: 'Shrouds' are thick ropes, stretching from the mastheads
downwards to the outside of the ship, serving to support the masts; they
are also used as a range of rope-ladders by which the seamen ascend or
descend to perform whatever is necessary about the sails and rigging.]

[Footnote 35: 'Reef-band:' the reef-band is a long piece of canvas sewed
across the sail, to strengthen the canvas in the place where the
eyelet-holes of the reef are formed.]

[Footnote 36: 'Circling earings:' the outer turns of the earing serve to
extend the sail along the yard, and the inner tarns are employed to
confine its head-rope close to its surface; see note to ver. 207, p.

[Footnote 37: 'A sea' is the general name given by sailors to a single
wave, or billow; hence when a wave bursts over the deck, the vessel is
said to have 'shipped a sea.']

[Footnote 38: 'To weather' a shore, is to pass to the windward of it,
which at this time is prevented by the violence of the storm.]

[Footnote 39: 'Try:' to try, is to lay the ship with her side nearly in
the direction of the wind and sea, with the head somewhat inclined to
the windward; the helm being laid a-lee to retain her in that position.]

[Footnote 40: 'Topping-lift:' the topping-lift, which tops the upper end
of the mizen-yard (see note to ver. 260, p. 215); this line and the six
following describe the operation of reefing and balancing the mizen. The
reef of this sail is towards the lower end, the knittles being small
short lines used in the room of points for this purpose (see notes to
ver. 134, 150, p. 210); they are accordingly knotted under the
foot-rope, or lower edge of the sail.]

[Footnote 41: 'Lash'd a-lee:' fastened to the lee-side; see note to ver.
132, p. 209.]

[Footnote 42: 'The well' is an apartment in a ship's hold, serving to
inclose the pumps; it is sounded by dropping a measured iron rod down
into it by a long line; hence the increase or diminution of the leaks is
easily discovered.]

[Footnote 43: 'Brake:' the brake is the lever or handle of the pump, by
which it is wrought.]

[Footnote 44: 'The waist' of a ship of this kind is a hollow space, of
about five feet in depth, contained between the elevations of the
quarter-deck and forecastle, and having the upper-deck for its base or

[Footnote 45: 'Lee-way:' the lee-way, or drift, which in this place are
synonymous terms, is the movement by which a ship is driven sideways at
the mercy of the wind and sea, when she is deprived of the government of
the sails and helm.]





I. The beneficial influence of poetry in the civilisation of mankind.
Diffidence of the author.

II. Wreck of the mizen-mast cleared away.
Ship put before the wind--labours much.
Different stations of the officers.
Appearance of the island of Falconera.

III. Excursion to the adjacent nations of Greece renowned in antiquity.
Socrates, Plato, Aristides, Solon.
Corinth--its architecture.
Invasion by Xerxes.
Present state of the Spartans.
Former happiness, and fertility.
Its present distress the effect of slavery.
Ulysses and Penelope.
Argos and Mycaene.
Apollo and Diana.
Leander and Hero.
Temple of Apollo.
The Muses.

IV. Subject resumed.
Address to the spirits of the storm.
A tempest, accompanied with rain, hail, and meteors.
Darkness of the night, lightning and thunder.
Daybreak. St George's cliffs open upon them.
The ship, in great danger, passes the island of St George.

V. Land of Athens appears.
Helmsman struck blind by lightning.
Ship laid broadside to the shore.
Bowsprit, foremast, and main top-mast carried away.
Albert, Rodmond, Arion, and Palemon strive to save themselves on
the wreck of the foremast.
The ship parts asunder.
Death of Albert and Rodmond.
Arion reaches the shore.
Finds Palemon expiring on the beach.
His dying address to Arion, who is led away by the humane natives.

I. When, in a barbarous age, with blood defiled,
The human savage roam'd the gloomy wild;
When sullen ignorance her flag display'd,
And rapine and revenge her voice obey'd;
Sent from the shores of light, the Muses came
The dark and solitary race to tame,
The war of lawless passions to control,
To melt in tender sympathy the soul;
The heart's remote recesses to explore,
And touch its springs, when prose avail'd no more: 10
The kindling spirit caught the empyreal ray,
And glow'd congenial with the swelling lay;
Roused from the chaos of primeval night,
At once fair truth and reason sprung to light.
When great Maeonides, in rapid song,
The thundering tide of battle rolls along,
Each ravish'd bosom feels the high alarms,
And all the burning pulses beat to arms;
Hence, war's terrific glory to display,
Became the theme of every epic lay: 20
But when his strings with mournful magic tell
What dire distress Laertes' son befell,
The strains, meandering through the maze of woe
Bid sacred sympathy the heart o'erflow:
Far through the boundless realms of thought he springs,
From earth upborne on Pegasean wings,
While distant poets, trembling as they view
His sunward flight, the dazzling track pursue;
His magic voice, that rouses and delights,
Allures and guides to climb Olympian heights. 30
But I, alas! through scenes bewilder'd stray,
Far from the light of his unerring ray;
While, all unused the wayward path to tread,
Darkling I wander with prophetic dread.
To me in vain the bold Maeonian lyre
Awakes the numbers fraught with living fire;
Full oft indeed that mournful harp of yore
Wept the sad wanderer lost upon the shore;
'Tis true he lightly sketch'd the bold design,
But toils more joyless, more severe are mine; 40
Since o'er that scene his genius swiftly ran,
Subservient only to a nobler plan:
But I, perplex'd in labyrinths of art,
Anatomize and blazon every part;
Attempt with plaintive numbers to display,
And chain the events in regular array;
Though hard the task to sing in varied strains,
When still unchanged the same sad theme remains:
O could it draw compassion's melting tear
For kindred miseries, oft beheld too near! 50
For kindred wretches, oft in ruin cast
On Albion's strand beneath the wintry blast;
For all the pangs, the complicated woe,
Her bravest sons, her guardian sailors know;
Then every breast should sigh at our distress--
This were the summit of my hoped success!
For this, my theme through mazes I pursue,
Which nor Maeonides, nor Maro knew.
II. Awhile the mast, in ruins dragg'd behind,
Balanced the impression of the helm and wind; 60
The wounded serpent, agonized with pain,
Thus trails his mangled volume on the plain:
But now, the wreck, dissever'd from the rear,
The long reluctant prow began to veer;
While round before the enlarging wind it falls,
"Square fore and aft the yards," the master calls,
"You, timoneers, her motion still attend,
For on your steerage all our lives depend:
So, steady! [1] meet her! watch the curving prow,
And from the gale directly let her go." 70
"Starboard again!" the watchful pilot cries,
"Starboard!" the obedient timoneer replies:
Then back to port, revolving at command,
The wheel [2] rolls swiftly through each glowing hand.
The ship no longer, foundering by the lee,
Bears on her side the invasions of the sea;
All lonely o'er the desert waste she flies,
Scourged on by surges, storms, and bursting skies.
As when enclosing harpooneers assail
In Hyperborean seas the slumbering whale, 80
Soon as their javelins pierce his scaly side,
He groans, he darts impetuous down the tide;
And rack'd all o'er with lacerating pain,
He flies remote beneath the flood in vain--
So with resistless haste the wounded ship
Scuds from pursuing waves along the deep;
While, dash'd apart by her dividing prow,
Like burning adamant the waters glow;
Her joints forget their firm elastic tone,
Her long keel trembles, and her timbers groan: 90
Upheaved behind her in tremendous height
The billows frown, with fearful radiance bright;
Now quivering o'er the topmost waves she rides,
While deep beneath the enormous gulf divides;
Now launching headlong down the horrid vale,
Becalm'd she hears no more the howling gale;
Till up the dreadful height again she flies,
Trembling beneath the current of the skies.
As that rebellious angel, who, from heaven, 100
To regions of eternal pain was driven,
When dreadless he forsook the Stygian shore
The distant realms of Eden to explore;
Here, on sulphureous clouds sublime upheaved,
With daring wing the infernal air he cleaved;
There, in some hideous gulf descending prone,
Far in the void abrupt of night was thrown--
Even so she climbs the briny mountain's height,
Then down the black abyss precipitates her flight:
The mast, about whose tops the whirlwinds sing, 110
With long vibration round her axle swing.
To guide her wayward course amid the gloom,
The watchful pilots different posts assume:
Albert and Rodmond on the poop appear,
There to direct each guiding timoneer;
While at the bow the watch Arion keeps,
To shun what cruisers wander o'er the deeps:
Where'er he moves Palemon still attends,
As if on him his only hope depends;
While Rodmond, fearful of some neighbouring shore, 120
Cries, ever and anon, Look out afore!
Thus o'er the flood four hours she scudding flew,
When Falconera's rugged cliffs they view
Faintly along the larboard bow descried,
As o'er its mountain tops the lightnings glide;
High o'er its summit, through the gloom of night,
The glimmering watch-tower casts a mournful light:
In dire amazement riveted they stand,
And hear the breakers lash the rugged strand;
But scarce perceived, when past the beam it flies, 130
Swift as the rapid eagle cleaves the skies:
That danger past reflects a feeble joy,
But soon returning fears their hope destroy.
As in the Atlantic ocean, when we find
Some Alp of ice driven southward by the wind,
The sultry air all sickening pants around,
In deluges of torrid ether drown'd;
Till when the floating isle approaches nigh,
In cooling tides the aerial billows fly:
Awhile deliver'd from the scorching heat, 140
In gentler tides our feverish pulses beat:
Such transient pleasure, as they pass'd this strand,
A moment bade their throbbing hearts expand;
The illusive meteors of a lifeless fire,
Too soon they kindle, and too soon expire.
III. Say, Memory! thou, from whose unerring tongue
Instructive flows the animated song,
What regions now the scudding ship surround?
Regions of old through all the world renown'd;
That, once the poet's theme, the Muses' boast, 150
Now lie in ruins, in oblivion lost!
Did they whose sad distress these lays deplore,
Unskill'd in Grecian or in Roman lore,
Unconscious pass along each famous shore?
They did: for in this desert, joyless soil,
No flowers of genial science deign to smile;
Sad Ocean's genius, in untimely hour,
Withers the bloom of every springing flower;
For native tempests here, with blasting breath,
Despoil, and doom the vernal buds to death; 160
Here fancy droops, while sullen clouds and storm,
The generous temper of the soul deform:
Then if, among the wandering naval train,
One stripling, exiled from the Aonian plain,
Had e'er, entranced in fancy's soothing dream,
Approach'd to taste the sweet Castalian stream
(Since those salubrious streams, with power divine,
To purer sense the soften'd soul refine);
Sure he, amid unsocial mates immured,
To learning lost, severer grief endured; 170
In vain might Phoebus' ray his mind inspire,
Since fate with torrents quench'd the kindling fire:
If one this pain of living death possess'd,
It dwelt supreme, Arion! in thy breast;
When, with Palemon, watching in the night
Beneath pale Cynthia's melancholy light,
You oft recounted those surrounding states,
Whose glory Fame with brazen tongue relates.
Immortal Athens first, in ruin spread,
Contiguous lies at Port Liono's head; 180
Great source of science! whose immortal name
Stands foremost in the glorious roll of fame.
Here godlike Socrates and Plato shone,
And, firm to truth, eternal honour won:
The first in virtue's cause his life resign'd,
By Heaven pronounced the wisest of mankind:
The last proclaim'd the spark of vital fire,
The soul's fine essence, never could expire:
Here Solon dwelt, the philosophic sage
That fled Pisistratus' vindictive rage:
Just Aristides here maintain'd the cause, 190
Whose sacred precepts shine through Solon's laws.
Of all her towering structures, now alone
Some columns stand, with mantling weeds o'ergrown;
The wandering stranger near the port descries
A milk-white lion of stupendous size,
Of antique marble; hence the haven's name.
Unknown to modern natives whence it came.
Next, in the gulf of Engia, Corinth lies,
Whose gorgeous fabrics seem'd to strike the skies;
Whom, though by tyrant victors oft subdued, 200
Greece, Egypt, Rome, with admiration view'd:
Her name, for architecture long renown'd,
Spread like the foliage which her pillars crown'd;
But now, in fatal desolation laid,
Oblivion o'er it draws a dismal shade.
Then further westward, on Morea's land,
Fair Misitra! thy modern turrets stand:
Ah! who, unmoved with secret woe, can tell
That here great Lacedaemon's glory fell?
Here once she flourish'd, at whose trumpet's sound 210
War burst his chains, and nations shook around;
Here brave Leonidas from shore to shore
Through all Achaia bade her thunders roar:
He, when imperial Xerxes from afar
Advanced with Persia's sumless hosts to war,
Till Macedonia shrunk beneath his spear,
And Greece all shudder'd as the chief drew near;
He, at Thermopylae's decisive plain,
Their force opposed with Sparta's glorious train;
Tall Oeta saw the tyrant's conquer'd bands 220
In gasping millions bleed on hostile lands:
Thus vanquish'd, haughty Asia heard thy name,
And Thebes and Athens sicken'd at thy fame:
Thy state, supported by Lycurgus' laws,
Gain'd, like thine arms, superlative applause;
Even great Epaminondas strove in vain
To curb thy spirit with a Theban chain.
But ah! how low that free-born spirit now!
Thy abject sons to haughty tyrants bow;
A false, degenerate, superstitious race 230
Invest thy region, and its name disgrace.
Not distant far, Arcadia's blest domains
Peloponnesus' circling shore contains:
Thrice happy soil! where, still serenely gay,
Indulgent Flora breathed perpetual May;
Where buxom Ceres bade each fertile field
Spontaneous gifts in rich profusion yield:
Then, with some rural nymph supremely blest,
While transport glow'd in each enamour'd breast,
Each faithful shepherd told his tender pain, 240
And sung of sylvan sports in artless strain;
Soft as the happy swain's enchanting lay
That pipes among the shades of Endermay.
Now, sad reverse! oppression's iron hand
Enslaves her natives, and despoils her land;
In lawless rapine bred, a sanguine train,
With midnight ravage, scour the uncultured plain.
Westward of these, beyond the Isthmus, lies
The long-sought isle of Ithacus the wise;
Where fair Penelope, of him deprived, 250
To guard her honour endless schemes contrived:
She, only shielded by a stripling son,
Her lord Ulysses long to Ilion gone,
Each bold attempt of suitor-kings repell'd,
And undefiled her nuptial contract held;
True to her vows, and resolutely chaste,
Met arts with art, and triumph'd at the last.
Argos, in Greece forgotten and unknown,
Still seems her cruel fortune to bemoan;
Argos, whose monarch led the Grecian hosts 260
Across the AEgean main to Dardan coasts:
Unhappy prince! who, on a hostile shore,
Fatigue and danger ten long winters bore;
And when to native realms restored at last,
To reap the harvest of thy labours past,
There found a perjured friend, and faithless wife,
Who sacrificed to impious lust thy life;
Fast by Arcadia stretch these desert plains,
And o'er the land a gloomy tyrant reigns.
Next, Macronisi is adjacent seen, 270
Where adverse winds detain'd the Spartan queen;
For whom, in arms combined, the Grecian host,
With vengeance fired, invaded Phrygia's coast;
For whom so long they labour'd to destroy
The lofty turrets of imperial Troy;
Here, driven by Juno's rage, the hapless dame,
Forlorn of heart, from ruin'd Ilion came:
The port an image bears of Parian stone,
Of ancient fabric, but of date unknown.
Due east from this appears the immortal shore, 280
That sacred Phoebus and Diana bore--
Delos! through all the AEgean seas renown'd,
Whose coast the rocky Cyclades surround;
By Phoebus honour'd, and by Greece revered,
Her hallow'd groves even distant Persia fear'd:
But now a desert unfrequented land,
No human footstep marks the trackless sand.
Thence to the north, by Asia's western bound,
Fair Lemnos stands, with rising marble crown'd;
Where, in her rage, avenging Juno hurl'd 290
Ill-fated Vulcan from the ethereal world.
There his eternal anvils first he rear'd;
Then, forged by Cyclopean art, appear'd
Thunders that shook the skies with dire alarms,
And form'd, by skill divine, immortal arms;
There, with this crippled wretch, the foul disgrace
And living scandal of the empyreal race,
In wedlock lived the beauteous queen of love;
Can such sensations heavenly bosoms move?
Eastward of this appears the Dardan shore, 300
That once the imperial towers of Ilium bore--
Illustrious Troy! renown'd in every clime
Through the long records of succeeding time;
Who saw protecting gods from heaven descend
Full oft, thy royal bulwarks to defend:
Though chiefs unnumber'd in her cause were slain,
With fate the gods and heroes fought in vain!
That refuge of perfidious Helen's shame
At midnight was involved in Grecian flame;
And now, by time's deep ploughshare harrow'd o'er, 310
The seat of sacred Troy is found no more:
No trace of her proud fabrics now remains,
But corn and vines enrich her cultured plains;
Silver Scamander laves the verdant shore,
Scamander, oft o'erflow'd with hostile gore.
Not far removed from Ilion's famous land,
In counter-view appears the Thracian strand,
Where beauteous Hero, from the turret's height,
Display'd her cresset each revolving night;
Whose gleam directed loved Leander o'er 320
The rolling Hellespont from Asia's shore;
Till, in a fated hour, on Thracia's coast,
She saw her lover's lifeless body toss'd:
Then felt her bosom agony severe,
Her eyes, sad gazing, pour'd the incessant tear;
O'erwhelm'd with anguish, frantic with despair,
She beat her swelling breast, and tore her hair;
On dear Leander's name in vain she cried,
Then headlong plunged into the parting tide:
The exulting tide received the lovely maid, 330
And proudly from the strand its freight convey'd.
Far west of Thrace, beyond the AEgean main,
Remote from ocean lies the Delphic plain:
The sacred oracle of Phoebus there
High o'er the mount arose, divinely fair!
Achaian marble form'd the gorgeous pile,
August the fabric! elegant in style!
On brazen hinges turn'd the silver doors,
And chequer'd marble paved the polish'd floors;
The roof, where storied tablature appear'd, 340
On columns of Corinthian mould was rear'd;
Of shining porphyry the shafts were framed,
And round the hollow dome bright jewels flamed:
Apollo's priests before the holy shrine
Suppliant pour'd forth their orisons divine;
To front the sun's declining ray 'twas placed,
With golden harps and branching laurels graced:
Around the fane, engraved by Vulcan's hand,
The sciences and arts were seen to stand;
Here AEsculapius' snake display'd his crest, 350
And burning glories sparkled on his breast;
While from his eye's insufferable light,
Disease and death recoil'd in headlong flight:
Of this great temple, through all time renown'd,
Sunk in oblivion, no remains are found.
Contiguous here, with hallow'd woods o'erspread,
Renown'd Parnassus lifts its honour'd head;
There roses blossom in eternal spring,
And strains celestial feather'd warblers sing;
Apollo here bestows the unfading wreath; 360
Here Zephyrs aromatic odours breathe;
They o'er Castalian plains diffuse perfume,
Where round the scene perennial laurels bloom:
Fair daughters of the sun, the sacred Nine!
Here wake to ecstasy their harps divine,
Or bid the Paphian lute mellifluous play,
And tune to plaintive lore the liquid lay:
Their numbers every mental storm control,
And lull to harmony the afflicted soul;
With heavenly balm the tortured breast compose, 370
And soothe the agony of latent woes:
The verdant shades that Helicon surround,
On rosy gales seraphic tunes resound!
Perpetual summers crown the happy hours,
Sweet as the breath that fans Elysian flowers:
Hence pleasure dances in an endless round,
And love and joy, ineffable, abound.
IV. Stop, wandering thought! methinks I feel their strains
Diffuse delicious languor through my veins.
Adieu, ye flowery vales, and fragrant scenes, 380
Delightful bowers, and ever vernal greens!
Adieu, ye streams! that o'er enchanted ground
In lucid maze the Aonian hill surround;
Ye fairy scenes! where fancy loves to dwell,
And young delight, for ever, oh, farewell!
The soul with tender luxury you fill,
And o'er the sense Lethean dews distil--
Awake, O memory! from the inglorious dream,
With brazen lungs resume the kindling theme;
Collect thy powers, arouse thy vital fire, 390
Ye spirits of the storm my verse inspire!
Hoarse as the whirlwinds that enrage the main,
In torrents pour along the swelling strain.
Now, through the parting wave impetuous bore,
The scudding vessel stemm'd the Athenian shore;
The pilots, as the waves behind her swell,
Still with the wheeling stern their force repel;
For this assault should either quarter [3] feel,
Again to flank the tempest she might reel!
The steersmen every bidden turn apply,
To right and left the spokes alternate fly-- 400
Thus, when some conquer'd host retreats in fear,
The bravest leaders guard the broken rear;
Indignant they retire, and long oppose
Superior armies that around them close;
Still shield the flanks, the routed squadrons join,
And guide the flight in one continued line.
Thus they direct the flying bark before
The impelling floods, that lash her to the shore:
High o'er the poop the audacious seas aspire, 410
Uproll'd in hills of fluctuating fire;
With labouring throes she rolls on either side,
And dips her gunnels in the yawning tide;
Her joints, unhinged, in palsied languors play,
As ice-flakes part beneath the noontide ray.
The gale howls doleful through the blocks and shrouds,
And big rain pours a deluge from the clouds;
From wintry magazines that sweep the sky,
Descending globes of hail impetuous fly;
High on the masts, with pale and livid rays, 420
Amid the gloom portentous meteors blaze;
The ethereal dome in mournful pomp array'd
Now buried lies beneath impervious shade;
Now, flashing round intolerable light,
Redoubles all the horror of the night--
Such terror Sinai's trembling hill o'erspread,
When Heaven's loud trumpet sounded o'er its head:
It seem'd, the wrathful Angel of the wind
Had all the horrors of the skies combined,
And here, to one ill-fated ship opposed, 430
At once the dreadful magazine disclosed;
And, lo! tremendous o'er the deep he springs,
The inflaming sulphur flashing from his wings;
Hark! his strong voice the dismal silence breaks,
Mad chaos from the chains of death awakes:
Loud, and more loud, the rolling peals enlarge,
And blue on deck the fiery tides discharge;
There all aghast the shivering wretches stood,
While chill suspense and fear congeal'd their blood;
Wide bursts in dazzling sheets the living flame, 440
And dread concussion rends the ethereal frame;
Sick earth convulsive groans from shore to shore,
And nature, shuddering, feels the horrid roar.
Still the sad prospect rises on my sight,
Reveal'd in all its mournful shade and light;
Even now my ear with quick vibration feels
The explosion burst in strong rebounding peals;
Swift through my pulses glides the kindling fire,
As lightning glances on the electric wire:
Yet, ah! the languid colours vainly strive 450
To bid the scene in native hues revive.
But, lo! at last, from tenfold darkness born,
Forth issues o'er the wave the weeping morn:
Hail, sacred vision! who, on orient wings,
The cheering dawn of light propitious brings;
All nature, smiling, hail'd the vivid ray
That gave her beauties to returning day--
All but our ship! which, groaning on the tide,
No kind relief, no gleam of hope descried;
For now in front her trembling inmates see 460
The hills of Greece emerging on the lee.
So the lost lover views that fatal morn,
On which, for ever from his bosom torn,
The maid, adored, resigns her blooming charms,
To bless with love some happier rival's arms.
So to Eliza [4] dawn'd that cruel day
That tore AEneas from her sight away,
That saw him parting, never to return,
Herself in funeral flames decreed to burn.
O yet in clouds, thou genial source of light! 470
Conceal thy radiant glories from our sight;
Go, with thy smile adorn the happy plain,
And gild the scenes where health and pleasure reign:
But let not here, in scorn, thy wanton beam
Insult the dreadful grandeur of my theme.
While shoreward now the bounding vessel flies,
Full in her van St George's cliffs arise;
High o'er the rest a pointed crag is seen,
That hung projecting o'er a mossy green;
Huge breakers on the larboard bow appear, 480
And full a-head its eastern ledges bear:
To steer more eastward Albert still commands,
And shun, if possible, the fatal strands--
Nearer and nearer now the danger grows,
And all their skill relentless fates oppose;
For while more eastward they direct the prow,
Enormous waves the quivering deck o'erflow;
While, as she wheels, unable to subdue
Her sallies, still they dread her broaching-to: [5]
Alarming thought! for now no more a-lee 490
Her trembling side could bear the mountain'd sea,
And if pursuing waves she scuds before,
Headlong she runs upon the frightful shore;
A shore, where shelves and hidden rocks abound,
Where death in secret ambush lurks around.
Not half so dreadful to AEneas' eyes
The straits of Sicily were seen to rise,
When Palinurus from the helm descried
The rocks of Scylla on his eastern side;
While in the west, with hideous yawn disclosed, 500
His onward path Charybdis' gulf opposed:
The double danger he alternate view'd,
And cautiously his arduous track pursued.
Thus, while to right and left destruction lies,
Between the extremes the daring vessel flies;
With terrible irruption bursting o'er
The marble cliffs, tremendous surges roar;
Hoarse through each winding creek the tempest raves,
And hollow rocks repeat the groan of waves.
Should once the bottom strike this cruel shore, 510
The parting ship that instant is no more!
Nor she alone, but with her all the crew
Beyond relief are doom'd to perish too:
But haply she escapes the dreadful strand,
Though scarce her length in distance from the land:
Swift as the weapon quits the Scythian bow,
She cleaves the burning billows with her prow,
And forward hurrying with impetuous haste,
Borne on the tempest's wings the isle she past:
With longing eyes, and agony of mind, 520
The sailors view this refuge left behind;
Happy to bribe with India's richest ore
A safe accession to that barren shore.
When in the dark Peruvian mine confined,
Lost to the cheerful commerce of mankind,
The groaning captive wastes his life away,
For ever exiled from the realms of day,
Not half such pangs his bosom agonize
When up to distant light he rolls his eyes!
Where the broad sun, in his diurnal way 530
Imparts to all beside his vivid ray;
While, all forlorn, the victim pines in vain
For scenes he never shall possess again.
V. But now Athenian mountains they descry,
And o'er the surge Colonna frowns on high;
Where marble columns, long by time defaced,
Moss-cover'd on the lofty Cape are placed:
There rear'd by fair devotion to sustain,
In elder times, Tritonia's sacred fane;
The circling beach in murderous form appears, 540
Decisive goal of all their hopes and fears:
The seamen now in wild amazement see
The scene of ruin rise beneath their lee;
Swift from their minds elapsed all dangers past,
As dumb with terror, they behold the last.
And now, while wing'd with ruin from on high,
Through the rent cloud the ragged lightnings fly,
A flash, quick glancing on the nerves of light,
Struck the pale helmsman with eternal night:
Rodmond, who heard a piteous groan behind, 550
Touch'd with compassion, gazed upon the blind;
And, while around his sad companions crowd,
He guides the unhappy victim to the shroud:
"Hie thee aloft, my gallant friend!" he cries;
"Thy only succour on the mast relies."
The helm, bereft of half its vital force,
Now scarce subdued the wild unbridled course;
Quick to the abandon'd wheel Arion came,
The ship's tempestuous sallies to reclaim:
The vessel, while the dread event draws nigh, 560
Seems more impatient o'er the waves to fly;
Fate spurs her on!--Thus, issuing from afar,
Advances to the sun some blazing star,
And, as it feels attraction's kindling force,
Springs onward with accelerated course.
The moment fraught with fate approaches fast!
While thronging sailors climb each quivering mast,
The ship no longer now must stem the land,
And, Hard a starboard! is the last command:
While every suppliant voice to Heaven applies, 570
The prow, swift wheeling, to the westward flies;
Twelve sailors, on the fore-mast who depend,
High on the platform of the top ascend--
Fatal retreat! for, while the plunging prow
Immerges headlong in the wave below,
Down prest by watery weight the bowsprit bends,
And from above the stem deep-crashing rends:
Beneath her bow the floating ruins lie;
The fore-mast totters, unsustain'd on high;
And now the ship, forelifted by the sea, 580
Hurls the tall fabric backward o'er her lee;
While, in the general wreck, the faithful stay
Drags the main top-mast by the cap away:
Flung from the mast, the seamen strive in vain,
Through hostile floods, their vessel to regain;
Weak hope, alas! they buffet long the wave,
And grasp at life though sinking in the grave;
Till all exhausted, and bereft of strength,
O'erpower'd they yield to cruel fate at length;
The burying waters close around their head-- 590
They sink! for ever number'd with the dead.
Those who remain the weather shrouds embrace,
Nor longer mourn their lost companions' case:
Transfix'd with terror at the approaching doom,
Self-pity in their breasts alone has room.
Albert, and Rodmond, and Palemon, near,
With young Arion, on the mast appear:
Even they, amid the unspeakable distress,
In every look distracting thoughts confess;
In every vein the refluent blood congeals, 600
And every bosom mortal terror feels;
Begirt with all the horrors of the main,
They view'd the adjacent shore, but view'd in vain.
Such torments in the drear abodes of hell,
Where sad despair laments with rueful yell,--
Such torments agonize the damned breast.
That sees remote the mansions of the blest.
It comes! the dire catastrophe draws near,
Lash'd furious on by destiny severe:
The ship hangs hovering on the verge of death, 610
Hell yawns, rocks rise, and breakers roar beneath!
O yet confirm my heart, ye powers above!
This last tremendous shock of fate to prove;
The tottering frame of reason yet sustain,
Nor let this total havoc whirl my brain;
Since I, all trembling in extreme distress,
Must still the horrible result express.
In vain, alas! the sacred shades of yore
Would arm the mind with philosophic lore;
In vain they'd teach us, at the latest breath 620
To smile serene amid the pangs of death:
Immortal Zeno's self would trembling see
Inexorable fate beneath the lee;
And Epictetus, at the sight, in vain
Attempt his Stoic firmness to retain:
Had Socrates, for godlike virtue famed,
And wisest of the sons of men proclaim'd,
Spectator of such various horrors been,
Even he had stagger'd at this dreadful scene.
In vain the cords and axes were prepared, 630
For every wave now smites the quivering yard;
High o'er the ship they throw a dreadful shade,
Then on her burst in terrible cascade;
Across the founder'd deck o'erwhelming roar,
And foaming, swelling, bound upon the shore.
Swift up the mounting billow now she flies,
Her shatter'd top half-buried in the skies;
Borne o'er a latent reef the hull impends,
Then thundering on the marble crags descends:
Her ponderous bulk the dire concussion feels, 640
And o'er upheaving surges wounded reels.
Again she plunges! hark! a second shock
Bilges the splitting vessel on the rock:
Down on the vale of death, with dismal cries,
The fated victims shuddering cast their eyes
In wild despair; while yet another stroke
With strong convulsion rends the solid oak:
Ah, Heaven!--behold her crashing ribs divide!
She loosens, parts, and spreads in ruin o'er the tide.
Oh, were it mine with sacred Maro's art, 650
To wake to sympathy the feeling heart;
Like him, the smooth and mournful verse to dress
In all the pomp of exquisite distress;
Then, too severely taught by cruel fate,
To share in all the perils I relate,
Then might I, with unrivall'd strains, deplore
The impervious horrors of a leeward shore.
As o'er the surf the bending mainmast hung,
Still on the rigging thirty seamen clung:
Some on a broken crag were struggling cast, 660
And there by oozy tangles grappled fast;
Awhile they bore the o'erwhelming billows' rage,
Unequal combat with their fate to wage
Till all benumb'd and feeble they forego
Their slippery hold, and sink to shades below:
Some, from the main yard-arm impetuous thrown
On marble ridges, die without a groan:
Three, with Palemon, on their skill depend,
And from the wreck on oars and rafts descend;
Now on the mountain-wave on high they ride, 670
Then downward plunge beneath the involving tide;
Till one, who seems in agony to strive,
The whirling breakers heave on shore alive:
The rest a speedier end of anguish knew,
And press'd the stony beach--a lifeless crew!
Next, O unhappy chief! the eternal doom
Of Heaven decreed thee to the briny tomb:
What scenes of misery torment thy view!
What painful struggles of thy dying crew!
Thy perish'd hopes all buried in the flood 680
O'erspread with corses, red with human blood!--
So, pierced with anguish, hoary Priam gazed,
When Troy's imperial domes in ruin blazed;
While he, severest sorrow doom'd to feel,
Expired beneath the victor's murdering steel--
Thus with his helpless partners to the last,
Sad refuge! Albert grasps the floating mast:
His soul could yet sustain this mortal blow,
But droops, alas! beneath superior woe;
For now strong nature's sympathetic chain 690
Tugs at his yearning heart with powerful strain:
His faithful wife, for ever doom'd to mourn
For him, alas! who never shall return,
To black adversity's approach exposed,
With want and hardships unforeseen enclosed;
His lovely daughter, left without a friend
Her innocence to succour and defend,
By youth and indigence set forth a prey
To lawless guilt, that flatters to betray--
While these reflections rack his feeling mind, 700
Rodmond, who hung beside, his grasp resign'd;
And, as the tumbling waters o'er him roll'd,
His outstretch'd arms the master's legs enfold.
Sad Albert feels their dissolution near,
And strives in vain his fetter'd limbs to clear,
For death bids every clenching joint adhere.
All faint, to Heaven he throws his dying eyes,
And, O protect my wife and child! he cries--
The gushing streams roll back the unfinish'd sound,
He gasps! and sinks amid the vast profound. 710
Five only left of all the shipwreck'd throng
Yet ride the mast which shoreward drives along;
With these Arion still his hold secures,
And all assaults of hostile waves endures;
O'er the dire prospect as for life he strives,
He looks if poor Palemon yet survives--
"Ah! wherefore, trusting to unequal art,
Didst thou, incautious! from the wreck depart?
Alas! these rocks all human skill defy; 720
Who strikes them once, beyond relief must die:
And now sore wounded, thou perhaps art tost
On these, or in some oozy cavern lost!"
Thus thought Arion; anxious gazing round
In vain, his eyes no more Palemon found.
The demons of destruction hover nigh,
And thick their mortal shafts commission'd fly;
When now a breaking surge, with forceful sway,
Two, next Arion, furious tears away:
Hurl'd on the crags, behold they gasp, they bleed! 730
And, groaning, cling upon the elusive weed;
Another billow bursts in boundless roar!
Arion sinks! and Memory views no more.
Ha! total night and horror here preside,
My stunn'd ear tingles to the whizzing tide;
It is their funeral knell! and, gliding near,
Methinks the phantoms of the dead appear:
But, lo! emerging from the watery grave,
Again they float incumbent on the wave;
Again the dismal prospect opens round,-- 740
The wreck, the shore, the dying and the drown'd!
And see! enfeebled by repeated shocks,
Those two, who scramble on the adjacent rocks,
Their faithless hold no longer can retain,
They sink o'erwhelm'd! and never rise again.
Two with Arion yet the mast upbore,
That now above the ridges reach'd the shore:
Still trembling to descend, they downward gaze
With horror pale, and torpid with amaze.
The floods recoil! the ground appears below! 750
And life's faint embers now rekindling glow;
Awhile they wait the exhausted waves' retreat,
Then climb slow up the beach with hands and feet.
O Heaven! deliver'd by whose sovereign hand
Still on destruction's brink they shuddering stand,
Receive the languid incense they bestow,
That, damp with death, appears not yet to glow:
To thee each soul the warm oblation pays
With trembling ardour of unequal praise;
In every heart dismay with wonder strives, 760
And hope the sicken'd spark of life revives;
Her magic powers their exiled health restore,
Till horror and despair are felt no more.
Roused by the blustering tempest of the night,
A troop of Grecians mount Colonna's height;
When, gazing down with horror on the flood,
Full to their view the scene of ruin stood--
The surf with mangled bodies strew'd around,
And those yet breathing on the sea-wash'd ground:
Though lost to science and the nobler arts, 770
Yet nature's lore inform'd their feeling hearts;
Straight down the vale with hastening steps they hied,
The unhappy sufferers to assist and guide.
Meanwhile those three escaped beneath explore
The first adventurous youth who reached the shore.
Panting, with eyes averted from the day,
Prone, helpless, on the tangly beach he lay.
It is Palemon! oh, what tumults roll
With hope and terror in Arion's soul!--
"If yet unhurt he lives again to view 780
His friend, and this sole remnant of our crew,
With us to travel through this foreign zone,
And share the future good or ill unknown?"
Arion thus; but ah, sad doom of fate!
That bleeding memory sorrows to relate;
While yet afloat, on some resisting rock
His ribs were dash'd, and fractured with the shock:
Heart-piercing sight! those cheeks so late array'd
In beauty's bloom, are pale with mortal shade;
Distilling blood his lovely breast o'erspread, 790
And clogg'd the golden tresses of his head;
Nor yet the lungs by this pernicious stroke
Were wounded, or the vocal organs broke.
Down from his neck, with blazing gems array'd,
Thy image, lovely Anna! hung portray'd;
The unconscious figure, smiling all serene,
Suspended in a golden chain was seen.
Hadst thou, soft maiden! in this hour of woe
Beheld him writhing from the deadly blow,
What force of art, what language could express 800
Thine agony, thine exquisite distress?
But thou, alas! art doom'd to weep in vain
For him thine eyes shall never see again.
With dumb amazement pale, Arion gazed,
And cautiously the wounded youth upraised:
Palemon then, with equal pangs oppress'd,
In faltering accents thus his friend address'd:
"O rescued from destruction late so nigh,
Beneath whose fatal influence doom'd I lie;
Are we, then, exiled to this last retreat 810
Of life, unhappy! thus decreed to meet?
Ah! how unlike what yester-morn enjoy'd,
Enchanting hopes! for ever now destroy'd;
For wounded, far beyond all healing power,
Palemon dies, and this his final hour:
By those fell breakers, where in vain I strove,
At once cut off from fortune, life, and love!
Far other scenes must soon present my sight,
That lie deep-buried yet in tenfold night--
Ah! wretched father of a wretched son, 820
Whom thy paternal prudence has undone;
How will remembrance of this blinded care
Bend down thy head with anguish and despair!
Such dire effects from avarice arise,
That, deaf to nature's voice, and vainly wise,
With force severe endeavours to control
The noblest passions that inspire the soul.
But, O thou sacred power! whose law connects
The eternal chain of causes and effects,
Let not thy chastening ministers of rage
Afflict with sharp remorse his feeble age! 830
And you, Arion! who with these the last
Of all our crew survive the shipwreck past--
Ah! cease to mourn, those friendly tears restrain,
Nor give my dying moments keener pain!
Since Heaven may soon thy wandering steps restore,
When parted hence, to England's distant shore.
Shouldst thou, the unwilling messenger of fate,
To him the tragic story first relate;
Oh! friendship's generous ardour then suppress,
Nor hint the fatal cause of my distress; 840
Nor let each horrid incident sustain
The lengthen'd tale to aggravate his pain:
Ah! then remember well my last request
For her who reigns for ever in my breast;
Yet let him prove a father and a friend,
The helpless maid to succour and defend--
Say, I this suit implored with parting breath,
So Heaven befriend him at his hour of death!
But, oh! to lovely Anna shouldst thou tell
What dire untimely end thy friend befell; 850
Draw o'er the dismal scene soft pity's veil,
And lightly touch the lamentable tale:
Say that my love, inviolably true,
No change, no diminution ever knew:
Lo! her bright image, pendent on my neck,
Is all Palemon rescued from the wreck:
Take it! and say, when panting in the wave
I struggled life and this alone to save.
"My soul, that fluttering hastens to be free,
Would yet a train of thoughts impart to thee, 860
But strives in vain; the chilling ice of death
Congeals my blood, and chokes the stream of breath:
Resign'd, she quits her comfortless abode
To course that long, unknown, eternal road--
O sacred source of ever-living light!
Conduct the weary wanderer in her flight;
Direct her onward to that peaceful shore,
Where peril, pain, and death prevail no more.
"When thou some tale of hapless love shalt hear,
That steals from pity's eye the melting tear; 870
Of two chaste hearts, by mutual passion join'd,
To absence, sorrow, and despair consign'd;
Oh! then, to swell the tides of social woe
That heal the afflicted bosom they o'erflow,
While memory dictates, this sad shipwreck tell,
And what distress thy wretched friend befell:
Then, while in streams of soft compassion drown'd,
The swains lament, and maidens weeps around;
While lisping children, touch'd with infant fear,
With wonder gaze, and drop the unconscious tear; 880
Oh! then this moral bid their souls retain,
All thoughts of happiness on earth are vain!" [6]
The last faint accents trembled on his tongue,
That now inactive to the palate clung;
His bosom heaves a mortal groan--he dies!
And shades eternal sink upon his eyes.
As thus defaced in death Palemon lay,
Arion gazed upon the lifeless clay;
Transfix'd he stood, with awful terror fill'd,
While down his cheek the silent drops distill'd: 890
"O ill-starr'd votary of unspotted truth!
Untimely perish'd in the bloom of youth;
Should e'er thy friend arrive on Albion's land,
He will obey, though painful, thy command;
His tongue the dreadful story shall display,
And all the horrors of this dismal day:
Disastrous day! what ruin hast thou bred,
What anguish to the living and the dead!
How hast thou left the widow all forlorn;
And ever doom'd the orphan child to mourn, 900
Through life's sad journey hopeless to complain!
Can sacred justice these events ordain?
But, O my soul! avoid that wondrous maze,
Where reason, lost in endless error, strays;
As through this thorny vale of life we run,
Great Cause of all effects, thy will be done!"
Now had the Grecians on the beach arrived,
To aid the helpless few who yet survived:
While passing, they behold the waves o'erspread
With shatter'd rafts and corses of the dead; 910
Three still alive, benumb'd and faint they find,
In mournful silence on a rock reclined:
The generous natives, moved with social pain,
The feeble strangers in their arms sustain;
With pitying sighs their hapless lot deplore,
And lead them trembling from the fatal shore.

[Footnote 1: 'Steady:' the order to steer the ship according to the line
on which she advances at that instant, without deviating to the right or
left thereof.]

[Footnote 2: 'The wheel:' in all large ships the helm is managed by a

[Footnote 3: 'Quarter:' the quarter is the hinder part of a ship's side,
or that part which is near the stern.]

[Footnote 4: 'Eliza:' or Dido.]

[Footnote 5: 'Broaching-to:' a sudden and involuntary movement in
navigation, wherein a ship, whilst scudding or sailing before the wind,
unexpectedly turns her side to windward. It is generally occasioned by
the difficulty of steering her, or by some disaster happening to the
machinery of the helm.]

[Footnote 6:

----sed scilicet ultima semper
Expectanda dies homini; _dicique beatus
Ante obitum nemo supremaque funera debet._

OVID, Metam. lib. iii.]




The scene of death is closed! the mournful strains
Dissolve in dying languor on the ear;
Yet pity weeps, yet sympathy complains,
And dumb suspense awaits o'erwhelm'd with fear:


But the sad Muses with prophetic eye
At once the future and the past explore;
Their harps oblivion's influence can defy,
And waft the spirit to the eternal shore--


Then, O Palemon! if thy shade can hear
The voice of friendship still lament thy doom,
Yet to the sad oblations bend thine ear,
That rise in vocal incense o'er thy tomb.


From young Arion first the news received
With terror, pale unhappy Anna read;
With inconsolable distress she grieved,
And from her cheek the rose of beauty fled:


In vain, alas! the gentle virgin wept,
Corrosive anguish nipt her vital bloom;
O'er her soft frame diseases sternly crept,
And gave the lovely victim to the tomb.


A longer date of woe, the widow'd wife
Her lamentable lot afflicted bore;
Yet both were rescued from the chains of life
Before Arion reach'd his native shore!


The father unrelenting phrenzy stung,
Untaught in virtue's school distress to bear;
Severe remorse his tortured bosom wrung,
He languish'd, groan'd, and perish'd in despair.


Ye lost companions of distress, adieu!
Your toils, and pains, and dangers are no more;
The tempest now shall howl unheard by you,
While ocean smites in vain the trembling shore:


On you the blast, surcharged with rain and snow,
In winter's dismal nights no more shall beat;
Unfelt by you the vertic sun may glow,
And scorch the panting earth with baneful heat;


No more the joyful maid, with sprightly strain,
Shall wake the dance to give you welcome home;
Nor hopeless love impart undying pain,
When far from scenes of social joy you roam:


No more on yon wide watery waste you stray,
While hunger and disease your life consume--
While parching thirst, that burns without allay,
Forbids the blasted rose of health to bloom:


No more you feel contagion's mortal breath
That taints the realms with misery severe,
No more behold pale famine, scattering death,
With cruel ravage desolate the year.


The thundering drum, the trumpet's swelling strain,
Unheard, shall form the long embattled line:
Unheard, the deep foundations of the main
Shall tremble, when the hostile squadrons join.


Since grief, fatigue, and hazards still molest
The wandering vassals of the faithless deep;
Oh! happier now escaped to endless rest,
Than we who still survive to wake and weep.


What though no funeral pomp, no borrow'd tear,
Your hour of death to gazing crowds shall tell;
Nor weeping friends attend your sable bier,
Who sadly listen to the passing bell;


The tutor'd sigh, the vain parade of woe,
No real anguish to the soul impart;
And oft, alas! the tear that friends bestow
Belies the latent feelings of the heart.


What though no sculptured pile your name displays,
Like those who perish in their country's cause?
What though no epic Muse in living lays
Records your dreadful daring with applause?--


Full oft the nattering marble bids renown
With blazon'd trophies deck the spotted name;
And oft, too oft, the venal Muses crown
The slaves of vice with never-dying fame.


Yet shall remembrance from oblivion's veil
Relieve your scene, and sigh with grief sincere;
And soft compassion at your tragic tale
In silent tribute pay her kindred tear.



Bold is the attempt, in these licentious times,
When with such towering strides sedition climbs,
With sense or satire to confront her power,
And charge her in the great decisive hour.
Bold is the man, who, on her conquering day,
Stands in the pass of fate to bar her way:
Whose heart, by frowning arrogance unawed,
Or the deep-lurking snares of specious fraud,
The threats of giant-faction can deride,
And stem with stubborn arm her roaring tide. 10
For him unnumber'd brooding ills await,
Scorn, malice, insolence, reproach, and hate:
At him, who dares this legion to defy,
A thousand mortal shafts in secret fly:
Revenge, exulting with malignant joy,
Pursues the incautious victim to destroy:
And slander strives, with unrelenting aim,
To spit her blasting venom on his name:
Around him faction's harpies flap their wings,
And rhyming vermin dart their feeble stings: 20
In vain the wretch retreats, while in full cry
Fierce on his throat the hungry bloodhounds fly.
Enclosed with perils, thus the conscious Muse,
Alarm'd, though undismay'd, her danger views.
Nor shall unmanly Terror now control
The strong resentment struggling in her soul.
While Indignation, with resistless strain,
Pours her full deluge through each swelling vein;
By the vile fear that chills the coward breast,
By sordid caution is her voice suppress'd. 30
While Arrogance, with big theatric rage,
Audacious struts on power's imperial stage;
While o'er our country, at her dread command,
Black Discord, screaming, shakes her fatal brand;
While, in defiance of maternal laws,
The sacrilegious sword rebellion draws:
Shall she at this important hour retire,
And quench in Lethe's wave her genuine fire?
Honour forbid! she fears no threat'ning foe,
When conscious justice bids her bosom glow: 40
And while she kindles the reluctant flame,
Let not the prudent voice of friendship blame!
She feels the sting of keen resentment goad,
Though guiltless yet of satire's thorny road.
Let other Quixotes, frantic with renown,
Plant on their brows a tawdry paper crown!
While fools adore, and vassal-bards obey,
Let the great monarch ass through Gotham bray!
Our poet brandishes no mimic sword,
To rule a realm of dunces self-explored; 50
No bleeding victims curse his iron sway;
Nor murder'd reputation marks his way.
True to herself, unarm'd, the fearless Muse
Through reason's path her steady course pursues:
True to herself advances, undeterr'd
By the rude clamours of the savage herd.
As some bold surgeon, with inserted steel,
Probes deep the putrid sore, intent to heal;
So the rank ulcers that our patriot load,
Shall she with caustic's healing fires corrode. 60
Yet ere from patient slumber satire wakes,
And brandishes the avenging scourge of snakes;
Yet ere her eyes, with lightning's vivid ray,
The dark recesses of his heart display;
Let candour own the undaunted pilot's power,
Felt in severest danger's trying hour!
Let truth consenting, with the trump of fame,
His glory, in auspicious strains, proclaim!
He bade the tempest of the battle roar,
That thunder'd o'er the deep from shore to shore. 70
How oft, amid the horrors of the war,
Chain'd to the bloody wheels of danger's car,
How oft my bosom at thy name has glow'd,
And from my beating heart applause bestow'd;
Applause, that, genuine as the blush of youth
Unknown to guile, was sanctified by truth!
How oft I blest the patriot's honest rage,
That greatly dared to lash the guilty age;
That, rapt with zeal, pathetic, bold, and strong,
Roll'd the full tide of eloquence along; 80
That power's big torrent braved with manly pride,
And all corruption's venal arts defied!
When from afar those penetrating eyes
Beheld each secret hostile scheme arise;
Watch'd every motion of the faithless foe,
Each plot o'erturned, and baffled every blow:
A fond enthusiast, kindling at thy name,
I glow'd in secret with congenial flame;
While my young bosom, to deceit unknown,
Believed all real virtue thine alone. 90
Such then he seem'd, and such indeed might be,
If truth with error ever could agree!
Sure satire never with a fairer hand
Portray'd the object she design'd to brand.
Alas! that virtue should so soon decay,
And faction's wild applause thy heart betray!
The Muse with secret sympathy relents,
And human failings, as a friend, laments:
But when those dangerous errors, big with fate,
Spread discord and distraction through the state, 100
Reason should then exert her utmost power
To guard our passions in that fatal hour.
There was a time, ere yet his conscious heart
Durst from the hardy path of truth depart;
While yet with generous sentiment it glow'd,
A stranger to corruption's slippery road;
There was a time our patriot durst avow
Those honest maxims he despises now.
How did he then his country's wounds bewail,
And at the insatiate German vulture rail! 110
Whose cruel talons Albion's entrails tore,
Whose hungry maw was glutted with her gore!
The mists of error, that in darkness held
Our reason, like the sun, his voice dispell'd.
And lo! exhausted, with no power to save,
We view Britannia panting on the wave:
Hung round her neck, a millstone's pond'rous weight
Drags down the struggling victim to her fate!
While horror at the thought our bosom feels,
We bless the man this horror who reveals. 120
But what alarming thoughts the heart amaze,
When on this Janus' other face we gaze!
For, lo, possess'd of power's imperial reins,
Our chief those visionary ills disdains!
Alas, how soon the steady patriot turns!
In vain this change astonish'd England mourns!
Her vital blood, that pour'd from every vein,
So late, to fill the accursed Westphalian drain,
Then ceased to flow; the vulture now no more
With unrelenting rage her bowels tore. 130
His magic rod transforms the bird of prey!
The millstone feels the touch, and melts away!
And, strange to tell, still stranger to believe,
What eyes ne'er saw, and heart could ne'er conceive,
At once, transplanted by the sorcerer's wand,
Columbian hills in distant Austria stand!
America, with pangs before unknown,
Now with Westphalia utters groan for groan:
By sympathy she fevers with her fires,
Burns as she burns, and as she dies expires. 140
From maxims long adopted thus he flew,
For ever changing, yet for ever true:
Swoln with success, and with applause imflamed,
He scorn'd all caution, all advice disclaim'd:
Arm'd with war's thunder, he embraced no more
Those patriot principles maintain'd before.
Perverse, inconstant, obstinate, and proud,
Drunk with ambition, turbulent and loud,
He wrecks us headlong on that dreadful strand
He once devoted all his powers to brand! 150
Our hapless country views with weeping eyes,
On every side, o'erwhelming horrors rise;
Drain'd of her wealth, exhausted of her power,
And agonized as in the mortal hour;
Her armies, wasted with incessant toils,
Or doom'd to perish in contagious soils,
To guard some needy royal plunderer's throne,
And sent to fall in battles not their own.
The enormous debt at home, though long o'ercharged,
With grievous burdens annually enlarged: 160
Crush'd with increasing taxes to the ground,
That suck, like vampires, every bleeding wound:
Ground with severe distress the industrious poor
Driven by the ruthless landlord to the door.
While thus our land her hapless fate bemoans
In secret, and with inward sorrow groans;
Though deck'd with tinsel trophies of renown,
All gash'd with sores, with anguish bending down;
Can yet some impious parricide appear,
Who strives to make this anguish more severe? 170
Can one exist, so much his country's foe,
To bid her wounds with fresh effusion flow?
There can; to him in vain she lifts her eyes,
His soul relentless hears her piercing sighs!
Shameless of front, impatient of control,
He spurs her onward to destruction's goal!
Nor yet content on curst Westphalia's shore
With mad profusion to exhaust her store,
Still peace his pompous fulminations brand,
As pirates tremble at the sight of land: 180
Still to new wars the public eye he turns,
Defies all peril, and at reason spurns;
Till press'd with danger, by distress assail'd,
That baffled courage, and o'er skill prevail'd;
Till foundering in the storm himself had brew'd,
He strives at last its horrors to elude.
Some wretched shift must still protect his name,
And to the guiltless head transfer his shame:
Then hearing modest diffidence oppose
His rash advice, that golden time he chose; 190
And while big surges threaten'd to o'erwhelm
The ship, ingloriously forsook the helm.
But all the events collected to relate,
Let us his actions recapitulate.
He first assumed, by mean perfidious art,
Those patriot tenets foreign to his heart:
Next, by his country's fond applauses swell'd,
Thrust himself forward into power, and held
The reins on principles which he alone,
Grown drunk and wanton with success, could own; 200
Betray'd her interest and abused her trust;
Then, deaf to prayers, forsook her in disgust;
With tragic mummery, and most vile grimace,
Rode through the city with a woful face,
As in distress, a patriot out of place!
Insults his generous prince, and in the day
Of trouble skulks, because he cannot sway!
In foreign climes embroils him with allies,
And bids at home the flames of discord rise!
She comes! from hell the exulting fury springs, 210
With grim destruction sailing on her wings!
Around her scream a hundred harpies fell!
A hundred demons shriek with hideous yell!
From where, in mortal venom dipt on high,
Full-drawn the deadliest shafts of satire fly;
Where Churchill brandishes his clumsy club,
And Wilkes unloads his excremental tub,
Down to where Entick, awkward and unclean,
Crawls on his native dust, a worm obscene!
While with unnumber'd wings from van to rear 220
Myriads of nameless buzzing drones appear:
From their dark cells the angry insects swarm,
And every little sting attempt to arm.
Here Chaplains, Privileges, moulder round,
And feeble Scourges, [2] rot upon the ground:
Here hungry Kenrick strives, with fruitless aim,
With Grub-street slander to extend his name:
At Bruin flies the slavering, snarling cur,
But only fills his famish'd jaws with fur.
Here Baldwin spreads the assassinating cloak, 230
Where lurking rancour gives the secret stroke;
While gorged with filth, around this senseless block,
A swarm of spider-bards obsequious flock:
While his demure Welch goat, with lifted hoof,
In Poet's corner hangs each flimsy woof;
And frisky grown, attempts, with awkward prance,
On wit's gay theatre to bleat and dance.
Here, seized with iliac passion, mouthing Leech,
Too low, alas! for satire's whip to reach,
From his black entrails, faction's common sewer, 240
Disgorges all her excremental store.
With equal pity and regret the Muse
The thundering storms that rage around her views;
Impartial views the tides of discord blend,
Where lordly rogues for power and place contend;
Were not her patriot-heart with anguish torn,
Would eye the opposing chiefs with equal scorn.
Let freedom's deadliest foes for freedom bawl,
Alike to her who govern or who fall!
Aloof she stands, all unconcern'd and mute, 250
While the rude rabble bellow, "Down with Bute!"
While villany the scourge of justice bilks,
Howl on, ye ruffians! "Liberty and Wilkes."
Let some soft mummy of a peer, who stains
His rank, some sodden lump of ass's brains,
To that abandon'd wretch his sanction give;
Support his slander, and his wants relieve!
Let the great hydra roar aloud for Pitt,
And power and wisdom all to him submit!
Let proud ambition's sons, with hearts severe, 260
Like parricides, their mother's bowels tear!
Sedition her triumphant flag display,
And in embodied ranks her troops array!
While coward justice, trembling on her seat,
Like a vile slave descends to lick her feet!
Nor here let censure draw her awful blade,
If from her theme the wayward Muse has stray'd!
Sometimes the impetuous torrent, o'er its mounds
Redundant bursting, swamps the adjacent grounds;
But rapid, and impatient of delay, 270
Through the deep channel still pursues its way.
Our pilot now retired, no pleasure knows,
But every man and measure to oppose;
Like AEsop's cur, still snarling and perverse,
Bloated with envy, to mankind a curse,
No more at council his advice will lend,
But with all others who advise contend:
He bids distraction o'er his country blaze,
Then, swelter'd with revenge, retreats to Hayes:
Swallows the pension; but, aware of blame, 280
Transfers the proffer'd peerage to his dame.
The felon thus of old, his name to save,
His pilfer'd mutton to a brother gave.
But should some frantic wretch whom all men know
To nature and humanity a foe,
Deaf to the widow's moan and orphan's cry,
And dead to shame and friendship's social tie;
Should such a miscreant, at the hour of death,
To thee his fortunes and domains bequeath;
With cruel rancour wresting from his heirs 290
What nature taught them to expect as theirs;
Wouldst thou with this detested robber join,
Their legal wealth to plunder and purloin?
Forbid it, Heaven! thou canst not be so base,
To blast thy name with infamous disgrace!
The Muse who wakes, yet triumphs o'er thy hate,
Dares not so black a thought anticipate:
By Heaven, the Muse her ignorance betrays;
For while a thousand eyes with wonder gaze,
Though gorged and glutted with his country's store, 300
The vulture pounces on the shining ore;
In his strong talons gripes the golden prey,
And from the weeping orphan bears away.
The great, the alarming deed is yet to come,
That, big with fate, strikes expectation dumb.
Oh, patient, injured England, yet unveil
Thy eyes, and listen to the Muse's tale,
That true as honour, unadorn'd with art,
Thy wrongs in fair succession shall impart!
Ere yet the desolating god of war 310
Had crush'd pale Europe with his iron car,
Had shook her shores with terrible alarms,
And thunder'd o'er the trembling deep, "To arms!"
In climes remote, beyond the setting sun,
Beyond the Atlantic wave, his rage begun.
Alas! poor country, how with pangs unknown
To Britain did thy filial bosom groan!
What savage armies did thy realms invade,
Unarm'd, and distant from maternal aid!
Thy cottages with cruel flames consumed, 320
And the sad owner to destruction doom'd;
Mangled with wounds, with pungent anguish torn,
Or left to perish naked and forlorn!
What carnage reek'd upon thy ruin'd plain!
What infants bled! what virgins shriek'd in vain!
In every look distraction seem'd to glare,
Each heart was rack'd with horror and despair.
To Albion then, with groans and piercing cries,
America lift up her dying eyes;
To generous Albion pour'd forth all her pain, 330
To whom the wretched never wept in vain.
She heard, and instant to relieve her flew,
Her arm the gleaming sword of vengeance drew;
Far o'er the ocean wave her voice was known,
That shook the deep abyss from zone to zone:
She bade the thunder of the battle glow,
And pour'd the storm of lightning on the foe;
Nor ceased till, crown'd with victory complete,
Pale Spain and France lay trembling at her feet.
Her fears dispell'd, and all her foes removed, 340
Her fertile grounds industriously improved,
Her towns with trade, with fleets her harbours crown'd,
And plenty smiling on her plains around:
Thus blest with all that commerce could supply,
America regards with jealous eye,
And canker'd heart, the parent, who so late
Had snatch'd her gasping from the jaws of fate;
Who now, with wars for her begun, relax'd,
With grievous aggravated burthens tax'd,
Her treasures wasted by a hungry brood 350
Of cormorants, that suck her vital blood;
Who now of her demands that tribute due,
For whom alone the avenging sword she drew.
Scarce had America the just request
Received, when, kindling in her faithless breast,
Resentment glows, enraged sedition burns,
And, lo! the mandate of our laws she spurns!
Her secret hate, incapable of shame
Or gratitude, incenses to a flame,
Derides our power, bids insurrection rise, 360
Insults our honour, and our laws defies;
O'er all her coasts is heard the audacious roar,
"England shall rule America no more!"
Soon as on Britain's shore the alarm was heard,
Stern indignation in her look appear'd;
Yet, both to punish, she her scourge withheld
From her perfidious sons who thus rebell'd;
Now stung with anguish, now with rage assail'd,
Till pity in her soul at last prevail'd,
Determined not to draw her penal steel 370
Till fair persuasion made her last appeal.
And now the great decisive hour drew nigh,
She on her darling patriot cast her eye;
His voice like thunder will support her cause,
Enforce her dictates, and sustain her laws;
Rich with her spoils, his sanction will dismay,
And bid the insurgents tremble and obey.
He comes!--but where, the amazing theme to hit,
Discover language or ideas fit?
Splay-footed words, that hector, bounce, and swagger, 380
The sense to puzzle, and the brain to stagger?
Our patriot comes! with frenzy fired, the Muse
With allegoric eye his figure views!
Like the grim portress of hell-gate he stands,
Bellona's scourge hangs trembling in his hands!
Around him, fiercer than the ravenous shark,
"A cry of hell-hounds' never-ceasing bark;"
And lo! the enormous giant to bedeck,
A golden millstone hangs upon his neck!
On him ambition's vulture darts her claws, 390
And with voracious rage his liver gnaws.
Our patriot comes!--the buckles of whose shoes
Not Cromwell's self was worthy to unloose.
Repeat his name in thunder to the skies!
Ye hills fall prostrate, and ye vales arise!
Through faction's wilderness prepare the way!
Prepare, ye listening senates, to obey!
The idol of the mob, behold him stand,
The Alpha and Omega of the land!
Methinks I hear the bellowing demagogue 400
Dumb-sounding declamations disembogue,
Expressions of immeasurable length,
Where pompous jargon fills the place of strength;
Where fulminating, rumbling eloquence,
With loud theatric rage, bombards the sense;
And words, deep rank'd in horrible array,
Exasperated metaphors convey!
With these auxiliaries, drawn up at large,
He bids enraged sedition beat the charge:
From England's sanguine hope his aid withdraws, 410
And lists to guide in insurrection's cause.
And lo! where, in her sacrilegious hand,
The parricide lifts high her burning brand!
Go, while she yet suspends her impious aim,
With those infernal lungs arouse the flame!
Though England merits not her least regard,
Thy friendly voice gold boxes shall reward!
Arise, embark! prepare thy martial car,
To lead her armies and provoke the war!
Rebellion wakes, impatient of delay, 420
The signal her black ensigns to display.
To thee, whose soul, all steadfast and serene,
Beholds the tumults that distract our scene;
And, in the calmer seats of wisdom placed,
Enjoys the sweets of sentiment and taste:
To thee, O Marius! whom no factions sway,
The impartial Muse devotes her honest lay!
In her fond breast no prostituted aim,
Nor venal hope, assumes fair friendship's name:
Sooner shall Churchill's feeble meteor-ray, 430
That led our foundering demagogue astray,
Darkling to grope and flounce in Error's night,
Eclipse great Mansfield's strong meridian light,
Than shall the change of fortune, time, or place,
Thy generous friendship in my heart efface!
Oh! whether wandering from thy country far,
And plunged amid the murdering scenes of war;
Or in the blest retreat of virtue laid,
Where contemplation spreads her awful shade;
If ever to forget thee I have power, 440
May Heaven desert me at my latest hour!
Still satire bids my bosom beat to arms,
And throb with irresistible alarms.
Like some full river charged with falling showers,
Still o'er my breast her swelling deluge pours.
But rest and silence now, who wait beside,
With their strong flood-gates bar the impetuous tide.

[Footnote 1: This poem was intended by the author to be a political
satire on Lord Chatham, Wilkes, and Churchill, and to refute the
opinions expressed in the poems of Churchill.]

[Footnote 2: 'Chaplains,' 'Privileges,' 'Scourges:' certain poems
intended to be very satirical.]



From the big horror of War's hoarse alarms,
And the tremendous clang of clashing arms,
Descend, my Muse! a deeper scene to draw
(A scene will hold the listening world in awe)
Is my intent: Melpomene inspire,
While, with sad notes, I strike the trembling lyre!
And may my lines with easy motion flow,
Melt as they move, and fill each heart with woe:
Big with the sorrow it describes, my song,
In solemn pomp, majestic, move along. 10
O bear me to some awful silent glade,
Where cedars form an unremitting shade;
Where never track of human feet was known;
Where never cheerful light of Phoebus shone;
Where chirping linnets warble tales of love,
And hoarser winds howl murmuring through the grove;
Where some unhappy wretch aye mourns his doom,
Deep melancholy wandering through the gloom;
Where solitude and meditation roam,
And where no dawning glimpse of hope can come! 20
Place me in such an unfrequented shade,
To speak to none but with the mighty dead;
To assist the pouring rains with brimful eyes,
And aid hoarse howling Boreas with my sighs.
When Winter's horrors left Britannia's isle,
And Spring in blooming vendure 'gan to smile;
When rills, unbound, began to purl along,
And warbling larks renew'd the vernal song;
When sprouting roses, deck'd in crimson dye,
Began to bloom, ... 30
Hard fate! then, noble Frederic, didst thou die:
Doom'd by inexorable fate's decree,
The approaching summer ne'er on earth to see:
In thy parch'd vitals burning fevers rage,
Whose flame the virtue of no herbs assuage;
No cooling medicine can its heat allay,
Relentless destiny cries, "No delay!"
Ye powers! and must a prince so noble die?
(Whose equal breathes not under the ambient sky:)
Ah! must he die, then, in youth's full-blown prime, 40
Cut by the scythe of all-devouring Time?
Yes, fate has doom'd! his soul now leaves its weight,
And all are under the decree of fate;
The irrevocable doom of destiny
Pronounced, "All mortals must submissive die."
The princes wait around with weeping eyes,
And the dome echoes all with piercing cries:
With doleful noise the matrons scream around,
With female shrieks the vaulted roofs rebound:
A dismal noise! Now one promiscuous roar 50
Cries, "Ah! the noble Frederic is no more!"
The chief reluctant yields his latest breath;
His eye-lids settle in the shades of death;
Dark sable shades present before each eye,
And the deep vast abyss, Eternity!
Through perpetuity's expanse he springs;
And o'er the vast profound he shoots on wings;
The soul to distant regions steers her flight,
And sails incumbent on inferior night:
With vast celerity she shoots away, 60
And meets the regions of eternal day,
To shine for ever in the heavenly birth,
And leave the body here to rot on earth.
The melancholy patriots round it wait,
And mourn the royal hero's timeless fate.
Disconsolate they move, a mournful band!
In solemn pomp they march along the strand:
The noble chief, interr'd in youthful bloom,
Lies in the dreary regions of the tomb.
Adown Augusta's pallid visage flow 70
The living pearls with unaffected woe:
Disconsolate, hapless, see pale Britain mourn,
Abandon'd isle! forsaken and forlorn
With desperate hands her bleeding breast she beats;
While o'er her, frowning, grim destruction threats.
She mourns with heart-felt grief, she rends her hair,
And fills with piercing cries the echoing air.
Well mayst thou mourn thy patriot's timeless end,
Thy Muse's patron, and thy merchant's friend!
What heart shall pity thy full-flowing grief? 80
What hand now deign to give thy poor relief?
To encourage arts, whose bounty now shall flow,
And learned science to promote, bestow?
Who now protect thee from the hostile frown,
And to the injured just return his own?
From usury and oppression who shall guard
The helpless, and the threatening ruin ward?
Alas! the truly noble Briton's gone,
And left us here in ceaseless woe to moan!
Impending desolation hangs around, 90
And ruin hovers o'er the trembling ground:
The blooming spring droops her enamell'd head,
Her glories wither, and her flowers all fade:
The sprouting leaves already drop away;
Languish the living herbs with pale decay:
The bowing trees, see! o'er the blasted heath,
Depending, bend beneath the weight of death:
Wrapp'd in the expansive gloom, the lightnings play,
Hoarse thunder mutters through the aerial way:
All Nature feels the pangs, the storms renew, 100
And sprouts, with fatal haste, the baleful yew.
Some power avert the threatening horrid weight,
And, godlike, prop Britannia's sinking state!
Minerva, hover o'er young George's soul;
May sacred wisdom all his deeds control!
Exalted grandeur in each action shine,
His conduct all declare the youth divine!
Methinks I see him shine a glorious star,
Gentle in peace, but terrible in war!
Methinks each region does his praise resound, 110
And nations tremble at his name around!
His fame, through every distant kingdom rung,
Proclaims him of the race from whence he sprung:
So sable smoke in volumes curls on high;
Heaps roll on heaps, and blacken all the sky:
Already so, his fame, methinks, is hurl'd
Around the admiring, venerating world.
So the benighted wanderer, on his way,
Laments the absence of all-cheering day;
Far distant from his friends and native home, 120
And not one glimpse does glimmer through the gloom:
In thought he breathes, each sigh his latest breath,
Present, each meditation, pits of death:
Irregular, wild chimeras fill his soul,
And death, and dying, every step control.
Till from the east there breaks a purple gleam,
His fears then vanish as a fleeting dream:
Hid in a cloud the sun first shoots his ray,
Then breaks effulgent on the illumined day;
We see no spot then in the flaming rays, 130
Confused and lost within the excessive blaze.



[Note: line-numbering counts lines of poetry only, blank lines are not
counted. text Ed.]

Again the royal streamers play,
To glory Edward hastes away;
Adieu, ye happy silvan bowers,
Where pleasure's sprightly throng await!
Ye domes, where regal grandeur towers
In purple ornaments of state!
Ye scenes where virtue's sacred strain
Bids the tragic Muse complain!
Where satire treads the comic stage,
To scourge and mend a venal age; 10
Where music pours the soft, melodious lay,
And melting symphonies congenial play:
Ye silken sons of ease, who dwell
In flowery vales of peace, farewell!
In vain the goddess of the myrtle grove
Her charms ineffable displays;
In vain she calls to happier realms of love,
Which Spring's unfading bloom arrays;
In vain her living roses blow,
And ever-vernal pleasures grow; 20
The gentle sports of youth no more
Allure him to the peaceful shore;
Arcadian ease no longer charms,
For war and fame alone can please:
His throbbing bosom beats to arms,
To war the hero moves, through storms and wintry seas.

CHORUS. The gentle sports of youth no more
Allure him to the peaceful shore,
For war and fame alone can please:
To war the hero moves, through storms and wintry seas. 30

Though danger's hostile train appears
To thwart the course that honour steers;
Unmoved he leads the rugged way,
Despising peril and dismay.
His country calls; to guard her laws,
Lo! every joy the gallant youth resigns;
The avenging naval sword he draws,
And o'er the waves conducts her martial lines:
Hark! his sprightly clarions play;
Follow where he leads the way! 40
The piercing fife, the sounding drum,
Tell the deeps their master's come.

CHORUS. Hark! his sprightly clarions play,
Follow where he leads the way!
The piercing fife, the sounding drum,
Tell the deeps their master's come.

Thus Alcmena's warlike son
The thorny course of virtue run,
When, taught by her unerring voice,
He made the glorious choice: 50
Severe, indeed, the attempt he knew,
Youth's genial ardours to subdue:
For pleasure, Venus' lovely form assumed;
Her glowing charms, divinely bright,
In all the pride of beauty bloom'd,
And struck his ravish'd sight.
Transfix'd, amazed,
Alcides gazed:
Enchanting grace
Adorn'd her face, 60
And all his changing looks confess'd
The alternate passions in his breast:
Her swelling bosom half reveal'd,
Her eyes that kindling raptures fired,
A thousand tender pains instill'd,
A thousand flattering thoughts inspired:
Persuasion's sweetest language hung
In melting accent on her tongue:
Deep in his heart the winning tale
Infused a magic power; 70
She press'd him to the rosy vale,
And show'd the Elysian bower:
Her hand that trembling ardours move,
Conducts him blushing to the blest alcove:
Ah! see, o'erpower'd by beauty's charms,
And won by love's resistless arms,
The captive yields to nature's soft alarms!

CHORUS. Ah! see, o'erpower'd by beauty's charms,
And won by love's resistless arms,
The captive yields to nature's soft alarms! 80

Assist, ye guardian powers above!
From ruin save the son of Jove!
By heavenly mandate virtue came,
And check'd the fatal flame:
Swift as the quivering needle wheels,
Whose point the magnet's influence feels,
Inspired with awe,
He, turning, saw
The nymph divine
Transcendent shine; 90
And, while he view'd the godlike maid,
His heart a sacred impulse sway'd:
His eyes with ardent motion roll,
And love, regret, and hope, divide his soul.
But soon her words his pain destroy,
And all the numbers of his heart,
Return'd by her celestial art,
Now swell'd to strains of nobler joy.

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