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The braces are taut and the lithe boom quivers, She holds her way, and I look with joy
And the waves with the coming squall-cloud blacken.
For the first white spray o'er the bulwar's flung.
WHERE the remote Bermudas ride
In the ocean's bosom unespied,
From a small boat that rowed along
The listening winds received this song :
“What should we do but sing His praise
That led us through the watery maze
Where he the huge sea monsters wracks,
That lift the deep upon their backs,
Unto an isle so long unknown,
And yet far kinder than our own
He lands us on a grassy stage,
Safe from the storms, and prelate's rage;
He gave us this eternal spring
Which here enamels everything,
And sends the fowls to us in care
On daily visits through the air.
He hangs in shades the orange bright
Like golden lamps in a green night,
And does in the pomegranates close
Jewels more rich than Ormus shows :
He makes the figs our mouths to meet,
And throws the melons at our feet ;
But apples, plants of such a price,
No tree could ever bear them twice.
With cedars chosen by his hand
From Lebanon he stores the land ;
And makes the hollow seas that roar
Proclaim the ambergris on shore.
He cast (of which we rather boast)
The gospel's pearl upon our coast;
And in these rocks for us did frame
A temple where to sound his name.
O let our voice his praise exalt
Till it arrive at heaven's vault,
Which then perhaps rebounding may
Echo beyond the Mexique bay !” —
Thus sung they in the English boat
A holy and a cheerful note;
And all the way, to guide their chime,
With falling oars they kept the time.
A WET SHEET AND A FLOWING SEA.
A wet sheet and a flowing sea, –
A wind that follows fast,
And fills the white and rustling sail,
And bends the gallant mast, —
And bends the gallant mast, my boys,
While, like the eagle free,
Away the good ship flies, and leaves
Old England on the lee.
0 for a soft and gentle wind
I heard a fair one cry; o
But give to me the snoring breeze
And white waves heaving high, –
And white waves heaving high, my boys,
The good ship tight and free ;
The world of waters is our home,
O'ER the glad waters of the dark blue sea, Our thoughts as boundless and our souls as free, Far as the breeze can bear, the billows foam, Survey our empire, and behold our home These are our realms, no limits to their sway, Our flag the sceptre all who meet obey. Ours the wild life in tumult still to range From toil to rest, and joy in every change. 0, who can tell ? not thou, luxurious slave: Whose soul would sicken o'er the heaving wave; | Not thou, vain lord of wantonness and ease ! Whom slumber soothes not, — pleasure cannot please. — 0, who can tell save he whose heart hath tried, And danced in triumph o'er the waters wide, The exulting sense, the pulse's maddening play, That thrills the wanderer of that trackless way : That for itself can woo the approaching fight, And turn what some deem danger to delight: That seeks what cravens shun with more than zeal, And where the feebler faint can only feel — Feel to the rising bosom's in most core, Its hope awaken and its spirit soar
No dread of death — if with us die our foes—
Save that it seems even duller than repose :
Come when it will — we snatch the life of life —
When lost—what recks it—by disease or strife
Let him who crawls enamored of decay,
Cling to his couch and sicken years away;
Heave his thick breath, and shake his palsied
Ours – the fresh turf, and not the feverish bed.
While gasp by gasp he falters forth his soul,
Ours with one pang — one bound—escapes con-
His corse may boast its urn and narrow cave,
And they who loathed his life may gild his grave:
Ours are the tears, though few, sincerely shed,
When Ocean shrouds and sepulchres our dead.
For us, even banquets fond regrets supply
In the red cup that crowns our memory;
And the brief epitaph in danger's day,
When those who win at length divide the prey,
And cry, Remembrance saddening o'er each brow,
How had the brave who fell exulted now.' BYRON.
Jrst in thy mould and beauteous in thy form,
Gentle in roll and buoyant on the surge,
Light as the sea-fowl rocking in the storm,
In breeze and gale thy onward course we urge,
Lady of mine,
More light and swift than thou none thread the
With surer keel or steadier on its path,
We brave each waste of ocean-mystery
And laugh to hear the howling tempest's wrath,
For we are thine.
“My brigantine ! Trust to the mystic power that points thy way, Trust to the eye that pierces from afar; Trust the red meteors that around thee play, And, fearless, trust the Sea-Green Lady's Star, Thou bark divine !”
And above the funnel's roaring,
And the fitful wind's deploring,
I heard the cabin snoring
With universal nose.
I could hear the passengers snorting, —
I envied their disporting, —
Wainly I was courting
The pleasure of a doze.
So I lay, and wondered why light
Came not, and watched the twilight,
And the glimmer of the skylight,
That shot across the deck;
And the binnacle pale and steady,
And the dull glimpse of the dead-eye,
And the sparks in fiery eddy
That whirled from the chimney neck.
In our jovial floating prison
There was sleep from fore to mizzen,
And never a star had risen
The hazy sky to speck.
Strange company we harbored :
We'd a hundred Jews to larboard,
Unwashed, uncombed, unbarbered, -
Jews black and brown and gray.
With terror it would seize ye,
And make your souls uneasy,
To see those Rabbis greasy,
Who did naught but scratch and pray.
Their dirty children puking, —
Their dirty saucepans cooking, —
Their dirty fingers hooking
Their swarming fleas away.
To starboard Turks and Greeks were, —
Whiskered and brown their cheeks were, —
Enormous wide their breeks were, —
Their pipes did puff away;
Each on his mat allotted
In silence smoked and squatted,
Whilst round their children trotted
In pretty, pleasant play.
He can't but smile who traces
The smiles on those brown faces,
And the pretty, prattling graces
Of those small heathens gay.
And so the hours kept tolling;
And through the ocean rolling
Went the brave Iberia bowling, Before the break of day,
When a squall, upon a sudden,
Came o'er the waters scudding;
And the clouds began to gather,
And the sea was lashed to lather,
And the lowering thunder grumbled,
And the lightning jumped and tumbled,
To the stokers, whose black faces
And the ship, and all the ocean,
Woke up in wild commotion.
Then the wind set up a howling,
And the poodle dog a yowling,
And the cocks began a crowing,
And the old cow raised a lowing,
As she heard the tempest blowing;
And fowls and geese did cackle,
And the cordage and the tackle
Began to shriek and crackle ;
And the spray dashed o'er the funnels,
And down the deck in runnels;
And the rushing water soaks all,
From the seamen in the folksal
Peer out of their bed-places;
And the captain he was bawling,
And the sailors pulling, hauling,
And the quarter-deck tarpauling
Was shivered in the squalling;
And the passengers awaken,
Most pitifully shaken;
And the steward jumps up, and hastens
For the necessary basins.
Then the Greeks they groaned and quivered.
And they knelt and moaned and shivered,
As the plunging waters met them,
And splashed and overset them ;
And they called in their emergence
Upon countless saints and virgins;
And their marrowbones are bended,
And they think the world is ended.
And the Turkish women for’ard
Were frightened and behorrored :
And, shrieking and bewildering,
The mothers clutched their children ;
The men sang “Allah : Illah
Mashallah Bismillah ..."
As the warring waters doused them,
And splashed them and soused them ;
And they called upon the Prophet,
Who thought but little of it.
Then all the fleas in Jewry
Jumped up and bit like fury;
And the progeny of Jacob
Did on the main-deck wake up,
(I wot those greasy Rabbins
Would never pay for cabins ;)
And each man moaned and jabbered in
His filthy Jewish gabardine,
In woe and lamentation,
And howling consternation.
And the splashing water drenches
Their dirty brats and wenches;
And they crawl from bales and benches,
In a hundred thousand stenches.