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LINES TO A CHILD ON HIS VOYAGE TO FRANCE. 319
Shrinks back into himself—himself so mean
Blending their hues in distant faintness there. 3. 'Tis wonderful !-and yět, my boy, just such
Is life. Life is a sea as fathomless,
And hope sits weeping o’er a general wreck. 4. And thou must sail upon this sea, a lõng,
Eventful voyage. The wise may suffer wreck,
Points to the light that changes not, in Heaven.
And favoring breezes waft thee to the arms
HENRY WARE, JR.
136. FEELINGS EXCITED BY A LONG VOYAGE.
m o an Aměrican visiting Europe, the lòng voyage he has to
I make is an excellent preparative. From the moment you lose sight of the land you have left, all is vacancy' until you step on the opposite shore, and are launched at once into the bustle and novelties of another world.
2. I have sayed that at sea all is vacancy. I should correct the expression. To one given up to day-dreaming, and fond of losing himself in reveries,' a sea voyage is full of subjects for meditation ; but then they are the wonders of the deep, and of the air, and rather tend to abstract the mind from worldly themes.
3. I delighted to loll over the quarter-railing,' or climb to the main-top* on a calm day, and muse for hours togěther on the tranquil bosom of a summer's sea ; or to gaze upon the piles of golden clouds just peering above the horī'zon, fancy them some fairy realms, and people them with a creätion of my own, or to watch the gentle undulating billows rolling their silver volumes, as if to die away on those happy shores.
4. There was a delicious sensation of mingled security and awe, with which I looked down from my giddy height on the monsters of the deep at their uncouth gambols. Shoals of porpoises tumbling about the bow of the ship; the grampus slowly heaving his huge form above the surface; or the ravenous shark, darting like a specter through the blue waters.
5. My imagination would conjure up all that I had heard or read of the watery world benēath me ; of the finny herds that roam its fathomless valleys; of shapelèss monsters that lurk among the věry foundations of the earth ; and those wild phantasmsthat swell the tales of fishermen and sailors.
Vā' can cy, emptiness; freedom the main-mast to the stern. from employment; idleness.
“Māin'-top, top of the main-mast. ? Rěv' ery, an irregular train of Phantasm, (fån'tazm), that which thoughts, occuring in musing. appears to the mind; an image formed
3 Quarter-rāil' ing, the railing on by the mind, and supposed to be real; the sides of a ship, extending from a dream.
FEELINGS EXCITED BY A LONG VOYAGE.
6. Sometimes a distant sail gliding along the edge of the ocean would be another theme of idle speculation. How in'teresting this fragment of a world' hastening to rejoin the great mass of existence! What a glorious monument of human invention, that has thus triumphed over wind and wave; has brought the ends of the earth in communion ; has established an in'terchange of blessings, pouring into the sterile · regions of the north all the luxuries of the sou'h ; diffused the light of knowledge and the charities of cultivated life; and has thus bound together those scattered portions of the human race, between which nature seemed to have thrown an insurmountable barrier.
7. We one day descried some shapeless object drifting at a distance. At sea, every thing that breaks the monotony: of the surrounding expanse attracts attention. It proved to be the mast of a ship that must have been completely wrecked; for there were the remains of handkerchiefs, by which some of the crew had fastened themselves to this spar, to prevent their being washed off by the waves.
8. There was no trace by which the name of the ship could be ascertained. The wreck had evidently drifted about for many months; clusters of shell-fish had fastened about it, and long sea-weeds flaunted at its sides.
9. But where, thought I, are the crew? Their struggle has long been over ;--they have gone down amid the roar of the tempèst ;-their bones lie whitening in the caverns of the deep. Silence-oblivion, like the waves, have closed over them, and no one can tell the story of their end.
10. What sighs have been wafted after that ship! what prayers offered
in the deserted fireside of home! How often has the mistress, the wife, and the mother, pored over the daily news, to cătch some casual intelligence of this rover of the deep! How has expectation darkened into anxiety-anxiety into dread—and dread into despair! Alas! not one memento shall ever return for love to cherish. All that shall ever be known is, that she sailed from her port, “and was never heard of more.”
11. The sight of the wreck, as usual, gave rise to many dismal anecdotes. This was particularly the case in the evening, when 1 World, (wérld).
Mo not' ony, a tiresome same • Stěr ile, barren ; unfruitful. ness, or want of variety.
the weather, which had hitherto been fair, began to look wild and threatening, and gave indications of one of those sudden storms that will sometimes break in upon the serenity of a summer voyage. As we sat round the dull light of a lamp, in the cabin, that made the gloom more ghastly, every one had his tale of shipwreck and disaster. I was particularly struck with a short one related by the captain.
137. FEELINGS EXCITED BY A LONG VOYAGE.
PART SECOND. AS I was once sailing,” said he, “in a fine stout shipăcross
1 the banks of New'foundland', one of the heavy fogs that prevail in those parts rendered it impossible for me to see far ahead, even in the daytime ; but at night the weather was so thick that we could not distinguish any object at twice the length of our ship.
2. “I kept lights at the masthead, and a constant watch forward to look out for fishing-smacks, which are accustomed to lie at anchor on the banks. The wind was blowing a smacking breeze, and we were going at a great rate through the water. Suddenly the watch gave the alarm of a sail ahead !' but it was scarcely uttered till we were upon her.
3. “She was a small schooner at anchor, with her broadside towards us. The crew were all asleep, and had neglected to hoist a light. We struck her just amid-ships.' The force, the size, and weight of our vessel, bore her down below the waves : we passed over her, and were hŭrried on our course.
4. “As the crashing wreck was sinking benēath us, I had a glimpse of two or three half-naked wretches rushing from her cabin ; they had just started from their beds to be swallowed shrieking by the waves. I heard their drowning cry mingling with the wind. The blast that bore it to our ears swept us out of all further hearing. I shall never forget that cry!
5. “It was some time before we could put the ship about, she was under such headway. We returned, as nearly as we could guess, to the place where the smack was anchored. We cruised about for several hours in the dense fog. We fired several guns,
1 A mid'-shịps, in the middle of a ship between stem and stern.
FEELINGS EXCITED BY A LONG VOYAGE.
and listened if we might hear the halloo' of any survivors ; but all was silent-we never heard nor saw anything of them more!"
6. It was a fine sunny morning when the thrilling cry of “land !” was given from the masthead. I question whether Columbus,' when he discovered the new world, felt a more delicious thrõng of sensations than rush into an American's bosom when he first comes in sight of Europe. There is a volume of associations in the very name. It is the land of promise, teeming’ with everything of which his childhood has heard, or on which his studious years have pondered.
7. From that time until the period of arrival, it was all feverish excitement. The ships of war that prowled like guardian giants round the coast; the headlands of Ireland, stretching out into the channel; the Welsh mountains, towering into the clouds; all were objects of intense interest.
8. As we sailed up the Mersey. I reconnoitered the shores with a telescope. My eye dwelt with delight on neat cottages, with their trim shrubberies and green grass-plots. I saw the moldering ruins of an abbey* overrun with ivy, and the taper spire of a village church rising from the brow of a neighboring hill—all were characteristic of England. The tide and wind were so favorable that the ship was enabled to come at once at the pier. It was thronged with people ; some idle lookers-on, others eager expectants of friends or relatives.
9. I could distinguish the merchant to whom the ship belõnged. I knew him by his calculating brow and restless air. His hands were thrust into his pockets ; he was whistling thoughtfully, and walking to and fro, a small space having been accorded to him by the crowd, in deference to his temporary importance. There were repeated cheerings and salutations interchanged between the shore and the ship, as friends happened to rec'ognize each other.
10. But I particularly noted one young woman of humble dress, but in'teresting demeanor. She was leaning forward from
1 Chris' to pher Co lům' bus, the which Liverpool is situated. discoverer of America, born in `Ab' bey, a society of persons of Gěn'oä, Italy, about 1435, and died either sex, shut out from the world, at Valladolid, Spain, May 20, 1506. and bound to remain single and de
* Tēem' ing, bringing forth in vote their time to roligion; the abundance; overflowing.
building used for such a society. 'Mer sey, (mêr zł), the river on 'Womany (wům'an).