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And full of hope day followed day
While that stout Ship at anchor lay
Beside the shores of Wight ;
The May had then made all things green ;
And, floating there in pomp serene,
That Ship was goodly to be seen,
His pride and his delight!
Yet then, when called ashore, he sought
The tender peace of rural thought :
In more than happy mood
To your abodes, bright daisy Flowers!
He then would steal at leisure hours,
And loved you glittering in your bowers,
A starry multitude.
But hark the word !
the Ship is gone ; From her long course returns: Sets sail : - in season due, Once more on English earth they stand : But, when a third time from the land They parted, sorrow was at hand For Him and for his Crew.
Ill-fated Vessel ! - ghastly shock!
At length delivered from the rock, The deep she hath regained ; And through the stormy night they steer, Labouring for life, in hope and fear, Towards a safer shore - how near, Yet not to be attained !
6 Silence !” the brave Commander cried;
To that calm word a shriek replied,
It was the last death-shriek.
- A few appear by morning light,
Preserved upon the tall mast's height:
Oft in my Soul I see that sight;
But one dear remnant of the night-
For him in vain I seek.
Six weeks beneath the moving sea
He lay in slumber quietly ;
Unforced by wind or wave
To quit the Ship for which he died,
(All claims of duty satisfied ;)
And there they found him at her side ;
And bore him to the
Vain service! yet not vainly done
For this, if other end were none,
That He, who had been cast
Upon a way of life unmeet
For such a gentle Soul and sweet,
Should find an undisturbed retreat
Near what he loved, at last ;
That neighbourhood of grove and field
To Him a resting place should yield,
A meek man and a brave !
The birds shall sing and ocean make
A mournful murmur for his sake;
And Thou, sweet Flower, shalt sleep and wake
Upon his senseless grave.*
“ Late, late yestreen I saw the new moone
Wi' the auld moone in bir arme.”
Ballad of Sir Patrick Spence, Percy's Reliques.
Once I could hail (howe'er serene the sky)
The Moon re-entering her monthly round,
No faculty yet given me to espy
The dusky Shape within her arms imbound,
That thin memento of effulgence lost
Which some have named her Predecessor's Ghost.
Young, like the Crescent that above me shone,
Nought I perceived within it dull or dim;
All that appeared was suitable to One
Whose fancy had a thousand fields to skim;
To expectations spreading with wild growth,
And hope that kept with me her plighted troth.
I saw (ambition quickening at the view)
A silver boat launched on a boundless flood;
A pearly crest, like Dian's when it threw
Its brightest splendour round a leafy wood;
But not a hint from under-ground, no sign
Fit for the glimmering brow of Proserpine.
Or was it Dian's self that seemed to move
Before me? nothing blemished the fair sight;
On her I looked whom jocund Fairies love,
Cynthia, who puts the little stars to flight,
And by that thinning magnifies the great,
For exaltation of her sovereign state.
And when I learned to mark the spectral Shape
As each new Moon obeyed the call of Time,
If gloom fell on me, swift was my escape ;
Such happy privilege hath Life's gay Prime,
To see or not to see, as best may please
A buoyant Spirit, and a heart at ease.
Now, dazzling Stranger! when thou meet'st my glance,
Thy dark Associate ever I discern;
Emblem of thoughts too eager to advance
While I salute my joys, thoughts sad or stern ;
Shades of past bliss, or phantoms that to gain
Their fill of promised lustre wait in vain.
So changes mortal Life with fleeting years;
A mournful change, should Reason fail to bring
The timely insight that can temper fears,
And from vicissitude remove its sting;
While Faith aspires to seats in that Domain
Where joys are perfect, neither wax nor wane.