Imagens das páginas

As an awaken'd giant with a frown
Might show his wrath, and then to sleep sink down.

View now the winter-storm! above, one cloud,
Black and unbroken, all the skies o’ershroud ;
Th’unwieldy porpoise through the day before
Had roll'd in view of boding men on shore ;
And sometimes hid and sometimes show'd his form,
Dark as the cloud, and furious as the storm.

All where the eye delights, yet dreads to roam, The breaking billows cast the flying foam Upon the billows rising--all the deep Is restless change; the waves so swell’d and steep, Breaking and sinking, and the sunken swells, Nor one, one moment, in its station dwells : But nearer land

you may

the billows trace,
As if contending in their watery chase;
May watch the mightiest till the shoal they reach,
Then break and hurry to their utmost stretch ;
Curld as they come, they strike with furious force,
And then re-flowing, take their grating course,
Raking the rounded flints, which ages past
Roll’d by their rage, and shall to ages last.

Far off the petrel in the troubled way
Swims with her brood, or flutters in the spray;
She rises often, often drops again,
And sports at ease on the tempestuous main.

High o'er the restless deep, above the reach
Of gunner's hope, vast flights of wild-ducks stretch ;
Far as the eye can glance on either side,
In a broad space and level line they glide;
All in their wedge-like figures from the north,
Day after day, flight after flight, go forth.

In-shore their passage tribes of sea-gulls urge,
And drop for prey within the sweeping surge;
Oft in the rough opposing blast they fly
Far back, then turn, and all their force apply,
While to the storm they give their weak complaining cry;
Or clap the sleek white pinion to the breast,
And in the restless ocean dip for rest.

· Darkness begins to reign; the louder wind
Appals the weak and awes the firmer mind;
But frights not him, whom evening and the spray
In part conceal-yon prowler on his way:
Lo! he has something seen; he runs apace,
As if he fear'd companion in the chase ;
He sees his prize, and now he turns again,
Slowly and sorrowing—“ Was your search in vain ?”
Gruffly he answers, “ 'Tis a sorry sight!
“ A seaman's body: there'll be more to-night !"

Hark! to those sounds! they're from distress at sea : How quick they come! What terrors may there be !


Yes, 'tis a driven vessel : I discern
Lights, signs of terror, gleaming from the stern ;
Others behold them too, and from the town
In various parties seamen hurry down;
Their wives pursue, and damsels urged by dread,
Lest men so dear be into danger led ;
Their head the gown has hooded, and their call
In this sad night is piercing like the squall;
They feel their kinds of power, and when they meet,
Chide, fondle, weep, dare, threaten, or entreat.

See one poor girl, all terror and alarm, Has fondly seized upon her lover's arm ; 66 Thou shalt not venture;” and he

No! “ I will not"-still she cries, “ Thou shalt not go."

No need of this; not here the stoutest boat Can through such breakers, o'er such billows float ; Yet may they view these lights upon the beach, Which yield them hope, whom help can never reach.

From parted clouds the moon her radiance throws On the wild waves, and all the danger shows; But shows them beaming in her shining vest, Terrific splendour! gloom in glory dress’d ! This for a moment, and then clouds again Hide every beam, and fear and darkness reign.

But hear we now those sounds ? Do lights appear? I see them not ! the storm alone I hear :

And lo! the sailors homeward take their way;
Man must endure- let us submit and pray.

Such are our winter-views; but night comes on-
Now business sleeps, and daily cares are gone;
Now parties form, and some their friends assist
To waste the idle hours at sober whist;
The tavern's pleasure or the concert's charm
Unnumber'd moments of their sting disarm;
Play-bills and


doors a crowd invite,
To pass off one dread portion of the night ;
And show and song and luxury combined,
Lift off from man this burthen of mankind.

Others advent'rous walk abroad and meet
Returning parties pacing through the street;
When various voices, in the dying day,
Hum in our walks, and greet us in our way;
When tavern-lights flit on from room to room,
And guide the tippling sailor staggering home:
There as we pass, the jingling bells betray
How business rises with the closing day:
Now walking silent, by the river's side,
The ear perceives the rippling of the tide;
Or measured cadence of the lads who tow
Some enter'd hoy, to fix her in her row;
Or hollow sound, which from the parish-bell
To some departed spirit bids farewell !

Thus shall you something of our Borough know, Far as a verse, with Fancy's aid, can show; Of sea or river, of a quay or street, The best description must be incomplete; But when a happier theme suceeds, and when Men are our subjects and the deeds of men; Then may we find the Muse in happier style, And we may sometimes sigh and sometimes smile.

« AnteriorContinuar »