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While yet the shades, on Time's eternal scale,
With long vibration deepen o'er the vale;
While yet the songsters of the vocal grove,
With dying numbers tune the soul to love;
With joyful eyes th' attentive master sees
Th' auspicious omens of an eastern breeze-
Now radiant Vesper leads the starry train,
And Night slow draws her veil o'er land and main.
Round the charged bowl the sailors form a ring,
By turns recount the wondrous tale, or sing;
As love or battle, hardships of the main,
Or genial wine, awake the homely strain:
Then some the watch of night alternate keep,
The rest lie buried in oblivious sleep.
Deep midnight now involves the livid skies,
While infant breezes from the shore arise.
The waning moon, behind a watery shroud,
Pale glimmer'd o'er the long-protracted cloud;
A mighty ring around her silver throne,
With parting meteors cross'd portentous shone.
This in the troubled sky full oft prevails;
Oft deem'd a signal of tempestuous gales.—
While young Arion sleeps, before his sight
Tumultuous swim the visions of the night.
Now blooming Anna, with her happy swain,
Approach'd the sacred Hymeneal fane,
Anon, tremendous lightnings flash between,
And funeral pomp and weeping loves are seen!
Now with Palemon up a rocky steep
Whose summit trembles o'er the roaring deep,
With painful step he climb'd; while far above
Sweet Anna charm'd them with the voice of love,
Then sudden from the slippery height they fell,
While dreadful yawn'd beneath the jaws of hell.
Amid this fearful trance, a thundering sound
He hears and thrice the hollow decks rebound.
Upstarting from his couch on deck he sprung;
Thrice with shrill note the boatswain's whistle rung.
All hands unmoor! proclaims a boisterous cry;
All hands unmoor! the cavern'd rocks reply!
Roused from repose aloft the sailors swarm,
And with their levers soon the windlass arm.*
The order given, upspringing with a bound,
They lodge the bars, and wheel their engine round;
At every turn the clanging pauls resound.
Uptorn reluctant from its oozy cave,
The ponderous anchor rises o'er the wave:
Along their slippery masts the yards ascend,
And high in air the canvass wings extend:
Redoubling cords the lofty canvass guide,
And through inextricable mazes glide.
The lunar rays with long reflection gleam,
To light the vessel o'er the silver stream:
Along the glassy plain serene she glides,
While azure radiance trembles on her sides
From east to north the transient breezes play,
And in th' Egyptian quarter soon decay.
A calm ensues; they dread th' adjacent shore;
The boats with rowers arm'd are sent before:
With cordage fasten'd to the lofty prow,
Aloof to sea the stately ship they tow.†
• The windlass is a sort of large roller, used to wind in the cable, or heave up the anchor. It is turned about vertically by a number of long hars or levers; in which operation, it is prevented from recoiling, by the pauls.
↑ Towing is the operation of drawing a ship forward, by
The nervous crew their sweeping oars extend,
And pealing shouts the shore of Candia rend.
Success attends their skill; the danger's o'er :
The port is doubled and beheld no more.
Now Morn, her lamp pale glimmering on the sight.
Scatter'd before her van reluctant Night.
She comes not in refulgent pomp array'd,
But sternly frowning, wrapt in sullen shade.
Above incumbent vapours, Ida's height,
Tremendous rock! emerges on the sight.
North-east the guardian isle of Standia lies,
And westward Freschin's woody capes arise.
With winning postures, now the wanton sails
Spread all their snares to charm th' inconstant gales
The swelling stud-sails* now their wings extend,
Then stay-sails sidelong to the breeze ascend:
While all to court the wandering breeze are placed ;
With yards now thwarting, now obliquely braced.
The dim horizon lowering vapours shroud,
And blot the sun, yet struggling in the cloud :
Through the wide atmosphere, condensed with
His glaring orb emits a sanguine blaze.
The pilots now their rules of art apply,
The mystic needle's devious aim to try.
The compass, placed to catch the rising ray,†
The quadrant's shadows studious they survey!
Along the arch the gradual index slides,
While Phoebus down the vertic circle glides.
Now, seen on Ocean's utmost verge to swim,
He sweeps it vibrant with his nether limb.
Their sage experience thus explores the height
And polar distance of the source of light:
Then through the chiliads triple maze they trace
Th' analogy that proves the magnet's place.
The wayward steel, to truth thus reconciled,
No more th' attentive pilot's eye beguiled.
The natives, while the ship departs the land,
Ashore with admiration gazing stand.
Majestically slow, before the breeze,
In silent pomp she marches on the seas;
Her milk-white bottom cast a softer gleam,
While trembling through the green translucent
The wales. that close above in contrast shone,
Clasp the long fabric with a jetty zone.
Britannia, riding awful on the prow,
Gazed o'er the vassal wave that roll'd below:
Where'er she moved the vassal waves were seen
To yield obsequious and confess their queen.
Th' imperial trident graced her dexter hand,
Of power to rule the surge, like Moses' wand,
means of ropes, extending from her fore part to one or more of the boats rowing before her.
*Studding-sails are long, narrow sails, which are only used in fine weather and fair winds, on the outside of the larger square sails. Stay-sails are three-cornered sails, which are hoisted up on the stays, when the wind crosses the ship's course either directly or obliquely.
The operation of taking the sun's azimuth, in order to discover the eastern or western variation of the magnetic needle.
The wales, here alluded to, are an assemblage of strong planks which envelope the lower part of the ship's side, wherein they are broader and thicker than the rest, and appear somewhat like a range of hoops, which separates the bottom from the upper works.
There, on the watch, sagacious of his prey,
Th' eternal empire of the main to keep,
And guide her squadrons o'er the trembling deep. With eyes of fire, an English mastiff lay.
Her left, propitious, bore a mystic shield,
Around whose margin rolls the watery field:
There her bold Genius, in his floating car,
O'er the wild billow hurls the storm of war-
And lo! the beast that oft with jealous rage
In bloody combat met from age to age,
Tamed into Union, yoked in Friendship's chain,
Draw his proud chariot round the vanquish'd main.
From the broad margin to the centre grew
Shelves, rocks, and whirlpools, hideous to the
Th' immortal shield from Neptune she received,
When first her head above the waters heaved.
Loose floated o'er her limbs an azure vest;
A figured scutcheon glitter'd on her breast;
There, from one parent soil, for ever young,
The blooming rose and hardy thistle sprung:
Around her head an oaken wreath was seen,
Inwove with laurels of unfading green.
Such was the sculptured prow-from van to rear
Th' artillery frown'd, a black tremendous tier!
Embalm'd with orient gum, above the wave,
The swelling sides a yellow radiance gave.
Or the broad stern a pencil warm and bold,
That never servile rules of art controll'd,
An alegoric tale on high portray'd,
There a young hero, here a royal maid.
Far England's genius in the youth exprest,
Her ancient foe, but now her friend confest,
The warlike nymph with fond regard survey'd :
No more his hostile frown her heart dismay'd.
Ha look, that once shot terror from afar,
Like young Alcides, or the god of war,
Serene as summer's evening skies she saw;
Serene, yet firm; though mild, impressing awe.
Her nervous arm, inured to toils severe,
Brandish'd th' unconquer'd Caledonian spear.
The dreadful falchion of the hills she wore,
Sung to the harp in many a tale of yore,
That oft her rivers dyed with hostile gore.
Blue was her rocky shield; her piercing eye
Flash'd like the meteors of her native sky;
Her crest, high-plumed, was rough with many a scar,
And o'er her helmet gleam'd the northern star.
The warrior youth appear'd of noble frame,
The hardy offspring of some Runic dame:
Loose o'er his shoulders hung the slacken'd bow,
Renown'd in song-the terror of the foe!
The sword, that oft the barbarous north defied,
The scourge of tyrants! glitter'd by his side.
Clad in refulgent arms, in battle won,
The George emblazon'd on his corslet shone.
Fast by his side was seen a golden lyre,
Pregnant with numbers of eternal fire:
Whose strings unlock the witches' midnight spell,
Or waft rapt Fancy through the gulfs of hell-
Struck with contagion, kindling Fancy hears
The songs of heaven, the music of the spheres!
Borne on Newtonian wing, through air she flies,
Where other suns to other systems rise!-
These front the scene conspicuous-over head
Albion's proud oak his filial branches spread ;
While on the sea-beat shore obsequious stood,
Beneath their feet, the father of the flood;
Here, the bold native of her cliffs above,
Perch'd by the martial maid the bird of Jove;
Yonder fair Commerce stretch'd her winged sail;
Here frown'd the god that wakes the living gale-
High o'er the poop, the fluttering wings unfurl'd
Th' imperial flag that rules the watery world.
Deep blushing armours all the tops invest,
And warlike trophies either quarter drest; [high;
Then tower'd the masts; the canvass swell'd on
And waving streamers floated in the sky,
Thus the rich vessel moves in trim array,
Like some fair virgin on her bridal day.
Thus, like a swan she cleaves the watery plain;
The pride and wonder of the Ægean main.
Reflection on leaving the land. The gale continues. water-spout. Beauty of a dying dolphin. The ship's progress along the shore. Wind strengthens. The sails reduced. A shoal of porpoises. Last appear. ance of Cape Spado. Sea rises. A squall. The sails further diminished. Mainsail split. Ship bears away
before the wind. Again hauls upon the wind. Another mainsail fitted to the yard. The gale still increases. Topsails furled. Top-gallant yards sent down. Sea enlarges. Sunset. Courses reefed. Four seaman lost off the lee main yard-arm. Anxiety of the pilots from their dangerous situation. Resolute behaviour of the sailors. The ship labours in great distress. The artillery thrown overboard. Disinal appearance of the weather. Very high and dangerous sea. Severe fatigue of the crew. Consultation and resolution of the officers. Speech and advice of Albert to the crew. Necessary disposition to veer before the wind. Disappointment in the proposed effect. New dispositions equally unsuccessful. The mizen mast
The scene lies in the sea, between Cape Frenchin, in Candia, and the
Island of Falconera, which is nearly twelve leagues northward of
Cape Spado.-The time is from nine in the morning till one o'clock
of the following morning.
ADIEU, ye pleasures of the rural scene,
Where peace and calm contentment dwell serene!
To me, in vain, on earth's prolific soil,
With summer crown'd th' Elysian valleys smile!
To me those happier scenes no joy impart,
But tantalize with hope my aching heart.
For these, alas! reluctant I forego,
To visit storms and elements of wo!
Ye tempests! o'er my head congenial roll,
To suit the mournful music of my soul!
In black progression, lo! they hover near-
Hail, social Horrors! like my fate severe !
Old Ocean, hail! beneath whose azure zone
The secret deep lies unexplored, unknown.
Approach, ye brave companions of the sea,
And fearless view this awful scene with me!
Ye native guardians of your country's laws!
Ye bold assertors of her sacred cause!
The muse invites you, judge if she depart,
Unequal, from the precepts of your art.
In practice train'd, and conscious of her power,
Her steps intrepid meet the trying hour.
O'er the smooth bosom of the faithless tides,
Propell'd by gentle gales, the vessel glides.
Rodmond, exulting, felt th' auspicious wind,
And by a mystic charm its aim confined.-
The thoughts of home, that o'er his fancy roll,
With trembling joy dilate Palemon's soul:
Hope lifts his heart, before whose vivid ray
Distress recedes, and danger melts away.
Already Britain's parent cliffs arise,
And in idea greet his longing eyes!
Each amorous sailor too, with heart elate,
Dwells on the beauties of his gentle mate.
E'en they th' impressive dart of Love can feel,
Whose stubborn souls are sheathed in triple steel.
Nor less o'erjoy'd, perhaps with equal truth,
Each faithful maid expects th' approaching youth.
In distant bosoms equal ardours glow;
And mutual passions mutual joy bestow.-
Tall Ida's summit now more distant grew,
And Jove's high hill was rising on the view;
When, from the left approaching, they descry
A liquid column, towering, shoot on high:
The foaming base an angry whirlwind sweeps,
Where curling billows rouse the fearful deeps:
Still round and round the fluid vortex flies,
Scattering dun night and horror through the skies.
The swift volution and th' enormous train
Let sages versed in Nature's lore explain!
The horrid apparition still draws nigh,
And white with foam the whirling surges fly;
The guns were primed-the vessel northward
Till her black battery on the column bears.
The nitre fired; and while the dreadful sound,
Convulsive, shook the slumbering air around.
The watery volume, trembling to the sky,
Burst down the dreadful deluge from on high;
Th' affrighted surge, recoiling as it fell,
Rolling in hills disclosed th' abyss of hell.
But soon this transient undulation o'er,
The sea subsides, the whirlwinds rage no more.
While southward now th' increasing breezes
Dark clouds incumbent on their wings appear.
In front they view the consecrated grove
Of Cypress, sacred once to Cretan Jove.
The thirsty canvass, all around supplied,
Still drinks unquench'd the full aërial tide;
And now, approaching near the lofty stern,
A shoal of sportive dolphins they discern.
From burnish'd scales they beam'd refulgent rays,
Till all the glowing ocean seems to blaze.
Soon to the sport of death the crew repair,
Dart the long lance, or spread the baited snare.
One in redoubling mazes wheels along,
And glides, unhappy! near the triple prong.
Rodmond, unerring, o'er his head suspends
The barbed steel, and every turn attends.
Unerring aim'd the missile weapon flew,
And, plunging, struck the fated victim through.
Th' upturning points his ponderous bulk sustain ;
On deck he struggles with convulsive pain.
But while his heart the fatal javelin thrills
And flitting life escapes in sanguine rills,
What radiant changes strike th' astonished sight!
What glowing hues of mingled shade and light!
Not equal beauties gild the lucid west,
With parting beams all o'er profusely drest;
Not lovelier colours paint the vernal dawn,
When orient dews impearl th' enamell'd lawn,
Than from his sides in bright suffusion flow,
That now with gold empyreal seem'd to glow;
Now in pellucid sapphires meet the view,
And emulate the soft celestial hue;
Now beam a flaming crimson on the eye;
And now assume the purple's deeper dye.
But here description clouds each shining ray-
What terms of Art can Nature's powers display?
Now, while on high the freshening gale sne feels
The ship beneath her lofty pressure reels.
Th' auxiliar sails that court a gentle breeze,
From their high stations sink by slow degrees.
The watchful ruler of the helm no more
With fix'd attention eyes th' adjacent shore;
But by the oracle of truth below,
The wondrous magnet, guides the wayward prow.—
The wind, that still th' impressive canvass swell'd,
Swift and more swift the yielding bark impell'd.
Impatient thus she glides along the coast,
Till, far behind, the hill of Jove is lost:
And while aloof from Retimo she steers,
Malacha's foreland full in front appears.
Wide o'er yon isthmus stands the cypress grove
That once enclosed the hallow'd fane of Jove.
Here too, memorial of his name! is found
A tomb, in marble ruins on the ground.
This gloomy tyrant, whose triumphant yoke
The trembling states around to slavery broke;
Through Greece, for murder, rape, and incest known,
The muses raised to high Olympus throne.-
For oft, alas! their venal strains adorn
The prince whom blushing Virtue holds in scorn.
Still Rome and Greece record his endless fame,
And hence yon mountain yet retains his name.
But see! in confluence borne before the blast,
Clouds roll'd on clouds the dusky noon o'ercast;
The blackening ocean curls; the winds arise;
And the dark scud* in swift succession flies.
While the swoln canvass bends the masts on high
Low in the wave the leeward cannon lie,†
The sailors now, to give the ship relief,
Reduce the topsails by a single reef.t
Each lofty yard with slacken'd cordage reels,
Rattle the creaking blocks and ringing wheels.
Down the tall masts the topsails sink amain;
And, soon reduced, assume their post again.
More distant grew receding Candia's shore;
And southward of the west Cape Spado bore.
Four hours the sun his high meridian throne
Had left, and o'er Atlantic regions shone :
Still blacker clouds, that all the skies invade,
Draw o'er his sullied orb a dismal shade.
A squall deep lowering blots the southern sky,
Before whose boisterous breath the waters fly.
Its weight the topsails can no more sustain:
'Reef topsails, reef!' the boatswain calls again!
⚫ Scud is a name given by seamen to the lowest clouds, which are driven with great rapidity along the atmosphere, in squally or tempestuous weather.
f When the wind crosses a ship's course, either directly or obliquely, that side of the ship upon which it acts, is called the weather side: and the opposite one, which is then pressed downwards, is called the lee side. Hence all the rigging and furniture of the ship are, at this time, distinguished by the side, on which they are situated; as the lee cannon, the lee braces, the weather braces, &c.
The topsails are large square sails, of the second degree in height and magnitude. Reefs are certain divisions or spaces by which the principal sails are reduced when the wind increases; and again enlarged proportionably, when its force abates.
The haliards and top-bow-linest soon are gone,
To clue-linest and reef-tackles next they run:
The shivering sails descend; and now they square
The yards, while ready sailors mount in air.
The weather-earings and the lee they past;
The reefs enroll'd, and every point made fast.
Their task above thus finish'd, they descend,
And vigilant th' approaching squall attend.
It comes resistless; and with foaming sweep,
Upturns the whitening surface of the deep.
In such a tempest, borne to deeds of death,
The wayward sisters scour the blasted heath.
With ruin pregnant now the clouds impend,
And storm and cataract tumultuous blend.
Deep on her side the reeling vessel lies--
Brail up the mizen,|| quick!" the master cries,
Man the clue-garnets !¶ let the main sheet fly !"**
The boisterous squall still presses from on high,
And swift, and fatal, as the lightning's course,
Through the torn mainsail bursts with thundering
While the rent canvass flutter'd in the wind,
Still on her flank the stooping bark inclined.—
Bear up the helm a-weather!" Rodmond cries;
Swift, at the word, the helm a-weather flies.
The prow, with secret instinct veers apace:
And now the foresail right athwart they brace;
With equal sheets restrain'd, the bellying sail
Spreads a broad concave to the sweeping gole.
While o'er the foam the ship impetuous flies,
Th' attentive timoneert the helm applies.
As in pursuit along the aerial way,
With ardent eye the falcon marks his prey,
Haliards are either single ropes or tackles, by which the sails are boisted up and lowered, when the sail is to be extended or reduced.
↑ Bow-lines are ropes extended to keep the windward edge of the sail steady, and to prevent it from shaking in an unfavourable wind.
: Clue-lines are ropes used to truss up the clues, or lower corners of the principal sails to their respective yards, particularly when the sail is to be close reefed or furled -Reef-tackles are ropes employed to facilitate the operation of reefing, by confining the extremities of the reef close up to the yard, so that the interval becomes slack, and is therefore easily rolled up and fastened to the yard by the points employed for this purpose.
4 Earings are small cords, by which the upper corners of the principal sails, and also the extremities of the reefs, are fastened to the yard-arms.
Each motion watches of the doubtful chase,
Obliquely wheeling through the liquid space;
So, govern'd by the steersman's glowing hands,
The regent helm her motion still commands.
But now the transient squall to leeward past,
Again she rallies to the sullen blast.
The helm to starboard* turns-with wings inclined,
The sidelong canvass clasps the faithless wind,
The mizen draws; she springs aloof once more,
While the fore-staysailt balances before.
The fore-sail braced obliquely to the wind,
They near the prow th' extended tack confined;
Then on the leeward sheet the seamen bend,
And haul the bow-line to the bowsprit end.
To topsails next they haste-the bunt-lines gone,
The clue-lines through their wheel'd machinery run.
On either side below the sheets are mann'd:
Again the fluttering sails their skirts expand,
Once more the topsails, though with humbler plume,
Mounting aloft their ancient post resume.
Again the bow-lines and the yards are braced,t
And all th' entangled cords in order placed.
The sail, by whirlwinds thus so lately rent,
In tatter'd ruins fluttering, is unbent.
With brails refix another soon prepared,
Ascending, spreads along beneath the yard.
To each yard-arm the head rope they extend,
And soon their earings and the roebins bend.
That task perform'd, they first the braces** slack,
Then to its station drag th' unwilling tack;
And, while the lee clue-garnet's lower'd away,
Taught aft the sheet they tally and belay.tt
Now to the north, from Afric's burning shore,
A troop of porpoises their course explore;
In curling wreaths they gambol on the tide,
Now bound aloft, now down the billow glide.
Their tracks awhile the hoary waves retain,
That burn in sparkling trails along the main.
These fleetest coursers of the finny race,
When threat'ning clouds th' etherial vault deface,
Their rout to leeward still sagacious form,
To shun the fury of th' approaching storm.
*The helm being turned to starboard, or to the right side of the ship, lirects the prow to the left, or to port, and rice versa. Hence the helm being put a starboard, when the ship is running northward, directs her prow towards the west.
+ This sail, which is with more propriety called the fore-topmast-stay sail, is a triangular sail, that runs upon the fore-topmast-stay, over the bowsprit. It is used to
The mizen is a large sail of an oblong figure, extended command the fore part of the ship, and counterbalance upon the mizen mast.
Clue garnets are employed for the same purposes on the mainsail and foresail, as the clue-lines are upon all other square sails. See note ‡, above.
**It is necessary in this place to remark that the sheets, which are universally mistaken by the English poets and their readers for the sails themselves, are no other than the ropes used to extend the clues or lower corners of the sails to which they are attached. To the mainsail and foresail there is a sheet and a tack on each side; the latter of which is a thick rope, serving to confine the weather clue of the sail down to the ship's side, whilst the former draws out of the lee-clue or lower corner on the opposite side. Tacks are only used in a side wind.
The helm is said to be a-weather, when the bar by which it is managed is turned to the side of the ship next the wind.
the sails extended towards the stern. See also the last | note of this Canto.
* A yard is said to be braced when it is turned about the mast horizontally, either to the right or left; the ropes employed in this service are accordingly called braces. ~ 5 The ropes used to truss up a sail to the yard or mast whereto it is attached are, in a general sense, called brails. The head-rope is a cord to which the upper part of the sail is sewed.
Rope-bands, pronounced roebins, are small cords used to fasten the upper edge of any sail to its respective yard.
**Because the lee-brace confines the yard so that the tack will not come down to its place till the braces are cast loose.
tt Taught implies stiff, tense, or extended straight; and tally is a phrase particularly applied to the operation of #Timoneer, (from timonnier, Fr.) the helmsman or hauling aft the sheets, or drawing them towards the ship'■
stern. To belay is to fasten.
Fair Candia now no more beneath her lee Protects the vessel from th' insulting sea: Round her broad arms, impatient of control, Roused from their secret deeps, the billows roll. Sunk were the bulwarks of the friendly shore, And all the scene an hostile aspect wore. The flattering wind, that late, with promisel aid, From Candia's bay th' unwilling ship betray'd, No longer fawns beneath the fair disguise, But like a ruffian on his quarry flies.Tost on the tide she feels the tempest blow, And dreads the vengeance of so fell a foe. As the proud horse, with costly trappings gay, Exulting, prances to the bloody fray, Spurning the ground, he glories in his might, But reels tumultuous in the shock of fight: Even so caparison'd in gaudy pride, The bounding vessel dances on the tideFierce, and more fierce the southern demon blew, And more incensed the roaring waters grew: The ship no longer can her topsails spread, And every hope of fairer skies is fled. Bow-lines and haliards are relax'd again, Clue-lines haul'd down, and sheets let fly amain; Clued up each top-sail, and by braces squared, The seamen climb aloft on either yard; They furl'd the sail, and pointed to the wind The yard, by rolling tackles* then confined. While o'er the ship the gallant boatswain flies: Like a hoarse mastiff through the storm he cries : Prompt to direct th' unskilful still appears; Th' expert he praises, and the fearful cheers. Now some to strike top-gallant yards attend ;† Some travellerst up the weather-backstays send; At each mast-head the top-ropes]] others bend. The youngest sailors from the yards above Their parrels, lifts,** and braces soon remove : Then topt an-end, and to travellers tied, [slide, Charged with their sails, they down the backstays The yards secure along the boomstt reclined, While some the flying cords aloft confined.—
The rolling tackle is an assemblage of pulleys, used to confine the yard to the weather-side of the mast, and prevent the former from rubbing against the latter by the fluctuating motion of the ship in a turbulent sea.
† It is usual to send down the top-gallant yards on the approach of a storm. They are the highest yards that are rigged in a ship.
Travellers are slender iron rings, encircling the backstays, and used to facilitate the hoisting or lowering of the top-gallant yards, by confining them to the back. stays, in their ascent or descent, so as to prevent them from swinging about by the agitation of the vessel.
§ Backstays are long ropes extending from the right and left side of the ship to the top-mast heads, which they are intended to secure, by counteracting the effort of the wind upon the sails.
I Top-ropes are the cords by which the top-gallant yards are hoisted up from the deck, or lowered again in stormy weather.
The parrel, which is usually a movable band of rope, is employed to confine the yard to its respective mast.
** Lifts are ropes extending from the head of any mast to the extremities of its particular yard, to support the weight of the latter; to retain it in balance; or to raise one yard-arm higher than the other, which is accordingly called topping.
ff The booms, in this place, imply any masts or yards lying on deck in reserve, to supply the place of others which may be carried away by distress of weather, &c.
Their sails reduced, and all the rigging clear,
A while the crew relax from toils severe.
A while their spirits, with fatigue opprest,
In vain expect th' alternate hour of rest:
But with redoubling force the tempests blow
And watery hills in fell succession flow;
A dismal shade o'ercasts the frowning skies;
New troubles grow; new difficulties rise.
No season this from duty to descend!—
All hands on deck th' eventful hour attend.
His race perform'd, the sacred lamp of day
Now dipt in western clouds his parting ray,
His sick'ning fires, half-lost in ambient haze,
Refract along the dusk a crimson blaze;
Till deep immerged the languid orb declines,
And now to cheerless night the sky resigns!
Sad evening's hour, how different from the past
No flaming pomp, no blushing glories cast;
No ray of friendly light is seen around :
The moon and stars in hopeless shade are
The ship no longer can her courses* bear :
To reef the courses is the master's care:
The sailors, summon'd aft, a daring band!
Attend th' enfolding brails at his command.
But here the doubtful officers dispute,
"Till skill and judgment prejudice confute.
Rodmond, whose genius never soar'd beyond
The narrow rules of art his youth had conn'd,
Still to the hostile fury of the wind
Released the sheet, and kept the tack confined;
To long-tried practice obstinately warm,
He doubts conviction, and relies on form.
But the sage master this advice declines;
With whom Arion in opinion joins.-
The watchful seaman, whose sagacious eye
On sure experience may with truth rely,
Who from the reigning cause foretells th' effect,
This barbarous practice ever will reject.
For, fluttering loose in air, the rigid sail
Soon flits to ruins in the furious gale!
And he who strives the tempest to disarm,
Will never first embrail the lee-yard arm.
The master said ;-obedient to command,
To raise the tack, the ready sailors standt-
Gradual it loosens, while th' involving clue,
Swell'd by the wind, aloft unruffling flew.
The sheet and weather-brace they now stand
The lee clue-garnet and the bunt-lines ply.
Thus all prepared, Let go the sheet! he cries;
Impetuous round the ringing wheels it flies:
Shivering at first, till by the blast impell'd,
High o'er the lee-yard arm the canvass swell'd:
The courses are generally understood to be the main sail, foresail, and mizen, which are the largest and lowest sails of their several masts; the term is, however, sometimes taken in a larger sense.
It has been remarked before in note **, p. 19, col. 1, that the tack is always fastened to windward; accordingly, as soon as it is cast loose, and the clue-garnet hauled up, the weather clue of the sail immediately mounts to the yard; and this operation must be carefully performed in a storm, to prevent the sail from splitting or being torn to pieces by shivering.
It is necessary to pull in the weather-brace when. ever the sheet is cast off, to preserve the sail from shak ing violently.