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A fiery legion at thy birth,
Of chastening woes were given,
To pluck the flowers of hope from earth,
And plant them high
O'er yonder sky,
and fix'd in heaven."
WRITTEN AT SCARBOROUGH, IN THE SUMMER OF 1805.
ALL hail to the ruins,* the rocks and the shores !
Thou wide-rolling OCEAN, all hail!
Now brilliant with sunbeams, and dimpled with oars,
While soft o'er thy bosom the cloud-shadows sail,
Like meteors bespangle the sky,
Or dive in the gulf, or triumphantly ride
Like foam on the surges, the swans of the tide.
From the tumult and smoke of the city set free,
From the crest of the mountain I gaze upon
and am changed at the sight;
For mine eye is illumined, my Genius takes flight,
My soul, like the sun, with a glance
Embraces the boundless expanse,
And moves on thy waters, wherever they roll,
From the day-darting zone to the night-shadow'd
My spirit descends where the day-spring is born,
And the breezes that rock the light cradle of morn
O regions of beauty, of love, and desire!
O gardens of Eden! in vain
Placed far on the fathomless main,
Where Nature with Innocence dwelt in her youth,
But now the fair rivers of Paradise wind
For wide and more wide, o'er the sun-beaming zone, He stretches his hundred-fold arms,
Despoiling, destroying its charms;
Beneath his broad footstep the Ganges is dry,
And the mountains recoil from the flash of his eye.
Thus the pestilent Upas, the Demon of trees,
Its boughs o'er the wilderness spreads,
And with livid contagion polluting the breeze,
Its mildewing influence sheds:
The birds on the wing, and the flowers in their beds,
Are slain by its venomous breath,
That darkens the noonday with death;
And pale ghosts of travellers wander around,
While their mouldering skeletons whiten the ground.
Ah! why hath JEHOVAH, in forming the world,
His ramparts of rocks round the continent hurl'd,
If man may transgress his eternal command,
And violate nations and realms that should be
There are, gloomy OCEAN! a brotherless clan,
poor disinherited outcasts of man,
Whom Avarice coins into slaves:
From the homes of their kindred, their forefathers'
Love, friendship, and conjugal bliss,
They are dragg'd on the hoary abyss;
The shark hears their shrieks, and, ascending to day, Demands of the spoiler his share of the prey.
Then joy to the tempest that whelms them beneath, And makes their destruction its sport!
But woe to the winds that propitiously breathe,
And waft them in safety to port,
Where the vultures and vampires of Mammon resort;
Where Europe exultingly drains
The life-blood from Africa's veins;
Where man rules o'er man with a merciless rod,
And spurns at his footstool the image of God!
The hour is approaching, - a terrible hour!
Already the clouds of the hurricane lour,
The slave-cultured lands to the deep;
In a moment entomb'd in the horrible void,
Shall this be the fate of the cane-planted isles,
When the sun o'er the ocean descending in smiles
- No! - Father of mercy! befriend the opprest; At the voice of thy Gospel of peace
May the sorrows of Africa cease;
And the slave and his master devoutly unite
To walk in thy freedom, and dwell in thy light! *
As homeward my weary-wing'd Fancy extends
Ah me! what new prospects, new horrors arise!
All foaming, and panting with blood;
The panic-struck OCEAN in agony roars,
Rebounds from the battle, and flies to his shores,
Alluding to the glorious success of the Moravian missionaries among the negroes in the West Indies.