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Thus warn'd, Britannia's anxious heart
So views the mother through her tears,
On the frail cheek, where sweetly bloom The roses of an early tomb.
No fears the brave adventurers knew,
In battle-hurricanes to wield
His lightnings on the billowy field;
But not to crush the vaunting foe,
In combat on the main,
Nor perish by a glorious blow,
In mortal triumph slain,
Was their unutterable fate;
That story would the Muse relate,
The song might rise in vain;
In ocean's deepest, darkest bed,
The secret slumbers with the dead.
On India's long-expecting strand
By storms their keel was hurl'd;
This sole memorial of their lot
Remains, they were, and they are not.
The spirit of the Cape* pursued
At length, in ocean-solitude,
He sprang upon his prey;
Like shooting stars, athwart the gloom
They mark'd the high mast-head
Of that devoted vessel, tost
By winds and floods, now seen, now lost;
The Cape of Good Hope, formerly called the Cape of Storms. See Camoens' Lusiad, book v.
A dimmer flash, a fainter roar ;
At length they saw, they heard no more.
There are to whom that ship was dear,
But never cease to ache;
Still doom'd, in sad suspense, to bear
The Hope that keeps alive Despair.
He sought his sire from shore to shore, He sought him day by day;
The prow he track'd was seen no more,
Yet, as the winds his voyage sped,
Deep, deep beneath the rolling main ;
Son of the brave! no longer weep;
Still with affection true,
Thy father's course pursue;
His compass guides thee through;
TO THE MEMORY OF
A FEMALE WHOM SICKNESS HAD RECONCILED TO THE NOTES OF SORROW,"
Who corresponded with the Author under this signature, on the first publication of his Poems, in 1806, but died soon after; when her real name and merits were disclosed to him by one of her surviving friends.
My Song of Sorrow reach'd her ear;
What is the Poet's highest aim,
- To track the warrior's fiery road,
With fawning hand to woo the lyre,