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More brave than firm, and more disposed to dare
And die at once than wrestle with despair,
Exclaim'd "God damn!" Those syllables intense,
Nucleus of England's native eloquence,
As the Turk's "Allah!" or the Roman's more
Pagan "Proh Jupiter!" was wont of yore
To give their first impressions such a vent,
By way of echo to embarrassment.
Jack was embarrass'd,-never hero more,
And as he knew not what to say, he swore;
Nor swore in vain: the long congenial sound
Revived Ben Bunting from his pipe profound;
He drew it from his mouth, and look'd full wise,
But merely added to the oath his eyes;
Thus rendering the imperfect phrase complete-
A peroration I need not repeat.
But Christian, of a higher order, stood
Like an extinct volcano in his mood;
Silent, and sad, and savage,—with the trace
Of passion reeking from his clouded face;
Till lifting up again his sombre
It glanced on Torquil who lean'd faintly by.
"And is it thus ?" he cried, "unhappy boy!
And thee, too, thee-my madness must destroy."
He said, and strode to where young Torquil stood,
Yet dabbled with his lately-flowing blood;
Seized his hand wistfully, but did not press,
And shrunk as fearful of his own caress;
Enquired into his state; and when he heard
The wound was slighter than he deem'd or fear'd,
A moment's brightness pass'd along his brow,
As much as such a moment would allow.'
"Yes," he exclaim'd, "we are taken in the toil,
But not a coward or a common spoil;
Dearly they have bought us-dearly still may buy,-
And I must fall; but have you strength to fly?
'T would be some comfort still, could you survive;
Our dwindled band is now too few to strive.
Oh! for a sole canoe! though but a shell,
To bear you hence to where a hope may dwell!
For me, my lot is what I sought'; to be,
In life or death, the fearless and the free."
Even as he spoke, around the promontory,
Which nodded o'er the billows high and hoary,
A dark speck dotted ocean: on it flew,
Like to the shadow of a roused sea-mew:
Onward it came-and, lo! a second follow'd-
Now seen-now hid-where ocean's vale was hollow'd;
and nearer, till their dusky crew
Presented well-known aspects to the view,
Till on the surf their skimming paddles play,
Buoyant as wings, and flitting through the spray;
Now perching on the wave's high curl, and now
Dash'd downward in the thundering foam below,
Which flings it broad and boiling, sheet on sheet,
And slings its high flakes, shiver'd into sleet :
But floating still through surf and swell, drew nigh
The barks, like small birds through a louring sky.
Their art seem'd nature-such the skill to sweep
The wave, of these born playmates of the deep.
And who the first that, springing on the strand,
Leap'd like a Nereid from her shell to land,
With dark but brilliant skin, and dewy eye
Shining with love, and hope, and constancy?
Neuha, the fond, the faithful, the adored,
Her heart on Torquil's like a torrent pour'd;
And smiled, and wept, and near and nearer clasp'd,
As if to be assured 't was him she grasp'd;
Shudder'd to see his yet warm wound, and then,
To find it trivial, smiled and wept again.
She was a warrior's daughter, and could bear
Such sights, and feel, and mourn, but not despair.
Her lover lived,- -nor foes nor fears could blight
That full-blown moment in its all delight:
Joy trickled in her tears, joy fill'd the sob
That rock'd her heart till almost HEARD to throb;
And paradise was breathing in the sigh
Of nature's child in nature's ecstacy.
The sterner spirits who beheld that meeting
Were not unmoved; who are, when hearts are greeting?
Even Christian gazed upon the maid and boy
With tearless eye, but yet a gloomy joy
Mix'd with those bitter thoughts the soul arrays
In hopeless visions of our better days,
When all 's gone-to the rainbow's latest ray.
"And but for me!" he said, and turn'd away;
Then gazed upon the pair, as in his den
A lion looks upon his cubs again;
And then relapsed into his sullen guise,
As heedless of his further destinies.
But brief their time for good or evil thought;
The billows round the promontory brought
The plash of hostile oars—
That sound a dread? All round them seem'd array'd
Against them, save the bride of Toobonai :
She, as she caught the first glimpse, o'er the bay,
Of the arm'd boats which hurried to complete
The remnant's ruin with their flying feet,
Beckon'd the natives round her to their prows,
Embark'd their guests, and launch'd their light canoes
In one placed Christian and his comrades twain;
But she and Torquil must not part again.
She fix'd him in her own- -Away! away!
They clear the breakers, dart along the bay,
And towards a group of islets, such as bear
The sea-bird's nest and seal's surf-hollow'd lair,
They skim the blue tops of the billows; fast
They flew, and fast their fierce pursuers chased.
They gain upon them—now they lose again,-
Again make way and menace o'er the main
And now the two canoes in chase divide,
And follow different courses o'er the tide,
To baffle the pursuit-Away! away!
As life is on each paddle's flight to-day,
And more than life or lives to Neuha: love
Freights the frail bark and urges to the cove—
And now the refuge and the foe are nigh—
Yet, yet a moment!-Fly, thou light ark, fly!
WHITE as a white sail on a dusky sea,
When half the horizon 's clouded and half free,
Fluttering between the dun wave and the sky,
Is hope's last gleam in man's extremity.
Her anchor parts; but still her snowy sail
Attracts our eye amidst the rudest gale:
Though every wave she climbs divides us more,
The heart still follows from the loneliest shore.
Not distant from the isle of Toobonai,
A black rock rears its bosom o'er the spray,
The haunt of birds, a desert to mankind,
Where the rough seal reposes from the wind,
And sleeps unwieldy in his cavern dun,
Or gambols with huge frolic in the sun;
There shrilly to the passing oar is heard
The startled echo of the ocean bird,
Who rears on its bare breast her callow brood,
The feather'd fishers of the solitude.
A narrow segment of the yellow sand
On one side forms the outline of a strand :
Here the young turtle, crawling from his shell,
Steals to the deep wherein his parents dwell;
Chipp'd by the beam, a nursling of the day,
But hatch'd for ocean by the fostering ray.
The rest was one bleak precipice, as e'er
Gave mariners a shelter and despair,
A spot to make the saved regret the deck
Which late went down, and envy the lost wreck.
Such was the stern asylum Neuha chose
To shield her lover from his following foes ;
But all its secret was not told; she knew
In this a treasure hidden from the view.
Ere the canoes divided, near the spot,
The men that mann'd what held her Torquil's lot,
By her command removed, to strengthen more
The skiff which wafted Christian from the shore.
This he would have opposed: but with a smile
She pointed calmly to the craggy isle,
And bade him “speed and prosper." She would take
The rest upon herself for Torquil's sake.
They parted with this added aid; afar
The proa darted like a shooting star,
And gain'd on the pursuers, who now steer'd
Right on the rock which she and Torquil near❜d.
They pull'd; her arm, though delicate, was free
And firm as ever grappled with the sea,
And yielded scarce to Torquil's manlier strength.
The prow now almost lay within its length
Of the crag's steep, inexorable face,
With nought but soundless waters for its base;
Within an hundred boats' length was the foe,
And now what refuge but their frail canoe?
This Torquil ask'd with half-upbraiding eye,
Which said " Has Neuha brought me here to die?
Is this a place of safety, or a grave,
And yon huge rock the tombstone of the wave?"
They rested on their paddles, and uprose
Neuha, and, pointing to the approaching foes,
Cried, "Torquil, follow me, and fearless follow!"
Then plunged at once into the ocean's hollow.
There was no time to pause—the foes were near-
Chains in his eye and menace in his ear :
With vigour they pull'd on, and as they came,
Hail'd him to yield, and by his forfeit name.
Headlong he leap'd-to him the swimmer's skill
Was native, and now all his hope from ill;
But how or where? He dived, and rose no more;
The boat's crew look'd amazed o'er sea and shore.
There was no landing on that precipice,
Steep, harsh, and slippery as a berg of ice.
They watch'd awhile to see him float again,
But not a trace rebubbled from the main :
The wave roll'd on, no ripple on its face,
Since their first plunge, recall'd a single trace;
The little whirl which eddied, and slight foam,
That whiten'd o'er what seem'd their latest home,
White as a sepulchre above the pair,
Who left no marble (mournful as an heir),
The quiet proa, wavering o'er the tide,
Was all that told of Torquil and his bride;
And but for this alone the whole might seem
The vanish'd plantom of a seaman's dream.
They paused and search'd in vain, then pull'd away,
Even superstition now forbade their stay.
Some said he had not plunged into the wave,
But vanish'd like a corpse-light from a grave;
Others, that something supernatural
Glared in his figure, more than mortal tall;
While all agreed, that in his cheek and eye
There was the dead hue of eternity.
Still as their oars receded from the crag,
Round every weed a moment would they lag,
Expectant of some token of their prey;
But no-he'd melted from them like the