« AnteriorContinuar »
While in the west, with hideous yawn disclosed, With mournful look the seamen eyed the strand, His onward path Charybdis' gulf opposed.
Where Death's inexorable jaws expand : The double danger as by turns he view'd, Swift from their minds elapsed all dangers past, His wheeling bark her arduous track pursued. As, dumb with terror they beheld the last. Thus while to right and left destruction lies, Now, on the trembling shrouds, before, behind, Between the extremes the daring vessel flies. In mute suspense they mount into the wind.“ With boundless involution, bursting o'er
The genius of the deep, on rapid wing, The marble cliffs, loud dashing surges roar ; The black eventful moment seem'd to bring ; Hoarse through each winding creek the tempest The fatal sisters on the surge before, raves,
Yoked their infernal horses to the prore.And hollow rocks repeat the groan of waves ; The steersmen now received their last command, Destruction round th' insatiate coast prepares, To wheel the vessel sidelong to the strand. To crush the trembling ship, unnumber'd snares. Twelve sailors, on the foremast who depend, But haply now she 'scapes the fatal strand, High on the platform of the top ascend ; Though scarce ten fathoms distant from the land; Fatal retreat! for while the plunging prow Swift as the weapon issuing from the bow, Immerges headlong in the wave below, She cleaves the burning waters with her prow; Down-prest by watery weight the bowsprit bends And forward leaping, with tumultuous haste, And from above the stem deep-crushing rends. As on the tempest's wing the isle she past. Beneath her beak the floating ruins lie; With longing eyes and agony of mind,
The foremast totters, unsustain'd on high : The sailors view this refuge left behind;
And now the ship, fore-lifted by the sea, Happy to bribe, with India's richest ore,
Hurls the tall fabric backward o'er the lee; A safe accession to that barren shore !
While, in the general wreck, the faithful stay When in the dark Peruvian mine confined, Drags the main topmast from its post away. Lost to the cheerful commerce of mankind, Flung from the mast, the seamen strive in vain The groaning captive wastes his life away, Through hostile floods their vessels to regain; For ever exiled from the realms of day;
The waves they buffet, till bereft of strength, No equal pangs his bosom agonize,
O'erpower'd they yield to cruel fate at length. When far above the sacred light he eyes,
The hostile waters close around their head, While, all forlorn, the victim pines in vain, They sink, for ever, number'd with the dead ! For scenes he never shall possess again.
Those who remain, their fearful doom await, But now Athenian mountains they descry, Nor longer mourn their lost companions' fate; And o'er the surge Colonna frowns on high: The heart, that bleeds with sorrows all its own, Beside the cape's projecting verge are placed Forgets the pangs of friendship to bemoan. A range of columns, long by time defaced ; Albert and Rodmond, and Palemon here, First planted by devotion to sustain,
With young Arion, on the mast appear; In elder times, Tritonia's sacred fane.
E'en they, amid th' unspeakable distress, Foams the wild beach below, with maddening In every look distracting thoughts confess; rage,
In every vein the refluent blood congeals ; Where waves and rocks a dreadful combat wage. And every bosom fatul terror feels. The sickly heaven, fermenting with its freight, Enclosed with all the demons of the main, Still vomits o'er the main the feverish weight: They view'd th' adjacent shore, but view'd in And now, while wing'd with ruin from on high,
vain. Through the rent cloud the ragged lightnings fly, Such torments in the drear abodes of hell, A flash, quick glancing on the nerves of light, Where sad despair laments with rueful yell, Struck the pale helmsman with eternal night: Such torments agonize the damned breast, Rodmond, who heard the piteous groan behind, While Fancy views the mansions of the blest. Touch'd with compassion gazed upon the blind : For Heaven's sweet help, their suppliant cries And, while around his sad companions crowd,
implore ; He guides the unhappy victim to the shroud. But Heaven relentless deigns to help no more! * Hie thee aloft, my gallant friend !” he cries ; And now, lash'd on by destiny severe, " Thy only succour on the mast relies!" — With horror fraught, the dreadful scene drew near The helm, bereft of half its vital force,
The ship hangs hovering on the verge of death, Now scaree subdued the wild unbridled course: Hell yawns, rocks rise, and breakers roar beneath Quick to th' abandon'd wheel Arion came, In vain, alas! the sacred shades of yore The ship's tempestuous sallies to reclaim. Would arm the mind with philosophic lore; Amazed he saw her, o'er the sounding foam In vain they'd teach us, at the latest breath, Upborne, to right and left distracted roam. To smile serene amid the pangs of death. So gazed young Phaeton, with pale dismay, E'en Zeno's self, and Epictetus old, When, mounted in the flaming car of day, This fell abyss had shudder'd to behold. With rash and impious hand the stripling tried Had Socrates, for godlike virtue famed, The immortal coursers of the sun to guide. And wisest of the sons of men proclaim'd, The vessel, while the dread event draws nigh, Beheld this scene of frenzy and distress, Seems more impatient o'er the waves to fly;
His soul had trembled to its last recess! Fate spurs her on-thus issuing from afar, O yet confirm my heart, ye Powers above, Advances to the sun some blazing star;
This last tremendous shock of Fate to provo; And, as it feels th' attraction's kindling force, The tottering frame of Reason yet sustain! Springs onward with accelerated course.
Nor let this total ruin whirl my brain!
In vain the cords and axes were prepared, His lovely daughter left without a friend, For now th' audacious seas insult the yard ; ller innocence 10 succour and defend ; High o'er the ship they throw a horrid shade, By youth and indigence set forth a prey And o'er her burst in terrible cascade.
To lawless guilt, that flaulers 10 betray:Uplified on the surge, to heaven she flies,
While these reflections rack his feeling mind, Her shatter'd top half-buried in the skies,
Rodmond, who hung beside, his grasp resign'd; Then headlong plunging thunders on the ground, And, as the curbling waters o'er him rolld, Earth groans! air trembles ! and the deeps resound. His outstretch'd arms the master's legs enfoldJler giant bulk the dread concussion feels,
Sad Albert feels the dissolution near, And quivering with the wound, in torment reels : And strives in vain his fetter'd limbs to clear; So reels, convulsed with agonizing throes, For Death bids every clenching joint adhere. The bleeding bull beneath the murderer's blows. All faint, to heaven he throws his dying eyes. Again she plunges : hark! a second shock
And “O protect my wife and child !" he cries : Tears her strong bottom on the marble rock: The gushing stream rolls back th' unfinish'd Down on the vale of Death, with dismal cries,
sound! The fated victims shuddering roll their eyes, He gasps ! he dies! and tumbles to the ground! In wild despair ; while yet another stroke,
Five only left of all the perish'd throng, With deep convulsion, rends the solid oak; Yet ride the pine which shoreward drives along; Till like the mine, in whose infernal cell
With these Arion still his hold secures, The lurking demons of destruction dwell,
And all th' assaults of hostile waves endures. At length asunder torn, her frame divides : O'er the dire prospect as for life he strives, And crashing spreads in ruin o'er the tides. He looks if poor Palemon yet survives.
O were it mine with tuneful Maro's art “Ah, wherefore, trusting to unequal art, To wake to sympathy the feeling heart,
Didst thou incautious! from the wreck depart? Like him the smooth and mournful verse to dress Alas! these rocks all human skill defy, In all the pomp of exquisite distress !
Who strikes them once beyond relief must die ; Then too severely taught by cruel Fate,
And, now, sore wounded, thou perhaps art tost To share in all the perils I relate,
On these, or in some oozy cavern lost!". Then might I, with unrivall’d strains, deplore Thus thought Arion, anxious gazing round, Th’impervious horrors of a leeward shore. In vain, his eyes no more Palemon found.
As o'er the surge, the stooping mainmast hung, The demons of destruction hover nigh, Still on the rigging thirty seamen clung;
And thick their mortal shafts commission d fly : Some, struggling, on a broken erag were cast, And now a breaking surge, with forceful sway, And there by oozy tangles grappled fast :
Two next Arion furious tears away; Awile they bore th' o'erwhelming billow's rage, Hurld on the crags, behold, they gasp! they Unequal combat with their fate to wage;
bleed! Till all benumb'd and feeble they forego
And groaning, cling upon th' illusive weed ;Their slippery hold, and sink to shades below. Another billow burst in boundless roar! Some, from the main-yardarm impetuous thrown, Arion sinks! and Memory views no more ! On marble ridges die without a groan.
Ah, total night and horror here preside! Three, with Palemon, on their skill depend, My stunn'd ear tingles to the whizzing tide! And from the wreck on oars and rasts descend. It is the funeral knell; and gliding near, Now on the mountain-wave on high they ride, Methinks the phantoms of the dead appear! Then downward plunge beneath th' involving tide; But lo! emerging from the watery grave, Till one, who seems in agony to strive,
Again they float incumbent on the wave! The whirling breakers heave on shore alive : Again the dismal prospect opens round, The rest a speedier end of anguish knew, The wreck, the shores, the dying, and the drown'd. And prest the stony beach a lifeless crew.
And see! enfeebled by repeated shocks, Next, o unhappy chief! th' eternal doom Those two who scramble on th' adjacent rocks, Of Heaven decreed thee to the briny tomb! Their faithless hold no longer can retain, What scenes of misery torment thy view! They sink o'erwhelm'd, and never rise again! What painful struggles of thy dying crew!
Two, with Arion, yet the mast upbore, Thy perish'd hopes all buried in the flood, That now above the ridges reach'd the shore : O'erspread with corses! red with human blood! Still trembling to descend, they downward gaze So, pierced with anguish, hoary Priam gazed, With horror pale, and torpid with amaze : When Troy's imperial domes in ruin blazed ; The floods recoil! the ground appears below! While he, severest sorrow doom'd to feel,
And life's faint embers now rekindling glow; Expired beneath the victor's murdering steel. A while they wait th' exhausted waves' retreat, Thus with his helpless partners to the last, Then climb slow up the beach with hands and Sad refuge! Albert hugs the floating mast;
feet. His soul could yet sustain this mortal blow, O Heaven! deliver'd by whose sovereign hand, But droops, alas ! beneath superior wo!
Still on the brink of hell they shuddering stand, For now soft nature's sympathetic chain
Receive the languid incense they bestow, Tugs at his yearning heart with powerful strain ; That damp with death appears not yet to glow. His faithful wife for ever doom'd to mourn To Thee each soul the warm oblation pays, For him, alas! who never shall return;
With trembling ardour of unequal praise. To black Adversity's approach exposed,
In every heart dismay with wonder strives, With want and hardships unforeseen enclosed : And hope the sicken'd spark of life revives ;
Her magic powers their exiled health restore, With force severe endeavours to control
The noblest passions that inspire the soul.
But, O thou sacred Power! whose law connects And oft these perils of the deep descry,
Th' eternal chain of causes and effects, Roused by the blustering tempest of the night, Let not thy chastening ministers of rage Anxious had climb'd Colonna's neighbouring Affict with sharp remorse his feeble age! height;
And you, Arion! who with these the last When gazing downward on th' adjacent flood, Of all our crew survive the shipwreck pastFull to their view the scene of ruin stood,
Ah! cease to mourn! those friendly tears restrain; The surf with mangled bodies strew'd around, Nor give my dying moments keener pain! And those yet breathing on the sea-wash'd ground! Since Heaven may soon thy wandering steps reThough lost to science and the nobler arts,
store, Yet Nature's lore inform'd their feeling hearts ; When parted, hence, to England's distant shore, Straight down the vale with hastening steps they Shouldst thou th’unwilling messenger of Fate hied,
To him the tragic story first relate, Th' unhappy sufferers to assist and guide. O! friendship's generous ardour then suppress,
Meanwhile those three escaped beneath explore Nor hint the fatal cause of my distress ; The first adventurous youth who reach'd the shore; Nor let each horrid incident sustain Panting. with eyes averted from the day, The lengthen'd tale to aggravate his pain. Prone, helpless on the tangled beach he lay- Ah! then remember well my last request, It is Palemon ;-0 what tumults roll
For her who reigns for ever in my breast; With hope and terror in Arion's soul!
Yet let him prove a father and a friend, If yet unhurt he lives again to view
The helpless maid to succour and defend. His friend, and this sole remnant of our crew! Say, I this suit implored with parting breath, With us to travel through this foreign zone, So Heaven befriend him at his hour of death! And share the future good or ill-unknown! Bit O, to lovely Anna shouldst thou tell Arion thus : but ah! sad doom of Fate!
What dire untimely end thy friend befell, That bleeding Memory sorrows to relate : Draw o'er the dismal scene soft Pity's veil ; While yet afloat, on some resisting rock
And lightly touch the lamentable tale : His ribs were dash'd, and fractured with the shock : Say that my love, inviolably true, Heart-piercing sight! those cheeks, so late array'd No change, no diminution ever knew"; In beauty's bloom, are pale, with mortal shade! Lo! her bright image pendant on my neck, Distilling blood his lovely breast o'erspread, Is all Palemon rescued from the wreck: And clogg'd the golden tresses of his head : Take it, and say, when panting in the wave, Nor yet the lungs by this pernicious stroke I struggled life and this alone to save! Were wounded, or the vocal organs broke.
“ My soul, that fluttering hastens to be free, Down from his neck, with blazing gems array'd, Would yet a train of thoughts impart to thee; Thy image, lovely Anna, hung portray'd; But strives in vain ;-the chilling ice of Death Th' unconscious fignre smiling all serene, Congeals my blood, and choaks the streain of Snspended in a golden chain was seen.
breath : Hadst thou, soft maiden; in this hour of wo, Resign’d, she quits her comfortless abode, Beheld him writhing from the deadly blow, To course that long, unknown, eternal road.What force of art, what language could express O sacred source of ever-living light! Thine agony? thine exquisite distress?
Conduct the weary wanderer in her flight! But thou, alas! art doom'd to weep in vain Direct her onward to that peaceful shore, For him thine eyes shall never see again! Where peril, pain, and death are felt no more ! With dumb amazement pale, Arion gazed,
“When thou some tale of hapless love shalt And cautiously the wounded youth upraised.
hear, Palemon then, with cruel pangs oppress'd, That steals from Pity's eye the melting tear, In faltering accents thus his friend address'd : of two chaste hearts by mutual passion join'd
"O rescued from destruction late so nigh, To absence, sorrow, and despair consign'd,
That heal th' afflicted bosom they o'erflow,
The swains lament and maidens weep around ; Palemon dies, and this his final hour :
While lisping children, touch'd with infant fear, By those fell breakers, where in vain I strove, With wonder gaze, and drop th' unconscious tear; At once cut off from fortune, life, and love! O! then this moral bid their souls retain, Far other scenes must soon present my sight, | All thoughts of happiness on earth are vain."* That lie deep buried yet in tenfold night.
The last faint accents trembled on his tongue, Ah! wretched father of a wretched son,
That now inactive to the palate clung;
sed scilicet ultima semper
Expectanda dies homini; “dicique beatus
Ante obitum nemo supremaque funera debet.” That deaf to Nature's voice and vainly wise,
His bosom heaves a mortal groan-he dies!
As thus delaced in death Palemon lay,
“O ill-starr'd votary, of unspotted truth! Untimely perish'd in the bloom of youth, Should e'er thy friend arrive on Albion's land, He will obey, though painful, thy demand : His tongue the dreadful story shall display, And all the horrors of this dismal day! Disastrous day! what ruin has thou bred! What anguish to the living and the dead ! How hast thou left the widow all forlorn, And ever doom'd the orphan child to mourn;
Through life's sad journey hopeless to complain!
Now had the Grecians on the beach arrived
This gifted authoress, the daughter of Dr. John and Propriety of Public or Social Worship; and Aikin, was born at Kilworth Harcourt, in Leices. Sins of Government, Sins of the Nation, or a Distershire, on the 20th of June, 1743. Her education course for the Fast, which last appeared in 1793. was entirely domestic, but the quickness of appre. In 1802, she removed, with Mr. Barbauld, to hension, and desire for learning which she mani. Stoke Newington; and in 1804, published selecfested, induced her father to lend her his assist. tions from the Spectator, Tatler, Guardian, and ance towards enabling her to obtain a knowledge Freeholder, with a preliminary essay, which is of Latin and Greek. On the removal of Dr. Aikin regarded as her most successful effort in literary to superintend the dissenting academy at Warring. criticism. In the same year, appeared her edition ton, in Lancashire, she accompanied him thither, of The Correspondence of Richardson, in six voin her fifteenth year, when she is said to have lumes, duodecimo; but the most valuable part of possessed great beauty of person and vivacity of this work is the very elegant and interesting life intellect. The associates she met with at War of that novelist, and the able review of his works, rington were in every way congenial to her mind, from the pen of our authoress. In 1808, she beand among others, were Drs. Priestley and En came a widow; and in 1810, appeared her edition field, with whom she formed an intimate acquaint- of The British Novelists, with an introductory ance. In 1973, she was induced to publish a vo- essay, and biographical and critical notices prefixed lume of her poems, which, in the course of the to the works of each author. In the following same year, went through four editions. They year she published a collection of prose and verse, were followed by miscellaneous pieces in prose, under the title of The Female Spectator; and in by J. (her brother) and A. L. Aikin, which con- the same year, appeared that original offspring of siderably added to her reputation.
her genius, Eighteen Hundred and Eleven, & In 1774, she married the Rev. Rochemont Bar-poem. This was the last separate publication of baald, with whom she removed to Palgrave, near Mrs. Barbauld, who died on the 9th of March, Dis, in Suffolk, where her husband had charge of 1825, in the eighty-second year of her agn. An a dissenting congregation, and was about to open edition of her works appeared in the same year, a boarding-school. Mrs. Barbanld assisted him in in two octavo volumes, with a memoir, by Lucy the task of instruction ; and some of her pupils, Aikin. who have since risen to literary eminence, among Mrs. Barbauld is one of the most eminent female whom were the present Mr. Denman and Sir writers which England has produced ; and both in William Gell, have acknowledged the value of prose and poetry she is hardly surpassed by any her lessons in English composition, and declama of her sex, in the present age. With respect to the tion. In 1775, appeared a small volume from her style, we shall, perhaps, best describe it, by calling pen, entitled Devotional Pieces, compiled from the it that of a female Johnson ; and her Essay on Psalms of David, &c.; a collection which met Romances is a professed imitation of the manner with little success and some animadversion. In of that great critic. He is himself said to have 1778, she published her Lessons for Children from allowed it to be the best that was ever attempted ; Two to 'Three Years Old; and, in 1781, Hymns in “ because it reflected the colour of his thoughts
, no Prose, for Children; both of which may be said to less than the turn of his expressions.” She is, have formed an era in the art of instruction, and however, not without a style of her own, which the former has been translated into French, by M. is graceful, easy, and natural: alike calculated to
engage the most common, and the most elevated In 1785, Mrs. Barbauld and her husband gave understanding. Her poems are addressed more to up their school and visited the continent, whence the feelings than to the imagination.-more to the they returned to England in June, 1786, and in the reason than the senses; but the language never following year took up their residence at llamp- becomes prosaic, and has sublimity and pathos, stead. Our authoress now began to use her per totally free from bombast and affectation. The on the popular side of politics, and published, suc- spirit of piety and benevolence that breathes sessively. An Address to the Opposers of the Re- through her works pervaded her life, and she is an peal of the Corporation and Test Acts; A Poetical amiable example to her sex that it is possible to Epistle to Mr. Wilberforce on the Rejection of the combine, without danger to its morals or religious Bill for Abolishing the Slave Trade ; Remarks on principles, a manly understanding with a feminine Gilbert Wakefield's Inquiry into the Expediency and susceptible heart.