« PreviousContinue »
Then three of his warriors, the "mighty three,"
On their steeds they sprang, and with spurs of speed
To the right to the left-where their blue swords shine
Through a bloody gap in his shattered array,
The king looks at the cup, but the crystal draught
But he pours it forth to Heaven's Majesty,
pours it forth to the Lord of the sky;
Should he taste of a cup that his "mighty three”
XLI. - THE SOLDIER'S DREAM.
OUR bugles sang truce ; for the night cloud had lowered,
And the sentinel stars set their watch in the sky, And thousands had sunk on the ground overpowered,
The weary to sleep, and the wounded to die.
When reposing that night on my pallet of straw,
By the wolf-scaring fagot that guarded the slain, At the dead of the night a sweet vision I saw,
And thrice, ere the morning, I dreamt it again.
Methought from the battle field's dreadful array,
Far, far I had roamed on a desolate track; 'Twas autumn, and sunshine arose on the way
To the home of my fathers that welcomed me back.
I flew to the pleasant fields traversed so oft
In life's morning march, when my bosom was young; I heard my own mountain goats bleating aloft,
And knew the sweet strain that the corn reapers sung.
Then pledged we the wine cup, and fondly I swore
From my home and my weeping friends never to parto My little ones kissed me a thousand times o'er, And my
wife sobbed aloud in her fulness of heart.
“Stay, stay with us - rest; thou art weary
and worn;" And fain was their war-broken soldier to stay: But sorrow returned with the dawning of morn,
And the voice in my dreaming ear melted away.
XLII. - THE LOSS OF THE ROYAL GEORGE.
(Fow events have ever fallen with more startling sorrow upon the public mind of Great Britaiu than the loss of the Royal George, in the month of August, 1782, while lying at anchor off Spithead, near Portsmouth. She carried one hundred and ten guns, was commanded by Admiral Kempenfelt, and was deemed the finest ship in the British navy. Being just ready to go to sea, she was inclined a little on one side, either to stop a leak or for some similar object. But so little risk was anticipated from the operation, that the admiral, with his officers and men, nearly a thousand souls in all, remained on board. Besides these, the ship was crowded with persons from the shore; among whom were some three hundred women and children. In this state of things, the vessel was struck by a sudden flaw of wind, and being probably too much inclined, she was thrown farther over: the water rushed into her portholes; she tilled instantly, and sunk. About three hundred persons were saved, but not less than a thousand perished. The effect of so fearful a tragedy may be more fully apprehended when we bear in mind that the whole British loss in the great naval battle of Trafalgar, fought a few years after, - in its consequences the most important naval battle of modern times, - was less than seventeen hundred.]
Toll for the brave,
The brave that are no more;
Fast by their native shore.
Eight hundred of the brave,
Whose courage well was tried,
And laid her on her side.
A land breeze shook the shrouds,
And she was overset:
With all her crew completo.
Toll for the brave;
Brave Kempenfelt is gone 3
His work of glory done
It was not in the battle ;
No tempest gave the shock;
She ran upon no rock.
His sword was in its sheath,
His fingers held the pen,
With twice four hundred men.
Weigh the vessel up,
Once dreaded by our foes ;
The tear that England owes.
Her timbers yet are sound,
And she may float again,
And plough the distant main.
But Kempenfelt is gone ;
His victories are o'er;
Shall plough the waves no more.
XLIII. — DAMASCUS.
[This extract is from The Crescent and the Cross, a very well written and agreeable buok of travels in the East, published in 1844, by ELIOT WARBURTON, an English gentleman. Mr. Warburton also wrote Prince Rupert and the Cavaliers, and Reginald Hastings, a romance. This amiable and accomplished man was lost at sea in 1852, on & voyage from England to the West Indies.)
We had been sleeping under our horses, and they had never stirred a limb for fear of hurting us. The evening before, our path had lain among bosomy hills and quiet-looking, drab-colored valleys. This scenery, if not attractive, was at least not offensive; and when daylight came, and we found where we had wandered, the change was great indeed. It seemed as if some great battle of the elements had taken place during the night, the rocks been rent asunder in the struggle, and Nature frightfully wounded in the fray. Wildly distorted as the scenery seemed when the sun shone over it, there was a fearful silence and want of stir that enhanced its effect. ' Cliffs nodded cver us, as if they had been awake all night, and could stand it no longer; precipices and dark ravines yawned beneath us, fixed, as it were, in some spasm of the nightmare. Not a living thing was to be seen around no drop of water, no leaf of tree, nothing but a calm, terrible sunshine above, and blackened rocks and burned soil below.
We emerged from these savage gorges into a wide, disheartening plain, bounded by an amphitheatre of dreary mountains. Our horses had had no water for twenty-four hours, and we no refreshment of any kind for twenty. Find ing there was still a gallop in my steed's elastic limbs, I pushed on for Damascus, leaving my people to follow more slowly. After a couple of hours' hard riding, I came to another range of mountains, from beyond which opened the view of Damascus, that the Prophet abstained from as too delightful for this probationary world. It is said that after many days of toil some travel, beholding the city thus lying at his feet, he exclaimed, “Only one paradise is allowed to man; I will not take mine in this world." And so he turned away his horse's head from Damascus, and pitched his tent in the desert.
I reined up my steed with difficulty on the side of the mountain ; he had already, perhaps, heard the murmur of the distant waters, or instinct told him that Nature's life-streams flowed beneath that bright-green foliage. l'or miles around us lay the dead desert, whose sands appear to quiver under the shower of sunbeams : far away to the south and east it spread like a boundless ocean; but there, beneath our feet, lay