« PreviousContinue »
As, far divided from his parent deep,
1 Hobbes, the father of Locke's and other philosophy, was an inveterate smoker. - even to pipes beyond computation.
2 “ We talked of change of manners (1773). Dr. Johnson observed, that our drinking less than our ancestors was owing to the change from ale to wine. . I remember,' said he, • when all the decent people in Lichfield got drunk every night, and were not the worse thought of. Smoking has gone out. To be sure, it is a shocking thing, blo'ving smoke out of our mouths into other people's mouths, eyes, and noses, and having the same thing done to us. Yet I cannot account, why a thing which requires so little exertion, and yet preserves the
Fantastically, it may be, array'd,
XXI. “ What cheer, Ben Bunting?” cried (when in full
view Our new acquaintance) Torquil. “ Aught of new ?" “Ey, ey !" quoth Ben, “not new, but news enow; A strange sail in the offing." — " Saill and how ? What! could you make her out? It cannot be; I've seen no rag of canvass on the sea." “ Belike," said Ben, “ you might not from the bay, But from the bluff-head, where I watch'd to-day, I saw her in the doldrums; for the wind Was light and baffling." -" When the sun declined Where lay she ? had she anchor'd ?"—“ No, but still She bore down on us, till the wind grew still." “ Her flag?" '-"I had no glass : but fore and aft, Egad! she seem'd a wicked-looking craft." “ Armd ?"-“I expect so; - sent on the look-out: 'Tis time, belike, to put our helm about." “ About?
- Whate 'er may have us now in chase, We'll make no running fight, for that were base;
mind from total racuity, should have gone ont.'"- BOSWELL As an item in the history of manners, it may be observed, that drinking to excess has diminished greatly in the memory even of those who can remember forty or filty years. The caste for smoking, however, has revived, probably from the militars habits of Europe during the French wars; bue, instead of the sober sedentary pipe, the ambulatory cigar is now chietty used. - CROKER, 1830.]
3 This rough but jovial ceremony, used in crossing the line, has been so otten and so well described, that it need not be more than alluded to.
We will die at our quarters, like true men.
Yet still the lingering hope, which deem'd their lot * Ey, ey ? for that 't is all the same to Ben."
Not pardon'd, but unsought for or forgot, “ Does Christian know this ?"-"Ay; he has piped Or trusted that, if sought, their distant caves all bands
Might still be miss'd amidst the world of waves, To quarters. They are furbishing the stands
Had wean'd their thoughts in part from what they saw Of arms; and we have got some guns to bear, And felt, the vengeance of their country's law. And scaled them. You are wanted."-" That's but Their sea-green isle, their guilt-won paradise, fair;
No more could shield their virtue or their vice : And if it were not, mine is not the soul
Their better feelings, if such were, were thrown To leave my comrades helpless on the shoal.
Back on themselves, – their sins remain'd alone. My Neuba! ah ! and must my fate pursue
Proscribed even in their second country, they Not me alone, but one so sweet and true ?
Were lost; in vain the world before them lay ; But whatsoe 'er betide, ah, Neuha! now
All outlets seem'd secured. Their new allies Unman me not; the hour will not allow
Had fought and bled in mutual sacrifice ; A tear; I am thine whatever intervenes ! !"
But what avail'd the club and spear, and arm “ Right," quoth Ben, “that will do for the marines." I Of Hercules, against the sulphury charm,
The magic of the thunder, which destroy'd
Their own scant numbers acted all the few
Against the many oft will dare and do :
Even Greece can boast but one Thermopylæ,
Till now, when she has forged her broken chain
1 " That will do for the marines, but the sailors won't believe it," is an old saving; and one of the few fragments of former jealousies which still survive (in jest only) between these gallant services.
2 Archidamus, king of Sparta, and son of Agesilaus, when
he saw a machine invented for the casting of stones and darts, exclaimed, that it was the “grave of valour." The saine story has been told of some knights on the tirst application of gunpowder ; but the original anecdote is in Plutarch.
“ Yes," he exclaim'd, “ we are taken in the toil,
Still as a statne, with his lips comprest
VII. Even as he spoke, around the promontory, Which nodded o'er the billows bigh 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 near, 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 fitting through the spray; Now perching on the wave's high curl, and now Dash'd downward in the thundering foam below, Which Aings 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 lowering sky. Their art seem'd nature — such the skill to sweep The wave of these born playmates of the deep.
V. At length Jack Skyscrape, a mercurial man, Who flutter'd over all things like a fan, More brave than firm, and more disposed to dare And die at once than wrestle with despair, Exclaim'd, “G-d damn!" — those syllables intense, Nucleus of England's native eloqnence, 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.
VIII. 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 ecstasy.
VI. 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 bis sombre eye, 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; Inquircu into his state ; and when he heard The wound was slighter than he sleem'd or fear'd, A moment's brightness pass'd along his brow, As much as such a moment would allow.
lion looks upon his cubs again ;
The rest was one bleak precipice, as e'er
X. But brief their time for good or evil thought; The billows round the promontory brought The plash of hostile oars. — Alas! who made That sound a dread? All around them seem'd array'd Against them, save the bride of Toobonai : She, as sh 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, Beckond 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 few, 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!
III. 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 wasted 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 pullid ; 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 a 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 ?"
CANTO THE FOURTU.
I. 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.
IL 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 decp wherein his parents dweil; Chipp'd by the beam, a nursling of the day, But hatch'd for ocean by the fostering ray ;
IV. They rested on their paddles, and uprose Neuba, 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 pullid on, and as they came, Hail'd him to yield, and by his forfeit name. Headlong he leapt — 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 rollid 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 phantom of a seaman's dream. They paused and search'd in vain, then pulld 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
V. And where was he, the pilgrim of the deep, Following the nereid ? Had they ceased to weep For ever? or, received in coral caves, Wrung life and pity from the softening waves ? Did they with ocean's hidden sovereigns dwell, And sound with mermen the fantastic shell ? Did Neuba with the mermaids comb her hair Flowing o'er ocean as it stream'd in air ? Or had they perish'd, and in silence slept Beneath the gulf wherein they boldly leapt ?
Around she pointed to a spacious cave,
VI. Young Neuha plunged into the deep, and he Follow'd : her track beneath her native sea Was as a native's of the element, So smoothly, bravely, brilliantly she went, Leaving a streak of light behind her heel, Which struck and flash'd like an amphibious steel. Closely, and scarcely less expert to trace The depths where divers hold the pearl in chase, Torquil, the nursling of the northern seas, Pursued her liquid steps with heart and ease. Deep - deeper for an instant Neuha led The way — then upward soard — and as she spread Her arms, and flung the foam from off her locks, Laugh'd, and the sound was answer'd by the rocks. They had gain'd a central realm of earth again, But look'd for tree, and field, and sky, in vain.
VII. Forth from her bosom the young savage drew A pine torch, strongly girded with gnatoo ; A plantain leaf o'er all, the more to keep Its latent sparkle from the sapping deep. This mantle kept it dry; then from a nook Of the same plantain leaf a flint she took, A few shrunk wither'd twigs, and from the blade Of 'Torquil's knife struck fire, and thus array'd The grot with torchlight. Wide it was and high, And show'd a self-born Gothic canopy ; The arch upreard by nature's architect, The architrave some earthquake might erect; The buttress from some mountain's bosom hurlid, When the Poles crash'd, and water was the world ; Or harden'd from some earth-absorbing fire, While yet the globe reek'd from its funeral pyre ; The fretted pinnacle, the aisle, the nare,? Were there, all scoop'd by Darkness from her cave.
1 of this cave (which is no fiction) the original will be found in the ninth chapter of " Mariner's Account of the Tonga Islands." I have taken the poetical liberty to trans. plant it to Toobonai, the last island where any distinct account is left of Christian and his comrades. – [The following is the account given by Mariner:
“ On this island there is a peculiar cavern situated on the western coast, the entrance to which is at least a fathom be. neath the surface of the sea at low water; and was first dis. covered by a young chief, whilst diving after a turtle. The nature of this cavern will be better understood if we imagine a hollow rock rising sixty feet or more above the surface of the water, into the cavity of which there is no known entrance bu one, and that is in the side of the rock, as low down as six feet under the water, into which it flows; and, consequently, the base of the cavern may be said to be the sea itself. Finow, and his friends, being on this part of the is. land, proposed one afternoon, on a sudden thought, to go into this cavern and drink cava. Mr. Mariner was not with them at the time this proposal was made ; but happening to come down a little while after to the shore, and seeing some of the young chiefs diving into the water one after another, and not rise again, he was a little surprised, and inquired of the last, who was just preparing to take the same step, what they were about ! " Follow me," said he," and I will take you where you have never been before ; and where Finow, and his chiefs and matabooles, are now assembled." Mr. Mariner, without any further hesitation, prepared himself to follow his companion, who dired into the water, and he after him, and, guided by the light reflected from his heels, entered the opening in the rock, and rose into the cavern, He was no sooner above the surface of the water than ure enough ! he heard the voices of the king and his friends; being directed by his guide, he climbed upon a jutting portion of rock and sat down. The light was sufficient, after remaining about five minutes, to show objects with some little distinctness; and he could discover Finow and the rest of the company seated, like himself, round the cavern. Nevertheless, as it was desirable to hare a stronger illumination, Mr. Mariner dived out again, and procuring his pistol, primed it well, tied plenty of gnatoo tight round it and wrapped the whole up in a plan tain-leaf : he directed an attendant to bring a torch in the same way. Thus prepared, he re-entered the cavern, un
wrapped the gnatoo, a great portion of which was perfectly dry, fired it by the flash of the powder, and lighted the torch. The place was now illuminated tolerably well, for the first time, perhaps, since its existence. It appeared (by guess) to be about forty feet wide in the main part, but which branched off, on one side, in two narrower portions. The medium height seemed also about forty feet. The roof was hung with stalactites in a very curious way, resembling, upon a cursory view, the Gothic arches and ornaments of an old church. After having examined the place, they drank cara, and passed away the time in conversation upon different subjects." The account proceeds to state that the niode in which the carern was discovered, and the interesting use made of the retreat by the young chief who found it out, were related by one of the matabooles present. According to his statement, the entire family of a certain chief had been in former times condemned to death in consequence of his conspiring against a tyrannical governor of the island. One of the devoted family was a beautiful daughter, to whom the young chief who had accidentally discovered the cave had long been ardently at. tached. On learning her danger, he bechought himself of this retreat, to which he easily persuaded her to accompany him, and she remained concealed within it, occasionally enjoying the society of her lover, until he was enabled to carry her off to the Fiji islands, where they remained until the death of the governor enabled them to return. The only part of this romantic tale which seemed very improbable was the length of time which the girl was said to have remained in the cavern, two or three months. To ascertain whether this was possible, Mr. Mariner examined every part of it, but without discovering any opening. If the story be true, in all likelihood the duration of her stay in the cavern was not much more than one fourth of the time mentioned ; as the space would not contain a quantity of air sufficient for the respiration of an individual for a longer period. )
? This may seem too minute for the general outlines (in Mariner's Account) from which it is taken. But few men have travelled without seeing something of the kind-on lund, that is. Without adverting to Ellora, in Mungo Park's last journal, he mentions having met with a rock or mountain so exactly resembling a Gothic cathedral, that only minute inspection could convince him that it was a work of nature.