Page images
PDF
EPUB

5.
I still stood dread gazing, and lo there came on,
With sobbing and wailing, and weeping and moan,
A concourse of wretches, some reverend, some regal,
Their robes all in rags, and with claws like the eagle:
The miser was there, with looks vulgar and sordid;
The lord too was there, but no longer he lorded;
Anointed heads came—but a monarch still stronger
Rules now, and no king shall reign sterner or longer :
There stood one, whose hero-blood, boiling and brave,
Is cold as the peasant, and dull as the slave;
And he whose proud name, while there lives a bard-strain,
And a heart that can throb, must immortal remain ;
Immortal remain too, in spite of the clods
Of gross earth, who inherit that name of the gods.
Beside them stood rank'd up, in shadowy array,
The harp-in-hand minstrels whose names live for aye ;
Those bright minds the muses so honour'd and served,
And whom our rich nobles have lauded and starved-
All vision'd in glory :-in prostrate obeisance
Mammon's mighty men fell—and seem'd damn'd by their presence.
There Butler I saw with his happy wit growing,
Like a river, still deeper the more it kept flowing;
Young Chatterton's rich antique sweetness and glory,
And Otway who breathes while warm nature rules story.

6.
The land breeze lay mute, and the dark stream lay calm,
But my guide gave a nod, and away the bark swam;
And I heard from the mountains, and heard from the trees,
The song of the stream, and the murmuring of bees;
From the low-bloomy bush, and the green grassy sward,
Were the sweet evening bird, and the grasshopper heard,
While the balm from the woodland, and forest, and lea,
Came dropping and sprinkling its riches on me.
And I heard a deep shriek, and a long sob of woe;
And beheld a procession all mournful and slow;
Of forms who came down to the river in ranks,
Their stain'd marriage garments to blanch on the banks.
Ranks of regal and noble adultresses steeping
Their limbs and their robes, and still wailing and weeping;
Vain toil—all the water of that dismal river
Can cleanse not those stains—they wax deeper than ever.
One came and gazed on me—then filld all the air
With shriekings, and wrong'd her white bosom, and hair ;
All faded and fallen was the glance and the mien
Of her whom I woo'd and adored at eighteen.
She fell from her station, forsook the pure trust
Of my heart-wedded—sinn’d and sunk deeper than dust:
To my deep sleep by night and my waking by day,
There's a fair vision comes that will not pass away.
I turn'd mine eyes from her ;-the bark, fast and free,
Went furrowing the foam of the bonnie green sea.

FITTE THIRD.

1.
We furrow'd the foam of the bonnie green sea,
And sweet was the sound of its waters to me;
We bore away eastward, it seem'd as gray day,
Gan to mottle the mountains-away, and away,

As we wanton'd the billows came curling in night
l'th' eastward,—but westward they sparkled in light.
The wind in our mainsail sang fitful and loud,
And the cry of the sea-eagle came from the cloud;
We pass'd wooded headland, and sharp promontory,
And ocean-rock famous in maritime story;
Till the sun with a burst o'er the tall eastern pines,
Shower'd his strength on the ocean in long gleaming lines
And lo! and behold! we rode fair in the bay
Of that fairest of friths, the broad sunny Solway:
There tower'd haughty Skiddaw-here rose Criffel green,
There haunted Caerlaverock's white turrets between
Green Man, like a garden lay scenting the seas,
Gay maiden's gazed seaward from sunny Saint Bees-
Dumfries's bright spires, Dalswinton's wild hill,
Comlongan's gray turrets,—deep Nith winding still,
'Tween her pine-cover'd margins, her clear-gushing waters,
Which mirror the shapes of her song-singing daughters.
Thou too my own Allanbay, sea-swept and sunny,
Whitehaven for maidens, black, comely, and bonny;
And generous Arbigland, by mariners hallow'd,
A name known in prayer, and in blessing, and ballad :

2. As I look'd two gay barks from their white halsers broke, With a shout o'er the billows from Barnhourie rock ; Their white penons flaunted, their masts seem'd to bend, As they pass'd the rough headland of cavern'd Colvend; My ancient guide smiled, and his old hand he lay'd On the helm,--and the ship felt his wish and obey'd: Her head from sweet Allanbay suddenly turning, Sprung away--and the billows beneath her seem'd burning. Nigh the sister barks came, and the deep shores were ringing, With a merry wild legend the seamen kept singing, Nor man's voice alone o'er the sea-wave could render Bard's labour so witching, and charming, and tender; For I heard a rich voice through that old legend pour’d, The voice too of Her I long served and adored ; Hard fortune-false friends—and mine ill-destinie, And the dark grave have sunder'd that sweet one from me.

3. Soon the sister barks came, and shout, yelloch, and mirth, Now rung in the water, and rung in the earth; And I saw on the decks, with their merry eyes glancing, And all their fair temple locks heaving and dancing, Not my true love alone; but maids mirthsome and free, And as frank as the wind to the leaf of the tree. There was Katherine Oneen, Lurgan's bonniest daughter, Gay Mally Macbride, from the haunted Bann water, And she who lays all seamen's hearts in embargoes, Who have hearts for to lose, in old kind Carrickfergus. Green Nithsdale had sent me her frank Jenny Haining, With an eye that bean’d less for devotion than sinning; Mary Carson the meek, and Kate Candlish the gay; Two maids from the mountains of blythe Galloway; And Annand, dear Annand, my joys still regarding, Sent her joyous Johnstone, her blythesomer Jardine; And bonnie Dumfries, which the muse loves so well, Came gladdening my heart with her merry Maxwell;

And loveliest and last, lo! a sweet maiden came,
I trust not my tongue with recording her name,
She is flown to the land of the leal, and I'm left,
As a bird from whose side the left wing has been reft.*

4.
Glad danced all the damsels-their long flowing hair
In bright tresses swam in the dewy morn air ;
More lovely they look’d, and their eyes glanced more killing,
As the music wax'd louder, and warmer, and thrilling;
The waves leap'd and sang, and seem'd with the meek lute
To keep, not to give, the meet time to the foot.
The shaven masts quiver'd, the barks to the sound;
Moved amid the deep waters with start and with bound;
All the green shores remurmur'd, and there seem'd to run
Strange shapes on the billows; the light of the sun
Was lustrous and wild, and its shooting gleam gave
More of cold than of warmth to the swelling sea-wave;
I'trembled and gazed for I thought on the hour,
When the witch has her will, and the fiend has his power,
And the sea-spirit rides the dark waters aboon,
Working mariners woe 'neath the hallowmass moon.
And I thought on my old merry mate, Martin Halmer,
Doomed to doomsday to sail in a vessel of glamour,
Between sunny Saint Bees and the Mouth of the Orr-
Wives pray still as shrieking he shoots from the shore.

5.
Now nigh came the sister barks--nigher and nigher
More gay grew the song, more melodious the lyre ;
More lovely maids look'd, and their feet leap'd more free,
The rocks rung, and more merrily sung the green sea :
And I gazed, for I could not but gaze, and there stood
Meek and mild her dark eye-glance down-cast on the flood
That fair one whose looks, while ships swim the salt sea,
While light comes to morning, and leaves to the tree,
While birds love the greenwood, and fish the fresh river,
Shall bless me, and charm me, for ever and ever.
0 I deem'a that nought evil might mimic the light
Of those dark eyes divine, and that forehead so bright,
Nought from the grim sojourn unhallow'd, unshriven,
Dared put on the charms, and the semblance of heaven;
She glanced her eye on me--from white brow to bosom,
All ruddy she wax'd, as the dewy rose blossom.
I called on my love-with a blush and a sigh;
And side-looking, as still was her wont, she drew nigh.

6.
“ Heaven bless thee !" I said,-even while I was speaking,
The phantom barks vanish’d, with yelling and shrieking ;
And mine ANCIENT GUIDE glared, as a tiger will glare,,
When he comes to his den and the hunters are there :
And changing his shape, to a cormorant he grew,
Thrice clanging his wings round the shallop he flew;
And away from the sea and the shore, in his flight,
Fast faded and vanish'd that charmed day-light.
Down on the dread deck then my forehead I laid,
Called on Him that's on high-to his meek Son, I pray'd :

• Many birds, particularly the dove, first lift the left wing to fly, and school-boys cut the tip of that wing alone to preserve their pet-doves from roaming.

The spectre bark shook-'neath my knees seem'd to run
The planking like snow in the hot summer sun:
Such darkness dropt on me as when the sea wars
With the heaven, and quenches the moon, and the stars ;
And my dread guide flew round me, in swift airy rings,
Stooping down, like a sea raven, clapping his wings-
A raven no more now, a fire he became,
And thrice round the shallop has flown the fiend-flame;
In the flame flew a form, and the bark as he shot,
Shrivelled down to a barge, and a bottomless boat-
And I callid unto him who is mighty to save;
Swift his spirit flew down and rebuked the sea-wave,
And smote the charm'd boat; with a shudder it sounded
Away through the flood, on the greensward I bounded;
And back flew the boat, to a black mist I saw
It dissolve-l gazed seaward in terror and awe;
While my Fiend Guide passed off, like a shadow, and said
“ Mahoun had not power to harm hair of thy head!"
I praised God, and pondering sought gladly my way,
To the merriment-making in sweet Allanbay.
But never may landsman or mariner more
Muse in hallowmass eve on that haunted sea shore ;
Nor behold the fiend's wonders he works in the main,

With my Guide and his dread SPECTRE SHALLOP again!
Lammerlea, Cumberland.

The Travels and Opinions

OF

EDGEWORTH BENSON,

Gentleman.

No. II.

THE

PASSAGE

ON VENICE,--SUPPLEMENTARY TO THE LAST ARTICLE:

BOAT, AND ITS COMPANY: BUONAPARTE AND HIS SYSTEM. I am tempted to add a few words over. The explanation of this cir. more of Venice, before leaving her to cumstance will illustrate the

progress her unfortunate fate. A lady of of the decline of human institutions, rank, now living there, the fascina- from the time of their vigour and tion of whose manners is equalled efficacy, when their influence is proby the hospitality of her receptions, vided for by their intimate associais in possession of the famous ring tion with popular sympathy, and with which the Adriatic used to be their forms are substantial sources of wedded, and I had an opportunity of strength, corresponding with the imlooking upon this remarkable histo- pulses of the social mind and feeling. rical relic. The reader knows that After this period is passed, various this pledge of union was dropped are the stages of degeneracy: men into the sea, as a symbol of having gradually become too knowing to and holding ; he may therefore respect their old customs without wonder how it should happen now being wise enough to do without to be separated from the spouse to them: the upper classes are still whom it had been solemnly made anxious to enforce them upon the VOL. III.

P

lower as restraints, but the spectacle tor. When the ring could be thus of obedience waxes interrupted, vul- disturbed in its hymeneal bed, and gar, and inconsistent, when it is felt : dragged forth by coarse and irreveas a mark of inferiority, either of in- rend hands to be chattered over at tellect or condition. What the cham- evening parties, it was but too plain pion at the coronation of George the that the marriage was no longer a Fourth will be, that had the husband sacrament, but an empty form : the of the Adriatic become ;-a name; a age of Venetian heroism might then figure of mock-representation, a mere be said to be gone; but worse reaffectation in the eyes of the prin- mained behind. Some of the divers cipal performers in the ceremony, a got drowned in the course of their tawdry raree-show to the gazing greedy annual adventures ; and as crowd. The curse of Europe now the rite itself had dwindled into utter is, that, almost every where, the opi- insignificance, the senators of Venions of men have removed from the nice, who still continued the practice legal and political institutions; that of their dungeons " under the leads, moral harmony between them iš at and their secret executions in the laan end. Prescription and coercion, gune, became touched with humanity have taken the place of credence and for these unfortunate 'ragamuffins, veneration, and the secret has trans- who risked, and occasionally lost, pired that the disbelief of the indic their lives in committing sacrilege viduals who enforce the maxims and for a few pistoles. If the apparatus rules of the state, is quite as gross as for restoring the drowned had been the disobedience of those on whom then invented, they might probably they are enforced. There must be a have contented themselves with or restoration of harmony, in this re- dering a resuscitation-establishment spect, effected, by some means or to be placed on the nearest sandother, before public stability and bank; but the devices of modern tranquillity can be considered as en- philanthropy and morality were then sured.

less elaborately comprehensive than The marriage of the Adriatic was they are now ; even England, a counoriginally a ceremony, whose real try richer in preventatives of vice signification was at least equal to its and misery, and more abounding in parade. Its forms were imposing, both, than any other country of Eubecause they suggested facts that rope, had not then thought either of made the Venetians proud: the ring fire-escapes, humane-society-ladders, was dropped into the bosom of the or safety-coaches. The Venetian gowater,--and, while the sea continued vernment not possessing our present faithful to the republic, no hand advantages, contented itself with prewould have dared to disturb the venting, in a very summary way, the pledge: it was guarded by the reli- occurrence of the accidents in quesgion of patriotism,-it lay in the tion. It was enacted by a solemn deep a small talisman of mighty ef- order of senate, that the marriagefect. But when the inefficacy of the ring should be no longer actually rite was proved by the repeated ex- consigned from the deck of the Buperience of reverses, it was degraded centaur, to the heaving bosom of the from its original elevation in the ever ready bride; but that it should fancy, and came to be considered be simply suffered to touch the as a mere matter of show and curi- water, attached to a string,—by osity. The ring was then no longer means of which, the first magistrate thought of as an anchor of glory, might surely recover it, carry it sunk in the waves, 'but as a bauble back in his pocket, and preserve it of vanity, which might gratify the for acting again in the next yearly childish caprice of the opulent; and farce !—The ring, thus recovered, divers were stimulated by sums of passed from the hands of the Doge money, in offering which the great Mont Cenigo_in whose family palace families of Venice outbid each other, Lord Byron resided—into those of to plunge after it, and bring it up the last of the republican chiefs, who from the bottom after a temporary held the bauble of power when the immersion, to become the prize of state of Venice was broken up by the vainest and wealthiest competi- the French bayonets. From him it

[ocr errors]
« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »