In years long past, the ocean tempest's roar
The fated vessel on the rocky shore
The storm's stupendous strength,—the sudden shock
The good ship splitting on the hidden rock
I he struggling seaman's vain attempts to save
Himself and others from a watery grave,
The gale through which Destruction reign'd supreme,
And all the fearful grandeur of the scene,
Formed William Falconer's immortal theme;
And his true “Shipwreck" all the praise 'can claim
That Justice ever gave a poet's name.
Mine "be the task the storm king's strength to shew,
But check Death's hand before he deals the blow;
Describe—while billows rose and tempests blew
How human skill and courage saved the crew,
And, while my heart's with grateful feelings warm,
Sing how the Life-Boat triumph'd o'er the storm.
CANTO THE FIRST.
Where, rushing seaward from its unknown, source,
The Irawaddy rolls upon its course,
With her white canvas stretching high and wide,
A vessel floated on the silent tide
Bound to the Tyne, deepdoaded from Bassein,
Down the broad river sail'd the "Ocean Queen”
While the brave crew, rejoicing, hail'd the day
On which their ship commenced her homeward way.
The tedious river's hidden dangers past,
The stately vessel reach'd its mouth at last;
The pilot then—his weary labours o'er
With all good wishes left them for the shore;
And the good ship, from river bondage free,
With native vigour plough'd the Indian sea.
Now each command, to speed them on their way,
The cheerful crew with hopeful hearts obey;
Bound sheets and haulyards willing seamen throng,
Till ev'ry sail propels their barque along:
Far, far astern the sinking land they leave,
And Birmah's shores their farewell looks receive;
Before them roar'd —around them hiss'd—the foam,
And ev'ry rising billow roll'd them home.
Oh ! when far distant from his native shore,
And foreign seas have long been traversed o'er,
What to the seaman hath a sweeter sound
Than those three welcome words, "We're home-ward bound"
"We're homeward bound !" exultingly he cries,
And happy visions float before his eyes;
Remembrance, mounting on the mental throne,
Recalls a thousand memories of home !
Some sweet, some sad, till, rising from the heart,
Hope's cheerful rays make ev'ry cloud depart;
Tints with bright hues Imagination s dreams,
And gilds the Future with its glittering beams.
Soon round the ship the shades of darkness drew,
All sail was set, and on the vessel flew:
Then—the fair wind that swept the Indian sea
Left all the crew from nightly labour free —
Wrapt in sweet sleep the weary seamen lay,
While needful slumber drove fatigue away:
Two only, forced from slumber to abstain,
Watch'd o'er the vessel as she plough'd the main;
Alberto, second in that little realm,
And one tired seaman to attend the helm.
If on that night, when all the crew were blest,
On one young heart, more favour'd than the rest,
The star of hope with brighter radiance shone,
Those partial beams, Alberto! were thine own!
Not one sad thought thy youthful mind opprest,
But joyful feelings fill'd thy buoyant breast;
For all thy hopes and labours through the Past,
That voyage would crown with full success at last.
Scarce o'er his head twelve summer suns had shone,
When first Alberto left his village home;
O'er the wide surface of the world to range,
And find, afar, adventures wild and strange:
Such were the thoughts that fill'd his boyish head,
By fruitful Fiction form'd, and Fancy fed;
For oft in childhood, soul-entranced, he pored
O'er thrilling tales with strange adventures stored,
Till o'er his mind their subtle poison stole,
And fierce Excitement seized upon his soul;
And he became, in many a childish trance,
Himself the hero of some wild romance.
Thus, fill'd in childhood with adventurous fire,
His boyish breast felt only one desire;
Strong and more strong this wandering wish became,
Till fertile Fancy fan'd it to a flame;
It then burst forth, alone and unreprest,
The all-absorbing passion of his breast.
'Tis vain to argue with a headstrong boy,
The dreams of youth time only can destroy,
As on the sea Alberto's mind was bent,
His guardian wisely gave his full consent;
He sail'd: was absent from his native shore
For three long years and then return'd once more;
But not for long ; he quickly sail’d again,
Nor sliun'd the rough vocation of the main.
True, from his mind Experience and Truth
Had forced the glowing visions of his youth;
Yet o'er his life, though these bright dreams had fled,
Still some slight glances of romance were shea,
The constant change of climate and of scene,
Seem'd like the outline of his boyish dream;
The sea, the land, the tempest, and the calm,
Each o'er his mind possess'd some secret charm;
And in those climes, where oft in Childhood's hour
His soul was wafted by Romance's power,
Strange scenes would rise, strange things at times befall,
Nor e'en Beality had banisli'd all.
Thus for eight years he play'd the seaman's part,
"When Love, sweet despot! storm'd his yielding heart
With gentle pleasure o'er his senses stole,
And quickly triumph'd o'er his ardent soul:
But who, sweet maid! could long resistance give,
When thou wert Love's fair representative?
At once o'erpower'd by thy prevailing arms,
Indifference, conquer'd, fled before thy charms;
And bold with hope, or else by fear deprest,
All Love's soft tumults .swell'd Alberto's breast.
Remembrance! aid me! while with language true
I picture Alice to the reader's view.
Proportion'd justly to a medium height,
A lovelier form ne'er charm'd a lover's sight;
So smoothly rounded, so divinely fair,
All the three Graces seem'd embodied there.
But who, with words, can ever hope to trace
One charming feature of that sweet young face
The task is vain ! I can but do my best,
And leave thee, reader, to complete the rest.
Her cheeks were robed in health's becoming dress,
Her rosy lips 'twere bliss indeed to press;
Bright, playful, laughing, pleasure-glancing eyes,
Such as, o'er all, our youthful sailors prize ; —
That make us wish that sorrows ne'er may dim
The light of happy innocence within.
A soft, round neck ; clear, delicate, and fair,
Contrasted richly with her dark brown hair;
Whose thick luxuriance, wholly unconfined,
With lovely curls conceal'd her neck behind:
As in sea calms the glassy waters swell,
So her fair bosom gently rose and fell:
And as, when sunbeams from the westward leap,
Sol throws the crowning beauty on the deep ; —
So the bright smiles which o'er her features play'd,
Gave the last finish to the northern maid.
Such, were her charms; yet, those who gazed on them,
Saw but the casket that contain'd the gem;
Within there lay, by Heav'n's own hand enshrined,
That jewel rare, a well proportion'd mind:
Fraught with these virtues by the Pow'r above,
Bright Hope, Contentment, Piety, and Love.
Hope ! —that when sorrow closes round the sight,
From unknown regions sends its cheering light;
And while misfortunes fall, or cares annoy,
Eobes all the future in the garb of joy.
Contentment! —which, though all conspire to bless,
Alone can perfect human happiness,
Religion !—that, when all around is dim,
And hopeless grief reigns unopposed within;
To the sad heart's most secret chamber flies,
In all the sweetness of its native skies!
Diffuses courage ; banishes despair;
And gives us strength to struggle, and to bear.
And lastly, Love ! —with piety allied,
The heart's best prompter, and the mind's best guide.
Deprived in childhood of his parents' care,
The boy was forced his uncle's home to share;
And in that home 'twas Alice's chief joy-
To be a sister to the orphan boy ;
And while she play'd the loving sister's part,
His little cousin gain'd Alberto's heart.
Thus in life's spring the seed of love was sown,
That grew, in summer, to a flow'r full blown.
Alberto sail'd : return'd; regain'd his home;
And found the girl almost a woman grown;
Surprised, but pleased, he gazed upon her charms,
And clasp'd the maid, delighted, in his arms;
While she, with joy depicted on her face,
With equal warmth return'd the youth's embrace.
But when he once, returning from the main,
With buoyant feelings reach'd his home again,
Ho found, alas! nor knew the reason why,
His former playmate silent, cold, and shy;
Then with hot tears he felt his eyes grow dim,
For why so kind to others, cold to him!
Surprised and pain'd at such a sudden change,
Through want of causes render'd doubly strange;
Ho tried in vain the mystery to clear,
When busy Humour whisper'd in his ear
That, while far distant on his ocean life,
A youth had sought fair Alice for his wife.
Alberto heard, and, overwhelmed with grief,
His mind could scarcely give the tale belief;
For those few words a magic pow'r possest,
That bared, at once, the secret of his breast:
Urged on by dread, the youth, without delay,
To the fair Alice hasten'd swift away;
With rapid words related all he knew,
And, trembling, ask'd if rumour whisper'd true:
'Midst struggling tears and visible distress,
With downcast eyes the maiden answer'd " Yes!'
And on his heart that dreaded answer fell
As Love's young grave, and Hope's departing knell.
Awhile he stood, struck dumb by that reply,
While hopeless sorrow dull'd each soulless eye;
Then words burst forth, 'midst feelings unroprest,
And Passion's language thus his love confest.
"Far back as mem'ry can recall the past,
I've loved thee ! Alice ! —must we part at last?
Oh ! say not so ! but listen to my claim;
And grant, oh ! grant I do not plead in vain.
Sent forth alone the path of life to tread,
Ere six bright summers pass'd above my head;
In thy fair form 'twas Heaven's will to send
My childhood's playmate, and my boyhood's friend:
Elected thus by Providence to be
The guardian angel of my destiny,
I found thee waiting in thy village home,
To shield my heart from evil with thine own;
And thou, through years of painless love and joy,
"Wast the real guardian of the orphan boy.
As months pass'd on, and my impetuous soul
-At times burst forth, impatient of controul;
Though my strong mind defied maturer sway,
Yet, Alice ! thine 'twould willingly obey;
And when stern threats to guide my actions fail'd,
Thy voice, dear Alice ! hast at once prevailed.
Thus in those days, with lasting danger rife,
Thou, Alice ! wast the saviour of my life!
The pilot, who, with instinct wisdom fraught,
'Midst Evil's quicksands steer'd me safe to port;
A xid then —unconscious, following Nature's plan —
In life's most plastic period form'd the Man.
“I sail'd. —How oft, on many a distant sea,
Through Night's long hours I've fondly thought of thee!
Till, borne by Fancy to my native shore,
I've seen dear Alice and her home once more:
And when in calms the ship has lain at rest,
Like a tired infant on its mother's breast; —
When the deep sea seem'd like a boundless plain,
And each bright star was mirror'd in the main; —
How oft have I my boyish days review'd,
And thought of thee with love and gratitude.
"Oh ! Alice ! Alice ! if the human breast
Contains one feeling stronger than the rest,
'Tis that in which our highest virtues blend—
I>y orphans cherish'd for their youth's firm friend!
For it calls forth, as parts to form the whole,
The noblest, deepest efforts of the soul.
And thou, dear Alice ! hast inspired in me
This purest feeling's full intensity;
And next to One, our mutual Sire above,
Hast gain'd my lasting gratitude and love."
Awhile lie paused, his rising tears repress'd;—
"Oh ! dearest Alice ! thou canst guess the rest;
How, while returned, so soon again to part,
Thy lovely form was stamp'd upon my heart!
And has, since then, maintain'd its empire there
The soul of Hope ! the guard against Despair.
Oh ! Alice ! Alice ! thou, throughout the past,
Hast been my all! oh! leave me not at last!
With thee life's fair! without,- —oh God! How dark!
Oh ! he the pilot of my life's frail barque!
Still, still remain, my riper years to bless!
Seal, with thine own, thy lover's happiness!
I love thee well! oh ! share my future life !
Say ! dearest Alice ! wilt thou be my wife 1"
With mute entreaty in each anxious eye,
Alberto waited for the maid's reply;
Then Alice rose, and to his joy display'd
A tearful face with happy smiles array'd;
On his broad shoulders both her hands were placed,
With deepest bliss the happy pair embraced;
While—her bright blushes hid by that caress—
With love's sweet voice she softly answered "Yes!"
Swift o'er theix heads the moments took their flight,
But ere the daylight darken'd into night,
That " old, old tale so sweet to hear and tell,
From the maid's lips with softest accents fell;
How, when he last departed for the main,
She mourn'd his absence with a deeper pain;
While restless thoughts, and feelings undefined,
Assail'd the peaceful empire of her mind;
I ill from their midst, array'd in heavenly glows,
Affection's form with virgin beauty rose.
And then she told him, how, of late opprest,
With this new feeling torturing her breast
While secret sorrow agonized her brow,
Her maiden feelings made her shun him now:
But—while with smiles she archly gazed on him—
Atonement promised for that only sin.
'Twas quickly settled : when the youth could claim
A Captain's title to precede his name,
The lovely Alice should become his bride; —
'Twas thus it pleased her parents to decide;
And though they grieved so long apart to live,
Yet Reason left them no alternative.
Alberto soon, with such fair prospects rife,
Made rapid progress in his ocean life;
And from the East was then returning home,
To claim the lovely Alice as his own;
For when from thence he gain'd his native land
Of a new vessel he'd receive command;
And thus with joy he felt the favouring breeze
That sped him homeward o'er the Indian seas.
CANTO THE SECOND
Pass wo in silence o'er their homeward way,
Nor mar our tale with unrequired delay
Four months have pass'd, the British coast is seen,
And the North Sea now bears the "Ocean Queen."
Forced swiftly on o'er unresisting seas,
With her white canvas swelling with the breeze;
Past Cromer's point the ship in safety sped,
While south-west winds fill'd ev'ry sail o'erhead:
'Twas morning then; "If thus we're homeward borne,
We'll reach our harbour ere another morn ;
To bear us there the winds and waves combine,
This night will find us anchor'd in the Tyne !
And then, oil heavens ! ere to-morrow's sun
O'er our blest Isle his daily coarse has run,
Far, far removed from ocean's rude alarms,
I'll clasp my own dear Alice in my arms !
And—blissful thought ! —through all my future life,—
'Midst the wild scenes of elemental strife
On land or sea, —in pleasure or in pain,
In this wide world we'll never part again !
But on our heads let joys or sorrows fell,
We'll act as God ordain'd, and share them all."
Thus mused Alberto; as, with hope elate,
He watch'd the ship,—unconscious of her fate:
On, on she sped; the wind's increasing force
With greater speed propell'd her on her course;
While from the oast, round southward to the shore,
Dense, murky clouds the signs of warning bore;
But free from dread Alberto saw them there
for gales he cared not —so the wind was fair.
The day pass'd on, and o'er the yellow grain
The fiery sun glared fiercely on the main;
Round his bright form his evening splendour spread.
And dyed creation with a lurid red;
Far o'er the sea Ms angry rays were sent,
Towards the cloud-bound eastern firmanent;
And then, defiant on his burnish'd throne,
While far around his parting radiance shone,
In one last glance he all his pow'r comprest,
And sank, with threatening aspect, in the west.
Scarce had he gone, than o'er his train of light—
As if rejoicing at his wish'd for flight—
With hasty speed the clouds careering flew,
And hid all traces of his course from view ;
Then, while around Night's darkening robe was spread,
The " Ocean Queen " sail'd on past Flamborough Head.
When at four bells his watch on deck expired,
To his snug berth Alberto straight retired;
And there, unseen, gavo freedom unreprest
To all the joyful feelings of his breast: —
He, who through absence kept for years apart
From the fair maiden dearest to bis heart,
Has made the wish to gain her for his -wife,
The only hope and object of his life;
And, home-return'd, with love's delirious fire
Deems one day more will grant his life's desire; —
Alone can tell Alberto's feelings then :—
They mock the efforts of my baffled pen ;
For that deep bliss no language can unfold,
'Tis felt but once ; —but never can be told.
Reclined he lays, and o'er his half closed eyes,
Scenes, long since past, in quick succession rise;
But o'er them all, where'e'er Remembrance guides,
His fair betroth'd with heavenly grace presides :
And as they fade, before liis failing sight
The Future spreads ; with every prospect bright.
Thus gently soothed, 'twixt waking and repose,
i>y slow degrees his willing eyelids close;
And, all unconscious of the dangerous deep,
Midst Hope's bright dreams Alberto sinks to sleep.
Scarce o'er his frame has soothing slumber stole,
Than Fancy's pinions bear his ardent soul
To where, placed high 'midst Durham's fertile lands,
The lovely maiden's native village stands:
From her deep stores, to grace the rising dream,
Remembrance calls each dear familiar scene;
Plain and more plain the hills and valleys grow,
And Tyne's smooth current gently rolls below;
While o'er the river he beholds once more
Northumbrian fields, steep-rising from the shore.
Now through the air on balmy breezes borne,
Brisk joyful music hails the autumn morn;
Alberto listens ! —o'er his dreamy brain
The meaning breaks of that rejoicing strain;
'Midst love and pride hisheart with rapture swells,
He hears —at last! —he hears his marriage bells!
See how he smiles! —his heart may well be gay;—
Love, Youth, and Beauty, weds with him to-day
Now each bright prospect melts before his eyes
By slow degrees the pealing music dies,
And the scene changes. As the dimness clears
The well remember'd village church appears;
With joyful glances many a well known face
Round the old altar slowly takes its place;
But chrm'd with one, the chosen of his "breast,
Alberto scarcely looks upon the rest.
All trembling, loving, trusting, by his side
Fair Alice stands; his young and happy bride:
In purest white with simplest taste array'd,
Like some bright
angel seems the village maid:
That dress, to shew her purity design'd,
Stands also forth an emblem of her mind;
'Which as that robe's as spotless and as fair ; —
No thoughts that soil have e'er alighted there.
Now the aged pastor, slightly bent by time,
Proceeds to join them in the sight Divine;
Before their God the youth and maiden stands,
With hearts as firm united as their hands;
And, free from all misgivings and regret,
On their deep vows the stamp of truth is set.
The ring is placed, the solemn rite is o'er,
They're join'd, through life to part again no more;
From the maid's eyes her heart's emotions speak,
joyful tears course down each blooming cheek;
Nor the fair flow'r with, equal beauty glows,
When morn's bright dew drops bathe the blusling rose.
Alberto now, with senses steep'd in bliss,
Gives his young bride her husband's virgin kiss,
Bejoicing friends encircle them around,
And o'er their heads the pealing bells resound
"Good heavens! what's that!" awakening from this dream,
His opening eyes behold a lantern's gleam;
A voice replies, " Eight bells, Sir; shorten sail,
'Tis a wild night, and promises a gale
Alberto sighs ; no thoughts will time allow;
For Duty claims his whole attention now.
When his dimm'd eyes, just parted from the light,
At length gain pow'r to penetrate the night,
They landward turn, in eager hope to see
The lights of Scarb'rough twinkling on the lee;
" Yes, there they are ! the wind is fair and strong,
And if we're thus till midnight borne along,
Safe moor'd in Shields, with all our canvas furl'd,
We'll bid defiance to the watery world."
He seaward turns, but there the scene displays
No cheering prospect to his anxious gaze;
The wind is east; and each successive blast
With greater strength bends ev'ry yielding mast;
While in the eastward, fraught with wind and ram,
A fearful darkness overhangs the main ;
And 'midst that gloom, so silent and profound,
The gale prepares to sweep the seas around.
Now from that mass with savage fury torn,
Some clouds rush forth,—the heralds of the storm;
With headlong speed they part the startled air,
And through the night's fast deepening darkness tear;
On each and all are others following fast,
W itk denser gloom the east is overcast;
And, while the waves roll round her foamy track,
The ship's made ready for the storm's attack.
The tempest now, where Death's grim forces lurk,
Spreads its dark wings, impatient for its work;
And yonder storm-clouds marshall'd in tlie east,
Are on their mission suddenly released;
High o'er the waves with eager haste they rise
The savage blood-hounds of the northern skies!
And—-while from thence Peace takes her sorrow-ing flight—
In search of victims scour the plains of Night.
The storm approaches : with a warning sound,
Large, heavy raindrops thinly fall around;
The winds decrease; but in a moment more,
Prom the south-eastward rush with sudden roar;
And, while the crew tend every straining sail,
Bursts round the ship the fury of the gale.
Now loudly fierce the rising tempest spreads,
And boiling billows rear their hoary heads;
At Nature's voice, refresh'd with latent sleep,
Eush .forth the horrors of the dangerous deep;
Upheaving high 'midst heav'n's contracted dome,
With gathering strength the angry billows foam;
O'er the high hull the drenching spray-drops rise,
And join the ceaseless torrent from the skies ;
With deaf'ning sound the winds and waters roar,
And drive the vessel madly on before.
On through, the night, impenetrably dark,
"With fearful speed tears on the gallant barque;
God help the ship that stands before her now !—
If once beneath that swiftly moving bow,
No eyes could see in time enough to save;
But ship and crew must sink beneath the wave.
°n, on she rushes, dangerously fast,
To madness goaded by the furious blast;
"While from the clouds, past many a shrinking eye,
The blinding lightning darts athwart the sky ;
Distinctly plain revealing to the sight
The hidden horrors of the stormy night;
Then through the air the booming thunder bounds,
Creation trembling at the dreadful sounds !
While fast and thick the slanting rain-drops fall,
n d darkness most profound encircles all.
Thus o'er the ship, for one distracting hour,
The raging tempest revels in its pow'r ;
Then on its wings the darkness takes its flight,
While far around expands the dome of night:
Tte black clouds part, and glancing do inbetween,
® r ight, twinkling stars illuminate the scene ;
And while they thus their welcome faces shew,
Take half the danger from the scene below.
The hours pass on : 'tis nearly midnight now,
And Tynemouth lighthouse rises on the bow ;
The sea runs high ; not slowly moves along
In lengthy rollers regularly strong ;
But short and steep the angry billows leap
(As if by magic) from the treacherous deep :
Before the tempest's undiminish'd force,
The " Ocean Queen" speeds wildly on her course ;
From either bow
she flings the flaky foam,
And through the hissing billows hastens home ;
Thus swiftly onwards to the Tyne she flies,
Till North Shields' lights appear before their eyes.
'Tis now high water : soon the course is
To take the harbour all's at once arranged;
The braces, haulyards, sheets, and downhauls
To tend them all the crew are station'd near;
While two good seamen o'er the helm preside,
To point the vessel o'er the foamy tide.
With all the sail
the straining masts can bear,
Through the high waves' divided crests they tear ;
With rapid speed the river's mouth they near,
bright and more bright the harbour lights appear;
But while they thus approach the welcome shore.
The bar's all-threatening dangers rise before.
From where the waves, with hoary summits
Tbo gallant vessel's present track surround;
While thus we landward o'er the seas advance ;
Let us gaze round us with a passing glance :
Across the clear and star-besprinkled sky,
The tempest driven clouds impetuous fly;
While far astern, and round on either beam,
The stormy ocean's only to be seen :
On the port bow, impatient of controul,
0 er the Hard sand the angry billows roll;
Thence rising high, the river's mouth they cross,
And ships, as playthings, on their summits toss :
Thus, fraught with danger, on they fiercely go
Where the Black Middens silent lurk below ;
Till on those rocks
witli sudden strength they
And there, with fearful fury, break around.
Far, far ahead, beyond the rocks and sand,
The lights of Shields as guiding beacons stand ;
But from the skip to where those lights are seen,
Destruction's vortex seeins to whirl between;
And all its dangers must be braved, before
The crew can gain the safety of the shore.
Like some huge bird returning to its nest,
The ship skims o'er each foamy billow's crest;
With her high hull approaching seas defies,
And spurns them all before her as they rise;
Back whence they came presumptuous waves are
And on she sails, undaunted and alone.
On, on they speeddue landward still they
See ! now they pass the end of Tynemoutli pier ;
Broad on each bow the broken waters shew
Where the Black Middens and the Hard s below.
! those rocks and sands to shun,
And through "between with speed and safety
See where yon pilot by the helmsman stands,
Scans with quick eyes, and issues his commands ;
'Tis his rough task to "brave the stormy tide,
And safe to port the ship and crew to guide ;
And thus to lead where deadly danger's rife,
Is but the duty of his ocean life.
Thus fleetly sailing, Tynemouth pier is pass'd ;
The ship's to leewaid of the sands at last;
But here, alas ! before Alberto's eyes
Impending dangers unexpected rise ;
Destruction's form the fated ship reigns o'er,
And Safety's left her, —to return no more.
High round the hull, terrifically strong,
A Wave stupendous swiftly rolls along;
o*l its high crest, with overwhelming force
It bears the ship to leeward from her course;
Then from its pow'r it leaves the vessel free,
And joins the breakers roaring on the lee.
he Watchful pilot sees with blank dismay
The ship with ease to leeward borne away ; —
" Hard down
the helm!" with, eager haste he
" Hard down it is !" the helmsman quick replies;
Her prompt obedience soon the vessel proves,
And from the threat'ning rocks, affrighted, moves:
But while she's thus obedient to command,
Another wave approaches from the sand ;
Eesistless, lifts her high above its roar,
And bears her onward to the rocks once more :
From its high crest the trembling seamen see
The deadly breakers foaming on the lee;
And while they thus the fearful scene
From the doom'd ship the billow rolls away.
Surprised, coufounded ; now, alas ! too late ;
The pilot sees their darkly threaten'd fate ;
"Hard down! hard down!" the helmsmen prompt
For on their steering all their lives depend ;
Once more the vessel leaves the rocks,—in vain!
For yon dark wave will bear them back again.
Diffusing fear through many a manly breast,
On, on it comes ; a giant to the rest;
The awe struck
seamen silent hold their breath,
And view it as the messenger of Death ;
On, on it rushes to the ship below,
As if't would crush her with a single blow;
Then sudden lifts her from the watery vale,
A-nd bears her, trembling, high amidst the gale;
Her after keel throws upwards in the air,
And leaves the rudder dry and useless thera
•Thence rushing forward, with resistless force
Turns the doom'd ship the river's mouth across; —
With grasp relentless, to the rocks away,
Exultant rushes with its conquer'd prey;
And, while to Heaven pray'rs for mercy rise,
On the Black Middens hurls its noble prize.
CANTO THE THIRD.
While round the ship these sudden dangers fall,
The crew, appal'd, scarce realize them all;
Till on the rocks with fearful force they go,
And ev'ry timber trembles with the blow;
Then o'er the deck with pallid cheeks they fly,
While deadly terror gleams from ev'ry eye: —
On the doom'd ship a wave's approaching fast,
One moment more, perchance, will be their last!
With hopeless looks, each, every spot they scan,
Not one yields safety to the life of man ;
Then rush below, their threaten'd lives to save,
And wait, all breathless, for the coming wave.
It comes ! it
comes ! and rushing o'er the wreck,
Sweeps off the bulwarks level with the deck ; —
High o'er the topsails flings the flying spray,
And tears, at once, the quivering masts away;
Midst the white foam they fall with crashing
And universal ruin spreads around.
Meanwhile the ship, uplifted by the sea,
By the same wave's forced further on the lee ;
O'er the rough rocks, with all her beauty gone,
It bears the helpless victim of the storm ;
■Then rushes onward with triumphant roar,
And leaves the vessel groaning on the shore.
While, simultaneous, on Alberto's sight
bursts all the threatening horrors of the night;—
As o'er his head those fearful breakers roll,
words can paint the anguish of his soul?
®°me moments back, with hopeful feelings rife,
He gazed, exultant, on his future life ;
right, happy scenes amidst the prospect shone.
And all he wish'd for seem'd to be his own :
hose moments past find all those feelings fled,
And Hope's last spark within his bosom dead;
All tliat fair prospect banish'd by
Existence ending, and tlie future gone !
A broken hull where strength and beauty s been,
And stem Destruction gloating o'er the scene.
When youthful vigour nerves the active frame,
And life's warm tide flows swift through ev ry
When, long, long years of weary labour past,
Our youth's brightdreams seem realized at last;
When Love and Hope reign jointly, o'er the
And every future fear is lull d to rest;
While o'er the mind, where'e'er we turn our
Sweet scenes of home in silent beauty rise ;
Where one dear form, one fair, beloved face,
Yearns to receive our loving, long embrace j
And, while still gazing on the scene so fair,
An inward whisper says, "You'll soon be there! —
When time to come these present joys can give,
'Tis then we feel how sweet it is to live.
But oh ! when thus so brightly round our head
"From Love's clear sun that happy halo's shed;—
When Care seems banish'd to return no more,
And life lias never seem'd so fair before ; —
"VVhen of those hopes, so eherish'd and so plan'd,
The long'd fulfilment seems at last at hand; —
How fearful then for Death's strong arm to fall,
And with one' blow annihilate them all.
New-from the framework, off to leeward borne,
With fearful speed the oaken planks are torn ;
As o'er the wreck, impatient for its prey,
Each billow breaks, and shoreward rolls away :
Far, far around, by ev'ry wave supplied,
The fragments mingle with the foaming tide ;
And, thus upbroken, ere an hour is o'er
The " Ocean Queen's" strong hull will strew the
The trembling seamen, forced to keep below,
With hopeless hearts feel each successive blow ;
Ko pow'r have they their threaten'd lives to save,
I>ut soon must perish in an ocean grave.
High o'er the rocks, where cliffs defiant frown,
A gathering crowd with straining eyes look down;
With trembling forms, all powerless to aid,
They view the havoc that the storm has made ;
And, fill'd. with feelings ne'er to "be forgot,
By Horror's power are rooted to the spot.
To those, who, safe on that commanding height,
Saw all that pass'd on that tempestuous night;
If by some chance their eyes should wander here,
How weak and tame these pages must appear ! —
The painter's pencil, and the poet's pen,
May give descriptions to the minds of men ,
But both must fail the breath of life to give,
To make the canvas or the paper live !
In yonder volume tell me where to trace
The anguish'd look of one beseeching face !
Or on yon canvas shew me where appears
The cry for help that haunts txs, aye ! for years !
They are not there ! —we do the best we can,
But animated nature baffles man :
To shew all, life-like, to the reader's view,
Is vain to try, impossible to do ;
Words are but words: they cannot make you feel
The storm, the wreck, and all the danger's real;
For in the mind to picture such a scene,
Defies Imagination's wildest dream.
While thus the
crew despairingly await
The end of their inevitable fate,
Alberto oasts his hopeless eyes once more
Where Shields' bright lights are shining from
the shore ;
And, while around the deadly breakers roll,
With words like these relieves his tortured soul.
" Deprived of hope, surrounded by despair,—
Eob'd of the future, when it seem'd so fair;
And, while yon port invites us to repose,
Feel round our heads the shades of darkness
Forgive me, God ! and calm my bursting brow,
For my poor heart rebels against Thee now.
Oh ! Alice ! thou than all the world more dear,
How wilt thy mind these dreadful tidings hear?
In vain, alas ! thy faithful heart will yearn
To greet with loving arms my long'd return ;
When the bride's veil should float around thy
Thy form will wear the mourning for the dead !
While from thine eyes the burning tears shall
And all thy soul be fill'd with lasting woe.
If, free from
danger, thou wert standing by
To give one 100k —one kiss before I die ;
In part resign'd I then could yield my breath,
2s T or feel this fearful bitterness of death.
" Oh ! Thou ! to whom through all my wan-
I've look'd for help 'midst elemental strife ;
Oh ! hear my pray'r ! stretch forth Thy hand
to save !
And bear me safe through every threatening wave.
But if, oh God ! I cry to Thee in vain,
And life's warm breath must quit this trembling
To Thy great will make me submissive bow,
Xor let my trust in Thee forsake me now ;
And when in death this form is laid at rest,
Fulfil, Almighty God ! my last request.
When she I love, my long intended wife,
Shall hear the dire conclusion of my life ;
While her dull' 4 soul refuses all relief,
Oh ! be Thou near to moderate her grief !
On her young mind the balm of peace bestow 1
And teach her loving heart to bear the blow !
earth our mutual hope's denied,
lS T or I may live to claim her for my bride—
Beyond the grave my past transgressions spare ;
And let her live in hopes to meet me there !
Keep her through life from sin and danger free !
And teach her always to rely on Thee !
Do this, oh God ! till her short life is o'er j
And grant we then may meet to part no more."
While from his heart went forth this earnest
A deeper, holier feeling enter'd there ;
For Faith, returning, calm'd each restless eye,
And made him fit to live—prepared to die !
To God's high will his rising thoughts resign'd ;
And soothed the previous anguish of his mind.
Hark ! 'midst the storm repeated cheers arise ;
What means those joyful, long-continued, cries ?
Towards the shore—their meaning thence to
With rising hope the anxious seamen turn :
On those high cliffs full many a hundred stands,
With eager gestures and with outstretch'd hands;
While from their
hearts, with boundless feeling
Those sounds proceed; and mingle with the
Would'st know their cause ? —the shipwreck'd
crew to save,
See where yon Life-Boat battles with the wave !
And if thy breast surrounding feeling shares,
With loudest accents join thy cheers to theirs.
Now lost to view in yonder ocean vale,
Now on yon wave poised high amidst the gale;
See where her crew, unconscious of a fear,
Towards those fatal rocks, undaunted, steer :
The bending oars with willing arms they ply,
And o'er the angry seas in safety fly :
Propel'd with strength, presided o'er with skill,
They keep the boat subservient to their will;
And while around the threatening billows leap,
Defiant brave the dangers of the deep !
All ye whose hearts possess that tender chord
Where deeds heroic meet their mute reward j
Here let your breasts with admiration glow,
And on yon crew your boundless praise bestow :
thoughts, but sentiments divine,
Inspire those hardy seamen of the Tyne !
Unask'd, they rush where deadly peril's rife ;
And risk their own to save another's life !
Actions like these display the noblest mind ;
And yield the greatest honour to mankind.
How from the wreck, with palpitating frame,
Alberto gazes o'er the stormy main;
To where, regardless of the tempest's breath,
Ton boat draws near to rescue him from death :
Ho more despair his rising thoughts controul,
But Hope's bright spark electrifies his soul;
And while with joy she makes his bosom swell,
Triumphant whispers, "All may yet be well!"
To yon dark wreck on Mercy's mission bound,
while angry seas with threatening looks surround;
Swift through their midst the struggling life-boat
Hor wind nor wave her onward course impedes :
Though round their heads stupendous billows rise,
Her noble crew their fiercest pow'r defies;
And hasten on at pale Distress's call,
With hearts determined to surmount them all.
—while commingling with the stormy air,
The accents rise of many a fervent pray'r ; —
While from the shore, with fascinated gaze,
Ten thousand eyes their dang'rous track sur-
veys ; —
While at his oar each brawny seaman bends,
And strong excitement strength untiring lends ;
And while yon forms, half hidden by the foam,
Feel that their lives depend on them alone ; —
The life-boat speeds in safety o'er the main,
And proves herself full worthy of her name.
Tlie space is pass'd; she nears the sfcatter'd
And the ship's crew, expectant, crowd the deck ;
But see ! she turns ! and southward points her
" Good God ! they'll surely not desert us now !"
The dreadful thought the bravest breast dismays,
And their pale cheeks the rising fear betrays.
Courage, brave hearts ! set ev'ry doubt at rest;
Be sure they're acting only for the best;
They see those fatal rocks at times are bare,
And know that then 'tis death to venture there >
On their bold
efforts trust for succour still,
And know, that if you can be saved—you will!
While the boat's crew impetuous thoughts
And wait the moment that promotes success ;
Some moments pass in which the boldest quail,
For life and death alternate rides the gale :—
As 'twixt two seas the boat in safety lies,
Or round her bows approaching billows rise,
Till swift on high her trembling form is thrown
'Midst one loud-roaring cataract of foam !
But ere the billow bears them to the shore,
A few quick, vig'rous strokes, —they're safe once
With nerves of iron, and bold, unshrinking glance,
The coxswain sees each threatening wave advance;
But, while impatience fires his fearless breast,
Expectant waits one smaller than the rest;
For Prudence whispers 'midst Excitement's breath
" Delay's but dangerous, —hastiness is death !"
While the strong seas, with undiminisli'd pow'r,
The " Ocean Queen's" once stately hull devour;—
While from their
hold the sullen fast'nings start,
And piece by piece the vessel breaks apart;—
Dow fill'd with hope, now sinking with despair,
To leave the wreck her trembling crew prepare :
Of cumbrous garments soon their forms divest,
And to the gale bare each determined breast;
Then, while around the deadly breakers roll,
And dread Suspense fills ev'ry tortured soul;
They gaze expectant o'er their threaten'd grave,
And wait the life-boat's coming o'er the wave.
" She comes ! she comes!" reechoes loud the
She comes ! she comes ! and ev'ry heart beats
As yon huge breaker, rolling from the hull,
Leaves in its wake a temporary lull,
Tor a few moments danger dies away,
And brief lived Safety reassumes her sway:
The boat's brave crew the chance at once descries,
And o'er the seas the ark of mercy flies;
Full well they know the danger of delay,
And strain each nerve to speed them on their way:
While ev'ry stroke each oar obedient bends,
Tie coxswain's hand the guiding helm attends;
Swift as they rise he calms intruding fears,
And for those fatal rocks, undaunted, steers :
Thus speed they onward 'midst the tempest's roar,
Destruction round them, lurking Death before ;
Till close beneath the shatter'd stern she lies,
And all their danger bursts upon their eyes :
High o'er their heads the shipwreck'd crow
Trembling beneath their agonizing fears ;
Close to the taff'rail eagerly they press,—
Gaze downward with unspeakable distress ; —
On heav'n's high King for instant mercy call,
And feel some moments more must settle all.
While each and all the scene's conclusion wait,
Arrives the moment pregnant with their fate ;
As by yon wave they're swiftly borne on high,
"Jump in ! jump in !" the boatmen loudly cry ;
Then head to sea with skilful speed they turn,
A few feet only from the vessel's stern,
shipwreck'd crew, half paralyzed with fear,
The sudden order undetermined hear;
life-boat gaze with blank dismay,
Nor seem to know the danger of delay ;
Until the breaker rolls towards the shore,
And down its side the boat descends once more :
Then from their minds with sudden wrench they
The soul-subduing influence of woe ;
Behold too late the precious moments lost,
And, while each breast's with varying feelings
While yet the boat descends the watery steep,
Swift o'er the stern the nearest seamen leap ;
And as they fall, with desperation clasp
The nearest object ofter'd to their grasp ,
And for their lives their first firm hold retain,
Till, one by one, they're rescued from the main.
Ilark to that cheer ! borne onwards by the gale,
To those on shore it tells the welcome tale
That their last effort's crown'd with full success ;
And half the seamen's rescued from distress :
But while the sound makes joyful every heart,
Beneath the keel the broken waters part;
The boat, descending,
strikes the slimy rock;
And every timber loosens with the shock :
Appal'd, the boatmen feel the cruel blow •
And tremble in an agony of woe :
Through the bilged planks the bubbling waters
And deadly terror glistens in their eyes.
Quick at the sight, the spirits of the storm
High o'er their heads a joyful circle form;
ith gloating eyes the fearful scene survey,
Anticipative of expected prey :
Insatiate Death arrests his circling flight,
And counts his promised victims with delight ;
Surrounding waves rejoice with horrid roar,
And bear the dreadful tidings to the shore.
■But scarce the life-boat strikes the rocky ground,
Than the succeeding billow rolls around ;
Lifts her dark form, resistless, in its arms ;
And quickly moderates the crew's alarms :—
The boat, though leaky, still obeys controul,
And all the air-tight upper parts are whole ;
This fact made known, immediate danger ends,
And on the rising wave she swift ascends.
impatient to desert tlie wreck,
All who remain are seen upon the deck ;
With kindling breasts they saw their comrades
And all the risk their hold preservers hraved;
And, all aglow with growing hopes of life,
Scarce fear surrounding elemental strife.
"While Hope's bright spark each manly bosom
Near and more near the rising boat appears ;
Her crew, though brave, with ample reason dread
Another contact with the ocean's bed ;
For should the boat with greater violence fall,
One single blow might fatal prove to all.
Thus, as the billow bears them swift on high,
" Leap for your lives!" with loudest tones they
Quick o'er the stern the seamen spnng,
And to the friendly oars determined cling ;
Tor see ! the wave, of fearful strength possest,
High o'er their heads revolves its glittering crest}
Then 'midst its foam their struggling forms
And thrills with horror all the shrinking crowd.
Appal'd, they stand in torturing suspense ;
With features fraught with silent eloquence ;
Till the huge breaker bounds upon the shore,
Then gaze beyond with apprehensive awe :
But while in vain they search with straining eyes,
'Midst the loud gale three lusty cheers arise;
And to their hearts those welcome sounds proclaim
That those they seek are rescued from the main.
Drench'd with the waves, half blinded by the
Now from the fated wreck they steer away ;
And, while around the angry tempest roars,
With nerves unshaken ply the bending oars :
The baffled billows, impotently strong,
With sounds teriffie, swiftly roll along :
With fiercest rage their onward course oppose,
And round the boat with savage fury close ;
But all in vain they wildly rise and fall,
For the good life-boat still surmounts them all.
On, on they pull; the shatter'd wreck recedes,
Till o'er the waves the boat exultant speeds;
No angry billows mar their progress now,
But smoother waters roll around the bow ;
And while Remembrance shudders at the Past,
They feel their lives, thank God ! are safe at last.
As thus their arms the trembling keel impels,
With purest joy each manly "bosom swells ;
Their past success their honest pride exites,
And fills each soul with unalloy'd delights
While whispering Conscience all their acts applaud
And give their noble deeds their first reward.
Thus 'midst the storm they speed across the main,
And their own shores in peace and safety gain ;
While cheers on cheers, with fervent feeling warm,
Proclaim the Life-Boat's triumph o'er the storm.
Our tale is ended :—'t would be vain to tell
What you, kind reader, must have guess'd so well
How, all the dangers of the shipwreck past,
Alberto's dream was realized at last;
But on that morn, when all around was bright,
And Nature's self seem'd smiling with delight;
Ere the fair Alice from her chamber came,
To share Alberto's home, and bear his name ;
By childhood's bed she reverently knelt, —
breathed forth the earnest gratitude she felt;
And pray'd that God, Who all their merits knew,
Would bless the life-boat's noble hearted crew.
And oft, since then, when raging tempests roar
Far, far from Britain's rook-surrounded shore-;
While all around them howls the threat'ning gale,
Alberto still relates the thrilling tale :
And, fondly gazing on his loving wife,
Recounts the storm —the wreck —his threaten'd life ;
Then, while bright eyes grow dim, and bosom! warm,
Tolls how the Life-Boat saved him from the storm.
Printed by John Christie, Caxton House, Cross Street, Newcastle