Page images

“Wouldn't care neither,” said I, with a heavy heart; “ but it's just back water, and we'll get out at twelve."

We retreated together into one of the shallower and drier caves, and clearing a little spot of its rough stones, and then groping along the rocks for the dry grass that in the spring season hangs from them in withered tufts, we formed for ourselves a most uncomfortable bed, and lay down in one another's arms.

For the last few hours mountainous piles of clouds had been rising dark and stormy in the sea mouth; they had flared portentously in the setting sun, and had worn, with the decline of evening, almost every meteoric tint of anger, from fiery red to a somber, thunderous brown, and from somber brown to a doleful black. And we could now at least hear what they portended, though we could no longer see.

The rising wind began to howl mournfully amid the cliffs, and the sea, hitherto so silent, to beat heavily against the shore, and to boom like distress guns,

from the recesses of the two deep-sea caves. We could hear, too, the beating rain, now heavier, now lighter, as the gusts swelled or sank. . . Toward midnight the sky cleared and the wind fell, and the moon, in her last quarter, rose red as a mass of heated iron out of the sea. We crept down, in the uncertain light, over the rough, slippery crags, to ascertain whether the tide had not fallen sufficiently far to yield us a passage ; but we found the waves chafing among the rocks just where the tide line had rested twelve hours before, and a full fathom of sea enclasping the base of the promontory.

A glimmering idea of the real nature of our situation crossed my mind. It was not imprisonment for a tide to which we had consigned ourselves ; it was imprisonment for a week. There was little comfort in the thought, arising, as it did, amid the chills and terrors of a dreary midnight; and I looked wistfully on the sea as our only path of escape.

There was a vessel crossing the wake of the moon at the time, scarce half a mile from shore; and, assisted by my companion, I began to shout at the top of my lungs, in the hope of being heard by the sailors. We saw her dim bulk falling slowly athwart the red glittering belt of light that had rendered her visible, and then disappearing in the murky blackness; and just as we lost sight of her forever, we could hear an indistinct sound mingling with the dash of the waves — the shout, in reply, of the startled helmsman.

The vessel, as we afterward learned, was a large stone lighter, deeply laden, and unfurnished with a boat; nor were her crew at all sure that it would have been safe to attend to the midnight voice from amid the rocks, even had they the means of communication with the shore. We waited on and on, however, now shouting by turns, and now shouting together ; but there was no second reply; and, at length, losing hope, we groped our way back to our comfortless bed, just as the tide had turned again on the beach, and the waves began to roll upward higher and higher at

every dash.

As the moon rose and brightened, ... and I had succeeded in dropping as soundly asleep as my companion, we were both aroused by a loud shout. We started up, and again crept downwards among the crags to the shore ; and as we reached the sea, the shout was repeated. It was that of at least a dozen harsh voices united. There was a brief pause,

followed by another shout; and then two boats, strongly manned, shot round the western promontory, and the men, resting on their oars, turned to the rock and shouted yet again.

The whole town had been alarmed by the intelligence that two little boys had straggled away in the morning to the rocks of the southern Sutor, and had not found their way back. The precipices had been a scene of frightful accidents from time immemorial, and it was at once inferred that one other sad accident had been added to the number. ... And in this belief, when the moon rose and the surf fell, the two boats had been fitted out.

It was late in the morning ere we reached Cromarty, but a crowd on the beach awaited our arrival; and there were anxious-looking lights glancing in the windows, thick and manifold. [Abridgment.]




ALEXANDER POPE was born in London, England, May 21, 1688. He was a precocious child, and at the age of twelve wrote very respectable verse. His metrical “Essay on Criticism” and his Essay on Man" (also in verse) gave him high rank as a poet of the time. He translated Homer's “Iliad” and “ Odyssey” into rhymed verse, and these books were highly successful. Many of Pope's shorter poems are to be found in books of selected verse.

He died at Twickenham, England, May 30, 1744.


All are but parts of one stupendous whole,
Whose body Nature is, and God the Soul ;
That, changed through all, and yet in all the same,
Great in the earth, as in the ethereal frame;
Warms in the sun, refreshes in the breeze,
Glows in the stars, and blossoms in the trees;
Lives through all life, extends through all extent,
Spreads undivided, operates unspent;
Breathes in our soul, informs our mortal part,
As full, as perfect, in a hair as heart;
As full, as perfect, in vile Man that mourns,
As the rapt Seraph that adores and burns :
To him no high, no low, no great, no small ;
He fills, he bounds, connects, and equals all.



[ocr errors]

SIDNEY LANIER (lăn ēr') was born at Macon, Georgia, Feb. 3, 1842. He graduated at Oglethorpe College in 1860. After having served in the Civil War, he became a teacher in Alabama. Subsequently he studied law, and practiced in Macon. The Centennial Ode for the Exposition of 1876 was written by him. He was a skillful musician and a fine poet. At Johns Hopkins University he gave two courses of lectures defining the relations between music and verse. He wrote several books, three of which were published after his death. They include a volume of poems edited by his wife. He died at Lynn, North Carolina, Sept. 7, 1881.

Out of the hills of Habersham,

Down the valleys of Hall,
I hurry amain to reach the plain,
Run the rapid and leap the fall,
Split at the rock and together again,
Accept my bed or narrow or wide,
And flee from folly on every side
With a lover's pain to attain the plain

Far from the hills of Habersham,
Far from the valleys of Hall.

All down the hills of Habersham,

All through the valleys of Hall,
The rushes cried Abide, abide,
The willful waterweeds held me thrall,
The laving laurel turned my tide,
The ferns and the fondling grass said Stay,

« PreviousContinue »