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breakers; so terrific, beyond the wildest imagination, was the whirlpool of mountainous and foaming ocean within which we were engulfed.
After a while I heard the voice of an old Swede, who had shipped with us at the moment of leaving port. I hallooed to him with all my strength, and presently he came reeling aft. We soon discovered that we were the sole survivors of the accident. All on deck had been swept overboard; the captain and mates must have perished as they slept, for the cabins were deluged with water. Without assistance, we could expect to do little for the security of the ship, and our exertions were at first paralyzed by the momentary expectation of going down.
Our cable had, of course, parted like pack-thread, at the first breath of the hurricane, or we should have been instantaneously overwhelmed. We scudded with frightful velocity before the sea, and the water made clear breaches over us. The framework of the stern was shattered excessively, and, in almost every respect, we had received considerable injury. But to our extreme joy we found the pumps unchoked, and that we had made no great shifting of ballast. The main fury of the blast had already blown over, and we apprehended little danger from the violence of the wind; but we looked forward to its total cessation with dismay, well believing that, in our shattered condition, we should inevitably perish in the tremendous swell which would ensue.
But this very just apprehension seemed by no means likely soon to be verified. For five entire days and nights the hulk flew at a rate defying computation, before rapidly succeeding flaws of wind, which without equaling the first violence of the simoom, were still more terrific than any tempest I had before encountered.
Eternal night continued to envelop us, all unrelieved by the phosphoric sea-brilliancy to which we had been accustomed in the tropics. We observed, too, that, although the tempest continued to rage with unabated violence, there was no longer to be discovered the usual appearance of surf, or foam, which had hitherto attended us. All around were horror, and thick gloom, and a black sweltering desert of ebony.
Superstitious terror crept by degrees into the spirit of the old Swede, and my own soul was wrapped in silent wonder. We neglected all care of the ship, as worse than useless, and securing ourselves, as well as possible, to the stump of the mizzenmast, looked out bitterly into the world of ocean. At times we gasped for breath at an elevation beyond the albatross; at times we became dizzy with the velocity of our descent into some watery deep, where the air grew stagnant, and no sound disturbed the slumbers of th kraken.' We were at the bottom of one of these abysses, when a scream from my companion broke upon the night. “See ! see!” cried he, shrieking in my ears, “See ! see!” As he spoke I became aware of a dull sullen glare of red light which streamed down the sides of the vast chasm where we lay, and threw a fitful brilliancy upon our deck.
i kraken; a fabled sea monster.
Casting my eyes upwards, I beheld a spectacle which froze the current of my blood. .
At a terrific height directly above us, and upon the very verge of the precipitous descent, hovered a gigantic ship, of perhaps four thousand tons. Although upreared upon the summit of a wave more than a hundred times her own altitude, her apparent size still exceeded that of any ship of the line in existence.
Her hull was of a deep dingy black, unrelieved by any of the customary carvings of a ship. A single row of brass cannon protruded from her open ports, and dashed from their polished surfaces the fires of innumerable battle-lanterns which swung to and fro about her rigging.
But what mainly inspired us with horror and astonishment, was that she bore up under a press of sail in the very teeth of that supernatural sea, and of that ungovernable hurricane.
When we first discovered her, her bows were alone to be seen, as she rose slowly from the dim and horrible gulf beyond her. For a moment of intense terror she paused upon the giddy pinnacle, as if in contemplation of her own sublimity; then trembled and tottered, and — came down. [Abridgment.]
EDGAR ALLAN POE.
THE SHIPWRECK OF ULYSSES.
HOMER, the Greek epic poet and supposed author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, is now believed to have been born in the eighth century, B.C.
The exact date and the true place of his birth are unknown. It appears to be true that he was a wandering minstrel and very poor ; so that it has been said of him :
“Seven cities warred for Homer being
dead, Who living had no roof to shroud his
Yet, like our own Shakespeare, “he was not for an age, but for all time." Though the language of the Homeric poems is exceedingly simple, yet they are regarded as the most graceful of all poetic writings.
At the stern of his solitary ship Ulysses sat, and steered right artfully. No sleep could seize his eyelids. He beheld the Pleiads, the Bear which by some is called the Wain, that moves round about Orion, and keeps still above the ocean, and the slowsetting sign Boötés, which some name the Wagoner.
Seventeen days had he held his course, and on the eighteenth the coast of Phæacia was in sight. The figure of the land, as seen from the sea, was pretty and circular, and looked something like a shield.
Neptune, returning from visiting his favorite Æthiopians, from the mountains of Solymi, descried Ulysses plowing the waves, his domain. The sight of the man he so much hated for the sake of Polyphemus, his son, whose eyes Ulysses had put out, set the god's heart on fire, and snatching into his hand his horrid sea scepter, the trident of his power, he smote the air and the sea, and conjured up all his black storms, calling down night from the cope of heaven, and taking earth into the sea, as it seemed, with clouds, through the darkness and indistinctness which prevailed, the billows rolling up before the fury of the winds that contended together in their mighty sport.
Then the knees of Ulysses bent with fear, and then all his spirit was spent, and he wished that he had been
among the number of his countrymen who fell before Troy, and had their funerals celebrated by all the Greeks, rather than to perish thus, where no man could mourn or know him.
As he thought these melancholy thoughts, a huge wave took him and washed him overboard, ship and all upset among the billows, he struggling afar off, clinging to her stern broken off which he yet held, her mast cracking in two with the fury of that gust of mixed winds that struck it. Sails and sailyards fell into the deep, and he himself was long drowned under water, nor could get his head above, wave so met with wave, as if they strove which should depress him most; and the gorgeous garments given him by Calypso clung about him, and hindered his swimming