Page images

And blending with the rose's bloom
Sea-thistles freaked with jet.

Models of cannoned ships of war,

Rigged out in gallant style;
Pictures of Camperdown's red fight,

And Nelson at the Nile,
Were round his cabin hung, his hours,

When lonely, to beguile.

And there were charts and soundings, made

By Anson, Cook, and Bligh; Fractures of coral from the deep,

And storm-stones from the sky; Shells from the shores of gay Brazil;

Stuffed birds, and fishes dry.

Old Simon had an orphan been—

No relative had he:
E'en from his childhood was he seen

A haunter of the quay;
So at the age of raw thirteen

He took him to the sea.

Four years on board a merchantman

He sailed—a growing lad;
And all the isles of Western Ind,

In endless summer clad,
He knew—from pastoral St. Lucie

To palmy Trinidad.

But sterner life was in his thoughts,

When, 'mid the sea-fight's jar,
Stooped Victory from the battered shrouds

To crown a British tar;—
'Twas then he went—a volunteer—

On board a man-of-war.

Through forty years of storm and shine
He ploughed the changeful deep;

From where, beneath the tropic line,

The winged fishes leap,
To where frost rooks the polar seas

To everlasting sleep.

I recollect the brave old man—

Methinks upon my view
He comes again—his varnished hat,

Striped shirt, and jacket blue;
His bronzed and weather-beaten cheek,

Keen eye, and plaited queue.

Yon turfen bench the veteran loved,
Beneath the threshold tree;

For from that spot he could survey
The broad expanse of sea,—.

That element where he so long
Had been a rover free!

And lighted up his faded face,

When, drifting in the gale,
He with his telescope could catch,

Far off, a coming sail:
It was a music to his ear

To list the sea-mew's wail!

Oft would he tell how, under Smith,

Upon the Egyptian strand,
Eager to beat the boastful French,

They joined the men on land,
And plied their deadly shots, intrenched

Behind their bags of sand.

And when he told how through the Sound,

With Nelson in his might,
They passed the Oronberg batteries,

To quell the Dane in fight,
His voice with vigour filled again—

His veteran eye with light!

But chiefly of hot Trafalgar

The brave old man would speak;
And when he showed his oaken stump,

A glow suffused his cheek,
While his eye filled—for wound on wound

Had left him worn and weak.

Ten years, in vigorous old age,

Within that cot he dwelt— Tranquil as falls the snow on snow

Life's lot to him was dealt; But came infirmity at length,

And slowly o'er him stealt.

We missed him on our seaward walk;

The children went no more To listen to his evening talk

Beside the cottage-door;— Grim palsy held him to the bed

Which health eschewed before.

'Twas harvest-time;—day after day

Beheld him weaker grow; Day after day his labouring pulse •

Became more faint and slow; For in the chambers of his heart

Life's fire was burning low.

Thus did he weaken and he wane,

Till frail as frail could be;
But duly at the hour which brings

Homeward the bird and bee,
He made them prop him in his couch,

To gaze upon the sea.

And now he watched the moving boat,

And now the moveless ships, And now the western hills remote,

With gold upon their tips, As ray by ray the mighty sun

Went down in calm eclipse.

Welcome as homestead to the feet

Of pilgrim, travel-tired,
Death to old Simon's dwelling came—

A thing to be desired;
And, breathing peace to all around,

The man of war expired.



Deep mists hung over the mariner's grave,

When the holy funeral rite was read; And every breath on the dark blue wave

Seemed hushed, to hallow the friendless dead.

And heavily heaved on the gloomy sea
The ship that sheltered that homeless one,

As though his funeral hour should be
When the waves were still and the winds were gone.

And there he lay, in his coarse, cold shroud,
And strangers were round the coffinless;

Not a kinsman was seen among the crowd—.
Not an eye to weep, nor a lip to bless.

No sound from the church's passing-bell

Was echoed along the pathless deep, The hearts that were far away to tell

Where the mariner lies in his lasting sleep.

Not a whisper then lingered upon the air:
O'er his body one moment his mess-mates bent;

But the plunging sound of the dead was there,
And the ocean is now his monument.

But many a sigh, and many a tear,

Shall be breathed and shed, in the hours to come,— When the widow and fatherless shall hear

How he died, far, far from his happy home.



A Star appeared, and peaceful threw

Around its holy ray;
It caught the faithful Magi's view,

It led the wondrous way
From far-famed Persia's smiling bowers,
Fair land of beauty, fruits, and flowers.

Each heart throughout the gazing throng

What anxious gladness fills,
While slowly moved that star along

O'er Judah's sacred hills,
And- softly fixed its mellow light
On distant Bethlehem's joyful night!

There—unknown to rich and great,
Or the perfumed halls of state,
Where the golden lamps so bright
Mock the silence of the night,
And the strains of music tender
Rise and fall 'mid scenes of splendour,—

The Prince of Peace, so young, so fair,

In lowly state was sleeping;
While near, with kind parental care,

His mother watch was keeping.
The Magi viewed the Bless'd of Heaven,
Their joy was full—their gifts were given.
Let the sound of the sweet harp of Judah arise!
Let the hymns of the Gentiles ascend to the skies!



[The Saldanah frigate, of thirty-eight guns, sailed from Lough Swilly, In the north of Ireland, on a cruise, November 30, 1811, and encountering a dreadful gale, was four days after driven ashore, and wrecked on the rooks at the mouth of the bay or lough which she had recently left, when, of three hundred persons on board, not one escaped. ]

"Britannia rules the waves I"
Heard'st thou that dreadful roar?

« PreviousContinue »