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And blending with the rose's bloom
Models of cannoned ships of war,
Rigged out in gallant style;
And Nelson at the Nile,
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:
A haunter of the quay;
He took him to the sea.
Four years on board a merchantman
He sailed—a growing lad;
In endless summer clad,
To palmy Trinidad.
But sterner life was in his thoughts,
When, 'mid the sea-fight's jar,
To crown a British tar;—
On board a man-of-war.
Through forty years of storm and shine
From where, beneath the tropic line,
The winged fishes leap,
To everlasting sleep.
I recollect the brave old man—
Methinks upon my view
Striped shirt, and jacket blue;
Keen eye, and plaited queue.
Yon turfen bench the veteran loved,
For from that spot he could survey
That element where he so long
And lighted up his faded face,
When, drifting in the gale,
Far off, a coming sail:
To list the sea-mew's wail!
Oft would he tell how, under Smith,
Upon the Egyptian strand,
They joined the men on land,
Behind their bags of sand.
And when he told how through the Sound,
With Nelson in his might,
To quell the Dane in fight,
His veteran eye with light!
But chiefly of hot Trafalgar
The brave old man would speak;
A glow suffused his cheek,
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;
Homeward the bird and bee,
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,
A thing to be desired;
The man of war expired.
THE FUNERAL AT SEA.
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
As though his funeral hour should be
And there he lay, in his coarse, cold shroud,
Not a kinsman was seen among the crowd—.
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:
But the plunging sound of the dead was there,
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 led the wondrous way
Each heart throughout the gazing throng
What anxious gladness fills,
O'er Judah's sacred hills,
There—unknown to rich and great,
The Prince of Peace, so young, so fair,
In lowly state was sleeping;
His mother watch was keeping.
THE LOSS OF THE SALDANAH.
[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"