« PreviousContinue »
The musket swung behind his shoulders, CAN TO III.
broad And somewhat stoop'd by his marine abode,
The fight was o'er; the flashing through But brawny as the boar's; and,hung beneath,
the gloom, His cutlass droop'd, unconscious of a sheath, which robes the cannon as he wings a tomb, Or lost or worn away ; his pistols were Had ceased; and sulphury vapours upward Link'd to his belt, a matrimonial pair
driven (Let not this metaphor appear a scoff,
Had left the earth, and but polluted heaven: Though one miss'à fire, the other would The rattling roar which rung in every volley
Had left the echoes to their melancholy; These, with a bayonet, not so free from rust No more they shriek'd their horror, boom As when the arm-chest held its brighter trust,
for boom ; Completed his accoutrements, as Night
The strife was done, the vanquish'd had Survey'd him in his garb heteroclite.
their doom ; The mutineers were crush'd, dispersed, or
ta'en, “What cheer, Ben Bunting?” cried (when
in full view
Or lived to deem the happiest were the slain. Our new acquaintance) Torquil; “Aught Few, few escaped, and these were hunted o'er
of new ?"
shore. “Ey, cy," quoth Ben, “not new, but news
No further home was theirs, it seem'd, on enow;
earth, A strange sail in the offing.”_Sail! and
Once renegades to that which gave them What! could you make her out? It cannot be; I've seen no rag of canvass on the sea.”
Track'd like wild beasts, like them they “Belike,” said Ben, "you might not from
sought the wild, the bay,
As to a mother's bosom flies the child; But from the bluff-head, where I watch'd But vainly wolves and lions seek their den,
And still more vainly men escape from men. I saw her in the doldrums; for the wind Was light and baffling."-"When the sun Beneath a roek whose jutting base prodeclined
trudes Where lay she? had she anchor’d?”—“No, Far over ocean in his fiercest moods,
When, scaling his enormous crag, the wave She bore down on us, till the wind grew Is hurl'd down headlong like the foremost still.”
brave, “Her flag?"_“I had no glass; but fore and And falls back on the foaming crowd behind,
Which fight beneath the banners of the wind, Egad, she seem'd a wicked-looking craft.” But now at rest, a little remnant drew “Årm’d ? "_“I expect so; - sent on the look- Together, bleeding, thirsty, faint, and few;
But still their weapons in their hand, and 'Tis time, belike, to put our helm about."
still “About ?—Whate'er may have us now in With something of the pride of former will,
As men not all unused to meditate, We'll make no running fight, for that were And strive much more than wonder at their base;
fate. We will die at our quarters, like true men." Their present lot was that they had foreseen, “Ey, ey; for that, 'tis all the same to Ben.” | And dared as what was likely to have been; “Does Christian know this ?”—“Ay; he has yet still the lingering hope, which deem’d piped all hands
their lot To quarters. They are furbishing the stands Not pardon'd, but unsought for or forgot, Of arms; and we have got some guns to bear, Or trusted that, if sought, their distant caves And scaled them. You are wanted.”—“That's Might still be miss'd amidst the world of but fair;
waves, And if it were not, mine is not the soul
Had wean’d their thoughts in part from To leave my conırades helpless on the shoal.
what they saw My Neuha! ah! and must my fate pursue And felt- the vengeance of their country's Not me alone, but one so sweet and true ?
law. But whatsoe'er betide, ah, Neuha! now
Their sea-green isle, their guilt-won paUnman me not; the hour will not allow
radise, A tear; I am thine, whatever intervenes!” No more could shield their virtue or their “Right,” quoth Ben, “that will do for the
vice: ..marines." Their better feelings, if such were, were
Back on themselves, - their sins remaind His light brown locks, so graceful in their alone.
flow, Proscribed even in their second country, they Now rose like startled vipers o'er his brow. Were lost;in vain the world before them lay; Still as a statue, with his lips comprest All outlets seem'd secured. Their new allies To stifle even the breath within his breast, Had fought and bled in mutual sacrifice; Fast by the rock, all menacing but mute, But what avail'd the club and spear and arm He stood; and, save a slight beat of his foot, Of Hercules, against the sulphury charm, Which deepend now and then the sandy dint The magic of the thunder, which destroy'd Beneath his heel, his form seem'd turn'd to The warrior ere his strength could be
flint. employ'd ? Some paces further Torquil leand his head Dug, like a spreading pestilence, the grave Against a bank, and spoke not, but he bled,No less of human bravery than the brave! Not murtally, his worst wound was within : Their own scant numbers acted all the few His brow was pale, his blue eyes sunken in, Against the many oft will dare and do; And blood-drops sprinkled o'er his yellow But though the choice seems native to die
Shew'd that his faintness came not from Even Greece can boast but one Thermopylæ
despair, Till now, when she has forged her broken But Nature's ebb. Beside him was another,
Rough as a bear, but willing as a brother,Back to a sword, and dies and lives again! Ben Bunting, who essay'd to wash, and wipe,
And bind his wound - then calmly lit his
pipeBeside the jutting rock the few appear’d: A trophy which survived an hundred fights, Like the last remnant of the red-deer's herd; A beacon which had cheerd ten thousand Their eyes were feverish, and their aspect
The fourth and last of this deserted group But still the hunter's blood was on their horn. Walk'd up and down-at times would stand, A little stream came tumbling from the
then stoop height, And straggling into ocean as it might,
To pick a pebble up—then let it drop
Then hurry as in haste-then quickly stopIts bounding crystal frolick'd in the ray, And gush'd from cleft to crag with saltless Half whistle half a tune, and pause again-,
Then cast his eyes on his companions--then spray;
And then his former movements would Close on the wild, wide ocean, yet as pure
redouble, And fresh as innocence, and more secure.
With something between carelessness and Its silver torrent glitter'd o'er the deep,
trouble. As the shy chamois'eye o'erlooks the steep: This is a long description, but applies While far below the vast and sullen swell To scarce five minutes past before the eyes; Of ocean's Alpine-azure rose and fell.
But yet what minutes ! Moments like to these To this young spring they rush'd , – all Rend men's lives into immortalities.
feelings first Absorb'd in Passion's and in Nature's thirst,Drank as they do who drink their last, and
At lengthJackSkyscrape,a mercurial man, threw
Who fluttered over all things like a fan, Their arms aside to revel in its dew;
More brave than firm, and more disposed Cool'd their scorch'd throats, and wash'd
to dare the gory stains From wounds whose only bandage might Exclaim'd “G-d damn!” Those syllables
And die at once than wrestle with despair, be chains;
intense, Then, when their drought was quench’d, Nucleus of England's native eloquence, As wondering how so many still were found As the Turk's “Allah!" or the Roman's more
Pagan “Proh Jupiter!" was wont of yore Alive and fetterless :--but silent all,
To give their first impressions such a vent, Each sought his fellow's eyes as if to call On him for language, which his lips denied, By way of echo to embarrassment.
Jack was embarrass'd-never hero more, As though their voices with their cause had And as he knew not what to say, he swore:
Nor swore in vain; the long congenial sound
Revived Ben Bunting from his pipe profound; Stern, and aloof a little from the rest, He drew it from his mouth, and look'd Stood Christian, with his arms across his
full wise, chest.
But merely added to the oath, his eyes; The ruddy, reckless, dauntless hue, once Thus rendering the imperfect phrase comspread
pleteAlong his cheek, was livid now as lead; TA peroration I need not repeat.
But Christian, of an higher order, stood And who the first that, springing on the Like an extinct volcano in his mood;
strand, Silent, and sad, and savage, - with the trace Leap'd like a Nereid from her shell to land, Of passion reeking from his clouded face; With dark but brilliant skin, and dewy eye Till lifting up again his sombre eye, Shining with love, and hope, and constancy? It glanced on Torquil who lean'd faintly by: Neuha, -the fond, the faithful, the adored, “And is it thus ?" he cried, “unhappy boy! Her heart on Torquil's like a torrent pour’d; And thee too, thee my madness must And smiled, and wept, and near, and nearer destroy."
clasp'd, He said, and strode to where young Torquil As if to be assured 'twas him she grasp'd;
Shudder'd to see his yet warm wound, and Yet dabbled with his lately flowing blood;
then, Seized his hand wistfully, but did not press, To find it trivial, smiled and wept again. And shrunk as fearful of his own caress ; She was a warrior's daughter, and could bear Enquired into his state, and when he heard Such sights, and feel, and mourng but not The wound was slighter than he deem'd or
Her lover lived, nor foes nor fears could A moment's brightness pass'd along his brow,
blight As much as such a moment would allow. That full-blown moment in its all delight: “Yes,” he exclaim'd, "we are taken in the Joy trickled in her tears, joy fill'd the sob
That rock'd her heart till almost HEARD But not a coward or a common spoil;
to throb ; Dearly they have bought us — dearly still And Paradise was breathing in the sigh
Of Nature's child in Nature's ecstasy. And I must fall; but have you strength to fly? "Twould be some comfort still, could you
The sterner spirits who beheld that Our dwindled band is now too few to strive.
meeting Oh! for a sole canoe! though but a shell, Were not unmoved; who are, when hearts To bear you hence 10 where a hope may Even Christian gazed upon the maid and boy
are greeting? dwell! For me, my lot is what I sought; to be,
With tearless eye, but yet a gloomy joy In life or death, the fearless and the free." Mix'd with those bitter thoughts the soul
In hopeless visions of our better days, Even as he spoke, around the promontory, When all's gone-to the rainbow's latest ray. Which nodded o'er the billows high and And but for me!” he said, and turn d away;
Then gazed upon the pair, as in his den A dark speck dotted ocean: on it flew
A lion looks upon his cubs again; Like to the shadow of a roused sea-mew; And then relapsed into his sullen guise, Onward it came — and, lo! a second folo | As heedless of his further destinies.
low'dNow seen - now hid - where ocean's vale But brief their time for good or evil was hollow'd;
thought; And near, and nearer, till their dusky crew The billows round the promontory brought Presented well-known aspects to the view, The plash of hostile oars
- Alas! who made Till on the surf their skimming paddles That sound a dread? All round them seem'd play,
array'd Buoyant as wings, and fitting through the Against them, save the bride of Toobonai:
She, as she caught the first glimpse o'er Now perching on the wave's high curl, and
Of the arm'd boats which hurried to complete Dash'd downward in the thundering foam The remnant's ruin with their flying feet,
Beckon'd the natives round her to their prows, Which flings it broad and boiling, sheet Embark'd their guests, and launch'd their on sheet,
light canoes ; And slings its high flakes,shiver'd into sleet: In one placed Christian and his comrades But, floating still through surf and swell,
twain ; drew nigh But she and Torquil must not part again. The barks, like small birds through a She fix'd him in her own--away! away!
lowering sky. They clear the breakers, dart along the bay, Their art seem'd nature--such the skill to And towards a group of islets, such as bear
The sea-bird's nest and seal's surf-hollow'd The wave, of these born playmates of the
They skim the blue tops of the billows ; fast
They flew, and fast their fierce pursuers | By her command removed, to strengthen
chased. They gain upon them-now they lose again, The skiff which wafted Christian from the Again make way and menace o'er the main;
shore. And now the two canoes in chase divide, This he would have opposed : but with a And follow different courses o'er the tide,
smile To baffle the pursuit-Away! away! She pointed calmly to the craggy isle, As life is on each paddle's flight to-day, And bade hiq “speed and prosper.” She And more than life or lives to Neuha : Love
would take Freights the frail bark and urges to the The rest upon herself for Torquil's sake.
They parted with this added aid ; afar And now the refuge and the foe are nigh- The proa darted like a shooting star, Yet,yet a moment!-Fly, thou light Ark,fly! And gain'd on the pursuers, who now steerd
Right on the rock which she and Torquil
near'd. They pull'd; her arm, though delicate, was
And firm as ever grappled with the sea, CANTO IV.
And yielded scarce to Torquil's manlier
The prow now almost lay within its length WAITB as a white sail on a dusky sea, Of the crag's steep, inexorable face, When half the horizon's clouded and half With nought but soundless waters for its free,
base; Fluttering between the dun wave and the sky, Within an hundred boats’ length was the foe, Is hope's last gleam in man's extremity. And now what refuge but their frail canoe ? Her anchor parts; but still her snowy sail This Torquil ask'd with half upbraiding eye, Attracts our eye amidst the rudest gale: Which said—“Has Neuha brought me here Though every wave she climbs divides us
to die? more,
Is this a place of safety, or a grave, The heart still follows from the loneliest And yon huge rock the tombstone of the shore.
Not distant from the isle of Toobonai,
They rested on their paddles, and uprose A black rock rears its bosom o'er the spray, Neuha,and, pointing to the approaching foes, The haunt of birds, a desart to mankind,'| Cried, “Torquil, follow me, and fearless Where the rough seal reposes from the wind,
follow !" And sleeps unwieldy in his cavern-dun,
Then plunged at once into the ocean's
hollow. Or gambols with huge frolic in the sun : There shrilly to the passing oar is heard
There was no time to pause—the foes were The startled echo of the ocean-bird, Who rears on its bare breast her calloy Chains in his eye and menace in his ear;
With vigour they pull’d on,and as they came, The feather'd fishers of the solitude.
Hail'd him to yield, and by his forfeit name. A narrow segment of the yellow sand
Headlong he leap'd- to him the swimmer's
skill On one side forms the outline of a strand; Here the young turtle, crawling from his Was native, and now all his hope from ill;
But how or where? He dived, and rose no Steals to the deep wherein his parents dwell;
more; Chipp'd by the beam, a nursling of the day. The boat's crew look'd amazed 'o'er sca and But hatch'd for ocean by the fostering ray: There was no landing on that precipice,
shore. The rest was one bleak precipice, as e'er Gave mariners a shelter and despair,
Steep, harsh, and slippery as a berg of ice. A spot to make the saved regret the deck They watch'd awhile to see him float again, Which late went down, and envy the lost But not a trace rebubbled from the main :
The wave rollid on, no ripple on its face, Such was the stern asylum Neuha chose
Since their first plunge, recall'd a single To shield her lover from his following focs;
trace ; But all its secret was not told; she knew
The little whirl which eddied, and slight In this a treasure hidden from the view.
foam, That whitened o'er what seem'd their latest
home, Era the canoes divided, near the spot, White as a sepulchre above the pair, The men that mann'd what held her Tor- Who left no marble (mournful as an heir),
quil's lot, The quiet proa, wavering o'er the tide,
Was all that told of Torqull and his bride ;| And clapp'd her hands with joy at his And but for this alone the whole might seem
surprise ; The vanish'd phantom of a seaman's dream. Led him to where the rock appear'd to jut They paused and search'd in vain, then And form a something like a Triton's hut;
For all was darkness for a space, till day Even superstition now forbade their stay. Through clefts above let in a sober'd ray; Some said he had not plunged into the wave, As in some old cathedral's glimmering aisle But vanish'd like a corpse-light from a grave; The dusty monuments from light recoil, Others, that something supernatural Thus sadly in their refuge submarine Glared in his figure, more than mortal tall; The vault drew half her shadow from the While all agreed, that in his cheek and eye
scene. There was the dead hue of eternity. Still as their oars receded from the crag, Forth from her bosom the young savage Round every weed a moment would they lag,
drew Expectant of some token of their prey ;
A pine-torch, strongly girded with gnatoo; But no-he had melted from them like the A plaintain-leaf o'er all, the more to keep
Its latent sparkle from the sapping deep.
This mantle kept it dry; then from a nook And where was he, the Pilgrim of the deep, of the same plaintain-leaf a flint she took, Following the Nereid ? Had they ceased to A few shrunk wither'd twigs, and from the
blade weep For ever? or, received in coral caves,
Of Torquil's knife struck fire, and thus Wrung life and pity from the softening
The grot with torchlight. Wide it was and Did they with Ocean's hidden sovereigns and show'd a self-born Gothic canopy;
high, dwell, And sound with Mermen the fantastic shell? The arch upreard by Nature's architect, Did Neuha with the Mermaids comb her hair The architrave some earthquake might erect; Flowing o'er ocean as it stream'd in air? The buttress from some mountain's bosom Or had they perish'd, and in silence slept
hurl'd, Beneath the gulph wherein they boldly When the Poles crash'd and Water was the leap'd ?
While yet the globe reek'd from its funeral Young Neuha plunged into the deep,and he
Pyre; Follow'd : her track beneath her native sea The fretted pinnacle, the aisle, the nave, Was as a native's of the element,
Were there, all scoop'd by Darkness from So smoothly, bravely, brilliantly she went,
her Cave. Leaving a streak of light behind her heel, There, with a little tinge of Phantasy, Which struck and flash'd like an amphi- Fantastic faces moped and mow'd on high,
And then a mitre or a shrine would fix Closely, and scarcely less expert to trace The eye upon its seeming crucifix. The depths where divers hold the pearl Thus Nature play'd with the Stalactites,
And built herself a chapel of the Seas. Torquil, the nursling of the northern seas, Pursued her liquid steps with art and ease. Deep - deeper for an instant Neuha led And Neuha took her Torquil by the hand, The way – then upward soard -- and, as And waved along the vault her kindled she spread
brand, Her arms, and flung the foam from off her And led him into each recess, and show'd
The secret places of their new abode. Laugh’d, and the sound was answer'd by Nor these alone, for all had been prepared
Before, to soothe the lover's lot she shared; They had gain'd a central realm of earth The mat for rest; for dress the fresh gnatoo,
And sandal-oil to fence against the dew; But look'd for tree, and field, and sky, in vain. For food the cocoa-nut, the yam, the bread Around she pointed to a spacious cave, Born of the fruit; for board the plantain Whose only portal was the keyless wave;
spread (A hollow archway by the sun unseen, With its broad leaf,or turtle-shell which bore Save through the billows' glassy veil of A banquet in the flesh it cover'd o'er;
The gourd with water recent from the rill, In some transparent ocean-holiday, The ripe banana from the mellow hill; When all the finny people are at play;) A pine-torch-pile to keep undying light, Wiped with her hair the brine from Tor- And she herself, as beautiful as Night,
To fling her shadowy spirit o'er the scene,