« PreviousContinue »
Sets me more distant from a prosperous course.
3 Not long beneath the whelming brine,
Expert to swim, he lay; Nor soon he felt his strength decline,
Or courage die away; But waged with death a lasting strife, Supported by despair of life.
4 He shouted; nor his friends had failed
To check the vessel's course,
That, pitiless perforce,
TO MRS. UNWIN *
And such as storms allow,
Delayed not to bestow;
MARY! I want a lyre with other strings,
6 Nor, cruel as it seemed, could he
Their haste himself condemn,
Alone could rescue them;
7 He long survives, who lives an hour
In ocean, self-upheld :
His destiny repelled;
THE CASTAWAY †
1 Obscurest night involved the sky,
The Atlantic billows roared, When such a destined wretch as I,
Washed headlong from on board, Of friends, of hope, of all bereft, His floating home forever left.
8 At length, his transient respite past,
His comrades, who before Had heard his voice in every blast,
Could catch the sound no more; For then, by toil subdued, he drank The stifling wave, and then he sank.
2 No braver chief could Albion boast
Than he with whom he went, Nor ever slip left Albion's coast
With warmer wishes sent. He loved them both, but both in vain, Nor him beheld, nor her again.
9 No poet wept him; but the page
Of narrative sincere,
Is wet with Anson's tear:
• The friend and constant companion of Cowper
for thirty-four years. † The last poem that Cowper wrote; founded on
an incident in Admiral Anson's l’oyages. portrays imaginatively his melancholy condition.
10 I therefore purpose not, or dream,
Descanting on his fate,
A more enduring date:
Can scenes like these withdraw thee from thy But misery still delights to trace
wood, Its semblance in another's case.
Thy upland forest or thy valley's flood ?
Seek, then, thy garden's shrubby bound, and 11
look, No voice divine the storm allayed,
As it steals by, upon the bordering brook: No light propitious shone,
That winding streamlet, limpid, lingering, slow, When, snatched from all effectual aid,
Where the reeds whisper when the zephyrs We perished, each alone;
30 But I beneath a rougher sea,
Where in the midst, upon her throne of green, And whelmed in deeper gulfs than he.
Sits the large lily as the water's queen;
Murmur and bubble as it shoots away; GEORGE CRABBE (1754-1832) Draw then the strongest contrast to that stream,
And our broad river will before thee seem. FROM THE BOROUGH*
With ceaseless motion comes and goes the LETTER I
Flowing, it fills the channel vast and wide; “Describe the Borough.”—Though our idle Then back to sea, with strong majestic sweep tribe
It rolls, in ebb yet terrible and deep; May love description, can we so describe, Here sampire-banks and salt-wort bound the That you shall fairly streets and buildings flood; trace,
There stakes and sea-weeds, withering on the And all that gives distinction to a place?
mud; This cannot be; yet, moved by your request, And, higher up, a ridge of all things base, A part I paint-let fancy form the rest. Which some strong tide has rolled upon the
Cities and towns, the various haunts of men, place. Require the pencil; they defy the pen.
Thy gentle river boasts its pigmy boat, Could he, who sang so well the Grecian fleet,1 Urged on by pains, half grounded, half afloat; So well have sung of alley, lane, or street ? 10 | While at her stern an angler takes his stand, Can measured lines these various buildings show, And marks the fish he purposes to land, The Town-Hall Turning, or the Prospect Row? | From that clear space, where, in the cheerful Can I the seats of wealth and want explore,
ray And lengthen out my lays from door to door? Of the warm sun, the scaly people play.
Then, let thy fancy aid me.--I repair Far other craft our prouder river shows, From this tall mansion of our last-year's mayor, Hoys, pinks and sloops; brigs, brigantines and Till we the outskirts of the Borough reach, And these half-buried buildings next the beach; Nor angler we on our wide stream descry, Where hang at open doors the net and cork, But one poor dredger where his oysters lie: While squalid sea-dames mend the meshy work; He, cold and wet, and driving with the tide, Till comes the hour, when, fishing through the Beats his weak arms against his tarry side, tide,
21 Then drains the remnant of diluted gin, The weary husband throws his freight aside~ To aid the warmth that languishes within; A living mass, which now demands the wife, Renewing oft his poor attempts to beat The alternate labours of their humble life. His tingling fingers into gathering heat.
He shall again be seen when evening comes, i Homer, Iliad II. This poem was inscribed to the Duke of Rut. And social parties crowd their favourite rooms;
land, to whom (rabbe had been chaplain, Where on the table pipes and papers lie, and takes the form of Letters from a resi. dent of a sea-port (Crabbe was a native of The steaming bowl or foaming tankard by. Aldeburgh, Suffolk) the
of 'Tis then, with all these comforts spread inland country-seat. The date of the poem is 1810. Crabbe's reputation, however, was
around, established by The Village in 1783, and his They hear the painful dredger's welcome sound; place is with those later 18th century poets who clung to the 18th century forms, though And few themselves the savoury boon deny, reacting against the artificiality and frigid The food that feeds, the living luxury. conventionalism that had so long reigned. In homeliness of themes and naked realism
Yon is our quay! those smaller hoys from of treatment, the poet of The Village and town, The Borough stands quite alone. See Eng. Lit., p. 226.
Its various wares, for country-use, bring down;
Those laden waggons, in return, impart Where all beside is pebbly length of shore, The country-produce to the city mart;
And far as eye can reach, it can discern no Hark to the clamour in that miry road,
more? Bounded and narrowed by yon vessel's load;
Yet sometimes comes a ruffling cloud, to The lumbering wealth she empties round the make place,
The quiet surface of the ocean shake; Package, and parcel, hogshead, chest, and case; As an awakened giant with a frown While the loud seaman and the angry hind, Might show his wrath, and then to sleep sink Mingling in business, bellow to the wind.
down. Near these a crew amphibious, in the docks, View now the winter-storm, above, one cloud, Rear, for the sea, those castles on the stocks: Black and unbroken, all the skies o’ershroud. See the long keel, which soon the waves must The unwieldy porpoise through the day before hide;
81 | Had rolled in view of boding men on shore; See the strong ribs which form the roomy side; And sometimes hid, and sometimes showed, his Bolts yielding slowly to the sturdiest stroke, form, And planks which curve and crackle in the Dark as the cloud, and furious as the storm. smoke.
All where the eye delights, yet dreads, to Around the whole rise cloudy wreaths, and far roam, Bear the warm pungence of o'er-boiling tar. The breaking billows cast the flying foam
Dabbling on shore half-naked sea-boys crowd, Upon the billows rising-all the deep Swim round a ship, or swing upon the shroud; Is restless change; the waves so swelled and Or, in a boat purloined, with paddles, play,
steep, And grow familiar with the watery way. 90 Breaking and sinking, and the sunken swells, Young though they be, they feel whose sons Nor one, one moment, in its station dwells. they are;
But, nearer land, you may the billows trace, They know what British seamen do and dare; As if contending in their watery chase; Proud of that fame, they raise and they enjoy May watch the mightiest till the shoal they The rustic wonder of the village boy.
reach, Tuin to the watery worla:—but who to thee Curled as they come, they strike with furious (A wonder yet unviewed) shall paint—the sea ? force, Various and vast, sublime in all its forms, And then, re-flowing, take their grating course, When lulled by zephyrs, or when roused by Raking the rounded flints, which ages past storms;
Rolled by their rage, and shall to ages Jast. Its colours changing, when from clouds and sun Fai off, the petrel in the troubled way Shades after shades upon the surface run;
Swims with her brood, or flutters in the spray; Embrowned and horrid2 now, and now serene, She rises often, often drops again, In limpid blue, and evanescent green; 170 And sports at ease on the tempestuous main. And oft the foggy banks on ocean lie,
High o'er the restless deep, above the reach Lift the fair sail, and cheat the experienced Of gunner's hope, vast flights of wild-ducks eye.
stretch; Be it the summer-noon: a sandy space Far as the eye can glance on either side, The ebbing tide has left upon its place; In a broad space and level line they glide; Then just the hot and stony beach above, All in their wedge-like figures from the north, Light twinkling streams in bright confusion Day after day, flight after flight, go forth.
In-shore their passage tribes of sea-gulls (For heated thus, the warmer air ascends,
urge, And with the cooler in its fall contends); And drop for prey within the sweeping surge; Then the broad bosom of the ocean keeps Oft in the rough opposing blast they fly An equal motion, swelling as it sleeps, 180 Far back, then turn, and all their force apply, Then slowly sinking; curling to the strand, While to the storm they give their weak comFaint, lazy waves o'ercreep the ridgy sand, plaining cry; Or tap the tarry boat with gentle blow, Or clap the sleek white pinion to the breast, And back return in silence, smooth and slow. And in the restless ocean dip for rest. Ships in the calm seem anchored; for they glide Darkness begins to reign; the louder wind On the still sea, urged solely by the tide; Appals the weak and awes the firmer mind; Art thou not present, this calm scene before, But frights not him, whom evening and the 2 rough
at sea ;
In part conceal-yon prowler on his way. To pass off one dread portion of the night;
When various voices, in the dying day,
241 There as we pass, the jingling bells betray How quick they come! What terrors may there How business rises with the closing day: be!
Now walking silent, by the river's side, Yes, 'tis a driven vessel: I discern
The ear perceives the rippling of the tide; 290 Lights, signs of terror, gleaming from the Or measured cadence of the lads who tow stern;
Some entered hoy, to fix her in her row; Others behold them too, and from the town Or hollow sound, which from the parish-bell In various parties seamen hurry down; To some departed spirit bids farewell! Their wives pursue, and damsels urged by Thus shall you something of our BOROUGH dread,
know. Lest men so dear be into danger led;
Far as a verse, with Fancy's aid, can show; Their head the gown has hooded, and their call Of sea or river, of a quay or street, In this sad night is piercing like the squall; The best description must be incomplete; They feel their kinds of power, and when they But when a happier theme succeeds, and when meet,
251 Men are our subjects and the deeds of men; 300 Chide, fondle, weep, dare, threaten, or entreat. Then may we find the Muse in happier style,
See one poor girl, all terror and alarm, And we may sometimes sigh and sometimes Has fondly seized upon her lover's arm;
smile. “ Thou shalt not venture;” and he answers,
“No! I will not”-still she cries, “Thou shalt not WILLIAM BLAKE (1757-1827)
No need of this; not here the stoutest boat Can through such breakers, o'er such billows
float; Yet may they view these lights upon the beach, Which yield them hope, whom help can never
270 Such are our winter-views; but night comes
Now business sleeps, and daily cares are gone :