« PreviousContinue »
FROM DON JUAN
All this, the most were patient, and some
bold, THE SHIPWRECK. FROM CANTO II*
Until the chains and leathers 38
through But now there came a flash of hope once more; Of all our pumps:—a wreck complete she Day broke, and the wind lulled: the masts rolled, were gone,
At mercy of the waves, whose mercies are The leak increased; shoals round her, but no Like human beings' during civil war.
shore, The vessel swam, yet still she held her own.
43 They tried the pumps again, and though before 'Then came the carpenter, at last, with tears Their desperate efforts seemed all useless
In his rough eyes, and told the captain he grown,
Could do no more: he was a man in years, A glimpse of sunshine set some hands to bale-
And long had voyaged through many The stronger pumped, the weaker thrummedi a
stormy sea, sail.
And if he wept at length, they were not fears 39
That made his eyelids as a woman's be, Under the vessel's keel the sail was past, But he, poor fellow, had a wife and children,
And for the moment it had some effect; 'Two things for dying people quite bewildering. But with a leak, and not a stick of mast, Nor rag of canvas, what could they expect?
44 But still 't is best to struggle to the last, 'Tis never too late to be wholly wrecked:
The ship was evidently settling now And though 't is true that man can only die
Fast by the head; and, all distinction gone, once,
Some went to prayers again, and made a vow
Of candles to their saints-but there were 'T is not so pleasant in the Gulf of Lyons. 40
To pay them with; and some looked o'er the There winds and waves had hurled them, and
bow; from thence,
Some hoisted out the boats; and there was Without their will, they carried them away; For they were forced with steering to dispense, That begged Pedrillo for an absolution, And never had as yet a quiet day
Who told him to be damned-in his confusion. On which they might repose, or even commence A jurymast, or rudder, or could say
45 The ship would swim an hour, which, by gooul Some lashed them in their hammocks; luck,
put on Still swam,—though not exactly like a duck.
Their best clothes, as if going to a fair; 41
Some cursed the day on which they saw the Sun,
And gnashed their teeth, and, howling, tore The wind, in fact, perhaps was rather less, But the ship laboured so, they searce could and others went on as they had begun,
their hair; hope
Getting the boats out, being well aware To weather out much longer; the distress
That a tight boat will live in a rough sea, Was also great with which they had to cope Unless with breakers close beneath her lee. For want of water, and their solid mess Was scant enough: in vain the telescope
46 Was used—nor sail nor shore appeared in sight, Nought but the heavy sea, and coming night. The worst of all was, that in their condition,
Having been several days in great distress, 42
'T was difficult to get out such provision Again the weather threatened,-again blew As now inight render their long suffering A gale, and in the fore and after hold
less : Water appeared; yet, though the people knew Men, even when dying, dislike inanition; 1 wove in bits of rope-yarn (usually done to pre
Their stock was damaged by the weather's vent chating)
stress : * Don Juan, with his servants and his tutor Two casks of biscuit and a keg of butter
Pedrillo, meets with shipwreck in the Medi. Were all that could be thrown into the cutter. terranean.
52 But in the long-boat they contrived to stow Then rose from sea to sky the wild farewellSome pounds of bread, though injured by Then shrieked the timid, and stood still the the wet;
braveWater, a twenty.gallon cask or so;
Then some leaped overboard with dreadful yell, Six flasks of wine; and they contrived to get As eager to anticipate their grave; A portion of their beef up from below, And the sea yawned around her like a hell,
And with a piece of pork, moreover, met, And down she sucked with her the whirling But scarce enough to
Like one who grapples with his enemy, Then there rum, eight gallons in a And strives to strangle him before he die. puncheon. 48
53 The other boats, the yawl and pinnace, had
And first one universal shriek there rushed, Been stove in the beginning of the gale;
Louder than the loud ocean, like a crash And the long-boat's condition was but bad,
Of echoing thunder; and then all was hushed, As there were but two blankets for a sail,
Save the wild wind and the remorseless dash And one oar for a mast, which a young lad
Of billows; but at intervals there gushed, Threw in by good luck over the ship's rail;
Accompanied with a convulsive splash,
Of some strong swimmer in his agony.
THE ISLES OF GREECE. FROM CANTO III* 'T was twilight, and the sunless day went down
78 Over the waste of waters; like a veil, Which, if withdrawn, would but disclose the And now they were diverted by their suite, frown
Dwarfs, dancing girls, black eunuchs, and a Of one whose hate is masked but to assail.
poet, Thus to their hopeless eyes the night was shown, Which made their new establishment complete;
And grimly darkled o'er the faces pale, The last was of great fame, and liked to And the dim desolate deep: twelve days had
show it; Fear
His verses rarely wanted their due feetBeen their familiar, and now Death was here.
And for his theme-he seldom sung below it,
He being paid to satirize or flatter, 50
As the psalm says, “inditing a good matter." Some trial had been making at a raft,
79 With little hope such a rolling sea, A sort of thing at which one would have He praised the present, and abused the past, laughed
Reversing the good custom of old days, If any laughter at such times could be,
An Eastern anti-jacobini at last
He turned, Unless with people who too much have quaffed,
preferring pudding And have a kind of wild and horrid glee,
praiseHalf epileptical, and half hysterical:
For some few years his lot had been o'ercast Their preservation would have been a miracle.
By his seeming independent in his lays,
But now he sung the Sultan and the Pacha 51
With truth like Southey, and with verse like
Crashaw.3 At half-past eight o'clock, booms, hencoops,
80 spars, And all things, for a chance, had been cast He was a man who had seen many changes, loose
And always changed as true as any needle ; That still could keep afloat the struggling tars, His polar star being one which rather ranges, For yet they strove, although of no great use:
1 Anti-revolutionary, anti-democratic. There was no light in heaven but a few stars, 2 See Pope The Dunciad, 52. The boats put off o'ercrowded with their
3 Southey, as poet laureate, flattered royalty. The
name of Crashaw serves chiefly for a rhyme. crews;
* Juan and Faidée, the daughter of Lambro, a piShe gave a heel, and then a lurch to port,
rate, and lord of one of the Grecian isles,
feast in Lambro's halls during his And, going down head-foremost-sunk, in short. absence.
And not the fixed-he knew the way to | To sounds which echo further west wheedle;
Than your sires' "Islands of the Blest.''10 So vile he 'scaped the doom which oft avenges; The mountains look on MarathonAnd being Auent (save indeed when fee'd
And Marathon looks on the sea; ill),
And musing there an hour alone, He lied with such a fervour of intention
I dreamed that Greece might still be free; There was no doubt he earned his laureate
For standing on the Persians' grave, pension.
I could not deem myself a slave.
A king sate on the rocky brow
Which looks o'er sea-born Salamis; Thus, usually, when he was asked to sing,
And ships, by thousands, lay below, He gave the different nations something na
And men in nations;-all were his! tional; 'Twas all the same to him—“God save the And when the sun set, where were they?
He counted them at break of day-
''4 according to the fashion all: And where are they? and where art thou, His Muse made increment of anything,
My country? On thy voiceless shore
Degenerate into hands like mine?
'Tis something, in the dearth of fame, In France, for instance, he would write a
Though linked among a fettered race, chanson;
To feel at least a patriot's shame, In England a six canto quarto tale;
Even as I sing, suffuse my face; In Spain he'd make a ballad or romance on
For what is left the poet here? The last war-much the same in Portugal; For Greeks a blush-for Greece a tear. In Germany, the Pegasus he'd prance on Would be old Goethe's (see what says De Must we but weep o'er days more blest ! Staele);
Must we but blush !-Our fathers bled. In Italy he'd ape the “Trecentisti;'>7
Earth! render back from out thy breast In Greece, he'd sing some sort of hymn like A remnant of our Spartan dead! this t'ye:
Of the three hundred grant but three,
To make a new Thermopylæ! The isles of Greece, the isles of Greece!
What, silent still? and silent all? Where burning Sappho loved and sung,
Ah! no ;-the voices of the dead Where grew the arts of war and peace,
Sound like a distant torrent's fall, Where Delos8 rose, and Phæbus sprung!
And answer, “Let one living head, Eternal summer gilds them yet,
But one arise, -we come, we come!” But all, except their sun, is set.
'Tis but the living who are dumb.
The Scian and the Teian muse, 9
In vain-in vain: strike other chords; The hero's harp, the lover's lute,
Fill high the cup with Samian wine! Have found the fame your shores refuse: Leave battles to the Turkish hordes, Their place of birth alone is mute
And shed the blood of Scio's vine!
Hark! rising to the ignoble call — 4 A song of the French 7 Writers in the Ital. How answers each bold Bacchanal!
ian style of the ists. "It will suc
14th century. ceed."
8 The birth-place of You have the Pyrrhic dancell as yet; 5 An ancient Greek
Phæbus Apollo. poet
Where is the Pyrrhic phalanx12 gone? who
9 Homer posed songs in
times said to Of two such lessons, why forget honor of the vic
have been born on
The nobler and the manlier one? tors in the na
the isle of Chios tional games,
(Italian name, which
Scio). Anacreon 10 The fabled Western Isles, lying somewhere in doubtless well
was born at Teios the Atlantic. munerated.
in Asia Minor. 11 A war-dance. 6 Madame de Staël had lately written a book on 12 The Greek phalanx as employed by the great Germany.
You have the letters Cadmus13 gave
His strain displayed some feeling-right or Think ye he meant them for a slave?
And feeling, in a poet, is the source Fill high the bowl with Samian wine!
Of others' feeling; but they are such liars, We will not think of themes like these!
And take all colours—like the hands of dyers. 19 It made Anacreon's song divine;
He served—but served Polycrates14 A tyrant; but our masters then
But words are things, and a small drop of ink, Were still, at least, our countrymen.
Falling like dew, upon a thought, produces
That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, The tyrant of the Chersonese15
think; Was freedom's best and bravest friend;
'Tis strange, the shortest letter which man That tyrant was Miltiades! Oh! that the present hour would lend
Instead of speech, may form a lasting link Another despot of the kind!
Of ages; to what straits old Time reduces Such chains as his were sure to bind.
Frail man when paper—even a rag like this, Fill high the bowl with Samian wine!
Survives himself, his tomb, and all that's his! On Suli's rock, and Parga's shore, 16 Exists the remnant of a line
101 Such as the Doric mothers bore; And there, perhaps, some seed is sown,
T' our tale.—The feast was over, the slaves The Heracleidan 17 blood might own.
The dwarfs and dancing girls had all retired: Trust not for freedom to the Franks- The Arab lore and poet's song were done, They have a king who buys and sells;
And every sound of revelry expired; In native swords and native ranks,
The lady and her lover, left alone, The only hope of courage dwells:
The rosy flood of twilight's sky admired; But Turkish force, and Latin fraud,
Ave Maria! o'er the earth and sea, Would break your shield, however broad. 84 That heavenliest hour of Heaven is worthiest
thee! Fill high the bowl with Samian wine!
102 Our virgins dance beneath the shadeI see their glorious black eyes shine;
Ave Maria! blessed be the hour! But gazing on each glowing maid,
The time, the clime, the spot, where I so oft My own the burning tear-drop laves,
Have felt that moment in its fullest power To think such breasts must suckle slaves.
Sink o'er the earth so beautiful and soft,
While swung the deep bell in the distant tower, Place me on Sunium'818 marbled steep,
Or the faint dying day-hymn stole aloft, Where nothing, save the waves and I,
And not a breath crept through the rosy air, May hear our mutual murmurs sweep;
And yet the forest leaves seemed stirred with There, swan-like, let me sing and die:
prayer. A land of slaves shall ne'er be mine
103 Dash down yon cup of Samian wine!
Ave Maria! 't is the hour of prayer!
Ave Maria! 't is the hour of love! 87
Ave Maria! may our spirits dare Thus sung, or would, or could, or should have Look up to thine and to thy Son's above!
Ave Maria! oh that face so fair! sung, The modern Greek, in tolerable verse;
Those downcast eyes beneath the Almighty If not like Orpheus quite, when Greece was
What though it is but a pictured image!young, Yet in these times he might have done much
13 Cadmus was said to have introduced the Greek
104 alphabet from Phenicia. 14 Tyrant (ruler) of Samos, who gave refuge to Some kinder casuists are pleased to say, Anacreon.
In nameless print-that I have no devotion; 13 A Thracian peninsula. 18 In western Greece.
But set those persons down with me to pray, 17 i. e., ancient Greek 18 The southernmost promontory of Attica.
19 Shakespeare : Sonnet 111.
And you shall see who has the properest PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY
notion Of getting into heaven the shortest way;
(1792-1822) My altars are the mountains and the ocean, Earth, air, stars,—all that springs from the ALASTOR, OR THE SPIRIT OF SOLITUDE* great Whole,
Nondum amabam, et amare amabam, quærebam Who hath produced, and will receive the soul. quid amarem, amans amare.f-Confe8. st. August.
The poem entitled Alastor may be considered as Sweet hour of twilight!-in the solitude allegorical of one of the most interesting situations
of the human mind. It represents a youth of unOf the pine forest, and the silent shore
corrupted feelings and adventurous genius led forth Which bounds Ravenna's immemorial wood, by an imagination inflamed and purified through Rooted where once the Adrian20 wave flowed familiarity with all that is excellent and majestic,
to the contemplation of the universe. He drinks o'er,
deep of the fountains of knowledge, and is still
insatiate. To where the last Cæsarean fortress stood,
The magnificence and beauty of the
external world sinks profoundly into the frame of Evergreen forest! which Boccaccio's lore his conceptions, and affords to their modifications And Dryden's lay made haunted ground to possible for his desires to point towards objects
a variety not to be exhausted. So long as it is
thus infinite and unmeasured, he is joyous, and How have I loved the twilight hour and thee!
tranquil, and self-possessed. But the period arrives when these objects cease to suffice. " His mind is at length suddenly awakened and thirsts for inter
course with an intelligence similar to itself. He The shrill cicalas, people of the pine,
images to himself the Being whom he loves. Con
versant with speculations of the sublimest and Making their summer lives one ceaseless song, most perfect natures, the vision in which he emWere the sole echoes, save my steed's and bodies bis own imaginations unites all of wonder
ful, or wise, or beautiful, which the poet, the mine,
philosopher, or the lover, could depicture. The And vesper bell's that rose the boughs along; tions of sense, have their respective requisitions on
intellectual' faculties, the imagination, the funcThe spectre huntsman of Onesti's line,
the sympathy of corresponding powers in other His hell-dogs, and their chase, and the fair human beings. The Poet is represented as uniting
these requisitions, and attaching them to a single throng
image. He seeks in vain for a prototype of his Which learned from this example not to fly conception. Blasted by his disappointment, he
descends to an untimely grave. From a true lover,--shadowed my mind's eye. The picture is not barren of instruction to
actual men. The Poet's self-centred seclusion was 107
avenged by the furies of an irresistible passion
pursuing him to speedy ruin. But that Power Oh, Hesperus! thou bringest all good things, which strikes the luminaries of the world with Home to the weary, to the hungry cheer,
sudden darkness and extinction, by awakening
them to too exquisite a perception of its influTo the young bird the parent 's brooding wings, The welcome stall to the o'erlaboured steer; • The word Alastor means "the spirit of solitude,"
which is treated here as a spirit of evil, or Whate'er of peace about our hearthstone clings,
a spirit leading to disaster; it must not be Whate'er our household gods protect of dear, mistaken for the name of the hero of the
poem. Are gathered round us by thy look of rest;
In the introduction (lines 1-49) Shel
ley speaks in his own person ; but the Poet Thou bring 'st the child, too, to the mother's whose history he then proceeds to relate bears breast.
very markedly his own traits, and the whole
must be considered as largely a spiritual au108
tobiography. It is difficult to resist calling
attention to some of the features of this Soft hour! which wakes the wish and melts
impressive poem; to its quiet mastery of the heart
theme and sustained poetic power; to its
blank-verse harmonies subtler than rhymes ; Of those who sail the seas, on the first day to the graphic descriptions, as in lines 239. When they from their sweet friends are torn
369, whence Bryant, Poe, and Tennyson have
manifestly all drawn inspiration : to occaapart;
sional lines of an impelling swiftness (612, Or fills with love the pilgrim on his way
613), or occasional phrases of startling
strength (676, 681); to the fervent exaltaAs the far bell of vesper makes him start,
tion of self-sacrifice in the prayer that one Seeming to weep the dying day's decay;
life might answer for all. and the pangs of
death be henceforth banished from the world Is this a fancy which our reason scorns ?
(609-624); or to the unapproachable beauty Ah! surely, nothing dies but something of the description of slow-coming death itself
-a euthanasia in which life passes away like mourns!
a strain of music or like an “exhalation."
There can be no higher definition of poetry 20 The Adriatic.
than is implicit in these things. 21 Dryden's Theodore and Tonoria is a translation i "Not yet did I love, yet I yearned to love ; !
from Boccaccio of the tale of a spectre hunts- sought what I might love. yearning to love. man who haunted this region. Byron lived
In this vain pursuit of ideal loveliness, said for some time at Ravenna and frequently rode Mrs. Shelley, is the deeper meaning of in the adjoining forest,
Alastor to be found,