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furnished a description of the ocean in a calm, and a description of the ocean in a storm, for which latter purpose
the ocean was afflicted with more storms from May to September than sailors ever heard tell of. They stated, for the first time, that the sea was the “symbol of immensity”—that the water was green on soundings, and “cerulean blue" off; and added their testimony, founded upon actual observation, to the mass of evidence already before the world, that it contained many whales, sharks, porpoises, and other fishes, to which were appended brief touches of natural history as they went along, and invariably a piece of fine writing concerning
sunset on the ocean,” giving an account how that every-day luminary "goes down behind the wilderness of waters.” They moreover let the reader have a minute insight into the state of their feelings, the workings of their bosoms, &c. as they leaned over the ship's side, gazed upon the vasty deep, and thought of the friends and home they had left behind them; and also their vague and very extraordinary speculations concerning the land that lay before them all which, is it not to be found expanded over an infinite number of pages in the infinite number of "Letters from Europe," which quietly repose on the back shelves of the establish
ments of Messrs. Bliss and Carvill, Broadway, and other incautious booksellers ?
Such being the state of things, it would ill become an humble individual to affect singularity by breaking through an established rule; and the subscriber, therefore, under the impression that it is a debt due to decorum and mankind, proceeds to inform the human race of what he saw and suffered. If I am not as interestingly minute as some of my predecessors, it must be attributed to the unfortunate fact of having lost a valuable "daily journal” overboard, in which the most trivial circumstances were carefully noted down, with appropriate moral reflections attached to each, and the following are therefore merely general recollections thrown together without order or discrimination.
In the first place, I hate the sea as much as Satan is said, in catholic countries, to hate holy water; and, notwithstanding all the fine poetry that has been written about it, think it, in every respect, the greatest bore in creation. To me, to be
"Once more upon the waters, yet once more,”
brings a miserable feeling of lassitude and confinement, rather than of freedom and exultation. It is the most weary, dull, monotonous, unsociable place upon which human beings, with any
kindly warmth in their hearts or blood, can sojourn. There is not any thing with which the imprisoned spirit can sympathize. On land, though that land be as sterile and barren as the banks of the river Jordan, or the most unfertile parts about Cape Cod, there is still some inanimate object or other to which the heart can attach itself--a rock, a tree, a bubbling spring, which, after familiarity hath made it pleasant to the eye, we are loth to leave behind and glad to see again. Sterne hath beautifully, and no less beautifully than truly said, that man must love one thing or another, and that for his own part, were he in a desert he would love some cypress; but his affections would be sadly puzzled on what to fix themselves in the watery deserts which separate country from country. The dark waves keep tumbling over and over each other, for ever changing yet still the same, till the fatigued eye turns sickeningly away from this very blue prospect. You even feel sorry for the sullen, noiseless birds that keep eternally wheeling and floating above the curling billows, and regret the doom allotted them figuratively to seek “ their bread upon the waters," or, what is pretty much the same thing to themtheir fish. With all their exemption from the murderous sports of man, how unenviable seems their fate, compared with that of the land birds. They have no constant mate expecting them at evening time—no home—no warm nest into which they may creep and fold their weary wings and be at rest ; but when the close of day puts an end to their piscatory pursuits, they squat themselves down upon the cheerless waters with but small assurance of being a live bird in the morning, should some shark or other fowl-loving fish pass that way before they are awake and on the wing. Well; there is retribution in the deed—why should not the destroyer be destroyed ? they have preyed upon fish, why not fish prey upon them?
To all who rave and make poetry about the beauty and delights of a summer sea, I especially recoinmend the middle of the Atlantic during what is appropriately enough termed "a dead calm”— the ship rolling lazily and heavily from side to side, the sails flapping drowsily against the masts, and a burning, blistering sun sucking the melted pitch and rosin out of the seams of the deck. Of all the suicidal situations in which man can be placed, I think this decidedly the most tempting; and believe, if life could be ended by a wish, few of the unhappy passengers would see the shore again; but fortunately it requires some little energy-some slight exertion to drown yourself, and really you are so very listless—so completely unstrung, that a man cannot be at the trouble of tumbling himself overboard. But then, cries the landsman, what a delightful resource must books be in such a situation. Alas! alas !
mind is as debilitated as your body, and just as incapable of bending its faculties to a salutary purpose. Shakspeare, Milton, Byron, or any thing nervous or exciting, is not to be borne; and about the strongest mental food that the mind can digest in this predicament is a diluted love-story in an “Annual." I, for one, am very fond of reading, but I could not do it here: I laid myself down on the deck, ate almonds and raisins, and thought of Job.
Some people prefer a storm to a calm ; but their demerits are so equally balanced, that, like the Frenchman who had to choose between hanging and drowning, I cannot make up my mind to give the preference to either. True, the roaring of the wind, the tearing and splitting of the sails, the violent evolutions of the vessel, and the unique blasphemies which strike the ear from various quarters, with the probability of speedily being among the fishes, tend to arouse the spirit, and stir up, as counsellor Phillips might say, “the green and stagnant waters of the soul;" while the yesty ocean, ever and anon dashing over the ship and wetting you to the skin, is unquestionably sublime; but