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some how or other I never could relish the sublime much when it interfered materially with my personal comforts; and am unromantic enough to own that I would rather be seated snugly in a decent inn at the foot of a Swiss mountain than identify myself with the icicles at the top of it; so, in a storm I hold it to be a better thing to go below, doff your drenched garments, fix your berth so that you cannot roll an inch either one way or the other, and quietly betake yourself to the arms of Morpheus, rather than stand gaping at the unceremonious ocean, who repays your sincere admiration in a very unhandsome manner by throwing cold water in your face.
No—the sea, whether in storm or calm, or enveloped in fog, or in its most favorable state curled with a fresh fair breeze, has few attractions to those who spend more than six hours upon it at a time. Our captain, an old sailor, declared that every day he passed there he considered a blank in his existence. What is there in this be-praised element to give pleasure ? In crossing the Atlantic all your amusements are not such as are connected with the sea, but such as serve to draw your attention from it. Chess or drafts, backgammon or cards, are the resources called in to while away the tedious hours; for after you have seen one of mo
ther Carey's chickens, a shoal of porpoises, a shark, and a whale, you have seen about all that is to be
At first, like other landsmen, I was very desirous to see a whale ;" but I soon found that, according to the laws of optics, a porpoise alongside of the ship was just as large and as good a sight as a whale half a mile off, which is about as near as they generally venture; while all you mostly see of the rascally sharks is a fin, or the ridge of a brown back peeping above the water. The eye tires of even the finest prospect; but here you are compelled to gaze day after day on water and sky, and all that can be said of the latter is, that it is very blue and that there is a great quantity of it.
It may be thought from this that I am no friend or admirer of the sea; but few like it more than I do on the land, the only place, I believe, where people really fall in love with it. Nothing can be finer than to live in a highly cultivated tract of country merely separated from the sea-coast by a high range of sand-hills. The change in the scenery is so instantaneous, and so complete—so very different, yet both so surpassingly beautiful, for few things can excel, in picturesque effect, a bold and animated line of coast. How freshening it is in the summer time, after roaming through orchards, meadows,
and cornfields, to cross the barren sand-hills and find yourself on the lone sea-beach, with no human being within sight or hearing. How pleasant to roam to some favorite spot and there lie and watch the clear sparkling tide come rolling in over the smooth sand, forcing its way swiftly up a hundred tiny channels—to dream over again all the wild legends of the mighty element before youthe storm the battle and the wreck, and the hairbreadth escapes of those who have been cast away upon it-to be lulled to slumber by the murmur of the slight waves breaking upon the shore, and making most sweet yet drowsy music in your ear-this is delightful; and I have even enough of the hardihood of boyhood to love it in its rougher moodson a raw and gusty November day, when the seagull comes screaming to the cliffs for shelter, when the wave bursts in thunder at your feet, and the thick fog is whirled from the water like smoke by the tempest—on such a day there is something far from unpleasant in standing on terra firma and watching its manœuvres. Besides, it is such a glorious preparative for a warm, comfortable fireside and a hearty supper-but from passing any length of time on it in ships, or other smaller vessels called, for unknown reasons, pleasure-boats,
heaven preserve me and my posterity, (should I have any.)
I have by no means drawn a jaundiced picture, discolored through the agency of disturbed bile, for though occasionally visited by that most horrible of afflictions, sea-sickness, I am better off in that respect than nineteen out of twenty. What must be the state of those wretched individuals who add enduring sickness or continual qualnishness to their other stock of sea comforts, I cannot even venture to conjecture. Persons thoroughly in this state will receive any intimation of the ship's going down with perfect unconcern—they do not set their life at a "pin's fee.” Some Athenian said, when he found the comfortless way in which the Spartans lived, that he no longer wondered at their fearing death so little; and it is only on this principle that I can account for the unnatural tranquillity with which men hear of the chance of running foul of an iceberg, or any other agreeable casualty ; while half the peril, when on land quietly enjoying the good things of the world, would perturb their spirits considerably, and cause many retrospective glances towards their past state of existence, and great dubiosity touching their future prospects.
Land ho! we have just come in sight of southern point of Ireland-a few more hours will
bring us into the English channel, and the unbounded joy of all on board is the best commentary on the pleasures of the sea. Ah ! land, land ! we all gaze upon the country of turf and potatoes as wistfully as if it were one of the “ islands of the blest;" and the snuffing of the cow in the long hoat, as she scents the green herbage afar off, approximates towards the borders of the pathetic. I am circumspect in the choice of my company, and it is consequently seldom that I have any thing to say to the “heavenly nine” or they to me; but on the present occasion I felt something unusual the matter with my brain, and as soon as the evening shades fell, and I could see land no longer, it relieved itself by the following effervescence :
LINES ON COMING IN SIGHT OF LAND.
Land, land ahead!" the seamen cries,
“ Land, land !" re-echoes round:
Repay that joyful sound.
With summer's glories crown'd.
Well, let it fade, as fades the light
Along the sullen sea;
My thoughts will turn to thee.