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Once more on English earth they stand:
But, when a third time from the land
They parted, sorrow was at hand
For him and for his crew.
Ill-fated vessel !--ghastly shock!
At length delivered from the rock,
The deep she hath regained;
And through the stormy night they steer,
Labouring for life, in hope and fear,
Towards a safer shore-how near,
Yet not to be attained!
“Silence!" the brave commander cried ;
To that calm word a shriek replied,
It was the last death shriek.
A few appear by morning light,
Preserved upon the tall mast's height:
Oft in my soul I see that sight;
But one dear remnant of the night-
For him in vain I seek.
Six weeks beneath the moving sea
He lay in slumber quietly;
Unforced by wind or wave
To quit the ship for which he died
(All claims of duty satisfied);
And there they found him at her side,
And bore him to the grave.
Vain service! yet not vainly done
For this, if other end were none,
That he, who had been cast
Upon a way of life unmeet
For such a gentle soul and sweet,
Should find an undisturbed retreat
Near what he loved at last;
That neighbourhood of grove and field
To him a resting-place should yield.
A meek man and a brave!
The birds shall sing and ocean make
A mournful murmur for his sake;
And thou, sweet flower, shalt sleep and wake
Upon his senseless grave.
THE NEW MOON WITH THE OLD. ONCE I could hail (howe'er serene the sky) The moon re-entering her monthly round, No faculty yet given me to espy The dusky shape within her arms imbound, That thin memento of effulgence lost Which some have named her predecessor's ghost. Young, like the crescent that above me shone, Nought I perceived within it dull or dim; All that appeared was suitable to one Whose fancy had a thousand fields to skim;
To expectations spreading with wild growth, · And hope that kept with me her plighted troth. I saw (ambition quickening at the view) A silver boat launched on a boundless flood; A pearly crest, like Dian's when it threw Its brightest splendour round a leafy wood; But not a hint from underground, no sign Fit for the glimmering brow of Proserpine. Or was it Dian's self that seemed to move Before me? nothing blemished the fair sight; On her I looked whom jocund fairies love, Cynthia, who puts the little stars to flight, And by that thinning magnifies the great For exaltation of her sovereign state.
And when I learned to mark the spectral shape,
As each new moon obeyed the call of time,
If gloom fell on me, swift was my escape,
Such happy privilege hath life's gay prime,
To see or not to see, as best may please
A buoyant spirit, and a heart at ease.
Now, dazzling stranger! when thou meet'st my glance,
Thy dark associate ever I discern;
Emblem of thoughts too eager to advance
While I salute my joys, thoughts sad or stern;
Shades of past bliss, or phantoms that to gain
Their fill of promised lustre wait in vain.
So changes mortal life with fleeting years,
A mournful change, should reason fail to bring
The timely insight that can temper fears,
And from vicissitude remove its sting;
While faith aspires to seats in that domain
Where joys are perfect, neither wax nor wane.
Oh, for a dirge! But why complain?
Ask rather a triumphal strain
When Fermor's race is run;
A garland of immortal boughs
To bind around the Christian's brows,
Whose glorious work is done.
We pay a high and holy debt;
No tears of passionate regret
Shall stain this votive lay;
Ill-worthy, Beaumont! were the grief
That flings itself on wild relief
When saints have passed away.
Sad doom, at sorrow's shrine to kneel
For ever covetous to feel
And impotent to bear:
Such once was hers-to think and think
On severed love, and only sink
From anguish to despair!
But nature to its inmost part
Had faith refined, and to her heart
A peaceful cradle given;
Calm as the dew-drop, free to rest
Within a breeze-fanned rose's breast
Till it exhales to heaven.
Was ever spirit that could bend
So graciously?-that could descend,
Another's need to suit,
So promptly from her lofty throne!-
In works of love, in these alone,
How restless, how minute !
Pale was her hue; yet mortal cheek
Ne'er kindled with a livelier streak
When aught had suffered wrong,-
When aught that breathes had felt a wound;
Such look the oppressor might confound,
However proud and strong.
But hushed be every thought that springs
From out the bitterness of things;
Her quiet is secure;
No thorns can pierce her tender feet,
Whose life was like the violet sweet,
As climbing jasmine pure;
As snowdrop on an infant's grave,
Or lily heaving with the wave
That feeds it and defends;
As vesper, ere the star hath kissed
The mountain top, or breathed the mist
That from the vale ascends.
Thou takest not away, O death!
Thou strik'st-and absence perisheth,
Indifference is no more;
The future brightens on our sight;
For on the past hath fallen a light
That tempts us to adore.