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Oo: 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 for ever left.
No braver chief could Albion boast
Than he with whom he went,
Nor ever ship left Albion's coast
With warmer wishes sent.
He loved them both, but both in vain ;
Nor him beheld, nor her again,
Not long beneath the whelming brine,
Expert to swim, he lay ;
Nor soon he felt his strength decline,
Or courage died away;
But waged with death a lasting strife,
Supported by despair of life.
He shouted ; nor his friends had failed
To check the vessel's course,
But so the furious blast prevailed,
That E. perforce
They left their outcast mate behind,
And scudded still before the wind.
Some succour yet they could afford;
And, such as storms allow,
The cask, the coop, the floated cord,
Delayed not to bestow:
But he, they knew, nor ship nor shore,
Whate'er they gave, should visit more.
Nor, cruel as it seemed, could he
Their haste himself condemn,
Aware that flight, in such a sea,
Alone could rescue them;
Yet bitter felt it still to die
Deserted, and his friends so nigh.
He long survives who lives an hour
In Seean, self-upheld :
And so long he, with unspent power,
His destiny repelled:
And ever as the minutes flew,
Entreated help, or cried—“Adieu !”
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.
No poet wept him ; but the page
Of narrative sincere,
That tells his name, his worth, his age,
Is wet with Anson's tear :
And tears by bards or heroes shed
Alike immortalise the dead.
I therefore purpose not, or dream,
Descanting on his fate,
To give the melancholy theme
A more enduring date:
But misery still delights to trace
Its semblance in another's case.
No voice divine the storm allayed,
No light propitious shone,
When, snatched from all effectual aid,
We perished, each alone:
But I, beneath a rougher sea,
And whelmed in deeper gulfs than he.
Written March 20, 1799; being the last original poem of the author. It is founded on a story in Anson's Voyage, which Cowper had not looked into for nearly twenty years.
Translations of the Latin and Italian Poems of Milton.
ON THE APPROACH OF SPRING.
WRITTEN IN THE AUTHOR's TWENTIETH YEAR.
IME, never wand'ring from his annual round,
Bids Zephyr breathe the Spring, and thaw the
Bleak winter flies, new verdure clothes the plain,
And earth assumes her transient youth again.
Dream I, or also to the Spring belong
Increase of genius and new pow'rs of song?
Spring gives them, and, how strange soe'er it seems,
Impels me now to some harmonious themes.
Catalia's mountain and the forkëd hill,
By day, by night, my raptured fancy fill ;
My bosom burns and heaves, I hear within
A sacred sound, that prompts me to begin.
Lo Phoebus comes, with his bright hair he blends
The radiant laurel wreath; Phoebus descends;
I mount, and, undepress'd by cumb'rous clay,
Through cloudy regions win my easy way;
Rapt, through poetic shadowy haunts I fly:
The shrines all open to my dauntless eye,
My spirit searches all the realms of light,
And no Tartarean gulfs elude my sight.
By this ecstatic trance—this glorious storm
Of inspiration—what will it perform
Spring claims the verse, that with his influence glows,
And shall be paid with what himself bestows.
Thou, veiled with op'ning foliage, lead'st the throng
Of feather'd minstrels, Philomel ; in song;
Let us, in concert, to the season sing,
Civic and sylvan heralds of the Spring !
With notes triumphant Spring's approach declare
To Spring, ye Muses, annual tribute bear !
The Orient left, and Æthiopia's plains,
The Sun now northward turns his golden reins;
Night creeps not now ; yet rules with gentle sway;
And drives her dusky horrors swift away;
Now less fatigued, on this ethereal plain
Boötes follows his celestial wain:
And now the radiant sentinels above,
Less num'rous, watch around the courts of Jove,
For, with the night, force, ambush, slaughter fly,
And no gigantic guilt alarms the sky.
Now haply says some shepherd, while he views,
Recumbent on a rock, the redd'ning dews,
This night, this surely, Phoebus miss'd the fair,
Who stops his chariot by her am’rous care.
Cynthia, delighted by the morning's glow,
Speeds to the woodland, and resumes her bow;
Resigns her beams, and, glad to disappear,
Blesses his aid, who shortens her career.
Come—Phoebus cries—Aurora come—too late
Thou ling'rest, slumb'ring, with thy wither'd mate :
Leave him, and to Hymettus' top repair
Thy darling Cephalus expects thee there.
The goddess, with a blush, her love betrays,
But mounts, and driving rapidly, obeys.
Earth now desires thee, Phoebus ! and t'engage
Thy warm embrace, casts off the guise of age;
Desires thee, and deserves ; for who so sweet,
When her rich bosom courts thy genial heat?
Her breath imparts to ev'ry breeze that blows,
Arabia's harvest and the Paphian rose.
Her lofty front she diadems around
With sacred pines, like Ops on Ida crown'd;
Her dewy locks, with various flow'rs new-blown,
She interweaves, various, and all her own,
For Proserpine, in such a wreath attired,
Taenarian Dis himself with love inspired.
Fear not, lest, cold and coy, the nymph refuse !
Herself, with all her sighing Zephyrs, sues;
Each courts thee, fanning soft his scented wing,
And all her groves with warbled wishes ring.
Nor, unendow’d and indigent, aspires
The am’rous Earth to engage thy warm desires,
But, rich in balmy drugs, assists thy claim,
Divine Physician to that glorious name.
If splendid recompense, if gifts can move
Desire in thee (gifts often purchase love),
She offers all the wealth her mountains hide,
And all that rests beneath the boundless tide.
How oft, when headlong from the heav'nly steep,
She sees thee playing in the western deep,
How oft she cries—“Ah, Phoebus ! why repair
Thy wasted force, why seek refreshment there
Can Tethys win thee ? wherefore shouldst thou lave
A face so fair in her unpleasant wave;