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First upon deck, our bard, uncheer'd with sleep,
Gaz'd silent round upon the shoreless deep,
From whose vast bosom, where the orient glows,
The glorious sun in reddening pomp arose.
The cold camboose with blazing faggots filled,
And, though in culinary lore unskilled,
Fry'd the nice venison, well with onions stored,
And summoned Leech and Duncan to the board.
Slow from the cabin mount the staggering pair,
Pale their changed cheeks, and wild their haggard air,
So look two ghosts that Tyburn's tree attend ,
When the last signal calls them to ascend.
Soon as the sav'ry steams their nostrils gain,
They sicken, heave, and stagger down again.
Bold-hearted Duncan! who'd have dreamt to see
This pale Sea-spectre fix her fangs on thee?
On thee, who dauntless down the torrent's course,
Midst rocks and foam, defied its roaring force;
Still first the dangers of the chase to share,
To pierce the panther, or o'erwhelm the bear;
And at the joyous feast that crowned the whole,
With mirth and songs to elevate each soul.
“Chcer, comrades, cheer! deliverance is at hand!
“Lo! on the lea-bow lies the hazy land!”
Loud hailed the bard. At once, in cheerful mood,
Firm upon deck the active Duncan stood;
The wide expanse with freshen’d looks he eyed,
And, “ Who's afraid ?" in sportive humour cried.
Meantime the gale our flying vessel bore,
On wings of wind, full thirteen knots an hour;
And, just as day its closing light withdrew,
Niagara's light-house opened on our view,
Its star-like radiance shone with steady ray,
Like Venus lingering in the rear of day.
By slow degrees the sinking breezes die,
And on the smooth still flood we logging lie.
Roused by the morning, and the neighbouring drum,
Swift upon deck with eager eyes we come,
There, high in air, (the fortress full in view)
Our star-crowned stripes in waving triumph flew,
| Fort Niagara, originally built in 1725, by the French, was held by the British from 1759 to 1790, when it was delivered up, with the rest of the western posts, to the United States, k
Hail, sacred flag! To sons of FREEDOM dear,
Thy country's valour reared thine honours here;
Eternal blessings crown her rich increase,
Her BANDS of Union and her stars of PEACE.
Before us now the opening river pours, Through gradual windings and projecting shores; Smooth slopes the green where Newark's village lics, There, o'er their fort,f the British ensign flies. . * From whence ?” they hail; we shout with trumpet's sound “ From Fort Oswego; up to Queenstown bound.” “ What news ?” The Speedy's pump on board we bear, “ The sole found fragment of that sad affair.” Th’ increasing distance drowns their faint reply, And up the adverse stream we foaming ily. !
Now full in front the Ridgell its height uprears,
Its high, grim gap, like some vast cave appears;
Thick wheel strong eddies, marked with whirling foam,
As from this gloomy chasm they hurrying come;
Low at its foot, with stores and gardens gay,
Close, snugly sheltered, little Queenstown lay;
Here night once more her shadows o'er us threw,
And, safely moor’d, we bid our bark adieu.
Long seemed the night; impatient of repose,
By day's first dawn delighted we arose;
A day replete with scenes sublime and new
About to burst on our astonished view.
Sweet rose the morning, silent and serene,
No vagrant cloud, or stirring leaf was seen,
The sun's warm beams with dazzling radiance glow,
And glittering dance upon the flood below.
Soon full equipt the towering ridge we scale,
Thence, gazing back, a boundless prospect hail.
Far in the east Ontario's waters spread,
Vast as the Ocean in his sky-bound bed.
Bright through the parted plain that lay between,
Niagara's deep majestic flood was seen;
The right a wilderness of woods displayed,
Fields, orchards, woods, were on the left arrayed.
There, near the lake's green shore, above the flood,
The tall, white light-house like a column stood.
O’er each grim fort, high waving to the view,
Columbia's stars, and Britain's crosses flew.
Thus two stern champions watch each other's eye,
And mark each movement ready to let fly.
Up to the ridge's top, high winding led,
There on on a flat, dry plain, we gayly tread.
And stop, and list, with throbbing hearts to hear
The long-expected cataract meet the ear,
But list in vain. Though five short miles ahead,
All sound was hushed and every whisper dead.t
“'Tis strange,” said Duncan. “Here the sound might reach."
“'Tis all an April errand.” answered Leech.
“ Men to make books a thousand tales devise,
And nineteen twentieths are a pack of lies.
Here, three long weeks by storms and famine beat,
With sore bruised backs, and lame and blistered feet,
Here, nameless hardships, griefs and miseries past,
We find some mill-dam for our pains at last.
Once safe at home, kick’d, cudgell'd let me be
If e'er bookmaker makes a fool of me.”
He spoke, and groan'd; for, heedless of his wo,
A stubborn stump assailed his corny toe,
Stunned with the stroke, he grinned and hopped around,
While peals of mirth and laughter loud resound.
Heavy and slow, increasing on the ear,
Deep through the woods a rising storm we hear,
Th’approaching gust still loud and louder grows,
As when the strong north-east resistless blows,
Or black tornado, rushing through the wood,
Alarms th' affrighted swains with uproar rude.
Yet the blue heavens displayed their clearest sky,
And dead below the silent forests lie;
And not a breath the slightest leaf assailed;
But all around tranquillity prevailed.
+ This will appear almost incredible to those who have heard it asserted that the noise of the cataract is frequently heard at the distance of forty miles. Both these facts, however, are actually true, and depend entirely on the state of the atmosphere and current of the air.