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Sets me more distant from a prosperous course.
TO MRS. UNWIX*
Mary! I want a lyre with other strings,
An eloquence scarce given to mortals, new
THE CASTAWAY t
Obscurest 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 forever left.
No braver chief could Albion boast
Than he with whom he went.
With warmer wishes sent.
• The friend and constant companion of Cowper
(or thirty-four years, t The last poem that Cowper wrote: founded on
an incident in Admiral Anson's Yoyayefi. It
portrays Imaginatively his own melancholy
Not long beneath the whelming brine,
Expert to swim, he lay;
Or courage die away;
He shouted; nor his friends had failed
To check the vessel's course,
That, pitiless perforce,
Some succour yet they could afford;
And such as storms allow,
Delayed not to bestow;
Nor, cruel as it seemed, could he
Their haste himself condemn,
Alone could rescue them;
He long survives, who lives an hour
In ocean, self-upheld:
His destiny repelled;
At length, his transient respite past,
His comrades, who before
Could catch the sound no more;
No poet wept him; but the page
Of narrative sincere,
Is wet with Anson's tear:
I therefore purpose not, or dream,
Descanting on his fate,
A more enduring date:
Xo voice divine the storm allayed,
No light propitious shone, When, snatched from all effectual aid,
We perished, each alone; But 1 beneath a -rougher sea, And whelmed in deeper gulfs than he.
GEORGE CRABBE (1754-1832)
From THE BOROUGH*
'' Describe the Borough.''—Though our idle tribe
May love description, can we so describe, That you shall fairly streets and buildings trace,
And all that gives distinction to a place? This cannot be; yet, moved by your request, A part 1 paint—let fancy form the rest.
Cities and towns, the various haunts of men, Require the pencil; they defy the pen. Could he, who sang so well the Grecian fleet,1 So well have sung of alley, lane, or street! 10 Can measured lines these various buildings show, The Town-Hall Turning, or the Prospect Rowt Can I the seats of wealth and want explore, And lengthen out my lays from door to door?
Then, let thy fancy aid me.—I repair From this tall mansion of our last-year's mayor, Till we the outskirts of the Borough reach, And these half-buried buildings next the beach; Where hang at open doors the net and cork, While squalid sea-dames mend the meshy work; Till comes the hour, when, fishing through the tide, 21 The weary husband throws his freight aside— A living mass, which now demands the wife, The alternate labours of their humble life.
1 Homer. Iliad II.
* This poem was Inscribed to the Duke of Rutland, to whom Crabbe had been chaplain, and takes the form of Letters from a resident of a sea-port (Crabbe was a native of Aldeburgh, Suffolk) to the owner of an Inland country-seat. The date of the poem is 1810. Crabbe's reputation, however, was established by The Village in 1783, and his place is with those later 18th century poets wbo clung to the 18th century forms, though reacting against the artificiality and frigid conventionalism that had so long reigned. In homeliness of themes and naked realism of treatment, the poet of The Village and The Borough stands quite alone. See Eng. Lit., p. 226.
Can scenes like these withdraw thee from thy wood,
Thy upland forest or thy valley's flood?
As it steals by, upon the bordering brook:
Flowing, it fills the channel vast and wide; Then back to sea, with strong majestic sweep It rolls, in ebb yet terrible and deep; <0 Here sampire-banks and salt-wort bound the flood;
There stakes and sea-weeds, withering on the mud;
And, higher up, a ridge of all things base, Which some strong tide has rolled upon the place.
Thy gentle river boasts its pigmy boat, Urged on by pains, half grounded, half afloat; While at her stern an angler takes his stand, And marks the fish he purposes to land, From that clear space, where, in the cheerful ray
Of the warm sun, the scaly people play. SO
Far other craft our prouder river shows, Hoys, pinks and sloops; brigs, brigantines and snows:
Nor angler we on our wide stream descry,
They hear the painful dredger's welcome sound;
Yon is our quay I those smaller hoys from town, S9 Its various wares, for country-use, bring down;
Those ladeu waggons, in return, impart
Package, and parcel, hogshead, chest, and ease;
Near these a crew amphibious, in the docks, Rear, for the sea, those castles on the stocks: See the long keel, which soon the waves must
hide; 81 See the strong ribs which form the roomy side; Bolts yielding slowly to the sturdiest stroke, And planks which curve and crackle in the
Around the whole rise cloudy wreaths, and far Bear the warm pungence of o'er-boiling tar.
Dabbling on shore half-naked sea-boys crowd, Swim round a ship, or swing upon the shroud; Or, in a boat purloined, with paddles play, And grow familiar with the watery way. 30 Young though they be, they feel whose sons they are;
They know what British seamen do and dare; Proud of that fame, they raise and they enjoy The rustic wonder of the village boy.
Turn to the watery world!—but who to thee (A wonder yet unviewed) shall paint—the sea! Various and vast, sublime in all its forms, When lulled by zephyrs, or when roused by storms;
Its colours changing, when from clouds and sun
Be it the summer-noon: a sandy space
(For heated thus, the warmer air ascends,
Where all beside is pebbly length of shore, And far as eye can reach, it can discern no more}
Yet sometimes comes a ruffling cloud, to make 190 The quiet surface it the ocean shake; As an awakened giant with a frown Might show his wrath, and then to sleep sink down.
View now the winter-storm, above, one cloud, Black and unbroken, all the skies o'ershroud. The unwieldy porpoise through the day before Had rolled in view of boding men on shore; And sometimes hid, and sometimes showed, his form,
Dark as the cloud, and furious as the storm. All where the eye delights, yet dreads, to
roam, 200 The breaking billows cast the flying foam Upon the billows rising—all the deep Is restless change; the waves so swelled and
Breaking and sinking, and the sunken swells,
Then break and hurry to their utmost stretch;
force, 210 And then, re-flowing, take their grating course, Raking the rounded flints, which ages past Rolled by their rage, and shall to ages last.
Fa/ off, the petrel in the troubled way Swims with her brood, or flutters in the spray; She rises often, often drops again, And sports at ease on the tempestuous main.
High o 'er the restless deep, above the reach Of gunner's hope, vast flights of wild-ducks
Far as the eye can glance on- either side, 220
And drop for prey within the sweeping surge;
Darkness begins to reign; the louder wind
In part conceal—yon prowler on his w:iy. Lo! he has something seen; he runs apace, As if he feared companion in the chase; lie sees his prize, and now he turns again, Slowly and sorrowing—"Was your search in vainf"
(irirffly he answers, " 'Tis a sorry sight! A seaman's body; there'll be more to-night!" Hark to those sounds! they're from distress
at sea; 241 How quick they come! What terrors may there
Yes, 'tis a driven vessel: I discern
Others behold them too, and from the town
Lest men so dear be into danger led;
meet, 261 Chide, fondle, weep, dare, threaten, or entreat.
Sec one poor girl, all terror and alarm, Has fondly seized upon her lover's arm; "Thou shalt not venture;" and he answers,
I will not"—still she cries, "Thou shalt not go."
No need of this; not here the stoutest boat Can through such breakers, o'er such billows float;
Yet may they view these lights upon the beach, Which yield them hope, whom help can never reach, 280 From parted clouds the moon her radiance throws
On the wild waves, and all the danger shown;
I see them not! the storm alone I hear:
Now business sleeps, and daily cares are gone:
To pass oft one dread portion of the night;
And show and song and luxury combined
Lift off from man this burthen of mankind. 280
Others adventurous walk abroad and meet Returning parties pacing through the street; When various voices, in the dying day, Hum in our walks, and greet us in our way; When tavern-lights flit on from room to room, And guide the tippling sailor, staggering home: There as we pass, the jingling bells betray How business rises with the closing day: Now walking silent, by the river's side, The ear perceives the rippling of the tide; 290 Or measured cadence of the lads who tow Some entered hoy, to fix her in her row; Or hollow sound, which from the parish-bell To some departed spirit bids farewell!
Thus shall you something of our Bokou<ih know.
Far as a verse, with Fancy's aid, can show;
WILLIAM BLAKE (1757-1827)
How sweet I roamed from field to field,
He showed me lilies for my hair,
With sweet May-dews my wings were wet,
He loves to sit and hear me sing,
TO THE MUSES
Whether on Ida'si shady brow,
Whether in Heaven ye wander fair,
Whether on crystal rocks ye rove,
How have you left the ancient love
INTRODUCTION TO SONGS OF
Piping down the valleys wild,
"Pipe a song about a Lamb!"
"Drop thy pipe, thy happy pipe;
"Piper, sit thee down and write
lA mountniit of the Tronrt; also one In Crete. Helicon. In TVcotin. is more properly the mountain of the Muses.
And I made a rural pen,
Tiger, Tiger, burning bright
In what distant deeps or skies
And what shoulder, and what art,
What the hammer? What the chain?
When the stars threw down their spears,
Tiger, Tiger, burning bright
Ah, Sunflower! weary of time,
Where the Youth, pined away with desire,
• The Text Is that of Malkln, 1806.