Imágenes de página

And three dead, whom their strength could not avail

To heave into the deep with those before, Though the two sharks still follow'd them, and dash'd The spray into their faces as they splash'd. Famine, despair, cold, thirst, and heat, had done

Their work on them by turns, and thinned them to Such things,-a mother had not known her son

Amidst the skeletons of that gaunt crew;
By night chill’d, by day scorch'd, thus orie by one

They perish’d, until wither'd to these few,
But chiefly by a species of self-slaughter,
In washing down Pedrillo with salt-water.
As they drew nigh the land, which now was seen,

Unequal in its aspect here and there,
They felt the freshness of its growing green,

That waved in forest tops and smooth'd the air, And fell upon their glazed eyes like a screen

From glistening waves, and skies so hot and bareLovely seem'd any object that should sweep Away the vast, salt, dread, eternal deep. The shore look”d wild, without a trace of man,

And girt by formidable waves ; but they Were mad for land, and thus their course they ran,

Though right ahead the roaring breakers lay : A reef between them also now began

To show its boiling surf and bounding spray, But finding no place for their landing better, They ran the boat for shore, and overset her.

To sit on rocks, to muse o'er flood and fell,
To slowly trace the forest's shady scene,

Where things that own not man's dominion dwell,
And mortal foot hath ne'er or rarely been ;
To climb the trackless mountain all unseen,
With the wild flock that never needs a fold;
Alone o'er steeps and foaming falls to lean ;

This is not solitude; 'tis but to hold (unroll'd. Converse with Nature's charms, and view her stores

But 'midst the crowd, the hum, the shock of men, To hear, to see, to feel, and to possess, And roam along, the world's tired denizen, With none who bless us, none whom we can bless, Minions of splendour shrinking from distress! None that, with kindred consciousness endued, If we were not, would seem to smile the less Of all that flatter'd, follow'd, sought, and sued; This is to be alone; this, this is solitude !

A SOUTH SEA FEMALE. There sat the gentle savage of the wild, In growth a woman, though in years a child, As childhood dates within our coldes clime, Where nought is ripened rapidly save crime; The infant of an infant world, as pure From Nature_lovely, warm, and premature; Dusky like night, but night with all her stars, Or cavern sparkling with its native spars ; With eyes that were a language and a spell, A form like Aphrodite's in a shell ! With all her loves around her on the deep, Voluptuous as the first approach of sleep; Yet full of life—for through her tropic cheek The blush would make its way, and all but speak; The sun-born blood suffused her neck, and threw O'er her clear nut-brown skin a lucid hue,

Like coral reddening through the darken'd wave,
Which draws the diver to the crimson cave.
Such was this daughter of the Southern Seas,
Herself a billow in her energies, ..
To bear the bark of other's happiness,
Nor feel a sorrow till their joy grew less :
Her wild and warm yet faithful bosom knew
No joy like what it gave, her hopes ne'er drew
Aught from experience, that chill touchstone, whose
Sad proof reduces all things from their hues :
She fear'd no ill, because she knew it not,
Or what she knew was soon—too soon-forgot ;
Her smiles and tears had passed, as light winds pass
O’er lakes, to ruffle, not destroy, their glass,
Whose depths unsearch'd, and fountains from the hill,
Restore their surface, in itself so still,
Until the earthquake tear the Naiad's cave,
Root up the spring, and trample on the wave,
And crush the living waters to a mass,
The amphibious desert of the dank morass !
And must their fate be hers? The eternal change
But grasps humanity with quicker range;
And they who fall, but fall as worlds will fall,
To rise, if just, a spirit o'er them all.

Rapt in the fond forgetfulness of life,
Neuha, the South Sea girl, was all a wife,
With no distracting world to call her off
From love; with no society to scoff
At the new transient flame; no babbling crowd
Of coxcombry in admiration loud,
Or with adulterous whisper to destroy
Her duty, and her glory, and her joy;
With faith and feelings naked as her form,
She stood as stands a rainbow in the storm,

Changing its hues with bright variety,
But still expanding lovelier o'er the sky,
Howe'er its arch may swell, its colours move,
The cloud-compelling harbinger of Love.

Here, in this grotto of the wave-worn shore
They passed the Tropic's red meridian o'er ;
Nor long the hours—they never paused o'er time,
Unbroken by the clock's funereal chime,
Which deals the daily pittance of our span,
And points and mocks with iron laugh at man.
What deem'd they of the future or the past ?
The present, like a tyrant, held them fast:
Their hour-glass was the sea sand, and the tide,
Like her smooth billow, saw their moments glide;
Their clock the sun, in his unbounded tower ;
They reckon'd not, whose day was but an hour;
The nightingale, their only vesper bell,
Sung sweetly to the rose the day's farewell;
The broad sun set, but not with lingering sweep,
As in the North he mellows o'er the deep,
But fiery, full, and fierce, as if he left
The world for ever, earth of light bereft,
Plunged with red forehead down along the wave,
As dives a hero headlong to his grave.
Then rose they, looking first along the skies,
And then for light into each others eyes,
Wondering that summer showed so brief a sun,
And asking if indeed the day were done ?

And let not this seem strange; the devotee Lives not in earth, but in his ecstasy; Around him days and worlds are heedless driven, His soul is gone before his dust to heaven. Is love less potent ? No-his path is trod, Alike uplifted gloriously to God;

Or linked to all we know of heaven below,
The other better self, whose joy or woe
Is more than ours; the all-absorbing flame
Which, kindled by another, grows the same,
Wrapt in one blaze; the pure, yet funeral pile,
Where gentle hearts, like Bramins, sit and smile:
How often we forget all time, when lone,
Admiring Nature's universal throne,
Her woods, her wilds, her waters, the intense
Reply of hers to our intelligence !
Live not the stars and mountains ? Are the waves
Without a spirit? Are the dropping caves
Without a feeling in their silent tears ?
No, no ;-they woo and clasp us to their spheres,
Dissolve their clog and clod of clay before
Its hour, and merge our soul in the great shore.
Strip off this fond and false identity!-
Who thinks of self, when gazing on the sky?
And who though gazing lower, ever thought,
In the young moments ere the heart is taught
Time's lesson, of man's baseness or his own
All Nature is his realm, and Love his throne.

Forth from her bosom the young savage drew
A pine torch, strongly girded with gnatoo ;
A plantain leaf o'er all, the more to keep
Its latent sparkle from the sapping deep.
This mantle kept it dry; then from a nook
Of the same plantain leaf, a flint she took,
A few shrunk wither'd twigs, and from the blade
Of Torquil's knife struck fire, and thus array'd
The grot with torchlight. Wide it was and high,
And show'd a self-born Gothic canopy;

« AnteriorContinuar »