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Glorious the sun in mid career;
Glorious th' assembled fires appear ;

Glorious the comet's train :
Glorious the trumpet and alarm;
Glorious th' almighty stretched-out arm;

Glorious th’ enraptured main :

Glorious the northern lights astream ; Glorious the song, when God's the theme ;

Glorious the thunder's roar : Glorious hosanna from the den; Glorious the catholic amen;

Glorious the martyr's gore :

Glorious—more glorious is the crown
Of Him that brought salvation down,.

By meekness call’d thy Son;
Thou at stupendous truth believed,
And now the matchless deed's achieved,

Determined, dared, and done.


[BORN 11th of February, 1732 ; lost with the crew of the Aurora, last heard of on 27th December, 1769, at the Cape of Good Hope. The Shipwreck was published in 1762.]

In the Gentleman's Magazine for December, 1755, appeared a versified complaint, On the Uncommon Scarcity of Poetry, by a Sailor. The scarcity still prevailed when seven years later a sailor—the same perhaps who had written the complaint-startled English readers by his discovery of a new epic theme. The Muse, as Falconer imagines her, visits him in no olive-grove, or flowery lawn, but in a glimmering cavern beside the sea; his lyre is tuned to

• The long surge that foams through yonder cave,

Whose vaults remurmur to the roaring wave.' There was largeness, and freedom and force in the subject he had chosen ; and what is best in his treatment of it was learnt direct from the waves and winds. No one before Falconer had conceived or told in English poetry the long and passionate combat between the sea, roused to fury, and its slight but dexterous rival, with the varying fortunes of the strife. He had himself, like his Arion, been wrecked near Cape Colonna, on the coast of Greece ; like Arion, he was one of three who reached the shore and lived. For the material of his brief epic he needed but to revive in his imagination the sights, the sounds, the fears, the hopes, the efforts of five days the most eventful and the most vivid of his life. The Shipwreck is not a descriptive poem ; it is a poem of action ; each buffet of the sea, each swift turning of the wheel is a portion of the attack or the defence; and as the catastrophe draws near, as the ship scuds past Falconera, as the hills of Greece rise to view, as the pitiless cliffs of St. George grow clear, and the sound of the breakers is heard, the action of the poem increases in swiftness and intensity.

Falconer was a skilful seaman ; unhappily he was not a great poet. The reality, the unity, the largeness of his theme lend him support; and he is a faithful and energetic narrator. But the spirits of tempest and of night needed for their interpreter one of stronger and subtler speech than Falconer. Nor 'was it possible to render into orderly couplets after Pope the vast cadences, the difficult phrases of ocean. The poet's diction is the artificial diction of eighteenth-century verse, handled with none of that exquisite art shown by some cultured writers of the time. And into the midst of the commonplace poetic vocabulary bounces suddenly a rattling row of nautical terms suitable only for the Marine Dictionary. Phæbus and. Clio must lend a hand to brail up the mizen, or belay the topping-lift.

The persons-Albert prudent and bold, the rough Rodmond, the tender Arion--are drawn in simple outlines. 'Some part of the love-story of Palemon,' says Campbell, 'is rather swainish. But Falconer's love-sentiment is as genuine as any other part of the feeling of his poem; and a sailor writing on gentle themes becomes perhaps naturally a swain. The seal of fidelity was set upon Falconer's sea-poem by death-an unknown death in some unknown sea.



In vain the cords and axes were prepared, For every wave now smites the quivering yard ; High o'er the ship they throw a dreadful shade, Then on her burst in terrible cascade ; Across the foundered deck o'erwhelming roar, And foaming, swelling, bound upon the shore. Swift up the mountain billow now she flies, Her shattered top half buried in the skies ; Borne o'er a latent reef the hull impends, Then thundering on the marble crag descends : Her ponderous bulk the dire concussion feels, And o'er upheaving surges wounded reels Again she plunges ! hark ! a second shock Bilges the splitting vessel on the rockDown on the vale of death, with dismal cries, The fated victims shuddering cast their eyes In wild despair ; while yet another stroke With strong convulsion rends the solid oak: Ah Heaven !-behold her crashing ribs divide She loosens, parts, and spreads in ruin o'er the tide.

Oh, were it mine with sacred Maro's art
To wake to sympathy the feeling heart,
Like him, the smooth and mournful verse to dress
In all the pomp of exquisite distress ;
Then, too severely taught by cruel fate,
To share in all the perils I relate,
Then might I with unrivalled strains deplore
The impervious horrors of a leeward shore.

As o'er the surf the bending main-mast hung,
Still on the rigging thirty seamen clung :
Some on a broken crag were struggling cast,
And there by oozy tangles grappled fast;

Awhile they bore the o'erwhelming billows' rage,
Unequal combat with their fate to wage ;
Till all benumbed, and feeble, they forego
Their slippery hold, and sink to shades below :
Some, from the main yard-arm impetuous thrown
On marble ridges, die without a groan :
Three with Palemon on their skill depend,
And from the wreck on oars and rafts descend;
Now on the mountain-wave on high they ride,
Then downward plunge beneath the involving tide ;
Till one, who seems in agony to strive,
The whirling breakers heave on shore alive :
The rest a speedier end of anguish knew,
And pressed the stony beach-a lifeless crew!

Next, o unhappy chief! the eternal doom
Of Heaven decreed thee to the briny tomb :
What scenes of misery torment thy view !
What painful struggles of thy dying crew!
Thy perished hopes all buried in the flood
O’erspread with corses ! red with human blood !
So pierced with anguish hoary Priam gazed,
When Troy's imperial domes in ruin blazed ;
While he, severest sorrow doomed to feel,
Expired beneath the victor's murdering steel--
Thus with his helpless partners to the last,
Sad refuge ! Albert grasps the floating mast.
His soul could yet sustain this mortal blow,
But droops, alas ! beneath superior woe ;
For now strong nature's sympathetic chain
Tugs at his yearning heart with powerful strain ;
His faithful wife, for ever doomed to mourn
For him, alas ! who never shall return;
To black adversity's approach exposed,
With want, and hardships unforeseen, enclosed ;
His lovely daughter, left without a friend
Her innocence to succour and defend,
By youth and indigence set forth a prey
To lawless guilt, that flatters to betray-

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