« FöregåendeFortsätt »
WILLIAM FALCONER was a native of Edinburgh, | Aurora was never heard of' after she passed the and went to sea at an early age in a merchant Cape, and was thought to have foundered in the vessel of Leith. He was afterwards mate of a Channel of Mozambique ; so that the poet of the ship that was wrecked in the Levant, and was one Shipwreck may be supposed to have perished by the of only three out of her crew that were saved, a same species of calamity which he had rehearsed. catastrophe which formed the subject of his future The subject of the Shipwreck, and the fate of poern. He was for some time in the capacity of a its author, bespeak an uncommon partiality in its servant to Campbell, the author of Lexiphanes, favour. If we pay respect to the ingenious scholar when purser of a ship. Campbell is said to have who can produce agreeable verses amidst the discovered in Falconer talents worthy of culuva- shades of retirement, or the shelves of his library, tion, and when the latter distinguished himself as how much more interest must we take in the “ ship a poet, used to boast that he had been his scholar. boy on the high and giddy mast” cherishing refined What he learned from Campbell it is not very easy visions of fancy at the hour which he may casnally to ascertain. His education, as he often assured snatch from fatigue and danger. Nor did Falconer Governor Hunter, had been confined to reading, neglect the proper acquirements of seamanship in writing, and a litile arithmetic, though in the course cultivating poetry, but evinced considerable knowof his life he picked up some acquaintance with ledge of his profession, both in his Marine Dictionthe French, Spanish, and Italian languages. In ary and in the nautical precepts of the Shipwreck. these his countryman was not likely to have much In that poem he may be said to have added a conassisted him; but he might have lent him books, genial and peculiarly British subject to the lanand possibly instructed him in the use of figures. guage; at least, we had no previous poem of any Falconer published his Shipwreck, in 1762, and by length of which the characters and catastrophe the favour of the Duke of York, to whom it was de were purely naval. dicated, obtained the appointment of a midshipman The scene of the catastrophe (though he followed in the Royal George, and afterwards that of purser only the fact of his own history) was poetically in the Glory frigate. He soon afterwards married laid amidst seas and shores where the mind easily a Miss Hicks, an accomplished and beautiful wo- gathers romantic associations, and where it supman, the daughter of the surgeon of Sheerness poses the most picturesque vicissitudes of scenery yard. At the peace of 1763, he was on the point and climate. The spectacle of a majestic British of being reduced to distressed circumstances by his ship on the shores of Greece brings as strong a ship being laid up in ordinary at Chatham, when, a reminiscence to the mind, as can well be by the friendship of Commissioner Hanway, who imagined, of the changes which time has wrought ordered the cabin of the Glory to be fitted up for in transplanting the empire of arts and civilization. his residence, he enjoyed for some time a retreat Falconer's characters are few; but the calm sagafor study without expense or embarrassment. Here cious commander, and the rough obstinate Rodhe employed himself in compiling his Marine Dic- mond, are well contrasted. Some part of the tionary, which appeared in 1769, and has been love-story of Palemon is rather swainish and proalways highly spoken of by those who are capable tracted, yet the effect of his being involved in the of estimating its merits. He embarked also in the calamity leaves a deeper sympathy in the mind politics of the day, as a poetical antagonist 10 for the daughter of Albert, when we conceive her Churchill
, but with little advantage to his memory. at once deprived both of a father and a lover. Before the publication of his Marine Dictionary he The incidents of the Shipwreck, like those of a had left his retreat at Chatham for a less comfort- well-wrought tragedy, gradually deepen, while able abode in the metropolis, and appears to have they yet leave a suspense of hope and fear to the struggled with considerable difficulties, in the midst imagination. In the final scene there is something of which he received proposals from the late Mr. that deeply touches our compassion in the picture Murray, the bookseller, to join him in the business of the unfortunate man who is struck blind by a which he had newly established. The canse of flash of lightning at the helm. I remember, by, his refusing this offer was, in all probability, the the way, to have met with an affecting account of appointment which he received to the pursership the identical calamity befalling the steersman of a of the Aurora, East Indiaman. In that ship he forlorn vessel in a similar moment, given in a prose embarked for India, in September, 1769, but the and veracious history of the loss of a vessel on the
Hope lifts his heart, before whose vivid ray Now beam a flaming crimson on the eye ;
And now assume the purple's deeper dye.
But here description clouds each shining rayAnd in idea greet his longing eyes !
What terms of Art can Nature's powers display? Each amorous sailor too, with heart elate,
Now, while on high the freshening gale she feels Dwells on the beauties of his gentle mate. The ship beneath her losiy pressure reels. E'en they th' impressive dart of Love can feel, Th'auxiliar sails that court a gentle breeze, Whose stubborn souls are sheathed in triple steel. From their high stations sink by slow degrees. Nor less o'erjoy'd, perhaps with equal truth, The watchful ruler of the helm no more Each faithful maid expects th' approaching youth. With fix'd attention eyes th' adjacent shore ; In distant bosoms equal ardours glow ;
But by the oracle of truth below, And mutual passions mutual joy bestow.- The wondrous magnet, guides the wayward prow.Tall Ida's summit now more distant grew,
The wind, that still th' impressive canvass swellid, And Jove's high hill was rising on the view;
Swift and more swift the yielding bark impell’d. When, from the left approaching, they descry
Impatient thus she glides along the coast, A liquid column, towering, shoot on high :
Till, far behind, the hill of Jove is lost: The foaming base an angry whirlwind sweeps,
And while aloof from Retimo she steers, Where curling billows rouse the fearful deeps :
Malacha's foreland full in front appears. Still round and round the fluid vortex flies, Scattering dun night and horror through the skies. That once enclosed the hallow'd fane of Jove.
Wide o'er yon isthmus stands the cypress grove The swift volution and th' enormous train
Here too, memorial of his name! is found Let sages versed in Nature's lore explain!
A tomb, in marble ruins on the ground. The horrid apparition still draws nigh,
This gloomy tyrant, whose triumphant yoke And white with foam the whirling surges fly ;
The trembling states around to slavery broke ; The guns were primed—the vessel northward Through Greece, for murder, rape, and incest known, veers,
The muses raised to high Olympus throne.Till her black battery on the column bears.
For oft, alas! their venal strains adorn The nitre fired; and while the dreadful sound,
The prince whom blushing Virtue holds in scorn. Convulsive, shook the slumbering air around.
Still Rome and Greece record his endless fame, The watery volume, trembling to the sky,
And hence yon mountain yet retains his name. Burst down the dreadful deluge from on high ;
But see! in confluence borne before the blast, Th' affrighted surge, recoiling as it fell,
Clouds rollid on clouds the dusky noon o'ercast; Rolling in hills disclosed th' abyss of hell.
The blackening ocean curls; the winds arise ; But soon this transient undulation o'er,
And the dark scud* in swift succession flies. The sea subsides, the whirlwinds rage no more.
While the swoln canvass bends the masts on high While south ward now th' increasing breezes Low in the wave the leeward cannon lient veer,
The sailors now, to give the ship relief, Dark clouds incumbent on their wings appear.
Reduce the topsails by a single reef.I In front they view the consecrated grove
Each lofty yard with slacken'd cordage reels, or Cypress, sacred once to Cretan Jove.
Rattle the creaking blocks and ringing wheels. The thirsty canvass, all around supplied,
Down the tall masts the topsails sink amain; Still drinks unquench'd the full aërial tide;
And, soon reduced, assume their post again. And now, approaching near the lofty stern,
More distant grew receding Candia's shore; A shoal of sportive dolphins they discern.
And southward of the west Cape Spado bore. From burnish'd scales they beam'd refulgent rays,
Four hours the sun his high meridian throne Till all the glowing ocean seems to blaze.
Had left, and o'er Atlantic regions shone : Soon to the sport of death the crew repair,
Still blacker clouds, that all the skies invade, Dart the long lance, or spread the baited snare.
Draw o'er his sullied orb a dismal shade. One in redoubling mazes wheels along,
A squall deep lowering blots the southern sky, And glides, unhappy! near the triple prong.
Before whose boisterous breath the waters fly. Rodmond, unerring, o'er his head suspends
Its weight the topsails can no more sustain: The barbed steel, and every turn attends.
Reef topsails, reef! the boatswain calls again! Unerring aim'd the missile weapon flew, And, plunging, struck the fated victim through. Th' upturning points his ponderous bulk sustain ; Scud is a name given by seamen to the lowest clouds, On deck he struggles with convulsive pain.
which are driven with great rapidity along the atmo But while his heart the fatal javelin thrills
sphere, in squally or tempestuous weather.
† When the wind crosses a ship's course, either And fitting lise escapes in sanguine rills,
directly or obliquely, that side of the ship upon which it What radiant changes strike th' astonished sight!
acts, is called the weather side: and the opposite one, What glowing hues of mingled shade and light! which is then pressed downwards, is called the lee side. Not equal beauties gild the lucid west,
Hence all the rigging and furniture of the ship are, at this With parting beams all o'er profusely drest ; time, distinguished by the side, on which they are situ. Not lovelier colours paint the vernal dawn,
ated; as the lee cannon, the lee braces, the weather
braces, &c. When orient dews impearl th' enamellid lawn,
The topsails are large square sails, of the second Than from his sides in bright suffusion Row,
degree in height and magnitude. Reefs are certain That now with gold empyreal seem'd to glow; divisions or spaces by which the principal sails are re. Now in pellucid sapphires meet the view,
duced when the wind increases; and again enlarged And emulate the soft celestial hue;
proportionably, when its force abates.
The haliards* and top-bow-linest soon are gone,
Each motion watches of the doubtful chase, To clue-linest and reef-tackles next they run : Obliquely wheeling through the liquid space ; The shivering sails descend; and now they square So, govern'd by the steersman’s glowing hands, The yards, while ready sailors mount in air. The regent helm her motion still commands. The weather-earingsý and the lee they past; But now the transient squall to leeward past, The reefs enrolld, and every point made fast. Again she rallies to the sullen blast. Their task above thus finish'd, they descend, The helm to starboard* turns—with wings inclined, And vigilant th' approaching squall attend. The sidelong canvass clasps the faithless wind, It comes resistless ; and with foaming sweep, The mizen draws ; she springs aloof once more, Upturns the whitening surface of the deep. While the fore-staysailt balances before. In such a tempest, borne to deeds of death, The fore-sail braced obliquely to the wind, The wayward sisters scour the blasted heath. They near the prow th' extended tack confined ; With ruin pregnant now the clouds impend, Then on the leeward sheet the seamen bend, And storm and cataract tumultuous blend.
And haul the bow-line to the bowsprit end. Deep on her side the reeling vessel lies-- To topsails next they haste--the bunt-lines gone, Brail up the mizen,ll quick!" the master cries, The clue-lines through their wheel'd machinery run. " Man the clue-garnets !T let the main sheet fly!"'** On either side below the sheets are mann'd: The boisterous squall still presses from on high, Again the fluttering sails their skirts expand, And swift, and fatal, as the lightning's course, Once more the topsails, though with humbler plume, Through the torn mainsail bursts with thundering Mounting aloft their ancient post resume. force,
Again the bow-lines and the yards are braced, While the rent canvass flutter'd in the wind, And all th' entangled cords in order placed. Still on her flank the stooping bark inclined.- The sail, by whirlwinds thus so lately rent,
Bear up the helmtt'a-weather!” Rodmond cries; In tatter'd ruins fluttering, is unbent.
That task perform'd, they first the braces** slack, While o'er the foam the ship impetuous flies,
Then to its station drag th' unwilling tack; Th' attentive timoneerff the helm applies.
And, while the lee clue-garnet's lower'd away, As in pursuit along the aërial way,
Taught aft the sheet they tally and belay.tt With ardent eye the falcon marks his prey,
Now to the north, from Afric's burning shore, A troop of porpoises their course explore;
In curling wreaths they gambol on the tide, • Haliards are either single ropes or tackles, by which Now bound alost, now down the billow glide. the sails are hoisted up and lowered, when the sail is to Their tracks awhile the hoary waves retain, be extended or reduced.
That burn in sparkling trails along the main. † Bow-lines are ropes extended to keep the windward These fleetest coursers of the finny race, edge of the sail steady, and to prevent it from shaking in When threat'ning clouds th' etherial vault deface, an unfavourable wind. : Clue lines are ropes used to truss up the clues, or To shun the fury of th' approaching storm.
Their rout to leeward still sagacious form, lower corners of the principal sails to their respective yards, particularly when the sail is to be close reefed or forled. -Reel-tackles are ropes employed to facilitate # The helm being turned to starboard, or to the right the operation of reefing, by confining the extremities of side of the ship, directs the prow to the left, or to port, the reef close up to the yard, so that the interval becomes and vice versa. Hence the helm being put a starboard, slack, and is therefore easily rolled up and fastened to when the ship is running northward, directs her prow the yard by the points employed for this purpose. towards the west.
$ Earings are small cords, by which the upper corners † This sail, which is with more propriety called the of the principal sails, and also the extremities of the reefs, fore-topmast staysail, is a triangular sail, that runs upon are fastened to the yard-arms.
the fore-topmast stay, over the bowsprit. It is used to I The mizen is a large sail of an oblong figure, extended command the fore part of the ship, and counterbalance upon the mizen mast.
the sails extended towards the stern. See also the last 1 Clue garnets are employed for the same purposes note of this Canto. on the main sail and foresail, as the clue-lines are upon 1 A yard is said to be braced when it is turned about the all other square sails. See note t, above.
mast horizontally, either to the right or left; the ropes ** It is necessary in this place to remark that the sheets, employed in this service are accordingly called braces. which are universally mistaken by the English poets and $ The ropes used to truss up a sail 10 the yard or mast their readers for the sails themselves, are no other than whereto it is attached are, in a general sense, called brails. the ropes used to extend the clues or lower corners of | The head-rope is a cord to which the upper part of the sails to which they are attached. To the mainsail the sail is sewed. and forcsail there is a sheet and a tack on each side; the 1 Rope bands, pronounced roebins, are small cords latter of which is a thick rope, serving to confine the used to fasten the upper edge of any sail to its respective weather clue of the sail down to the ship's side, whilst yard. the former draws out of the lee-clue or lower corner on ** Because the lee-brace confines the yard so that the the opposite side. Tacks are only used in a side wind. tack will not come down to its place till the braces are
# The helm is said to be a-weather, when the bar by cast loose. which it is managed is turned to the side of the ship next ti Taught implies stiff, tense, or extended straight; and the wind.
tally is a phrase particularly applied to the operation of # Timoneer, (from timonnier, Fr.) the helmsman or hauling aftihe sheets, or drawing them towards the ship's Can sons of Neptune, generous, brave, and bold, Deaf to the voice of wo, her decks they board, In pain and hazard toil for sordid gold ?
stern. To belay is to fasten.
While tardy Justice slumbers o'er her swordThey can ! for gold, too oft, with magic art, Th' indignant Muse, severely taught to feel, Subdues each nobler impulse of the heart : Shrinks from a theme she blushes to reveal! This crowns the prosperous villain with applause, Too oft example, arm’d with poisons fell, To whom, in vain, sad Merit pleads her cause : Pollutes the shrine where Mercy loves to dwell : This strews with roses life's perplexing road,
Thus Rodmond, train'd by this unhallow'd crew, And leads the way to pleasure's blest abode; The sacred social passions never knew : With slaughter'd victims fills the weeping plain,
Unskill'd to argue, in dispute yet loud ; And smooths the surrows of the treacherous main. Bold without caution; without honours proud :
O'er the gay vessel, and her daring band, In art unschool'd; each veteran rule he prized, Experienced Albert held the chief command ; And all improvement haughtily despised. Though train’d in boisterous elements, his mind Yet, though full oft to future perils blind, Was yet by soft humanity refined,
With skill superior glow'd his daring mind, Each joy of wedded love at home he knew; Through snares of death the reeling bark to guide, Abroad confest the father of his crew!
When midnight shades involve the raging tide. Brave, liberal, just—the calm domestic scene To Rodmond next, in order of command, Had o'er his temper breathed a gay serene : Succeeds the youngest of our naval band. Him Science taught by mystic lore to trace But what avails it to record a name The planets wheeling in eternal race;
That courts no rank among the sons of Fame ? To mark the ship in floating balance beld, While yet a stripling, oft with fond alarms By earth attracted and by seas repelld ; [known, His bosom danced to Nature's boundless charms. Or point her devious track through climes un. On him fair Science dawnd in happier hour, That leads to every shore and every zone. Awakening into bloom young Fancy's flower; He saw the moon through heaven's blue concave But frowning Fortune, with untimely blast, glide,
The blossom wither'd and the dawn o'ercast. And into motion charm th' expanding tide ; Forlorn of heart, and by severe decree, While earth impetuous round her axle rolls, Condemn'd reluctant to the faithless sea, Exalts her watery zone, and sinks the poles,
With long farewell he left the laurel grove, Light and attraction, from their genial source;'
Where science and the tuneful sisters rove. He saw still wandering with diminish'd force :
Hither he wander'd, anxious to explore, While on the margin of declining day,
Antiquities of nations now no more ; Night's shadowy cone reluctant melts away.
To penetrate each distant realm unknown, Inured to peril, with unconquer'd soul,
And range excursive o'er th' untravell’d zone. The chief beheld tempestuous oceans roll;
In vain-for rude Adversity's command, His genius ever for th' event prepared,
Still on the margin of each famous land, Rose with the storm, and all its dangers shared.
With unrelenting ire his steps opposed, The second powers and office Rodmond bore :
And every gate of Hope against him closed. A hardy son of England's furthest shore !
Permit my verse, ye blest Pierian train,
To call Arion this ill-fated swain !
For, like that bard unhappy, on his head,
Malignant stars their hostile influence shed. A sooty tribe! to fair Augusta's port.
Both in lamenting numbers o'er the deep, Where'er in ambush lurk'd the fatal sands,
With conscious anguish taught the harp to weep.
And both the raging surge in safety bore
This last, our tragic story from the wave
Of dark Oblivion haply yet may save:
With genuine sympathy may yet complain,
While sad Remembrance bleeds at every vein. Wheeling in mazy tracks with course inclined. Expert to moor, where terrors line the road,
Such were the pilots--tutor’d to divine
Th' untravell'd course by geometric line;
Train'd to command and range the various sail,
Whose various force conforms to every gale. Tumultuous and undisciplined in war. Such Rodmond was; by learning unrefined,
Charged with the commerce, hither also came
A gallant youth : Palemon was his name; That oft enlightens to corrupt the mind.
A father's stern resentment doom'd to prove, Boisterous of manners; train’d in early youth To scenes that shame the conscious cheek of truth, His heart for Albert's beauteous daughter bled ;
He came the victim of unhappy love!
For her a secret flame his bosom fed.
This genuine passion, Nature's eldast born!
'Twas his with lasting anguish to complain,
Graceful of forin, by Nature taught to please, A bar is known, in hydrography, to be a mass of earth or land collected by the surge of the sea, at the entrance of power to melt the female breast with ease, of a river or haven, so as to render the navigation diffi. To her Palemon told his tender tale, cult, and often dangerous.
Sost as the voice of Summer's evening gale :
O'erjoy'd, he saw her lovely eyes relent:
These o'er th' inferior naval train preside, The blashing maiden smiled with sweet consent. The course determine, or the commerce guide: Oft in the mazes of a neighbouring grove, O'er all the rest, an undistinguish'd crew, Unheard, they breathed alternate vows of love: Her wing of deepest shade Oblivion drew. By fond society their passion grew,
A sullen languor still the skies opprest, Like the young blossom fed with vernal dew. And held th' unwilling ship in strong arrest. In evil hour th' officious tongue of Fame
High in his chariot glow'd the lamp of day, Betray'd the secret of their mutual flame.
O'er Ida, flaming with meridian ray: With grief and anger struggling in his breast, Relax'd from toil, the sailors range the shore, Palemon's father heard the tale confest.
Where famine, war, and storm are felt no more: Long had he listen’d with Suspicion's ear, The hour to social pleasure they resign, And learnt, sagacious, this event to fear.
And black remembrance drown in generous wine. Too well, fair youth! thy liberal heart he knew; On deck, beneath the shading canvass spread, A heart to Nature's warm impressions true! Rodmond a rueful tale of wonders read, Full oft his wisdom strove, with fruitless toil, Of dragons roaring on th' enchanted coast, With avarice to pollute that generous soil : The hideous goblin, and the yelling ghostThat soil impregnated with nobler seed,
But with Arion from the sultry heat Refused the culture of so rank a weed.
Of noon, Palemon sought a cool retreat. Elate with wealth, in active commerce won, And lo! the shore with mournful prospects crown'd ;* And basking in the smile of Fortune's sun, The rampart torn with many a fatal wound; With scorn the parent eyed the lowly shade The ruin'd bulwark tottering o'er the strand; That veil'd the beauties of this charming maid : Bewail the stroke of War's tremendous hand. Indignant he rebuked th' enamoured boy,
What scenes of wo this hapless isle o'erspread! The flattering promise of his future joy!
Where late thrice fifty thousand warriors bled. He soothed and menaced, anxious to reclaim Fulltwice twelve summers were yon tow'rs assaild, This hopeless passion, or divert its aim:
Till barbarous Ottoman at last prevailid; Oft led the youth where circling joys delight While thundering mines the lovely plains o'erturn'd, The ravish'd sense, or beauty charms the sight. While heroes sell, and domes and temples burn'd With all her powers, enchanting Music failid, But now before them happier scenes arise! And Pleasure's syren voice no more prevaild. Elysian vales salute their ravish'd eyes : The merchant, kindling then with proud disdain, Olive and cedar form'd a grateful shade, In look and voice assumed a harsher strain; Where light with gay romantic error stray'd. In absence now his only hope remain'd,
The myrtles here with fond caresses twine ; And such the stern decree his will ordain'd. There, rich with nectar, melts the pregnant vine. Deep anguish, while Palemon heard his doom, And lo! the stream renown'd in classic song, Drew o'er his lovely face a saddening gloom. Sad Lethe, glides the silent vale along. In vain with bitter sorrow he repined,
On mossy banks, beneath the citron grove, No tender pity touch'd that sordid mind :
The youthful wand'rers found a wild alcove : To thee, brave Albert, was the charge consign'd. Soft o'er the fairy region Languor stole, The stately ship, forsaking England's shore, And with sweet Melancholy charm'd the soul. To regions far remote Palemon bore.
Here first Palemon, while his pensive mind Incapable of change, th' unhappy youth
For consolation on his friend reclined, Still loved fair Anna with eternal truth :
In Pity's bleeding bosom pour'd the stream From clime to clime an exile doom'd to roam, Of love's soft anguish, and of grief supreme His heart still panted for its secret home.
Too true thy words! by sweet remembrance taught. The moon had circled twice her wayward zone My heart in secret bleeds with tender thought: To him since young Arion first was known ; In vain it courts the solitary shade, Who, wandering here through many a scene re- By every action, every look betray'd! In Alexandria's port the vessel found; [nown'd, The pride of generous wo disdains appeal Where, anxious to review his native shore, To hearts that unrelenting frosts congeal: He on the roaring wave embark'd once more. Yet sure, if right Palemon can divine, Oft, by pale Cynthia's melancholy light,
The sense of gentle pity dwells in thine. With him Palemon kept the watch of night! Yes! all his cares thy sympathy shall know, In whose sad bosom many a sigh suppress'd, And prove the kind companion of his wo. Some painful secret of the soul confess’d.
Albert thou know'st with skill and science graced, Perhaps Arion soon the cause divined,
In humble station though by Fortune placed, Though shunning still to probe a wounded mind: Yet never seaman more serenely brave He felt the chastity of silent wo,
Led Britain's conquering squadrons o'er the wave. Though glad the balm of comfort to bestow; Where full in view Augusta's spires are seen, He, with Palemon, oft recounted o'er
With flowery lawns and waving woods between, The tales of hapless love, in ancient lore,
A peaceful dwelling stands in modest pride, Recall’d to memory by th' adjacent shore. Where Thames, slow-winding, rolls his ample tide. The scene thus present, and its story known, The lover sigh'd for sorrows not his own.
• The intelligent reader will readily discover, that these Thus, though a recent date their friendship bore,
remarks allude to the ever memorable siege of Candia, Soon the ripe metal own'd the quickening ore; which was taken from the Venetians by the Turks, in For in one tide their passions seem'd to roll, 1669; being then considered as impregnable, and esteem By kindred age and sympathy of soul.
ed the most formidable fortress in the universe.