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Not rudely wrecked, but safely thrown
On yonder ledge of quarried stone,
Where the blithe swallow builds and sings,
And the pert sparrow pecks his wings.
Then, by some glimpse of moonshine sped,
Queen Mab, methinks, alighting there,
A span-long handbreadth terrace spread,
A fairy garden hung in air,
Of lichens, moss, and earthy mould,
To rival Babylon's of old,
In which that single seed she nurst
Till forth its embryo wilding burst.
Now, like that solitary star,
Last in the morn's resplendent crown,
Or first emerging, faint and far,
When evening glooms the sky embrown,
Thy beauty shines without defence,
Yet safe from gentle violence,
While infant hands and maiden eyes
Covet in vain the tempting prize.
Yon arch, beneath whose giant span
Thousands of passing feet have trod
Upon the dust that once was man,
Gathered around the house of GOD, That arch which seems to mock decay, Fixed as the firmament to-day, Is fading like the rainbow's form, Through the slow stress of Time's long storm.
But thou may'st boast perennial prime,
The blade, the stem, the bud, the flower ; Not ruined, but renewed, by Time,
Beyond the great destroyer's power,
Like day and night, like spring and fall,
Alternate, on the abbey wall,
May come and go, from year to year,
And vanish but to re-appear.
Nay, when in utter wreck are strown
Arch, buttress, all this mighty mass, Crumbled, and crushed, and overgrown With thorns and thistles, reeds and grass,
While Nature thus the waste repairs,
Thine offspring, Nature's endless heirs,
Earth's ravaged fields may re-possess,
And plant once more the wilderness.
So be it ::--but the sun is set,
My song must end, and I depart; Yet thee I never will forget,
But bear thee in my inmost heart, Where this shall thy memorial be, If GOD so cares for thine and thee, How can I doubt that love divine Which watches over me and mine?
Scene.—Bridlington Quay, 1824,
At nightfall, walking on the cliff-crowned shore,
Where sea and sky were in each other lost,
Dark ships were scudding through the wild uproar,
Whose wrecks ere morn must strew the dreary coast;
I marked one well-moored vessel tempest-tossed,
Sails reefed, helm lashed, a dreadful siege she bore,
Her deck by billow after billow cross
While every moment she might be no more:
Yet firmly anchored on the nether sand,
Like a chained Lion ramping at his foes,
Forward and rearward still she plunged and rose,
Till broke her cable;—then she fled to land,
With all the waves in chase: throes following throes;
She 'scaped, she struck, --she stood upon the strand.
The morn was beautiful, the storm gone by;
Three days had passed; I saw the peaceful main,
One molten mirror, one illumined plane,
Clear as the blue, sublime, o'erarching sky;
On shore that lonely vessel caught mine eye,-
Her bow was seaward, all equipt her train,
Yet to the sun she spread her wings in vain,
Like a caged Eagle, impotent to fly;
There fixed as if for ever to abide;
Far down the beach had rolled the low neap-tide,
Whose mingling murmur faintly lulled the ear:
“Is this," methought, “is this the doom of pride,
Checked in the onset of thy brave career,
Ingloriously to rot by piecemeal here?"
Spring-tides returned, and Fortune smiled; the bay
Received the rushing ocean to its breast;
While waves on waves innumerably prest,
Seemed, with the prancing of their proud array,
Sea-horses, flashed with foam, and snorting spray;
Their power and thunder broke that vessel's rest;
Slowly, with new expanding life possest,
To her own element she glid away;
Buoyant and bounding like the polar Whale,
That takes his pastime; every joyful sail
Was to the freedom of the wind unfurled,
While right and left the parted surges curled :
-Go, gallant bark! with such a tide and gale,
I'll pledge thee to a voyage round the world.
STANZAS TO THE MEMORY OF THE REV. THOMAS SPENCER, OF LIVERPOOL,
WHO WAS DROWNED WHILE BATHING ON AUG. 5,
1811, IN HIS 21ST YEAR. “Thy way is in the sea, and Thy path in the great waters; and Thy
footsteps are not known.”—Psalm lxxvii. 19.
I will not sing a mortal's praise;
To Thee I consecrate my lays,
To whom my powers belong ;
These gifts, upon Thine altar strown,
O GOD! accept ;-accept Thine own;
My gifts are Thine,-be Thine alone
The glory of my song.