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THE ISLE OF PALMS.
It U the midnight-hoar:—the beauteous Sea, Ctlm M the cloudless heaven, the heaven
discloses, While many a sparkling star, in qniet glee, fir down within the watery sky reposes. Ai if the Ocean's heart were stirr'd With inward life, a sound is heard, Lile that of dreamer murmuring in his sleep; Tb partly the billow, and partly the air That lies like a garment floating fair Above the happy deep. The sea, I ween, cannot be fann'd By evening-freshness from the land, For the land it is far away; Bit God hath will'd that the sky-born breeze h the centre of the loneliest seas Should ever sport and play. The mighty Moon she sits above, Encircled with a zone of love, A une of dim and tender light That makes her wakeful eye more bright: She teems to shine with a sunny ray, And the night looks like a mcllow'd day! The gracious Mistress of the Main "tth now an undisturbed reign, And from her silent throne looks down, Ai upon children of her own, "" the waves that lend their gentle breast •« gladness for her couch of rest!
My spirit sleeps amid the calm The ileep pf a new delight; And hopes that she ne'er may awake again, Bat for ever hnng o'er the lovely main, And adore the lovely night. Scarce conscious of an earthly frame, She glides away like a lambent flame, And in her bliss she sings; "°w touching softly the Ocean's breast, ^ow mid the stars she lies at rest, ■s if she sail'd on wings! Now, bold as the brightest star that glows More brightly since at first it rose, l*oks down on the far-off Flood, And there all breathless and alone,
Aa the sky where she soars were a world of her own,
She mocketh that gentle Mighty One
As he lies in his quiet mood.
Art thou, she breathes, the Tyrant grim
That scoffs at human prayers.
Answering with prouder roar the while,
As it rises from some lonely isle
Through groans raised wild, the hopeless hymn
Of shipwreck'd mariners?
Oh! Thou art harmless as a child
Weary with joy, and reconciled
For sleep to change its play;
And now that night hath stay'd tby race,
Smiles wander o'er thy placid face
As if thy dreams were gay.—
And can it be that for me alone The Main and Heavens are spread? Oh! whither, in this holy hour, Have those fair Creatures fled, To whom the ocean-plains are given As clonds possess their native heaven? The tiniest boat, that ever sail'd Upon an inland-lake, Might through this sea without a fear Her silent journey take, Though the helmsman slept as if on land, And the oar had dropp'dfrom the rower's hand. How like a monarch would she glide. While the husht billow kiss'd her side With low and lulling tone, Some stately Ship, that from afar Shone sudden, like a rising star, With all her bravery on! List! how in murmurs of delight The blessed airs of Heaven invite The joyous Bark to pass one night Within their still domain! O grief! that yonder gentle Moon, Whose smiles for ever fade so soon, Should waste such smiles in vain. Haste! haste! before the moonshine dies Dissolved amid the morning-skies, While yet the silvery glory lies Above the sparkling foam; Bright mid surrounding brightness, Thou, Scattering fresh beauty from thy prow, In poinii and splendour come!
And lo! upon the murmuring waves A glorious Shape appearing! A broad- wing'il Vessel, through the shower Of glimmering lustre steering! As if the beauteous ship enjoy'd The beauty of the sea, She liftctli up her stately head And saileth joyfully. A lovely path before her lies, A lovely path behind; She sails amid the loveliness Like a thing with heart and mind. Fit pilgrim through a scene so fair Slowly she beareth on; A glorious phantom of the deep, Risen up to meet the Moon. The Moon bids her tenderest radiance fall On her wavy streamer and snow-white wings, And the quiet voice of the rocking sea To cheer the gliding vision sings. Oh! ne'er did sky and water blend In such a holy sleep, Or bathe in brighter quietude A roaiiur of the deep. So far the peaceful soul of Heaven Hath settled on the sea, It seems as if this weight of calm Were from eternity. O World of Waters! the steadfast earth Ne'er lay entranced like Thee!
Is she a vision wild and bright, That sails amid the still moon-light At the dreaming soul's command? A vessel borne by magic gales, All rigg'd with gossamery sails, And bound for Fairy-land? Ah! no!—an earthly freight she bears, Of joys and sorrows, hopes and fears; And lonely as she seems to be, Thus left by herself on the moonlight-sea In loneliness that rolls. She hath a constant company, In sleep, or waking revelry, Five hundred human souls! Since first she sail'd from fair England, Three moons her path have cheer'd; And another lights her lovelier lamp Since the Cape hath disappear'd. For an Indian Isle she shapes her way With constant mind both night and day She seems to hold her home in view, And sails, as if the path she knew; So calm and stately is her motion Across tb' unfathoui'd trackless ocean.
And well, glad Vessel! mayst thou stem The tide with lofty breast, And lift thy queen like dindem O'er these 'thy realms of rest:
For a thousand beings, now far away.
Behold thee in their sleep,
And hush their heating hearts to pray
That a calm may clothe the deep.
When dimly descending behind the sea
From the Mountain-Isle of Liberty,
Oh! many a sigh pursued thy vanish'd sail:
And oft nn eager crowd will stand
With straining gaze on the Indian strand,
Thy wonted gleam to hail.
For thou art laden with Beauty and Youth,
With Honour bold and spotless Truth,
With fathers, who have left in a home
of rest Their infants smiling at the breast, With children who have bade their parents
farewell. Or who go to the land where their parents
dwell. God speed thy course, thou gleam of delight From rock and tempest clear; Till signal gun from friendly height Proclaim, with thundering cheer, To joyful groups on the harbour bright. That the good ship Hopk is near!
Is no one on the silent deck Save the helmsman who sings for a breeze. And the sailors who pace their midnightwatch, Still as the slumbering seas? Yes! side by side, and hand in hand. Close to the prow two figures stand, Their shadows never stir, And fondly as the moon doth rest Upon the Ocean's gentle breast, So fond they look on her. They gaze and gaze till the beauteous orb Seems made for them alone: They feel as if their home were Heaven, And the earth a dream that hath flown. Softly they lean on each other's breast. In holy bliss reposing, Like two fair clouds to the vernal air. In folds of benuty closing. The tear down their glad fares rolls. And a silent prayer is in their sonls, While the voice of nwnken'd memory. Like a low and plaintive melody, Sings in their hearts.—a mystic voice. That bids them tremble and rejoice. And Faith, who oft had lost her power In the darkness of the midnight-hour. When the planets had roll'd afar, Now stirs in their soul with a joyful strife. Embued with a genial spirit of life By the Moon and the Morning-Star.
A lovelier vision in the moonlight stands. Than Bard e'er woo'd in fairy-lands, Or Faith with tranced eye adored. Floating around our dying Lord. Her silent face is snintly-palc. And sadness shades it like a veil:
A connrrralril nun she seems.
Whine waling thoughts an- deep as drcniiis.
And in her hnsh'd and dim abode
For ever dwell upon her God,
Through the -till fount of tears and sighs,
And human sensibilities!
Well may the Moon delight to shed
Her loftcst radiance round that head,
And mellow the rool ocean-air
That lift* by fits her sable hair.
These mild and melancholy eyes
Are dear unto the starry skies,
At the dim effusion of their rays
Mend* with the glimmering light that plays
O'er the bine heavens and snowy clouds,
The cloud-like sails and radiant shrouds.
Fair creature! Thou dost seem to be
Some wandering spirit of the sea,
That dearly loves the gleam of sails,
Aad o'er them breathes propitious gales.
Hither thou contest, for one wild hour,
With him thy sinless paramour,
To gaxe, while the wearied sailors sleep,
On this beautiful phantom of the deep,
Thataeem'd to rise with the rising Moon.
Hut the Queen of Might will be sinking soon, Then will you, like two breaking waves, Siak softly to your coral caves, Or, noiseless as the falling dew, Melt into Heaven's delicious blue.
Nay! wrong her not, that Virgin bright! Hrr face is bathed in lovelier light Than ever flow'd from eyes Of Ocean Nymph, or Sylph of Air! Th« tearful gleam, that trembles there, From human dreams must rise. Jft the Mermaid rest in her sparry cell, Jjw sea-green ringlets braiding! The Sylph in viewless ether dwell, Jj clouds her beauty shading! JJj wol devotes her music wild To one who is an earthly child, oat who, wandering through the midnighthour, Far from the shade of earthly bower, ■"•tows a tender loveliness, * aVeper, holier quietness, 9" the moonlight Heaven, and Ocean hoar, S° T»iet and so fair before. '"' why does a helpless maiden roam, "id stranger sonls, and far from home, Arrou the faithless deep? Ok! itter far that her gentle mind '» some sweet inland-vale should find An undisturbed sleep!
So was it once. Her childish years
When the glossy hues of the sunny spring
Arc dancing on its hrenst,
With a winged glide this maiden would rove,.
An innocent phantom of beauty and love.
Far from the haunts of men she grew
By the side of a lonesome tower,
Like some solitary mountain-flower,
Whose veil of wiry dew
Is only touch'd by the gales that breathe
O'er the blossoms of the fragrant heath,
And in its silence melts away
With those sweet things ton pure for earthly
day. West was the lore that Mature taught The infant's happy mind, Even when each light and happy thought I'nss'd onwards like the wind, Nor longer seem'd to linger there Than the whispering sound in her raven-hair. Well was she known to each mountain
stream, As its own voice, or the fond moon-Ileum That o'er its music play'd: The loneliest caves her footsteps heard, In lake and tarn oft nightly.stirr'd The Maiden's ghost-like shade. But she hath bidden a last farewell To lake and mountain, stream and dell, And fresh have blown the gales For many a mournful night and day, Wafting the tall Ship far away From her dear native Wales.
And must these eyes,—so soft and mild, As angel's bright, as fairy's wild, Swimming in lustrous dew, Now sparkling lively, gay, and glad, And now their spirit melting sad In smiles of gentlest blue,— Oh! must these eyes he steep'd in tears, Bediinm'd with dreams of future years, Of what may yet betide An Orphan-Maid!—for in the night She oft hath started with affright, To find herself a bride; A bride oppress'd with fear and shame, And bearing not Fitz-Owen's name. This fearful dream oft haunts her bed, For she hath heard of maidens sold, In the innocence of thoughtless youth, To Guilt and Age for gold; Of English maids who pined away Beyond the Eastern Main, Who smiled, when first they trod that shore. But never smiled again. In dreams is she such wretched Maid, An Orphan, helpless, sold, hetray'd! And, when the dream hath fled, In waking thought she still retains The memory of these wildering pains, In strange mysterious dread.
Yet oft will happier dreams arise Before her charmed view,
And the powerful beauty of the skies
Makes her believe them true.
For who, when nought is heard around,
But the great Ocean's solemn sound,
Feels not as if the Eternal God
Were, speaking in that dread abode?
An answering voice seems kindly given
From the multitude of stars in Heaven:
And oft a smile of moonlight fair,
To perfect peace hath changed despair.
Low as we are, we blend our fate
With things so beautifully great,
And though opprest with heaviest grief,
From Nature's bliss we draw relief.
Assured that God's most gracious eye
Beholds us in our misery,
And sends mild sound and lovely sight,
To change that misery to delight.
Such is thy faith, O sainted Maid!
Pensive and pale, but not afraid
Of Ocean or of Sky,
Though thou ne'er mayst see the land
again, And though awful be the lonely Main, No fears hast thou to die. Whntc'cr betide of weal or woe, When the waves are asleep, or the tempests
blow, Thou wilt bear with calm devotion; For duly every night and morn, Sweeter than Mermaid's strains, are borne Thy hymns along the Ocean.
And who is He that fondly presses Close to his heart the silken tresses That hide her soften'd eyes, Whose heart her heaving bosom meets, And through the midnight silence beats To feel her rising sighs? Worthy the Youth, I ween, to rest On the fair swellings of her breast, Worthy to hush her inmost fears, And kiss away her struggling tears: For never grovelling spirit stole A woman's unpolluted soul! To her the vestal fire* is given; And only fire drawn pure from Heaven Can on Love's holy shrine descend. And there in clouds of fragrance blend. Well do I know that stately Youth! The broad day-light of cloudless truth Like a sun-beam bathes his face; Though silent, still a gracions smile, That rests upon his eyes the while, Bestows a speaking grace. That smile hath might of magic art, To sway at will the stoniest heart, As a ship obeys the gale; And when his silver-voice is heard, The coldest blood is warmly stirr'd, As at some glorious tale. The loftiest spirit never saw This Youth without a sudden awe: But vain the transient feeling strove Against the stealing power of love.
Soon as they felt the tremor cease,
He seem'd the very heart of peace;
Majestic to the bold and high,
Yet calm and beauteous to a woman's eye!
To him, a mountain-youth, was known The wailing tempest's dreariest tone. He knew the shriek of wizard caves, And the trampling fierce of howling waves. The mystic voice of the lonely night, He had often drunk with a strange delight. And look'd on the clouds as they roll'd on high, Till with them he sail'd on the sailing sky. And thus hath he learn'd to wake the lyre, With something of a bardlike fire; Can tell in high empassion'd song, Of worlds that to the Bard belong, And, till they feel his kindling breath, To others still and dark as death. Yet oft, I ween, in gentler mood A humble kindness hush'd his blood. And sweetly blended earth-born sighs With the Hard's romantic ecstasies. The living world was dear to him, And in his waking hours more bright it
seem'd, More touching far, than when his fancy
dream'd Of heavenly bowers, th' abode of Seraphim: And gladly from her wild sojourn Mid haunts dim-shadow'd in the realms of
mind, Even like a wearied dove that flies for rest Back o'er long fields of air unto her nest. His longing spirit homewards would return To meet once more the smile of human kind. And when at last a human soul he found. Pure as the thought of purity,—more mild Than in its slumber seems a dreaming child; When on his spirit stole the myatic aoBitd, The voice, whose music sad no mortal ear But his can rightly understand and hear. When a subduing smile like moonlight show On him for ever, and for him alone. Why should he seek this lower world to leave! For, whether now he love to joy or grieve. A friend he hath for sorrow or delight. Who lends fresh beauty to the morning-light. The tender stars in tenderer dimneaa ahrondt. And glorifies the Moon among her clouds
How would he gaze with reverent eye Upon that meek and pensive maid, Then fix his looks upon the sky With moving lips as if he pray'd! Unto his sight bedimm'd with tear*. How beautiful the Saint appears,— Oh, all unlike a creature fnrm'd of clay'. The blessed angels with delight Might hail her Sister! She is bright And innocent as they. Scarce dared he then that form to love! A solemn impulse from above All earthly hopes forbade,
And with r pare and holy flame,
Ai if in troth from Heaven she came,
He gazed upon the maid.
Hi* beating; heart, thug fill'd with awe,
In her the guardian spirit saw
Of all his future years;
And when he listcn'd to her breath
So spiritual, nor pain nor death
Sftm'd longer worth his fears.
She loved him! She, the Child of Heaven!
And God would surely make
The »oul to whom that love was given
More perfect for her sake.
Each look, each word, of one so good
Druiutly he obey'd,
Aad trusted that a gracious eye
Would ever guide his destiny,
For whom in holy solitude
A kneeling Angel pray'd.
Those days of tranquil joy are fled, And tears of deep distress From night to morn hath Mary shed: And, say! when sorrow liow'd her head Did he then love her less? Ah so! more touching beauty rose Through the dim paleness of her woes, Than when her cheek did bloom With joy's own lustre: something there, A taint-like calm, a deep repose, Made her look like a spirit fair, New risen from the tomb. For ever in his heart shall dwell The voice with which she said farewell To the fading English shore; It dropp'd like dew upon his ear, Awl for the while he ceased to hear The sea-wind's freshening roar. "To thee I trust my sinless child: And therefore am I reconciled To hear my lonely lot, The Gracious One, who loves the good, For her will smooth the Ocean wild, for in her aged solitude * parent be forgot." The last words these her mother spake, Sashing as if her heart would break, Jjfaal the cold sea-shore, "hen onwards with the favouring gale, "■d to be free, in pride of sail TV impatient Teasel bore.
Oh! could she now in magic glass Behold the winged Glory pass W'ith a slow and cloud-like motion, "hile, as they melted on her eye, She scarce should ken the peaceful sky From the still more peaceful Ocean! Aad it may be snch dreams are given In mercy by indulgent Heaven, To solace them that mourn: The absent bless our longing sight, The future shews than truth more bright, Aad phantoms of expired delight
Most passing sweet return.
Mother! behold thy child: How still
Her upward face! She thinks on thec:
Oh! thou canst never gaze thy fill!
How beautiful such piety!
There in her lover's guardian arms
She rests: and all the wild alarms ,
Of waves or winds are hush'd, no more to rise.
Of thee, and thee alone, she thinks:
See! on her knees thy daughter sinks:
Sure God will bless the prayer that lights
such eyes! Didst thou e'er think thy child so fair? The rapture of her granted prayer Hath breathed that awful beauty through
her face. Once more upon the deck she stands, Slowly unclasps her pious hands, And brightening smiles, assured of heavenly
Oh, blessed pair! and, while I gaze, As beautiful as blest! Emblem of all your future days Seems now the Ocean's rest! Beyond the blue depths of the sky The Tempests sleep;—and there must lie, Like baleful spirits barr'd from realms of
bliss; But singing airs, and gleams of light, And birds of calm, all glancing bright, Must hither in their gladness come— —Where shnll they find a fitter home Than a night-scene fair as this? And when, her fairy-voyage past, The happy Ship is moor'd at last In the loved haven of her Indian Isle, How dear to you will be the beams Of the silent Moon! What touching dreams Your musing hearts beguile! Though baply then her radiance fall On some low mansion's flowery wall, Far up an inland-vale, Yet then the sheeted mast will tower, Her shrouds all rustling like a shower, And, melting as wild music's power, Low pipe the sea-born gale. Each star will speak the tenderest things, And when the clouds expand their wings, All parting like a fleet, Your own beloved Ship, I ween, Will foremost in the van be seen, And, rising loud and sweet, The sailor's joyful shouts be heard, Such as the midnight silence stirr'd When the wish'd-for breezes blew, And, instant as the loud coinninnds. Sent upwards from a hundred hands The broad sails rose unto the sky, And from her slumbers suddenly The Ship like lightning flew.
But list! a low and moaning sound At distance heard, like a spirit's song,