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The sun is high in heaven; a favoring breeze
Fills the white sail, and sweeps the rippling seas,
And the tall vessel walks her destined way,
And rocks and glitters in the curling spray.
Among the shrouds, all happiness and hope,
The busy seaman coils the rattling rope,
And tells his jest, and carols out his song,
And laughs his laughter, vehement and long;
Or pauses on the deck, to dream awhile
Of his babe's prattle, and their mother's smile,
And nods the head, and waves the welcome hand,
To those who weep upon the lessening strand.
His is the roving step and humor dry,
His the light laugh, and his the jocund eye;
And his the feeling, which, in guilt or grief,
Makes the sin venial, and the surrow brief.
But there are hearts, that merry deck below,
Of darker error, and of deeper woe,
Children of wrath and wretchedness, who grieve
Not for the country, but the crimes they leave,
• * This Poem obtained the Chancellor's Medal at the Cambridge Commencement, July, 1823.
Who, while for them on many a sleepless bed,
The prayer is murmur’d, and the tear is shed,
lu exile and in misery, lock within
Their dread despair, their unrepented sin,-
And in their madness dare to gaze on heaven,
Sullen and cold, unawed and unforgiven!
There the gaunt robber, stern in sin and shame,
Shows his dull features and his iron frame;
And tenderer pilferers creep in silence by,
With quiv’ring lip, flush'd brow and vacant eje.
And some there are who, in their close of day,
With dropping jaw, weak step, and temples gray,
Go tott’ring forth to find, across the wave,
A short sad sojourn, and a foreign grave;
And some, who look their long and last adieu
To the white cliffs that vanish from the view,
While youth still blooms, and vigor nerves the arm,
The blood flows freely, and the pulse beats warm.
The hapless female stands in silence there,
So weak, so wan, and yet so sadly fair,
That those who gaze, a rude untutor'd tribe,
Check the coarse question, and the wounding gibe,
And look, and long to strike the fetter off,
And stay to pity, though they came to scoff.
Then o'er her cheek there runs a burning blush,
And the hot tears of shame begin to rush
Forth from their swelling orbs ;--she turns away,
And her white fingers o'er her eye-lids stray,
And still the tears through those white fingers glide,
Which strive to check them, or at least to hide!
And there the stripling, led to plunder's school,
Ere passion slept, or reason learu'd to rule,
Clasps his young hands, and beats his throbbing brain,
And looks with marvel on his galling chain.
Oh! you may guess from that unconscious gaze
His soul hath dream'd of those far fading days,
When, rudely nurtured on the mountain's brow,
He tended day by day his father's plough;
Blest in his day of toil, his night of ease,
His life of purity, his soul of peace.
Oh, yes ! to-day his soul hath backward been
To many a tender face, and beauteous scene;
The verdant valley and the dark brown hill,
The sinall fair garden, and its tinkling rill,
His grandame's tale, believed at twilight hour,
His sister singing in her myrtle bower,
And she, the maid, of every hope bereft,
So fondly loved, alas! so falsely left;
The winding path, the dwelling in the grove,
The look of welcome, and the kiss of love-
These are his dreams;- but these are dreams of bliss !
Why do they blend with such a lot as his ?
And is there naught for him but grief and gloom,
A lone existence, and an early tomb?
Is there no hope of comfort and of rest
To the sear’d conscience, and the troubled breast?
Oh, say not so! In some far distant clime,
Where lives no witness of his early crime,
Benignant Penitence may haply muse
On purer pleasures, and on brighter views,
And slum'bring Virtue wake at last to claim
Another being, and a fairer fame.
Beautiful land! within whose quiet shore
Lost spirits may forget the stain they bore :
Beautiful land! with all thy blended shades
Of waste and wood, rude rocks, and level glades,
On thee, on thee I gaze, as Moslems look
To the blest islands of their prophet's book ;
And oft I deem that, link'd by magic spell,
Pardon and peace upon thy valleys dwell,
Like to sweet houris beck’ning o'er the deep,
The souls that tremble, and the eyes that weep.
Therefore on thee undying sunbeams throw
Their clearest radiance, and their warmest glow;
And tranquil nights, cool gales, and gentle showers
Make bloom eternal in thy sinless bowers.
Green is thy turf; stern winter duth not dare
To breathe his blast, and leave a ruin there,
And the charm’d ocean roams thy rocks around,
With softer motion, and with sweeter sound:
Among thy blooming flowers and blushing fruit
The whisp’ring of young birds is never mute,
And never duth the streamlet cease to well
Through its old channel in the hidden dell.
Oh! if the Muse of Greece had ever stray'd,
In solemn twilight, through thy forest shade,
And swept her lyre, and waked thy meads along
The liquid echo of her ancient song,
Her fabling Fancy in that hour had found
Voices of music, shapes of grace, around;