Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

Or gladly leaped on that far Tartar strand,
Where Europe's anchor ne'er had bit the sand,
Where scarce a roving wild tribe crossed the plain,
Or human voice broke nature's silent reign ;
But vast and grassy deserts feed the bear,
And sweeping deer-herds dread no hunter's snare.
Such young delight his real records brought,
His truth so touched romantic springs of thought,
That, all my after-life, his fate and fame,
Entwined romance with La Perouse's name.

Fair were his ships, expert his gallant crews,
And glorious was th’emprise of La Perouse,
Humanely glorious ! Men will weep for him,
When many a guilty martial fame is dim.
He ploughed the deep to bind no captive's chain-
Pursued no rapine---strowed no wreck with slain ;
And, save that in the deep themselves lie low,
His heroes plucked no wreath from human wo.
'Twas his the earth's remotest bounds to scan,
Conciliating with gifts barbaric man-
Enrich the world's contemporaneous mind,
And amplify the picture of mankind.
Far on the vast Pacific,-'midst those isles
O'er which the earliest morn of Asia smiles,
He sounded and gave charts to many a shore
And gulf of ocean new to nautic lore;
Yet he that led discovery o'er the wave,
Still fills himself an undiscovered grave.
He came not back; conjecture's cheek grew pale,
Year after year ; in no propitious gale,
His lilied banner held its homeward way,
And science saddened at her martyr's stay.

An age elapsed : no wreck told where or when
The chief went down with all his gallant men ;
Or whether by the storm and wild sea flood
He perished, or by wilder men of blood :

The shuddering fancy only guessed his doom,
And doubt to sorrow gave but deeper gloom.

An age elapsed : when men were dead or gray
Whose hearts had mourned him in their youthful day,
Fame traced him on Mannicolo's shore at last;
The boiling surge had mounted o'er his mast.
The islesmen told of some surviving men,
But Christian eyes beheld them ne'er again.
Sad bourn of all his toils, with all his band
To sleep, wrecked, shroudless, on a savage strand !

LESSON LVIII.

The Gļory of God in Creation.-PRESIDENT EDWARDS.

AFTER this, my sense of divine things gradually increased, and became more and more lively, and had more of that inward sweetness. The appearance of every object was altered; there seemed to be, as it were, a calm, sweet cast or appearance of divine glory in almost every thing. God's excellency, his wisdom, his purity and love, seemed to appear in every thing ;-in the sun, moon and stars, in the clouds and blue sky; in the grass, flowers, trees; in the water, and all nature, which used greatly to fix my mind. I often used to sit and view the moon for a long time, and in the day spent much time in viewing the clouds and sky, to behold the sweet glory of God in these things; in the mean time singing forth, with a low voice, my contemplations of the Creator and Redeemer. And scarce any thing, among all the works of nature, was So sweet to me as thunder and lightning; formerly nothing had been so terrible to me. Before, I used to be uncommonly affrighted with thunder, and to be struck with terror when I saw a thunder-storm rising; but now,

on the contrary, it rejoiced me. I felt God, if I may so speak, at the first appearance of a thunder-storm, and used to take the opportunity, at such times, to fix myself in order to view the clouds, and see the lightnings play, and hear the majestic and awful voice of God's thunder, which oftentimes was exceedingly entertaining, leading me to sweet contemplations of my great and glorious God. While thus engaged, it always seemed natural for me to sing or chant forth my meditations, or to speak my thoughts in soliloquies with a singing voice.

LESSON LIX.

The Landers sailing down the Niger.

Canoe.

At three in the afternoon, we offered up a prayer to the Almighty Disposer of all human events for protection on our future voyage, that he would deign to extend to us his all-saving power among the lawless barbarians it was our lot to be obliged to pass. Having done this, we next ordered Pascoe and our people to commence loading the

I shall never forget them, poor fellows; they were all in tears, and trembled with fear. One of them, named Antonio, a native of Bonny, and son to the late chief of that river, who had joined us from his majesty's brig the Clinker, with the consent of Lieutenant Matson, her commander, was as much affected as the rest, but on a different account. For himself, he said that he did not care; his own life was of no consequence. All he feared that

my brother and I should be murdered: he loved us dearly : he had been with us ever since we had left the sea, and it would be as bad as dying himself to see us killed.

At half-past four in the afternoon, in pursuance of our plan, we bade adieu to the kind inhabitants of Kacunda,

was,

[ocr errors]

no doubt

and, every thing having been conveyed to the canoe, and our men in their places, we embarked and pushed off the shore in sight of multitudes of people. We worked our way with incredible difficulty through the morass, before we were enabled to get into the body of the stream. The poor natives gazed at us with astonishment, and followed us with their eyes as long as they could,

expecting that we should never be seen or heard of more.

We were now fairly off, and prepared ourselves for the worst. “Now," said I, “my boys," as our boat glided down with the stream, “let us all stick together. I hope that we have none among us who will flinch, come what may.” Antonio and Sam said they were determined to stick to us to the last. The former I have before alluded to; the latter is a native of Sierra Leone; and I believe them both to be firm fellows when required. Old Pascoe and Jowdie, two of my former people, I knew could be depended on; but the new ones, although they boasted much when they found that there was no avoiding it, I had not much dependence on, as I had not had an opportunity of trying them. We directed the four muskets and two pistols to be loaded with ball and slugs, determined that our opponents, whoever they might be, should meet with a warm reception; and, having made every preparation for our defence which we thought would be availing, and encouraging our little band to behave themselves gallantly, we gave three hearty cheers, and commended ourselves to Providence.

Our little vessel moved on in grand style under the vigorous and animated exertions of our men. . There were no tears now; and I thought, as they propelled her along with more than their usual strength, that they felt they were a match for any canoe that would dare to attack us. Shortly after leaving Kacunda, the river took a turn due south, between tolerably high hills; the strength of the current continued much about the same. A few miles farther on, we observed a branch of the Niger, rather

diminutive, running off in a westerly direction; but are not certain whether this was only a creek, or a branch of the river: the banks of it were covered with palm-trees, and little hills were scattered over them. We found ourselves opposite a large spreading town, from which issued a great and confused noise, as of a multitude quarrelling, or as the .waves of the sea rolling upon a rocky beach; we saw also other towns on the western bank of the river, but we cautiously avoided them all. The evening was calm and serene, the heat of the day was over, the moon and stars now afforded us an agreeable light, every thing was still and pleasant; we glided smoothly and silently down the stream, and for a long while we saw little to excite our fears, and heard nothing but a gentle rustling of the leaves, occasioned by the wind, the noise of our paddles, or, now and then, the plashing of fishes, as they leaped out of the water.

About midnight, we observed lights from a village, to which we were very close, and heard people dancing, singing and laughing in the moonshine outside their huts. We made haste over to the opposite side, to get away, for fear of a lurking danger, and we fancied that a light was following us, but it was only a "will-o'-the-wisp," or some such thing, and trees soon hid it from our sight. After the moon had gone down, it became rather cloudy, so that we could not discern the way as plainly as we could have wished, and the consequence was, that we were suddenly drifted by the current into an eddy, and, in spite of all our exertions to get out of it, we swept over into a small, shallow channel which had been formed by the overflowing of the river, and it cost two hours' hard labor to get into the main stream again. The course of the river was turned to the south-east by a range of very high hills.

We also passed a great number of islands.

Monday, Oct. 25th. At one, A. M. the direction of the river changed to south-south-west, running between

« PreviousContinue »