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Look on the gibbet, with shuddering eye,
4. Look on the outcast from virtue's pale,
Pity thy sister, though erring and frail ;
5. And remember the grave with its long repose,
Which “no work nor device nor wisdom knows ;'
LXXII.-BEAUTIFUL SIGHTS AT SEA.
JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL.
1. The most beautiful thing I have seen at sea,-all the more so that I had never heard of it,-is the trail of a shoal of fish through the phosphorescent water. It is like a flight of silver rockets, or the streaming of northern lights through that silent nether heaven. I thought nothing could go beyond that rustling star-foam which was churned up by our ship's bows, or those eddies and disks of dreamy flame that rose and wandered out of sight behind us.
2. 'Twas fire our ship was plunging through,
Cold fire that o'er the quarter flew;
3. But there was something even more delicately rare in the apparition of the fish, as they turned up in gleaming furrows the latent moonshine which the ocean seemed to have hoarded against these vacant interlunar nights. In the Mediterranean one day, as we were lying becalmed, I observed the water freckled with dingy specks, which at last gathered to a pinkish scum on the surface. The sea had been so phosphorescent for some nights, that when the captain gave me my bath, by dowsing me with buckets from the house on deck, the spray flew off my head and shoulders in sparks.
4. It occurred to me that this dirty-looking scum might be the luminous matter, and I had a pailful dipped up to keep till after dark. When I went to look at it after nightfall, it seemed at first perfectly dead; but when I shook it, the whole broke out into what I can only liken to milky flames, whose lambent silence was strangely beautiful, and startled me almost as actual projection might an alchemist. I could not bear to be the death of so much beauty; so I poured it all over-board again.
5. Another sight worth taking a voyage for is that of the sails by moonlight. Our course was “south and by east, half south," so that we seemed bound for the full moon as she rolled up over our wavering horizon. Then I used to go forward to the bowsprit and look back. Our ship was a clipper, with every rag set, stunsails, sky-scrapers, and all ; nor was it easy to believe that such a wonder could be built of canvas as that white, many-storied pile of cloud that stooped over me, or drew back as we rose and fell with the waves.
6. Were you ever alone with the sun? You think it a very simple question; but I never was, in the full sense of the word, till I was held up to him one cloudless day on the broad buckler of the ocean. I suppose one might have the same feeling in the desert. I remember getting something like it years ago, when I climbed alone to the top of a mountain, and lay face up on the hot gray moss, striving to get a notion of how an Arab might feel. It was my American commentary of the Koran, and not a bad one.
7. In a New England winter, too, when every thing is gagged with snow, as if some gigantic physical geographer were taking a cast of the earth's face in plaster, the bare knob of a hill will introduce you to the sun as a comparative stranger. But at sea you may be alone with him day after day, and almost all day long. I never understood before that nothing short of full day-light can give the supremest sense of solitude.
8. Darkness will not do so, for the imagination peoples it with more shapes than ever were poured from the frozen loins of the populous North. The sun, I sometimes think, is a little grouty at sea, especially at high noon, feeling that he wastes his beams on those fruitless furrows. It is otherwise with the moon. She “comforts the night," as Chapman finely says, and I always found her a companionable creature.
9. In the ocean-horizon I took untiring delight. It is the true magic-circle of expectation and conjecture,-almost as good as a wishing-ring. What will rise over that edge we sail toward daily and never overtake? A sail? an island? the new shore of the Old World ? Something rose every day, which I need not have gone so far to see, but at whose levee I was a much more faithful courtier than on shore.
10. A cloudless sunrise in mid-ocean is beyond comparison for simple grandeur. It is like Dante's style, bare and perfect. Naked sun meets naked sea, the true classic of nature. There may be more sentiment in morning on shore,—the shivering fairy-jewelry of dew, the silver point. lace of sparkling hoar-frost,—but there is also more complexity, more of the romantic.
WILLIAM C. BRYANT.
On the lake below, thy gentleeyes;
And dark and silent the water lies;
Flake after flake,
2. See how in a living swarm they come
From the chambers beyond that misty veil.
Rush prone from the sky like summer hail.
Flake after flake.
3. Here delicate snow-stars, out of the cloud
Come floating downward in airy play,
That whiten by night the milky way;
Flake after flake,
4. And some, as on tender wings they glide
From their chilly birth-cloud, dim and gray,
Come clinging along their unsteady way,
Each mated flake
5. Lo! while we are gazing, in swifter haste
Stream down the snows, till the air is white,
Flake after flake
6. I see in thy gentle eyes a tear ;
They turn to me in sorrowful thought;
Who were for a time and now are not ;
Like these fair children of cloud and frost,
Flake after flake,-
7. Yet look again, for the clouds divide ;
A gleam of blue on the water lies;
A sunbeam falls from the opening skies.
Flake after flake,
LXXIV.-PECULIARITIES OF LORD BYRON.
T. B. MACAULAY. 1. It was in description and meditation that he excelled, “Description," as he said in Don Juan, “was his forte." His manner is indeed peculiar, and is almost unequaledrapid, sketchy, full of vigor; the selection happy ; the strokes few and bold. He has accustomed himself to gaze on nature with the eye of a lover—to dwell on every feature, and to mark every change of aspect. Those beauties which strike the most negligent observer, and those which only a close attention discovers, are equally familiar to him, and are equally prominent in his poetry. The proverb of old Hesiod. that half is often more than the whole, is eminently applicable to description. The policy of the Dutch, who cut down most of the precious trees in the Spice Islands, in order to raise the value of what remained, was a policy which poets would do well to imitate. It was a policy which no poet understood better than Lord Byron. Whatever his faults might be, he was never, while his mind retained its vigor, accused of prolixity. .
2. His descriptions, great as was their intrinsic merit, derived their principal interest from the feeling which always mingled with them. He was himself the beginning, the middle, and the end of all his own poetry, the hero of every tale,