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The bosom's sickness, and the pain
In the far solitudes of time,
Though Greece may boast her deathless page, Yet Athens shows her chain and cell, Where nature's boast, the Attic sage, In virtue's struggle fell, Even Rome with her heroic lines, Had dungeons and abodes of dread, As thick and countless as her shrines, Aud victims as her dead.
Italia's palaces are fair,
The question and the bloody mail,
Land of romance, of love and hate,
France-of the sunny hills and plains,
But the far dungeons of the east
Could they but speak, those silent stones,
There is a darker dungeon still,
A thousand years have risen and rollid
OR AN OLD REEFER'S YARN.*
“ COME, spin us a yarn, Jack, my boy,” said a curly-headed, rosy-cheeked young midshipman, to old Jack Palmer, one evening, as we were running down the Spanish Main, before as sweet a breeze as ever filled a to'gallant-sail. Jack Palmer was an old seadog, and a clever fellow, at least in the Yankee sense of the word. He had seen all sorts of service, and knew all sorts of stories, which were perhaps not the less amusing for their want of grammar, and their abundance of sea phrases. He was master's mate of the gundeck; but when called upon for a story by Rosy Willy, (the name of the little reefer that had asked Jack for a yarn,) his business for the day was finished; the grog had been served ; the bull stowed away in the spirit-room, and the key of the hatch returned to the master. It was a pleasant evening, too, and as it was only three bells of the second dog-watch, and of course too early to turn in, Jack sat down on the fo'castle chest, and signified his willingness to comply. He was immediately surrounded by a knot of midshipmen, eager to listen, and, after the usual preliminary of a fresh quid, he began as follows:
Merriville Terry, or as they used to call him for shortness, Merry Terry—and a right good name it was, for he was as gay a lark as ever gave life and animation to a steerage mess-table-was one of the noblest middies that I ever knew. He was as full of rigs and jokes as a French man-of-war is of music, and they were quite as harmless, too; for Merry never said any thing to hurt a shipmate's feelings, and no one ever thought of getting angry at his fun. There wasn't a reefer in the whole fleet that didn't love him like a brother; nor a luff, that when there was hard duty to do, didn't favour him all he could; for Merry had a delicate constitution, and couldn't stand the rough and tumble of the sarvice as well as some. But he was no skulk, and, blow high or blow low, Merry never shrank from his watch. When the relief was called at night, whether it was calm or storm, all sail or a close-reefed top-sail and fore-sail, it made no difference, on deck he always was before the sound would be out of the bell. He didn't tumble up the hatchway either, as some of you reefers do, with your hands in your beckets,
• From The New-York Mirror.' This Tale is by William Leggett, Esq., the author of the very interesting story given in the preceding volume of • The Republic,' entitled . The Main Truck, or a Leap for Life.'
and your bow ports half shut, or fumbling at your button-noles, like a green-horn at a gasket; but up he sprung, wide awake, and rigged from clue to earing, as if all dressed to go ashore on liberty. As I said afore, every body from stem to starn, liked Merry Terry, or for the matter of that, from one end of the navy list to the other -all except one man. As for the sailors, it would have done your heart good to see how they watched his eye when he had charge of the deck, as if they wanted to spell out his orders before he had time to speak 'em. They would do more for a single look of Merry, than for all the curses and damns of the skipper, though backed by the boatswain's mate, with the cats in his hand. It wasn't from any fear of him you may be sure, for I don't b’lieve Merry ever stopped a man's grog, or as much as gave him a cross word, in his life; but it was from pure love and respect. When he spoke, to be sure, there was something in his tone and manner that seemed to say he must be obeyed; and when he looked at a man who had been cutting up rustics, though he didn't frown, or swell, or try to look big, as I have seen some officers do, yet there was that in his eye that made the stoutest quail. It was just so among the reefers at the mess-table. If two of them was sky-larking or quarrelling, or doing anything ungentlemanly, Merry would just look at them, and they would leave off at once, and droop their heads like a dog-vane in a calm. I said every body loved him: I remember once, when we were beating up the Straits with a Levanter dead a-head, and blowing so heavy it almost took the very buttons off our jackets, that Merry, some how or other, happened to fall overboard. He had been standing on the taffrel, with his quadrant in his hand, trying to get a chance at a lunar, when all of a sudden the old hulk made a heavy lee-lurch, and away he went splash into the water. Though there was a sea running, like so many mountains chasing each other, yet before you could say Jack Robinson no less than four stout fellows were overboard after him. It liked to have gone hard with the whole five, for it was more than the stoutest swimmer could do to keep his head above board, and before we could clear away the starn boat, though we didn't stop to cast off the gripes, but cut and slashed away, they was almost out of sight to leeward. Old Tom Bowman, the quarter-gunner, and Bill Williams, the captain of the fo’castle, made out to reach Merry just as he was going down the last time; and though it was as much as their own lives were worth, they held him up till the boat came to their assistance. I well remember the joy of all hands when the boat pulled up under the starn, near enough for 'em to see that Merry was in it; and when they hooked on the tackles, I don't b’lieve that ever a ship's crew ran away with the falls with as much good will, as ours did that evening in running up the jolly-boat that had saved Merry Terry.
The day Merry first came aboard our craft is as fresh in my mind as it was yesterday, and a snug, trim-built little fellow he was, too, as ever broke a biscuit, or went coxswain of a captain's gig. He was then about as old as Rosy Willy here, and much such another; only he was taunter built, and broader in the bows, and car. ried sail more man-of-war fashion. His eye was as blue as the sea in the tropics, and as bright as the tropic sea sometimes is at night, when it seems all on fire. His head was covered with dark hair, that lay as thick and close as the nap on this monkey-jacket; and his skin was so white and soft, that it always seemed a pity when I saw him standing his watch in the heat of the sun, and his plump little cheeks looking as red as if the blood was going to start right through them. However, he didn't mind it the value of a scupper nail, and I don't know but it did him good, for he grew handsomer as he got a little tanned, and seemed never happier than when he was on duty. He was a little green at first, of course, but there was no such thing as getting the weathergage of Merry, for as sure as an old reefer tried to run a rig on him, he would just cock up his bright blue eye, and see what the other was up to in the turn of a glass.
It was a long cruise that we were together, and Merry got to be as much of a man in size and appearance as any of us, before it was over, though he couldn't have been more than eighteen then. On our arrival in New-York the most of the middies got their walking papers as soon as they could, and made sail each for his home. Merry's connections, who were of Irish descent, lived in Virginia, and it was that way he laid his course, you may be sure. I remember very well the morning when I had the third cutter called away and manned for him; and as we wrung each other's hand at the gangway, neither of us had voice enough to say goodbye. My stomach felt all that day as empty as a midshipman's locker, and the ship seemed as lonesome to me as the old brig Nancy did once, when all hands died off of the yellow fever, and left me and the old tom-cat the only living souls aboard of her.
For about two years after Merriville and me parted, I lost the run of my old shipmate. He continued ashore, but I soon got tired of being cooped up in narrow streets, with no chance of seeing more of the sky than chose to shine between the tops of the dingy houses. Happening to hear that some of my acquaintances were going aboard a ship then fitting out at Boston, I applied for orders myself, and was soon once more where I had a little sea-room to ware and haul upon. That was a short cruise, and by the time twenty