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JOHN WILSON. .

THE ISLE OF PALM S.

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CANTO 1. As the sky whore she soars were a world

of her own, It is the midnight-hour:-the beauteous She mocketh that gentle Mighty One Sea,

As he lies in his quiet mood. Calm as the cloudless heaven, the heaven Art thou, she breathes, the Tyrant grim

That scoffe at human prayers,

discloses, While

many a sparkling star, in quiet glee, Answering with prouder roar the while, Far down within the watery sky reposes.

As it rises from some lonely isle As if the Ocean's heart were stirr'd

Through groans raised wild, the hopeless With inward life, a sound is heard,

hymn
Like that of dreamer murmuring in his sleep; Oh! Thou art harmless as a child

Of shipwreck'd mariners ?
Tis partly the billow, and partly the air
That lies like a garment floating fair

Weary with joy, and reconciled
Above the happy deep.

For sleep to change its play; The sea, I ween, cannot be fann'd

And now that night hath stay'd thy race, By evening-freshness from the land,

Smiles wander o'er thy placid face
For the land it is far away;

As if thy dreams were gay.-
Bat God hath will'd that the sky-born breeze
In the centre of the loneliest seas
Should ever sport and play.

And can it be that for me alone
The mighty Moon she sits above,

The Main and Heavens are spread ? Encircled with a zone of love,

Oh! whither, in this holy hour, A zone of dim and tender light

Have those fair Creatures fled, That makes her wakeful eye more bright: To whom the ocean-plains are given She seems to shine with a sunny ray, As clouds possess their native heaven? And the night looks like a mellow'd day! The tiniest boat, that ever sail'd The gracious Mistress of the Main Upon an inland-lake, Hath now an undisturbed reign,

Might through this sea without a fear And from her silent throne looks down, Her silent journey take, As upon children of her own,

Though the helmsman slept as if on land, On the waves that lend their gentle breast And the oar had dropp'd from the rower's hand. la gladness for her couch of rest! How like a monarch would she glide,

While the husht billow kiss'd her side

With low and Julling tone, My spirit sleeps amid the calm

Some stately Ship, that from afar
The sleep of a new delight;

Shone sudden, like a rising star,
And hopes that she ne'er may awake again, with all her bravery on!
Bat for ever hang o'er the lovely main,

List! how in murmurs of delight
And adore the lovely night.

The blessed airs of Heaven invite
Scarce conscious of an earthly frame, The joyous Bark to pass one night
She glides away like a lambent flame, Within their still domain!
And in her bliss she sings ;

O grief! that yonder gentle Moon,
Now touching softly the Ocean's breast, Whose smiles for ever fade so soon,
Now mid the stars she lies at rest,

Should waste such smiles in vain. As if she sail'd on wings!

Haste! haste! before the moonshine dies Vow, bold as the brightest star that glows Dissolved amid the morning-skies, More brightly since at first it rose, While yet the silvery glory lies Looks down on the far-off Flood,

Above the sparkling foam ; And there all breathless and alone,

Bright mid surrounding brightness, Thou,

Scattering fresh beanty from thy prow, For a thousand beings, now far away,
In pomp and splendour come!

Behold thee in their sleep,
And hush their beating hearts to pray

That a calm may clothe the deep.
And lo! upon the murmuring waves When dimly descending behind the sea
A glorious Shape appearing!

From the Mountain-Isle of Liberty,
A broad-wing'd Versel, through the shower Oh! many a sigh pursued thy vanish'd sail :
Of glimmering lustre steering !

And oft an eager crowd will stand As if the beauteous ship enjoy'd

With straining gaze on the Indian strand, The beauty of the sea,

Thy wonted gleam to hail. She lifteth up her stately head

For thou art laden with Beauty and Youth, And saileth joyfully.

With Honour bold and spotless Truth, A lovely path before her lies,

With fathers, who have left in a home A lovely path behind;

of rest She sails amid the loveliness

Their infants smiling at the breast, Like a thing with heart and mind.

With children who have bade their parents Fit pilgrim through a scene so fair

farewell, Slowly she beareth on;

Or who go to the land where their parents A glorious phantom of the deep,

dwell. Risen up to meet the Moon.

God speed thy conrse, thou gleam of delight The Moon bids her tenderest radiance fall From rock and tempest clear; On her wavy streamer and snow-white wings, Till signal gun from friendly height And the quiet voice of the rocking sea Proclaim, with thundering cheer, To cheer the gliding vision singe.

To joyful groups on the harbour bright, Oh! ne'er did sky and water blend

That the good ship Hope is near!
In such a holy sleep,
Or bathe in brighter quietude
A roamer of the deep.

Is no one on the silent deck
So far the peaceful soul of Heaven Save the helmsman who sings for a breeze,
Hath settled on the sea,

And the sailors who pace their midnightIt seems as if this weight of calm

watch, Were from eternity.

Still as the slumbering seas ?
O World of Waters! the steadfast earth Yes! side by side, and hand in hand,
Ne'er lay entranced like Thee!

Close to the prow two figures stand,
Their shadows never stir,

And fondly as the moon doth rest
Is she a vision wild and bright,

Upon the Ocean's gentle breast,
That sails amid the still moon-light So fond they look on her.
At the dreaming soul's command ?

They gaze and gaze till the beanteons orb A vessel borne by magic gales,

Seems made for them alone : All rigg'd with gossamery sails,

They feel as if their hoine were Heaven, And bound for Fairy-land?

And the earth a dream that bath flown.
Ah! no !-an earthly freight she bears, Softly they lean on each other's breast,
Of joys and sorrows, hopes and fears ; Jn holy bliss reporing,
And lonely as she seems to be,

Like two fair clouds to the vernal air,
Thun left by herself on the moonlight-sea In folds of beauty closing.
In loneliness that rolls,

The tear down their glad faces rolls,
She hath a constant company,

And a silent prayer is in their souls, In sleep, or waking revelry,

While the voice of awakend memory,
Five hundred human souls !

Like a low and plaintive melody,
Since first she sail'd from fair England, Sings in their hearts,-a mystic voice,
Three moons her path have cheerd; That bids them tremble and rejoice.
And another lights her lovelier lamp And Faith, who oft had lost her power
Since the Cape hath disappear’d.

In the darkness of the midnight-hour,
For an Indian Ikle she shapes her way When the planets had rollid afar,
With constant niind both night and day Now stirs in their soul with a joyful strife,
She seems to hold her home in view, Embued with a genial spirit of life
And sails, as if the path she knew; By the Moon and the Morning-Star.
So calm and stately is her motion
Across th' unfathom'd trackless ocean.

A lovelier vision in the moonlight stands

Than Bard e'er woo'd in fairy-lands, And well, glad Vessel! mayết thou stem Or Faith with tranced eye adored, The tide with lofty breast,

Floating around our dying Lord. And lift thy queen-like diadem

Her silent face is saintly-pale, O'er these thy realms of rest:

And sadness shades it like a reil:

A consccrated nun she seema,

When the glossy hues of the sunny spring Whose waking thoughts are deep as dreams, Are dancing on its breast, And in her hush'd and dim abode

With a winged glide this maiden would rovo, For ever dwell upon her God,

An innocent phantom of beauty and love.
Through the still fount of tears and sighe, Far from the haunts of men she grew
And human sensibilities!

By the side of a lonesome tower,
Well may the Moon delight to shed Like some solitary mountain-flower,
Her softest radiance round that head, Whose veil of wiry dew
And mellow the cool occan-air

Is only touch'd by the gales that breathe That lifts by fits her sable bair.

O’er the blossoms of the fragrant heath, These mild and melancholy eyes

And in its silence melts away Are dear unto the starry skies,

With those sweet things too pure for earthly As the dim effusion of their rays

day. Blends with the glimmering light that plays Blest was the lore that Nature taught O'er the blue heavens and snowy clouds, The infant's happy mind, The clond-like sails and radiant shrouds. Even when each light and happy thought Fair creature! Thou dost seem to be Pass'd onwards like the wind, Some wandering spirit of the sea,

Nor longer seem'd to linger there That dearly loves the gleam of sails, Than the whispering sound in her raven-hair. And o'er them breathes propitious gales. Well was she known to each mountainHither thou comest, for one wild hour,

stream, With him thy sinless paramour,

As its own voice, or the fond moon-beam To gaze, while the wearied sailors sleep, That o'er its music play'd: On this beautiful phantom of the deep,

The loneliest caves her footsteps heard, That seem'd to rise with the rising Moon. In lake and tarn ost nightly stirr’d -But the Queen of Night will be sinking The Maiden's ghost-like shade.

soon,

But she hath bidden a last farewell Then will you, like two breaking waves, To lake and mountain, stream and dell, Sink softly to your coral cares,

And fresh have blown the gales Or, noiseless as the falling dew,

For many a mournful night and day,
Melt into Heaven's delicious blue.

Wafting the tall Ship far away
From her dear native Wales.

Nay! wrong her not, that Virgin bright! Her face is bathed in lovelier light

And must these eyes, -80 soft and mild, Than ever flow'd from eyes

As angel's bright, as fairy's wild,
of Ocean Nymph, or Sylph of Air! Swimming in lustrous dew,
The tearful gleam, that trembles there, Now sparkling lively, gay, and glad,
From human dreams must rise.

And now their spirit melting sad
Let the Mermaid rest in her sparry cell, In smiles of gentlest blue,-
Her sea-green ringlets braiding!

Oh! must these eyes bc steep'd in tears, The Sylph in viewless ether dwell, Bedinm'd with dreams of future years, In clouds her beauty shading!

of what may yet betide My soul devotes her music wild

An Orphan-Maid !-for in the night To one who is an earthly child,

She oft hath started with affright, Bat who, wandering through the midnight- To find herself a bride;

hour,

A bride oppress'd with fear and shame, Far from the shade of earthly bower, And bearing not Fitz-Owen's name. Bestows a tender loveliness,

This fearful dream oft haunts her bed, A deeper, holier quietness,

For she hath heard of maidens sold,
On the moonlight Heaven, and Ocean hoar, In the innocence of thoughtless youth,
So quiet and so fair before.

To Guilt and Age for gold ;
Yet why does a helpless maiden roam, Of English maids who pined away
Mid stranger souls, and far from home, Beyond the Eastern Main,
Across the faithless deep?

Who smiled, when first they trod that shore,
Oh! fitter far that her gentle mind But never smiled again.
In some sweet inland-vale should find In dreams is she such wretched Maid,
An undisturbed sleep!

An Orphan, helpless, sold, betray'd!
And, when the dream hath fled,

In waking thought she still retains
So was it once. Her childish years The memory of these wildering pains,
Like clouds pass'd o'er her bead,

In strange mysterious dread.
When life is all onc rosy smile, or tears
Of natural grief, forgotten soon as shed.
O'er her own mountains, like a bird

Yet oft will happier dreams arise
Glad wandering from its nest,

Before her charmed view,

And the powerful beauty of the skies Soon as they felt the tremor cease,
Makes her believe them true.

He seem'd the very heart of peace;
For who, when nought is heard around, Majestic to the bold and high,
But the great Ocean's solemn sound, Yet calm and beauteous to a woman's eye!
Feels not as if the Eternal God
Were speaking in that dread abode?
An answering voice seems kindly given To him, a mountain-youth, was known
From the multitude of stars in Heaven: The wailing tempest's dreariest tone.
And oft a smile of moonlight fair,

He knew the shriek of wizard caves, To perfect peace hath changed despair. And the trampling fierce of howling waves. Low as we are, we blend our fate

The mystic voice of the lonely night, With things so beautifully great,

He had often drunk with a strange delight, And though opprest with heaviest grief, And look'd on the clouds as they roli'd on high, From Nature's bliss we draw relief, Till with them he sail'd on the sailing sky. Assured that God's most gracious eye And thus hath he learn'd to wake the lyre, Beholds us in our misery,

With something of a bardlike fire ; And sends mild sound and lovely sight, Can tell in high empassion’d song, To change that misery to delight.

Of worlds that to the Bard belong, Such is thy faith, sainted Maid!

And, till they feel his kindling breath, Pensive and pale, but not afraid

To others still and dark as death. Of Ocean or of Sky,

Yet oft, I ween, in gentler mood Though thou ne'er mayst see the land A humble kindness hush'd his blood,

again,

And sweetly blended earth-born sighs And though awful be the lonely Main, With the Bard's romantit ecstasies. No fears hast thou to die.

The living world was dear to him, Whate'er betide of weal or woe,

And in his waking hours more bright it When the waves are asleep, or the tempests

seemid, blow,

More touching far, than when his fancy Thou wilt bear with calm devotion;

dream'd For duly every night and morn,

Of heavenly bowers, th'abode of Seraphim: Sweeter than Mermaid's strains, are borne And gladly from her wild sojourn Thy hymns along the Ocean.

Mid haunts dim-shadow'd in the realms of

mind,

Even like a wearied dove that flies for rest And who is He that fondly presses Back o'er long fields of air unto her nest, Close to his heart the silken tresses

His longing spirit homewards would return That hide her soften'd eyes,

To meet once more the smile of human kind. Whose heart her heaving bosom meets, And when at last a human soul he found, And through the midnight silence beats Pure as the thought of purity,-more mild To feel her rising sighs?

Than in its slumber seems a dreaming child Worthy the Youth, I ween, to rest When on his spirit stole the mystic sound, On the fair swellings of her breast, The voice, whose music sad no mortal car Worthy to hush her inmost fears,

But his can rightly understand and hear, And kiss away her struggling tears: When a subduing smile like moonlight shore For never grovelling spirit stole

On him for ever, and for him alone, A woman's unpolluted soul!

Why should he seek this lower world to leave! To her the vestal fire is given ;

For, whether now he love to joy or grieve, And only fire drawn pure from Heaven A friend he hath for sorrow or delight, Can on Love's holy shrine descend, Who lends fresh beauty to the morning-light, And there in clouds of fragrance blend. The tender stars in tenderer dimness shrouds, Well do I know that stately Youth! And glorifies the Moon among her clouds. The broad day-light of cloudless truth Like a sun-beam bathes his face; Though silent, still a gracious smile, How would he gaze with reverent eye That rests upon his eyes the while, Upon that meek and pensive maid, Bestows a speaking grace.

Then fix his looks upon the sky, That smile hath might of magic art, With moving lips as if he pray'd! To sway at will the stoniest heart, Unto his sight bedimm'd with tears, As a ship obeys the gale;

How beautiful the Saint appears,And when his silver-voice is heard, Oh, all unlike a creature form’d of clay! The coldest blood is warmly stirr'd, The blessed angels with delight As at some glorious tale.

Might hail her Sister! She is bright The loftiest spirit never saw

And innocent as they. This Youth without a sudden awe:

Scarce dared he then that form to love! But vain the transient feeling strove A solemn impulse from above Against the stealing power of love. All earthly hopes forbade,

And with a pure and holy flame,

Most passing sweet return.
As if in truth from Heaven she came, Mother! behold thy child: How still
He gazed upon the maid.

Her upward face! She thinks on thee:
His beating heart, thus fill'd with awe, Oh! thou canst never gaze thy fill!
In her the guardian spirit saw

How beautiful such piety! of all his future years ;

There in her lover's guardian arms And when he listend to her breath

She rests: and all the wild alarms So spiritual, nor pain nor death

Of waves or winds are hush'd, no more to rise. Seem'd longer worth his fears.

Of thee, and thee alone, she thinks : She loved him! She, the Child of Heaven! See! on her knees thy daughter sinks: And God would surely make

Sare God will bless the prayer that lights The soul to whom that love was given

such eyes! More perfect for her sake.

Didst thou e'er think thy child so fair? Each look, each word, of one so good The rapture of her granted prayer Devoutly he obey'd,

Hath breathed that awful beauty through And trusted that a gracious eye

her face. Would ever guide his destiny,

Once more upon the deck she stands, For whom in holy solitude

Slowly unclasps her pious hands, A kneeling Angel pray'd.

And brightening smiles, assured of heavenly

grace.

Thone days of tranquil joy are fled,
And tears of deep distress
From night to morn hath Mary shed:
And, say! when sorrow bow'd her head
Did he then love her less ?
Ah no! 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 saint-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,
And 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 bear my lonely lot,
The Gracious One, who loves the good,
For her will smooth the Ocean wild,
Nor in her aged solitude
A parent be forgot."
The last words these her mother spake,
Sobbing as if her heart would break,
U pon the cold sea-shore,
When onwards with the favouring gale,
Glad to be free, in pride of sail
Th' impatient Vessel bore.

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 shall 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 hcarts 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 stirrid
When the wish'd-for breezes blew,
And, instant as the loud commands,
Sent upwards from a hundred hands
The broad sails rose unto the sky,
And from her slumbers suddenly
The Ship like lightning flew.

Oh! could she now in magic glass
Behold the winged Glory pass
With a slow and cloud-like motion,
While, as they melted on her eye,
She scarce should ken the peaceful sky
From the still more peaceful Ocean!
And it may be such dreams are given
Ia mercy by indulgent Heaven,
To solace them that mourn:
The absent bless our longing sight,
The future shews than truth more bright,
And phantoms of expired delight

But list! a low and moaning sound At distance heard, like a spirit's song,

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