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JOHN WILSON. .
THE ISLE OF PALM S.
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,
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,
Of shipwreck'd mariners ?
Weary with joy, and reconciled
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
As if thy dreams were gay.-
And can it be that for me alone
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
Shone sudden, like a rising star,
List! how in murmurs of delight
The blessed airs of Heaven invite
O grief! that yonder gentle Moon,
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,
Behold thee in their sleep,
That a calm may clothe the deep.
From the Mountain-Isle of Liberty,
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!
Is no one on the silent deck
And the sailors who pace their midnightIt seems as if this weight of calm
watch, Were from eternity.
Still as the slumbering seas ?
Close to the prow two figures stand,
And fondly as the moon doth rest
Upon the Ocean's gentle breast,
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.
Like two fair clouds to the vernal air,
The tear down their glad faces rolls,
And a silent prayer is in their souls, In sleep, or waking revelry,
While the voice of awakend memory,
Like a low and plaintive melody,
In the darkness of the midnight-hour,
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.
By the side of a lonesome tower,
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.
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,
Wafting the tall Ship far away
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,
And now their spirit melting sad
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;
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,
To Guilt and Age for gold ;
Who smiled, when first they trod that shore,
An Orphan, helpless, sold, betray'd!
In waking thought she still retains
In strange mysterious dread.
Yet oft will happier dreams arise
Before her charmed view,
And the powerful beauty of the skies Soon as they felt the tremor cease,
He seem'd the very heart of peace;
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,
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
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
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.
Her upward face! She thinks on thee:
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
Thone days of tranquil joy are fled,
Oh, blessed pair! and, while I gaze,
-Where shall they find a fitter home
Oh! could she now in magic glass
But list! a low and moaning sound At distance heard, like a spirit's song,