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And show'd me a crag that rose up from the lair,
And I clung to it, nimbly, and baffled the death!
“Below, at the foot of that precipice drear,
Spread the gloomy, and purple, and pathless obscure! A silence of Horror that slept on the ear,
That the eye more appall'd might the hour endure ! Salamander, snake, dragon, vast reptiles that dwell
In the deep, coil'd about the grim jaws of their Hell.
“Dark, crawld, glided the unspeakable swarms,
Clamp'd together in masses, misshapen and vast; Here clung and here bristled the fathomless forms,
Here the dark, moving bulk of the hammer-fish pass’d; And with teeth grinning white, and a menacing motion, Went the terrible shark—the hyena of ocean.
“There I hung, and the awe gather'd icily o'er me,
So far from the earth, where man's help there was none; The one human thing, with the goblins before me,
Alone, in a loneliness so ghastly-alone !
Fathom-deep from man's eye in the speechless profound, With the death of the main and the monsters around.
“Methought, as I gazed through the darkness, that now
It saw—the dread hundred-limbed creature-its prey ! And darted, O God! from the far-flaming bough
Of the coral, I swept on the horrible way; And it seized me, the wave with its wrath and its roar, It seized me to save—king, the danger is o’er !
On the youth gazed the monarch, and marvell’d; quoth he:
“Bold Diver, the goblet I promised is thine, And this ring will I give, a fresh guerdon to thee-
Never jewels more precious shone up from the mine; If thou'lt bring me fresh tidings, and venture again, To say what lies hid in the innermost main !"
Then out spake the daughter in tender emɔtion:
"Ah! father, my father, what more can there rest? Enough of this sport with the pitiless ocean
He has served thee as none would, tlıyself hast confess’d; If nothing can shake thy wild thirst of desire, Let thy knights put to shame the exploit of the squire!”
The king seized the goblet, he swung it on high,
And whirling, it fell in the roar of the tide; “But bring back that goblet again to my eye,
And I'll hold thee the dearest that rides by my side; And thine arms shall embrace, as thy bride, I decree, The maiden whose pity now pleadeth for thee."
In his heart, as he listened, there leap'd the wild joy,
And the hope and the love through his eyes spoke in fire, On that bloom, on that blush, gazed delighted the boy;
The maiden, she faints at the feet of her sire! Here the guerdon divine, there the danger beneath; He resolves ! to the strife with the life and the death!
They hear the loud surges sweep back in their swell.
Their coming the thunder-sound heralds along ! Fond eyes yet are tracking the spot where he fell,
They come, the wild waters, in tumult and throng; Roaring up to the cliff, roaring back, as before, But no wave ever brings the lost youth to the shore.
TO M. A. D.
Not wholly dark thy present lot,
Though joy her golden wing hath furled, For where the present cannot reach,
Like radiance from another world, A spirit guides of potent power, That moulds each purpose of the heart
The memories of a bygone hour!
Thy bark may float on summer seas,
Or lashed by furious waves be driven; Alike to thee, the whirling storm,
Or soft and gentle breeze of even; Calmly amid the ills of life,
Nerved for the strise whate'er it be, The venture lost, was vantage gained,
Though sad the dower it brought to thee. Not wholly sad, for golden gleams
Like those that light the hills at eve, The reflex of an early dream,
Which now no longer can deceive, Illumes the page where time records
His measured worth of smiles and tears; For seen thro' his dissolving glass,
The sadness ever more endears.
Then let us gather up the shreds,
And garner up the golden sheaves, For every blossom of the past,
A soul distilling fragrance leaves; Not all bereft, for these are thine,
A measured boon to mortals givenTo temper joy, to chasten woe,
And fit the wearied soul for Heaven.