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Like children at the approach of one they love,
Rejoicing in her light, the forests spread
Their wide umbrageous canopies, and cast
Behind a black intensity of shade:

The mountains rear their everlasting heads
Soften'd, and overspread with silver haze,
Far in the depth of night; and gurgling down,
Between its osiered banks, and shadowy rocks,
Here silvery bright, there bough-o'ercanopied,
Prone from its native hills toward the sea
The river gushes onward. Not a sound
Except its stilly murmur meets the ear,
Lulling to peace the woodland solitudes,
Or fitfully, mayhap, the distant bay

Of watch-dog, from the far abodes of men!

Oh Queen! that rulest the nocturnal heaven, Peace dwells for ever with thee!-Tempests roll Their darkness o'er thy countenance serene, And blot thee from the wistful gaze of men,— 'Tis for a moment only, and the eve Again returning in quotidian round, Restores thee-like a phoenix from its tombIn unextinguish'd glory to our sight. Thou art a thing that passest not away; Thou art a thing that, looking, smil'st on Time, And on the changes of this lower world! But we are frail and fragile-we are men, Children of clay, and creatures of the dust; We are but for a moment, and no more; We are but flowers of a season! now thy face Beams on us, and to-morrow on our graves!

Yet are we not without our bliss below,
Nor is our span, all narrow though it be,
Devoid of wild diversity and change:-
Ah! not the same in features or in thought
Am I, as when, a few swift years ago,
Resting upon this individual bank,

On eves how like to this! from out that shrine
Of forests, and of everlasting hills,

I saw thee, bursting from a ring of clouds,
Deluge, with holy light, the eastern sky.

Where are the visions, that, with ardent mind,
And dreams of high romance, I cherish'd then?
The pleasures I pursued, the friends I loved?-
Time, like a wizard, hath transform'd them all,
Or, like the rainbow, melted into nought.
It is in vain we would pursue, would sigh
For forms that still elude; it is in vain
We build on hopes, that, like the summer tower,
Rear'd on the thirsty sands, beside the sea,
Foundationless must fall!

Year follows year
To curb the dark rebellion of our souls,
And break our haughty spirits to the yoke,
Until tame beasts of burthen we become,
With degradation satisfied and pleased!-
Thus hath it been, and thus it still must be;
And where the marvel? Can we think to mix
Amid the yeasty turmoil of the world,—

Amid the tribes of guilty and unclean,-
Amid the herd of knaves and hypocrites,-
Of smiling faces,-and deceitful hearts,-
And hope that, by miraculous interpose,
Contamination, like a frighted fiend,

Should fly before our steps, and touch us not?
Or, that the blackening tide which swallows all,
Should, like the Red Sea waves, when Israel's host
Came onward, part its conscious deeps, and bid
Our path lead on in safety 'mid mankind?

We must not look for miracles, and ah!
It is a mighty struggle to subdue
The unwilling spirit to the arts of men,
So selfish and debasing; but, when once
The wheels are set in motion of that car
Which only drives to obloquy, more faint,
Day following day, our opposition wanes,
Till, like the captive to his cell inured,
Our souls become enamour'd of their chains,
And like the Pontic King, we learn to feed
On mortal poisons, and to perish not!

But still, when gazing from this pastoral mount
Upon thy face, so glorious, and so fair,
Methinks, celestial Moon, although my soul
Knows well the windings, and the labyrinths,
The fatal quicksands and obliquities

Of this most unintelligible world;
Although too well my spirit is aware

Of what it must encounter-must endure-
What strong temptations must be overcome-
What syren sounds and scenes avoided all-
What dangers shared, and barriers clamber'd o'er-
Although endued with consciousness of these,
I feel no faultering of the heart, and yet,
Methinks the glorious projects of my youth,
Did Fate allow, might still be all fulfill'd,
And are not mere chimeras of the brain.

We know not that the trembling sword o'erhangs, Nor that the yawning precipice is near,

And so we follow on-and so we fall

The victims of our inexperience!

But, were it otherwise, and could we know
The dangers that surround us; could we fecl
The perils that encompass-'tis in vain,

The doom is fixed-the seal impress'd-the waves
Of tumult have pass'd over, and no more
Can we retrace our steps; the past is past,
For ever gone and perish'd; hope alone
Lives in the regions of Futurity;

And if we can amend, 'tis then and there!

Oh for a lonely cottage, far away
From city noise and tumult, far remote
From strife and dark contagion, from the stir
And feverish perturbation of mankind!—

Know ye the site of this my Paradise ?

Over the whitened sash, and slated roof,

The woodbine, wreathing its luxuriant boughs, Would form a verdant net-work; dark green leaves,


And silver flowers superbly intertwined;
The weedless plot before would shew its bright
And regular diversity of bloom,—

From virgin snow-drop, and the crocus blue,
The earliest daughters of the vernal year,
(What time the wandering cuckoo note is heard,)
To Autumn's latest lingerers, gilly-flowers,
Such as bestrew the Celtie Paradise,-

And lavender, that with its breath perfumes
The saddening, sickening beauties of the year!

Behind, the mountains rearing high their cones,
Would be my neighbours, with their woods and rocks
Precipitous, and ever-foaming streams;

Now, when the heavens are clear, my gaze would mark
Their pastoral green, o'erspread with snowy flocks,
Their undulations, and their shadows deep,
Making a night of noonday; now mine eye
Would mark what time the clouds are dark, and dew
Like diamonds glisten'd on the summer grass.
The lowering piles break heavy on their tops
Meeting them, and arresting on their flight;
As, in far foreign climes, the albatross,
Deeming itself above terrestrial things,
High in etherial slumber, shrieking wakes
Far, far above the storms, when sudden dash'd
By veering gales, on Cimborazo's peak!

Before, the level champaign far and wide
Would spread its map of forests, and of fields
Of intervening hedge-rows, and green farms
In glorious cultivation; here would stand
The proud steed grazing 'neath a shadowy elm,
And there the mottled kine, amid the grass
With drowsy eye, and ruminating mouths,
Listless reposing.-At far distance seen,
The everlasting sea would bluely spread
Its breast, and shew its islands faintly green,
While, casually mark'd at cloudless noon,
With breeze-expanded wing the vessels pass'd
Like giant sea-birds sailing beautiful
Upon the waters.

What my tasks would be

I may not tell; perhaps the busy world

Would deem them frivolous, and I would not,

So much our tastes and tempers disagree.

But where would stray my fancy? Where would roam

My unsubstantial visions? Mid the depths

Of things that may not be! Of no avail
Are these our speculations, and our hopes,
Are these our wishes; dark reality

Comes like a cloud, and with its ebon hues,
Blots out the land of promise from my sight!

But thou art with me still, all glorious Moon,
Ploughing the azure depths, and looking down
In sanctified benignity on man;

Down from thy throne thou gazest, and the trees
Bend as in love towards thee, and their leaves
Quiver as with a feeling of delight;

4 K

Down from thy throne thou gazest-and the hills
Claim kindred with thee, and, in hoariness,

Tell that their years as numerous are as thine,
Their winters and their springs; thou gazest down
Upon the waters, that with calm delight
Glisten and glow, then reel and rush beneath
The overhanging banks, and then emerge,
Still singing, as they flow, a choral song!

Then come what may, be this my solace still-
That nought can rob me of thy countenance
By night; nor of the glorious sun by day;
Nor of the beauty of the stars, when thou
Art resting in the interlunar cave,

And midnight rules in darkness. Add to this-
That from the consciousness of right proceeds
All inward satisfaction; and, that nought
External can destroy the peace within :
Then let the tempest beat, and let the world
Revel and riot in its foolishness;

Henceforth all murmurs, and repinings cease-
Queen of the starry heaven! awhile farewell!
Not from my heart but tongue; amid the noise
Of cities, and the bustle of mankind,
Often my musing soul will journey hence
To this green landscape, to these waters blue,
To these grey mountains, and to thee, their Queen!



I SPENT the whole of last summer, and a part of the ensuing winter, on the Hampshire coast, visiting successively most of its sea-ports and bathing-places, and enjoying its beautiful diversity of sea and wood scenery, often so intermingled, that the forest-trees dip down their flexile branches into the salt waters of the Solon sea; and green lawns and healthy glades slope down to the edge of the silver sands, and not unfrequently to the very brink of the water. In no part of Hampshire is this characteristic beauty more strikingly exemplified than at the back of the Isle of Wight, that miniature abstract of all that is grand and lovely throughout England. Early in August, I crossed over from Portsmouth to Ryde, purposing to fix my headquarters there, and from thence to make excursions to all such places as are accounted worthy the tourist's notice. But a guide-book is at best an unsympathizing companion, cold and formal as the human machine that leads you over some old abbey, or venerable cathedral, pointing out indeed the principal monuments and chapels, but

passing by, unnoticed, a hundred less outwardly distinguished spots, where feeling would love to linger, and sentiment find inexhaustible sources of interest and contemplation.

For want of a better, however, I set out with my silent guide, but soon strayed wide of its directions, rambling away, and often tarrying hours and days in places unhonoured by its notice, and perversely deviating from the beaten road, that would have conducted a more docile tourist, and one of less independent tastes, to such or such a nobleman's or gentleman's seat, or summer-house, or pavilion, built on purpose to be visited and admired. But I did not shape my course thus designedly in a spirit of opposition to the mute director, whose (not unserviceable) clue led me at last amongst the romantic rocks and cottages of Shanklin, Niton, and Undercliff. It led me to those enchanting spots and to their lovely vicinity; but to entice me thence, was more than its inviting promises could effect; and finally I took up my abode for an indefinite time in a cottage of grey native stone,

backed by the solid rocks, and tapestried in front with such an interwoven profusion of rose and myrtle, as half hid the little casements, and aspired far over the thatched roof and projecting eaves. Days, weeks, months, slipped away imperceptibly in this delicious retreat, and in all the luxury of lounging felicity. Mine was idleness, it is true, the sensation of perfect exemption from all existing necessity of mental or corporeal exertion ;-not suspension of ideas, but rather a season of unbounded liberty for the wild vagrant thought to revel in, to ramble at will beyond the narrow boundaries assigned by the claims of business or society, to her natural excursiveness. Summer passed away-the harvest was gathered in-autumn verged upon winter, and I still tenanted the rock cottage. No where are we so little sensible of the changes of season as in the sea's immediate vicinity; and the back of the Isle of Wight is peculiarly illustrative of this remark. Completely screened from the north by a continued wall of high rocky cliff, its shores are exposed only to the southern and westerly winds, and those are tempered by the peculiar softness always perceptible in sea-breezes. On a mild autumn day, or bright winter's morning, when the sun sparkles on the white sands and scintillating waves, on the sails of the little fishing-boats that steal along the shore with their wings spread open, like large butterflies, or on the tall grey cliffs, tinted with many-coloured lichens, a lounger on the beach will hardly perceive that the year is in its "sere and yellow leaf," or already fallen into the decrepitude of winter. And when the unchained elements proclaim aloud that the hoary tyrant hath commenced his reign, when the winds are let loose from their caverns, and the agitated sea rolls its waves in mountainous ridges on the rocky coast, when the sea-fowl's scream is heard mingling in harsh concord with the howling blast; then, oh! then,-who can tear himself from the contemplation of a scene more sublimely interesting than all the calm loveliness of a summer prospect? To me its attractions were irresistible; and besides those of inanimate nature, I found other sources of interest in studying the character and habits of the almost amphibious dwellers on that coast. Generally

speaking, there is something peculiarly interesting in the character of seafaring men, even of those whose voyages have extended little beyond their own shores. The fisherman's life indeed may be accounted one of the most constant peril. For daily bread, he must brave daily dangers. In that season when the tillers of the ground rest from their labours-when the artisan and mechanic are sheltered with- ́ in their dwellings-when the dormouse and the squirrel hide in their woolly nests, and the little birds find shelter in hollow banks and trees, or resort to milder regions, the poor fisherman must encounter all the fury of the combined elements-for his children's bread is scattered on the waters.

It is this perpetually enforced intercourse with danger that interests our feelings so powerfully in their behalf, together with its concomitant effects on their character-undaunted hardihood-insurmountable perseverance-almost heroic daring; and, generally speaking, a simplicity of heart, and a tenderness of deportment towards the females and little ones of their families, finely contrasting their rugged exterior. But, unfortunately, it is not only in their ostensible calling of fishermen, that these men are forward in effronting peril. The temptation of contraband trade too often allures them from their honest and peaceable avocations, to brave the laws of their country, and encounter the most fearful risks, in pursuit of precarious, though sometimes considerable gains. Of late, this desperate trade has extended almost to an organized system; and, in spite of all the preventive measures adopted by government, it is too obvious that the numbers of these "free traders" are yearly increasing, and that their hazardous commerce is more daringly and vigorously carried on. Along the Hampshire coast, and more particularly in the Isle of Wight, almost every seafaring man is engaged in it, to a less or greater extent. For the most part, they are connected in secret associations, both for co-operation and defence; and there is a sort of freemasonry among them, the signs and tokens of which are soon apparent to an attentive observer. "The CustomHouse sharks," as they term them, are not their most formidable foes, for they wage a more desperate warfare, (as re

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