Imágenes de páginas

" Thou glorious niirror, where the Almighty's form
Glasses itself in tempests; in all time,
Calm or convulsed-in breeze, or gale, or storm,
Icing the pole, or in the torrid clime
Dark-heaving ;-boundless, endless, and sublime-
The image of Eternity-the throne
Of the Invisible; even from out thy slime

The monsters of the deep are made ; each zone
Obeys thee; thou goest forth, dread, fathomless, alone.”-Ibid. Canto 4

More imaginative and in a different vein, but not less magnificent and impressive, are the following:

“O'er the glad waters of the dark blue sea
Our thoughts as boundless, and our souls as free,
Far as the breeze can bear, the billows foam,
Survey our empire, and behold our home!
These are our realms, no limits to their sway-
Our flag the sceptre all who meet obey.
Ours the wild life in tumult still to range
From toil to rest, and joy in every change.
Oh, who can tell ? not thou, luxurious slave!
Whose soul would sicken o'er the heaving wave;
Not thou, vain lord of wantonness and ease!
Whom slumber soothes not-pleasure cannot please-
Oh, who can tell, save he whose heart hath tried,
And danced in triumph o'er the waters wide,
The exulting sense—the pulse's maddening play,
That thrills the wanderer of that trackless way?'
That for itself can woo the approaching fight,
And turn what some deem danger to delight;
That seeks what cravens shun with more than zeal,
And where the feebler faint-can only feel-
Feel-to the rising bosom's in most core,
Its hope awaken and its spirit soar !
No dread of death-it with us die our foes-
Save that it seems even duller than repose ;
Come when it will-we snatch the life of life-
When lost-what recks it-by disease or strife ?
Let him who crawls enamour'd of decay,
Cling to his couch, and sicken years away;
Heave his thick breath, and shake his palsied head;
Ours—the fresh turf, and not the feverish bed.
While gasp by gasp he falters forth his soul,
Ours with one pang-one bound-escapes controul.
His corse may boast its urn and narrow cave,
And they who loathed his life may gild his grave;
Ours are the tears, though few, sincerely shed,
When Ocean shrouds and sepulchres our dead."-Corsair, Canto 1.

A sail !-a sail!-a promised prize to Hope !
Her nation-flag-how speaks the telescope ?
No prize, alas !--but yet a welcome sail:
The blood-red signal glitters in the gale.
Yes-she is ours-a home-returning bark-
Blow fair, thou breeze !-she anchors ere the dark.
Already doubled is the cape--our bay
Receives that prow which proudly spurns the spray.
How gloriously her gallant course she goes!
Her white wings flying-never from her foes-
She walks the waters like a thing of life,
And seems to dare the elements to strife,
Who would not brave the battle-fire--the wreck.
To move the monarch of her peopled deck ?
“Hoarse o'er her side the rustling cable rings;
The sails are furl'd; and anchoring round she swings:
And gathering loiterers on the land discern
Her boat descending from the latticed stern.

Tis man'd--the oars keep concert to the strand,
Till grates her keel upon the shallow sand.
Hail to the welcome shout!--the friendly speech!
When hand grasps hand uniting on the beach;
The smile, the question, and the quick reply,
And the heart's promise of festivity !"- ibid. Canto 1.
“Still onward, fair the breeze, nor rough the surge,
The blue waves sport around the stern they urge;
Far on the horizon's verge appears a speck,
A spot-a mast-a sail-an armed deck !
Their little bark her men of watch descry,
And ampler canvass woos the wind from eye;
She bears her down majestically near,
Speed on her prow, and terror in her tier;
A flash is seen—the ball beyond their bow
Booms harmless, hissing to the deep below.
Up rose keen Conrad from his silent trance,
A long, long absent gladness in his glance;
'Tis mine—my blood-red flag! again-again-
I am not all deserted on the main !!
They own the signal, answer to the hail,
Hoist out the boat at once, and slacken sail.
'Tis Conrad! Conrad ! shouting from the deck,
Command nor duty could their transport check!
With light alacrity and gaze of pride,
They view him mount once more bis vessel's side ;
A smile relaxing in each rugged face,
Their arms can scarce forbear a rough embrace.
He, half forgetting danger and defeat,
Returns their greeting as a chief may great,
Wrings with a cordial grasp Anselmo's hand,
And feels he yet can conquer and command.”Ibid. Canto 3.

In spite, however, of these magnificent, justly styled the creator of the maritime lines from the Corsair, there is a limit which novel, the type of one phase of literature genius itself cannot pass, and where its ut. and human feeling. The general reluctance most efforts must yield to the humbler pow. and ignorant dislike felt by the many for a ers of experience. However admirably we mode of life so utterly distinct from all their may describe from a previous description, ideas and habits, strengthened by total unthere is an artifice or feebleness about such acquaintance with the nautical vocabulary, labours that, if it does not absolutely betray all disappeared before the hand of the mas. its own origin, yet always leaves upon the ter. The storm, that before had, in every observant mind a sense of doubt, ineffective relation, been the object of fear and avoid. ness, and insufficiency. It is not that the ance to the mind, now lost its terrors, and details furnished are incorrect or incomplete, became rather the point of attraction and but that the hand that borrowed, did not subject of our wishes, as affording an agreegather them itself: different objects strike able excitement;-a mere obstacle the different minds, according to their composi. more in the conduct of the story, and, like tion and nature, and the utmost art cannot all the rest, to be surmounted by the per: use another's knowledge like its own. sonages of the tale-a foil to render human Thus the splendid shipwreck of Don Juan, skill and courage more conspicuously trithough combined from both, yields to the umphant at the end. simple narratives of the Meduse and the Perhaps none of those who have hitherto Disasters at Sea, recorded by witnesses of essayed their talents in this class of compothe events, and who have given their own sition, were so fitted as Cooper to effectuate real impressions, not imaginations, to the this diversion in public taste. With a relation.

thorough knowledge of the details, there is It was not till after the public mind had blended in him a power of acute observabeen thus led to nautical scenes, and pre- tion and perception of external circumstancpared to enter into and enjoy them, that the es, and an unwearying fondness for display. full development of their fascination met its ing every variety of atmospheric change or eye. Bred in the American navy, and evi- marine difficulty, as met and obviated by a dently no ordinary lover of his gallant pro. corresponding exertion of vautical science fession, nor an ordinary observer of its de- and firmness. As the wind shifts and chops, tails and vicissitudes, Mr. Cooper may be the reader learns in succession the power of

every sail

, the use of every rope, the object judges with Mr. Cooper in their relative of every distinct maneuvre; the knowledge value in the American service, we doubt and experience of the pilot, lavishly called whether an English commander would risk into aciion, bears the vessel in salety along and lose a vessel, like the Ariel, for the the imminent edge of a reef or quicksand, sake of a friend and lieutenant. over shallow or rocky boiloms, and through Long Tom Cofiin is, perhaps, the only dangerous shoal-water, with every shift and exception to our remarks upon the naval risk of tides and currents into the safe sound. tales of Mr. Cooper; he is certainly a cha. ings of a deep channel; a chase displays racter, strictly speaking; and such, also, is the vessels going large, off the wind, hoist. Hawks eye in the Indian novels. The ing, reefing, or shaking out, under press of merit and success of those two portraits rensail, or shifting; the engagement brings out der it obvious that the author's monotony all the nice points of wind, weathergage, and general failures on this head, arise, not and lee-shores, hauling in, raking, broad. from want of the power, but from neglect or sides, and boarding. The reader and the inconsideration. A writer of such talent author go through all the maneuvres to. can scarcely fail where he wishes to suca gether, and share the toils, anxieties, and ceed-yet his characters have no mental success of the crews; nor is it the author's elevation-he makes them trivial instead of fault if we are not speedily as skilful as him- amiable, and extravagant, not energetic. self, for he has brought us, not only a new Still it is but justice lo confess, that Mr. pleasure, but a new science to heighten it. Cooper's is the genius of inanimate nature:

The very forte of Mr. Cooper is, however, his strength is fear: his force is in anxious too often his foible. He is too apt to forget agony. that there must be an end to even excile. The English imitators or successors of ment, that his readers are not familiar with Cooper cannot rival him on this ground: his technicalities, and that we soon cease to their merits are essentially different. The feel an interest when we cease to under. Tom Cringle, &c. of Basil Hall, is full of stand. Farther, whilst that which is novel talent, power, and variety: his descriptions is unintelligible to the landsman, to the are as beautiful as his narrative is replete sailor, though intelligible, it is not novel. with intense, but always living interest With winds, waves, and vessels

, Mr. Cooper and to these his admirable and eloquent de. has the might and syns pathies of poetry, but lineations of nature and the elements are beyond these he has, unfortunately, little always subservient: his humour is bold, power. His genius is for the tangible, both varied, and in perfect keeping. in ac:ion and sensation; of abstract feeling The humour of Marryatı is distinct from he has scarcely an idea in his works. Un- this. It is more simple, eccentric, and rivalled in physical, he has little or no whimsical: the ridiculous is his forte, and moral development; his personages have carried often to excess, but always effective. no intellect, but what gets them into or out ly. A strong bias for truth and reality, a of danger. He has no wit, no probability plain manliness and simplicity of concepof tale, no common sense of conduct, no tion, composition, and conduct of story, dispathos, and little humour. His romantic linguish him as the painter of the British portions are generally bad in taste and tone, navy: nor is this lessened by his extreme his land scenes ineffective; bis heroines propensity to fun. The defects of Captain mawkish and monotonons, unreflecting and Marryatt are few, but really serious--his forward. His plots are impossible and romantic characters are demoniacal; and thread-bare, the action never proceeds, but his grossness, fortunately rare, is as uncalled the characters are discussing to infinity mat- for as unpardonable. ters of no consequence whatever. The If the difference between Cooper and author is unfortunate too, we think, in apply- Marryatt may be considered as characteris. ing and shaping his narrative aad conversa. tic in some degree of the two countries; the tions to certain and peculiar objects not former displaying more of physical and absolutely within the scope of the story; practical energy than abstract intellect, and and his benevolent endeavours to improve the latter preserving, with some painful ex. his countrymen at home are brought too ceptions, a calmer and more general display prominently forward, instead of being veiled of finished development, M. Eugène Sue may by his satire: nor are his sneering attacks be considered to hold the same place in re. upon religious establishments and forms lation to the two, that his country maintains either in better taste or better managed with respect to both theirs. This author's There is nothing like strength or condense- powers of composition are lighter, more ness of phrase in his works. Even on the various and brilliant, with a more delicate sea, though we cannot profess to be equal land feminine, though not in the least effem.

inate fancy. His love of fun is whimsical, “The steersman sounded eight times the with a touch of sarcasm; his sentiment is little bell close to him, and cried aloud, 'Now imaginative and tender, is not enthusiastic; relieve the watch.

“ The noise this maneuvre occasioned his fancy is gay, but wandering and desul.

awakened doubtless the inhabitants of the tory, even to affectation; and his tendency poop; for the curtain moved, coughing, towards the mystical of influential sympathy grumbling, and motion followed, and a man is extravagant though effective. His de. came forth, rubbing his eyes twenty times scriptive powers are considerable, but con- over, and yawning desperately. tinually carried to excess in his living cha “ It was M. Claude Borroinée Martial Beracters, while they seem curtailed in the noît, captain and owner of the brig Catherine, severer scenes of nature, and elaborated in of 300 tons, and copper-bottomed.” the softer and more gentle. Like the vota We need not give at any length the perries of one school in France, he seems to sonal appearance of the worthy slave trading delight in the savage and revolting, and captain beyond the vest and trowsers, the reminds us of Voltaire, not certainly in his check cravat, and the straw-hat that covered religious feelings, which are less devout his grey hairs. than impassioned, but in the tendency to

66. Well, my lad,' said he to the helmsman, sneer at the usual objects of human interest gaily pinching his ear; "the Catherine goes and ambition, and also in his propensity to before the wind like a good girl ahead of to humiliate our nature by degrading the her mother.' very persons he had at first seemed most “Yes, captain, but she rolls like a por. inclined to honour.

poise, the gipsy. There—there's a heave; With M. Sue and the personages of his

--and there again.'"_* tales, we are continually reminded of the At this momeut their conversation is inrestless and versatile susceptibility of the terrupted by a man from the look out, who French character in general. Its passions had failed to catch a second view of a disand emotions lie on the surface, and are tant schooner, through the fog. The capeasily moved therefore by the lightest breath, lain comforts himself that he shall not be and are more easy also, in the end, to divert detected shipping his cargo of ebony ; i. e. than allay. Its impetuosity and vehemence negroes. He retires to indulge bis golden are no less strongly distinguished from the dreams with songs and gin, with his com. rough phlegmatism of England or the froz- panion, the mate. en enthusiasm of the German, than from the

“ All at once the sky is shrouded, the sea southern nations, whose characteristics it is troubled, the wind moans.

Leave your appears at first sight more closely to resem- songs and half.empty glasses below there, ble. The passions of these last, though al clear your looks and brave death, for he least as fierce, are of a more settled and se.

threatens. date complexion. Their

very might and

" The crew ran on deck, sad and silent, for

the worst was yet to come. force keep each the other in check, so far as regards externals: their depths are more shock, though with the loss of her topmast.

“ The brig had righted from the previous slowly roused also; and the motion of these But the waves were becoming heavier, the is more furious perhaps, assuredly more sky was covered with vapours, murky and lasting, and more uniform in development; red, like the smoke of a conflagration, and less easily excited, they are also diverted which, reflected on the waters, cast a grey less easily. But we have dwelt too long on

and melancholy tint over the ocean, lately preliminary points that will require consid. so calm and blue.

6. That's a hint of what the storm proerable extracts for their illustration, and mises, and it means to keep its promise,' said these consequently, we mean to give with Benoît, who knew the symptoms ; and scarce. no more of remark than shall make them ly were the topmasts lowered when a dull conducive to our observations, and bringing moaning was heard and a large zone of out national differences and peculiarities of clouds, thick and black, that seemed to unite French maritime habits and character.

the sky and the sea, moved rapidly from the The merits of the writer require this in north-west

, driving before it a mass of boiltroduction of his works at some length to the waves that came on with the tempest.

ing foam; a fearful proof of the fury of our countrymen.

" Those faces, till now unmeaning as the We take our first extract from Atar-Gul: light breeze that plays with the ship's cord

age, seemed roused as from a lethargy: these “ The crew of the brig, overwhelmed by vulgar men, these dwarfs during a calm, enthe heat, had doubtless retired below. All larged; enlarged with the hurricane; be. slept in the vessel except the nelmsinan, and came dauntless giants on the first shuck of three other sailors, who were lying at the the storm. foot of the mainmast.

"The dull and stupid air of the captain

disappeared; his face, heretofore heavy, conds; it bowed, creaked, and broke with an assumed a brilliant daring, as in defiance of alarming noise, and bearing with it the rigthe skies,

ging of the windward side, fell on the lar. "• Never mind,' roared the captain, for al. board rails and thence into the sea; the ready the storm out-raged the thunder, 'ne-shrouds and cordage still held it to the vesver mind, boys, its only wind and water. sel. Haul down that standing-top. Simon, go “ This state of things was dangerous, for ahead; we'll try to hold the cape with reefed the mast, at the mercy of the furious waves, main-sail; and try on a tack. Ho, steers. beat backwarks and forwards against the man, down with your helm-go to it, two or vessel, and acting like a battering-ram upon three of you, for the wind is coming down on its sides, threatened to niake a breach that the brig like a mutinous child against his would have sent all to the bottom. father. So, my boys; we wont give way Only one thing remained ; namely, to its a bad example.

cut the cordage which retained it to the brig. “ The Catherine staggered long under the " • No time for considering; it is dangerforce of the formidable waves that broke ous, but it is for our lives ;' and Benoît, seizagainst each other, and even disappeared at ing a hatchet, mounted across the railing." times in the showers of foam brought by the tempest; while the incessant cracking of

Simon the mate, precipitates himself on the wood work in various parts sounded loud the mast to save his superior from risk. He and sharp as the blows of a hammer on the succeeds in disengaging the vessel, but is anvil. Overwhelmed by immense masses of downed in the gallant task. water which broke upon deck with horrible The vessel reaches the Fish.river in a fury, sweeping its whole length; borne on state of distress. Our next extract must be the crest of enormous waves, or plunging in. of a different cast from the preceding. Be. to unfathomable abyss, the unfortunate brig seemed every moment on the point of being noit meets with the slave-dealer, Van-Hop, swallowed up.

commissioned on the part of King Taroo; “ • Hold fast by the shrouds and yards,” and he, after previous discussion, introduces cried Benoît, 'its nothing; its only cooling us the captain of the brig to his sable majesty. this hot weather; and then the Catherine will be all right to-morrow. Ho there ; down “ King Taroo, seated majestically upon a with the helm :-luff, luff; or else' table, with his legs crossed like a tailor, was

“ Before he had ceased speaking a moun-smoking a huge pipe. tain of water, heaving as high as the tops,

" He was an ill-looking negro of about came upon the poop, swept along the deck forty, arrayed in full state: proudly surcovering it with wrecks, and passed over the mounted by an old three-cornered cockedbows, bearing with it two of the crew, who hat with narrow copper lacing, and bearing disappeared in the waters. These men had by way of all garment a large cane with a married two fresh and pretty sisters of silver head and a rag of red cloth wbich Nantes; they were attached to each other with scarcely sufficed for propriety." all the strength of sailors' friendships--they

After an hour of vigorous discussion kept watch together, got drunk together, fought together; one married because the through the interpreter, Van Hop, a treaty other did; and thus flung himself into the of sale is signed ; some of the articles howa water to save the other, or be like him- ever being objected to, and discussed by drowned. They ended as they began-to. Benoît with the interpreter, the objections gether—* *

are explained to the king at his especial “ Caiot, my good fellow,' cried the cap- command; but as his majesty did not in the tain, port your helm, - look out.' Oh, cap- least comprehend their drift wher refertain,' he replied, raising his head, there is no ring to European customs, he declared his

“ • Take care, take care, captain,' cried comprehension by various glasses of rum. Simon, for he saw an enormous sea rising; When the sale was fairly concluded, he got which threatening the ship, remained motion dead drunk and tumbled down. The unless for the short time that its summit poised happy negroes were led or hauled on board on the base; the force of the wind drove it according as they went quietly or resisted. on; it curled over, rolled heavily, carrying before it a sheet of white water, broke furi " It is necessary to say, that the negroes ously upon the vessel's stern, and then was allowed themselves to be led, hoisted, chained lost awhile under the mass, which roared on board, in stupid insensibility. Not imagin like thunder.

irg any other object for their purchase than “ So violent was the blow, that the rudder, that they were to be eaten, they exerted struck by its force, gave the tiller a tremen- their utmost conrage to remain passive. duous shock; the three men stationed at the “ Before weighing anchor, M. Benoît had wheel were thrown down on the deck; and, a fair distribution made of salt-fish, biscuit, owing to this unforturiate event, the brig com- and water with a litile rum in it. ing to the wind, the mainsail failed and “But they would scarcely touch it; * * for bucked.

the blacks, it is well known, remain general“The mainmast hardly resisted for two se. 'ly the first five or six days of the voyage al.

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