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THE MERMAID'S SONG
TO THE “HORNET.”
BY H. S. GIBSON.
I CAME from ocean's deepest cave,
And near the ruins of a wreck, Snatched this sea garland from a grave,
Whose weeds had overgrown the deck. List-listen to the mermaid's song,
Though shrill her voice, and wild the note ; The music of the seas belong
To those that o'er our caverns float.
The spirit of the storm below,
Awakened from his ocean bed, And sent his messenger of woe
To bid the living join the dead. The mirror surface of the sea,
Whose heavy swelling bosom's still As death, when mountain waves shall be
The subject of our Neptune's will.
List, mariners ! the sea-bird screams,
The tempest and the whirlwind's nigh! Now starts, affrighted in his dreams,
The sailor boy, whose visions fly, Like phantoms from the home of bliss
That sailed on fancy's pinions there, To know that in a world like this,
Hope's spirit leaves it in despair.
Look, mariners! yon sable cloud
Is clothed with thunder! as it forms, Thick darkness gathers like a shroud,
Suspended o’er a sea of storms. List, panic stricken crew! and hear
The peal that ocean's echo brings, That bursts upon the startled ear,
Whilst desolation spreads her wings.
The whirlwind's sporting with my locks
I feel the stormy spirit's breath, That kisses on our coral rocks,
Their mermaid messengers of death. Morė wildly now my ringlets wave
Destruction's hidden shoals are near; Avoid them as thou would'st the grave,
As hope would shrink from panic fear.
I'll leave your crowded ship-farewell;
I seek my coral groves once more, The next high mountain waves that swell,
Shall dash ye on a flinty shore. The Hornet hath my warning heard
If fate should plunge her in the deep, The screaming of the wild sea bird,
Shall ne'er disturb the dreamer's sleep.
The mermaid sunk—the waves arose,
On naked rocks they dashed their foam ; That fatal spot's the grave
of those Who made the Hornet's deck their home. Her gallant crew will rise no more,
Till wakened from their ocean bed ; She, anchored 'neath life’s bleaky shore, Hath joined the navy of the dead.
THE WAYWARDNESS OF GENIUS.
BY STEPHEN SIMPSON.
The waywardness of genius has been a perpetual theme for the moralist, the poet, and the philosopher. One of the most striking traits of wayward genius is an incapacity of satisfying its own expectations, as well as those of the world, in relation to its moral and physical character; not only as it concerns its intellectual achievements, but even in relation to its personal deportment; for it is a fact attested by all history and experience, that men of genius are seldom more agreeable in conversation, than they are faultless in their productions or happy in their lives. Seldom, or never, handsome, they are still less apt to be amiable, or pleasant as companions, or agreeable as friends. Being of quick sagacity, and nice observation, they readily detect blemishes in others: and naturally irritable and sarcastic, they are prone to indulge in satire and turn the defects of others into ridicule. Vain and presuming, they are at the same time diffident and jealous of praise; and while they are morbidly sensitive to censure, they are equally dissatisfied with applause. When you praise them, they doubt your sincerity; and when you reprove them, they question your judgment or suspect your friendship. They are neither satisfied with themselves nor reconciled to the world. Although they are sometimes vain, yet they are too conscious of their own defects to be arrogant; but they are so superior to the world, that they feel proud when put in comparison
with the general order of men, though humble when considered in the scale of positive perfection.
Genius is, indeed, an enigma; a something always to be studied, yet never to be understood. The strong and masculine features of lofty minds seem to conform every thing about them to this all controlling spirit of the soul. Made up of a concentration of violent passions, they form vigorous conceptions and decided judgments; and thus become as inflexible in opinion, as they are rigid and unconciliating in manners. It is generally the quality of feeble minds and instinctive life, gifted with very moderate powers of perspicacity, or of imagination, to be amiable, soft and conciliating; and it is less from acerbity of temper, than energy of intellect, that we
of intellect, that we find men of genius rough and ungentle in the announcement, and not less positive in the retention of their opinions. In general, women and men, not distinguished for strong attributes of mind, are the subjects of the soft, mild, and agreeable traits of character; which depend less on the goodness of the heart, than the serene composure of the intellect. Nervous irritability is more the cause than the effect of genius; and as this impēls the mind to the perception of relations never discerned by others, so it awakens feelings and thoughts, which cannot brook the ignorance of less profound and comprehensive intellect, and fails to excite the sympathies of the less feeling heart.
It is for this reason that genius becomes too colossal to retain the proportions of grace, or the features of feminine delicacy in its character, however it may be distinguished for those qualities in its productions. Hence it is that men of genius are seldom, or never esteemed; and very rarely loved. They offend too many prejudices to be agreeable--they assail too many errors not to be feared;
they break down too many customs to be admired-they shock too many feelings to be loved. Generally dislike, fear, envy and hatred seem to be the only emotions they inspire, when they mix with the world—while, on the contrary, universal admiration and lasting renown are their lot, when they seclude themselves in devotion to the divinity that stirs within them. Then kindling to inspiration, they throw off the gems of heaven from the glowing laboratory of a fervid and exhaustless imagination, or compose treasures of knowledge for the instruction of posterity. Thus they never satisfy the world in their personal and moral character; and never, or very seldom, fail in the achievement of posterior glory,
This, one would naturally suppose, is a measure of affliction quite sufficient to rescue the unfortunate genius from further calamity; as we are all disposed to think that some countervailing good is always in store for those who suffer severe and protracted trials. Yet is this among the least of the evils which hurry down genius before the whirlwind of passion into the blackness of despair. The incapacity to satisfy its own expectations is a corrosive poison to its peace, and a gnawing worm that never dies. It cherishes a glowing and a boundless ambition for excellence unattainable, and for glory beyond the lot of mortals. Oh! I have seen genius weep away its nights of anguish into days of humiliation, that it could not equal in composition the shadowy imaginings of invention, as they flitted before it like the stars of heaven, now burning bright, and now lost in darkness, as if shining only to deceive and putting on their glories merely to lure us to ruin. Alexander wept when he heard of his father's victories, lest he should leave him no harvest of glory to reap. Cæsar too played the woman when he had con