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Means have no merit, if our end amiss.
If wrong our hearts, our heads are right in vain;
Hearts are proprietors of all applause.
Right ends and means make wisdom: Worldly-wise
Is but half-witted, at its highest praise,
Let genius then despair to make thee great;
Nor flatter station: What is station high?
'Tis a proud mendicant; it boasts and begs;
It begs an alms of homage from the throng,
And oft the throng denies its charity.
Monarchs and ministers are awful names;
Whoever wear them, challenge our devoir.
Religion, public order, both exact
External homage, and a supple knee,
To beings pompously set up, to serve
The meanest slave; all more is merit's due,
Her sacred and inviolable right
Nor ever paid the monarch, but the man.
Our hearts ne'er bow but to superior worth ;
Nor ever fail of their allegiance there.
Fools, indeed, drop the man in their account,
And vote the mantle into majesty.
Let the small savage boast his silver fur;
His royal robe unborrow'd and unbought,
His own, descending fairly from his sires.
Shall man be proud to wear his livery,
And souls in ermine scorn a soul without?
Can place or lessen us or aggrandize?
Pygmies are pygmies still, though perch'd on Alps;
And pyramids are pyramids in vales.
Each man makes his own stature, builds himself:
Virtue alone outbuilds the pyramids:
Her monuments shall last, when Egypt's fall.
Of these sure truths dost thou demand the cause?
The cause is lodged in immortality.
Hear, and assent. Thy bosom burns for power;
What station charms thee? I'll install thee there;
'Tis thine. And art thou greater than before?
Then thou before wast something less than man.
Has thy new post betray'd thee into pride?
That treacherous pride betrays thy dignity;
That pride defames humanity, and calls
The being mean, which staffs or strings can raise.
High worth is elevated place: 'Tis more;
It makes the post stand candidate for Thee;
Makes more than monarchs-makes an honest man;
Though no exchequer it commands, 'tis wealth;
And though it wears no ribbon, 'tis renown;
Renown, that would not quit thee, though disgraced,
Nor leave thee pendent on a master's smile.
Other ambition nature interdicts;
Nature proclaims it most absurd in man,
By pointing at his origin, and end;
Milk, and a swath, at first, his whole demand;
His whole domain, at last, a turf, or stone;
To whom, between, a world may seem too small.
What will not men attempt for sacred praise?
The Love of Praise, howe'er conceal'd by art,
Reigns, more or less, and glows, in every heart:
The proud, to gain it, toils on toils endure;
The modest shun it, but to make it sure.
O'er globes and sceptres, now on thrones it swells;
Now, trims the midnight lamp in college cells:
'Tis Tory, Whig; it plots, prays, preaches, pleads,
Harangues in Senates, squeaks in Masquerades.
Here, to Steele's humor makes a bold pretence;
There, bolder, aims at Pulteney's eloquence.
It aids the dancer's heel, the writer's head,
And heaps the plain with mountains of the dead;
Nor ends with life; but nods in sable plumes,
Adorns our hearse, and flatters on our tombs.
The languid lady next appears in state,
Who was not born to carry her own weight;
She lolls, reels, staggers, till some foreign aid
To her own stature lifts the feeble maid.
Then, if ordain’d to so severe a doom,
She, by just stages, journeys round the room:
But, knowing her own weakness, she despairs
To scale the Alps—that is, ascend the stairs.
My fan! let others say, who laugh at toil;
Fan! hood! glove! scarf! is her laconic style;
And that is spoke with such a dying fall,
That Betty rather sees, than hears the call :
The motion of her lips, and meaning eye,
Piece out th' idea her faint words deny.
O listen with attention most profound !
Her voice is but the shadow of a sound.
And help! oh help! her spirits are so dead,
One hand scarce lifts the other to her head,
If, there, a stubborn pin it triumphs o'er,
She pants! she sinks away! and is no more.
Let the robust and the gigantic carve,
Life is not worth so much, she'd rather starve:
But chew she must herself; ah, cruel fate!
That Rosalinda can't by proxy eat.
WILLIAM FALCONER. 1730-1769.
WILLIAM FalcONER was the son of a barber in Edinburgh, and was born in the year 1730. He had very few advantages of education, and in early life went to sea in the merchant service. He was afterwards mate of a ves sel that was wrecked in the Levant, and was one of three only, out of the crew, that were saved; a catastrophe which formed the subject of his future
poem, “The Shipwreck,” which he published in 1762, and on which his Chief claim to merit rests. Early in 1769 his “ Marine Dictionary' appeared, which has been spoken highly of by those who are capable of estimating its merits. In the latter part of the same year he embarked in the Aurora, for India, but the vessel was never heard of after she passed the Cape, “so that the poet of the Shipwreck may be supposed to have perished by the same species of calamity which he had rehearsed." I
The subject of the Shipwreck and the fate of its author, bespeak an uncommon partiality in its favor. If we pay respect to the ingenious scholar, who can produce agreeable verses amidst the shades of retirement or the shelves of his library, how much more interest must we take in the “ship-boy on the high and giddy mast," cherishing refined visions of fancy at the hour which he may casually snatch from fatigue and danger! His poem has the sensible charm of appearing a transcript of reality, and from its vividness and power of description, powerfully interests the feelings, and leaves a deep impression of truth and nature on the mind.
THE VESSEL GOING TO PIECES.-DEATH OF ALBERT, THE COM
With mournful look the seamen eyed the strand
Where death's inexorable jaws expand :
Swift from their minds elapsed all dangers past,
As, dumb with terror, they beheld the last.
Now on the trembling shrouds, before, behind,
In mute suspense they mount into the wind
The Genius of the deep, on rapid wing,
The black eventful moment seem'd to bring.
The fatal Sisters, on the surge before,
Yoked their infernal horses to the prore.
The steersmen now received their last command
To wheel the vessel sidelong to the strand.
Twelve sailors, on the foremast who depend,
High on the platform of the top ascend;
Fatal retreat! for while the plunging prow
Immerges headlong in the wave below,
Down-prest by watery weight the bowsprit bends,
And from above the stem deep crashing rends.
Beneath her beak the floating ruins lie;
The foremast totters, unsustain'd on bigh:
And now the ship, fore-lifted by the sea,
Hurls the tall fabric backward o'er her lee;
While, in the general wreck, the faithful stay
Drags the main-topmast from its post away.
Flung from the mast, the seamen strive in vain
Through hostile floods their vessel to regain.
The waves they buffet, till, bereft of strength,
O’erpower'd they yield to cruel fate at length.
The hostile waters close around their head,
They sink for ever, number'd with the dead !
Those who remain their fearful doom await,
Nor longer mourn their lost companions' fate.
I Campbell's Specimens, vol. vl. p. 98.
The heart that bleeds with sorrows all its own,
Forgets the pangs of friendship to bemoan.-
Albert and Rodmond and Palemon here,
With young Arion, on the mast appear;
Even they, amid th' unspeakable distress,
In every look distracting thoughts confess;
In every vein the refluent blood congeals,
And every bosom fatal terror feels.
Inclosed with all the demons of the main,
They view'd th' adjacent shore, but view'd in vain.
Such torments in the drear abodes of hell,
Where sad despair laments with rueful yell,
Such torments agonize the damned breast,
While fancy views the mansions of the blest.
For Heaven's sweet help their suppliant cries implore;
But Heaven, relentless, deigns to help no more!
And now, lash'd on by destiny severe,
With horror fraught, the dreadful scene drew near!
The ship hangs hovering on the verge of death,
Hell yawns, rocks rise, and breakers roar beneath !
In vain, alas! the sacred shades of yore
Would arm the mind with philosophic lore;
In vain they'd teach us, at the latest breath,
To smile serene amid the pangs of death.
E'en Zeno's self, and Epictetus old,
This fell abyss had shudder'd to behold.
Had Socrates, for god-like virtue famed,
And wisest of the sons of men proclaim'd,
Beheld this scene of frenzy and distress,
His soul had trembled to its last recess !-
O yet confirm my heart, ye powers above,
This last tremendous shock of fate to prove.
The tottering frame of reason yet sustain!
Nor let this total ruin whirl my brain!
In vain the cords and axes were prepared, For now th' audacious seas insult the yard; High o'er the ship they throw a horrid shade And o'er her burst, in terrible cascade. Uplifted on the surge, to heaven she flies, Her shatter'd top half buried in the skies, Then headlong plunging, thunders on the ground, Earth groans ! air trembles! and the deeps resound! Her giant bulk the dread concussion feels, And quivering with the wound, in torment reels; So reels, convulsed with agonizing throes, The bleeding bull beneath the murd'rer's blows.Again she plunges! hark! a second shock Tears her strong bottom on the marble rock! Down on the vale of death, with dismal cries, The fated victims shuddering roll their eyes In wild despair; while yet another stroke, With deep convulsion, rends the solid oak; Till like the mine, in whose infernal cell The lurking demons of destruction dwell,
At length asunder torn, her frame divides,
And crashing spreads in ruin o'er the tides,
As o'er the surge the stooping main-mast hung,
Still on the rigging thirty seamen clung:
Some, struggling, on a broken crag were cast,
And there by oozy tangles grappled fast;.
Awhile they bore th' o'erwhelming billows' rage,
Unequal combat with their fate to wage;
Till all benumb'd and feeble they forego
Their slippery hold, and sink to shades below.
Some, from the main-yard-arm impetuous thrown
On marble ridges, die without a groan.
Three with Palemon on their skill depend,
And from the wreck on oars and rafts descend.
Now on the mountain-wave on high they ride,
Then downward plunge beneath th' involving tide;
Till one, who seems in agony to strive,
The whirling breakers heave on shore alive;
The rest a speedier end of anguish knew,
And prest the stony beach, a lifeless crew!
Next, О unhappy chief! th' eternal doom Of Heaven decreed thee to the briny tomb! What scenes of misery torment thy view! What painful struggles of thy dying crew! Thy perish'd hopes all buried in the flood, O'erspread with corses! red with human blood! So pierced with anguish hoary Priam gazed, When Troy's imperial domes in ruin blazed; While he, severest sorrow doom'd to feel, Expired beneath the victor's murdering steel. Thus with his helpless partners till the last, Sad refuge! Albert hugs the floating mast; His soul could yet sustain the mortal blow, But droops, alas! beneath superior woe: For now soft nature's sympathetic chain Tugs at his yearning heart with powerful strain; His faithful wife for ever doom'd to mourn For him, alas! who never shall return; To black adversity's approach exposed, With want and hardships unforeseen enclosed : His lovely daughter left without a friend, Her innocence to succor and defend; By youth and indigence set forth a prey To lawless guilt, that flatters to betrayWhile these reflections rack his feeling mind, Rodmond, who hung beside, his grasp resign’d; And, as the tumbling waters o'er him rolld, His out-stretch'd arms the master's legs enfold.Sad Albert feels the dissolution near, And strives in vain his fetter'd limbs to clear; For death bids every clinching joint adhere. All-faint, to heaven he throws his dying eyes, And, “O protect my wife and child ?" he cries : The gushing streams roll back th' unfinish'd sound ! He gasps! he dies! and tumbles to the ground !