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And first one universal shriek there rushed,
Louder than the loud ocean, like a crash
Of echoing thunder; and then all was hushed,
Save the wild wind and the remorseless dash
Of billows; but at intervals there gushed,
Accompanied with a convulsive splash,
A solitary shriek, the bubbling cry
Of some strong swimmer in his agony.
There were two fathers in this ghastly crew,
And with them their two sons, of whom the one Was more robust and hardy to the view;
But he died early; and when he was gone,
His nearest messmate told his sire, who threw
One glance on him, and said : “Heaven's will be done !
I can do nothing;' and he saw him thrown
Into the deep without a tear or groan.
The other father had a weaklier child,
Of a soft cheek, and aspect delicate;
But the boy bore up long, and with a mild
And patient spirit held aloof his fate;
Little he said, and now and then he smiled,
As if to win a part from off the weight
He saw increasing on his father's heart,
With the deep deadly thought that they must part.
And o'er him bent his sire, and never raised
eyes from off his face, but wiped the foam From his pale lips, and ever on him gazed :
And when the wished-for shower at length was come,
And the boy's eyes, which the dull film half glazed,
Brightened, and for a moment seemed to roam,
He squeezed from out a rag some drops of rain
Into his dying child's mouth ; but in vain !
The boy expired – the father held the clay,
And looked upon it long; and when at last
Death left no doubt, and the dead burden lay
Stiff on his heart, and pulse and hope were past, He watched it wistfully,
'Twas borne by the rude wave wherein 'twas cast ; Then he himself sunk down all dumb and shivering, And gave no sign of life, save his limbs' buivering.
There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar ;
I love not man the less, but nature more,
From these our interviews, in which I steal
From all I may be, or have been before,
To mingle with the universe, and feel
What I can ne'er express, yet cannot all conceal.
Roll on, thou deep and dark-blue Ocean—roll!
Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain ;
Man marks the earth with ruin-his control
Stops with the shore ; upon the watery plain
The wrecks are all thy deed, nor doth remain
A shadow of man's ravage, save his own,
When for a moment, like a drop of rain,
He sinks into thy depths with bubbling groan-
Without a grave, unknelled, uncoffined, and unknown.
The armaments which thunder-strike the walls
Of rock-built cities, bidding nations quake,
And monarchs tremble in their capitals
The oak leviathans, whose huge ribs make
Their clay creator the vain title take
Of lord of thee, and arbiter of war:
These are thy toys, and, as the snowy flake,
They melt into thy yeast of waves, which mar
Alike the Armada's pride, or spoils of Trafalgar.
Thy shores are empires, changed in all save thee-
Assyria, Greece, Rome, Carthage, what are they?
Thy waters wash'd them power while they were free,
And many a tyrant since; their shores obey
The stranger, slave, or savage; their decay
Has dried up realms to deserts : not so thou;
Unchangeable save to thy wild waves' play,
Time writes no wrinkle on thine azure brow :
Such as creation's dawn beheld, thou rollest now.
Thou glorious mirror, 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.
And I have loved thee, Ocean ! and my joy
Of youthful sports was on thy breast to be
Borne, like thy bubbles, onward : from a boy
I wantoned with thy breakers—they to me
Were a delight; and if the freshening sea
Made them a terror—'twas a pleasing fear;
For I was as it were a child of thee,
And trusted to thy billows far and near,
upon thy mane—as I do here.
With Farmer Allan at the farm abode
William and Dora. William was his son,
And she his niece. He often look'd at them,
And often thought, 'I'll make them man and wife.'
Now Dora felt her uncle's will in all,
And yearn'd towards William; but the youth, because
He had been always with her in the house,
Thought not of Dora.
Then there came a day
When Allan call’d his son, and said, “My son:
I married late, but I would wish to see
My grandchild on my knees before I die :
And I have set my heart upon a match.
Now therefore look to Dora; she is well
To look to; thrifty too beyond her age.
She is my brother's daughter: he and I
Had once hard words, and parted, and he died
In foreign lands; but for his sake I bred
His daughter Dora : take her for your wife ;
For I have wished this marriage, night and day,
For many years. But William answered short;
'I cannot marry Dora; by my life,
I will not marry Dora.' Then the old man
Was wroth, and doubled up his hands, and said:
You will not, boy! you dare to answer thus !
But in my time a father's word was law,
And so it shall be now for me. Look to it;
Consider, William : take a month to think,
And let me have an answer to my wish ;
Or, by the Lord that made me, you shall pack,
And never more darken
doors again.' But William answer'd madly; bit his lips, And broke away.
The more he looked at her
The less he liked her; and his ways were harsh;
But Dora bore them meekly. Then before
The month was out he left his father's house,
And hired himself to work within the fields ;
And half in love, half spite, he woo'd and wed
A labourer's daughter, Mary Morrison.
Then, when the bells were ringing, Allan call'd
His niece and said: 'My girl, I love you well;
But if you speak with him that was my son,
Or change a word with her he calls his wife,
My home is none of yours. My will is law.'
And Dora promised, being meek. She thought,
'It cannot be: my uncle's mind will change!'
And days went on, and there was born a boy
To William ; then distresses came on him;
And day by day he passed his father's gate,
Heart-broken, and his father helped him not.
But Dora stored what little she could save,
And sent it them by stealth, nor did they know
Who sent it; till at last a fever seized
On William, and in harvest time he died.
Then Dora went to Mary. Mary sat
And look’d with tears upon her boy, and thought
Hard things of Dora. Dora came and said:
“I have obeyed my uncle until now, And I have siun’d, for it was all thro' me This evil came on William at the first. But, Mary, for the sake of him that's gone, And for your sake, the woman that he chose, And for this orphan, I am come to you: You know there has not been for these five years So full a harvest: let me take the boy, And I will set him in my uncle's eye Among the wheat; then when his heart is glad Of the full harvest, he may see the boy, And bless him for the sake of him that's gone.'
And Dora took the child and went her way Across the wheat, and sat upon a mound That was unsown, where many poppies grew. Far off the farmer came into the field And spied her not; for none of all his men Dare tell him Dora waited with the child; And Dora would have risen and gone to him, But her heart failed her; and the reapers reap'd, And the sun fell, and all the land was dark.
But when the morrow came, she rose and took The child once more, and sat upon the mound; And made a little wreath of all the flowers That grew about, and tied it round his hat To make him pleasing in her uncle's eye. Then when the farmer passed into the field He spied her, and he left his men at work, And came and said : 'Where were you yesterday ? Whose child is that! What are you doing here ? So Dora cast her eyes upon the ground, And answer'd softly, 'This is William's child!' * And did I not,' said Allan, did I not Forbid you, Dora ?' Dora said again ; • Do with me as you will, but take the child And bless him for the sake of him that's gone!' And Allan said, 'I see it is a trick Got up betwixt you and the woman there. I must be taught my duty, and by you ! You knew my word was law, and yet you dared To slight it. Well—for I will take the boy ;