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For here, whate'er his life's degree,
That parts him from his people's past. 'Tis well to live and lord o'er those
By whom his sires were most renown'd,
From this funereal forest's edge
I thought of what one might have hop'd
By the true faith in Christ and Heaven.
The finest webs of earthly fate
Are soonest and most harshly torn;
That evening splendour from the morn;
1 Or Moslem (Mahometan): signifies "resigned to God." The glories of the Khalifate.
Such were my thoughts and such the scene,
As if his spirit had commun'd
With mine, while I had there reclin❜d.
"Stranger! whose soul has strength to soar
The face of things with truth severe,
"Think of that age's awful birth,
When Europe echo'd, terror-riven, That a new foot was on the earth,
And a new name come down from heaven: When over Calpe's straits and steeps
The Moor had bridg'd his royal road, And Othman's sons from Asia's deeps The conquests of the Cross o'erflow'd.
"Think, if the arm of Charles Martel
"Think with what passionate delight
The Muslim from Vienna's walls:
"Think not that time can ever give
"And if to his old Asian seat,
2 With the melancholy caprice of a broken spirit, he requested that no one afterwards might be permitted to pass through the gate of the Alhambra by which he departed when about to surrender his capital. His prayer was complied with, it is said, through the sympathy of Isabella, and the gate walled up. The spot is still shown where Boabdil surrendered the keys of Granada to the Castilian sovereign, and a rock is still denominated "The last Sigh of the Moor" where Boabdil took his farewell gaze of Granada, and where his affliction was embittered by the reproachful speech of his mother. "You do well," said she, "to weep as a woman over what you could not defend as a man ;"-words that savour more of the pride of the princess than the tenderness of the parent. See Washington Irving's Alhambra.
Be but Byzantium's native sign
"Before the small Athenian band
"Know ye the Romans of the North?
To grasp the world in breadth and length? They cry, that ye and we are old,
And worn with luxuries and cares,
And they alone are fresh and bold,
Time's latest and most honour'd heirs!
"Alas for you! alas for us!
Alas for men that think and feel,
Shall stamp Sclavonia's frozen heel!
Oh! place us boldly in the van,
1 The Turks adopted the sign of the crescent from Byzantium after their conquest of that city. The cross above the crescent is found at Constantinople on many ruins of the Grecian city, among others, in the Genoese castle on the Bosphorus. The Virgin standing on the crescent is another common sign.
TO THE CORAL INSECT. 1
TOIL on! toil on! ye ephemeral train,
A fabric so vast in a realm so drear.
The Friendly, Navigators', and Society Islands are encircled by coral reefs. It was supposed that these islands owed their origin entirely to marine animals, who raised these coral rocks perpendicularly like a wall from great depths, and died when they found themselves above the level of the sea. sand, mussels, and other substances brought by the waves next added to the formation: the coral rock became covered with different lichens, which, as they died and decayed, gave rise to a new race, higher in the scale of vegetation: grass, herbaceous plants and shrubs followed in succession, until vegetable mould was formed, and the island fitted for the reception of the cocoanut palm, which was carried thither by the waves. Such was the theory of Forster and Flinders, but subsequent naturalists find that the reefs do not consist of coral above a few fathoms deep, and that the polypiaria by which they are formed, are not found where the water is more than 30 feet deep. They therefore suppose that these animals executed their work only in those parts of the sea where the bottom had been raised by volcanic or some natural cause nearly to the surface of the water: but so extensive are the works of these animals in the Pacific, that independently of the above islands, there is one part of the Pacific called the Coral Sea. It extends along the eastern coast of Australia to Sandy Point, assigning Papua and Luisiade as its northern boundary; and on the south, from Sandy Point to the Island of Pines near the southern coast of New Caledonia; on the east, it terminates at some distance from the New Hebrides. It extends more than 1000 miles in length and about 600 in width; the whole space is covered with innumerable coral reefs and banks, which have only a few feet of water over them, and are very dangerous to the navigator.