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THE CAST-AWAY SHIP.'
A VESSEL Sail'd from Albion's shore,
With broad sea-laurels crown'd
A gay and gallant company,
The subjects of this and the following poem were suggested by the loss of the "Blenheim," commanded by Sir Thomas Troubridge, 1807. It was separated from the vessels under its convoy during a storm in the Indian Seas, and was last seen off Madagascar, exhibiting signals of distress. The admiral's son afterwards made a voyage in search of his father, but without success, nothing ever having been discovered of the fate either of the ship or of its crew.
Sir Thomas Troubridge was one of Nelson's captains at the battle of the Nile, but he was prevented from taking an active part in the engagement, by his ship, the "Culloden," running on a reef early in the afternoon. This accident almost broke his heart; but Nelson consoled him, by assuring him "that no man could better afford to lose the laurels of the day."
The deep that, like a cradled child,
More warmly blush'd, more sweetly smil'd,
In morning's rich array:
Majestic o'er the sparkling tide
With swelling wings in shadowy pride,
When, lessening through the flood of light,
Oft had she hail'd its trophied prow
And banner'd masts that would not bow,
Oft had her oaks their tribute brought
Had curs'd it on its homeward way;
Thus warn'd, Britannia's anxious heart
So views the mother, through her tears,
On the frail cheek, where sweetly bloom
No fears the brave adventurers knew,
But not to crush the vaunting foe
Was their unalterable fate:
That story would the muse relate,
On India's long-expecting strand
This sole memorial of their lot
they were, and they are not.
The Spirit of the Cape1 pursued
At length, in ocean-solitude,
He sprang upon his prey:
The Cape of Good Hope; formerly called the Cape of Storms.
"Havoc!" the shipwreck-demon cried,
Like shooting stars, athwart the gloom
By winds and floods, now seen, now lost;
A dimmer flash, a fainter roar;
At length they saw, they heard no more.
There are to whom that ship was dear,
When these the voice of rumour hear,
Shall doubt, and fear, and wish, and grieve,
But never cease to ache;
Still doom'd, in sad suspense, to bear
The Hope that keeps alive Despair.
TO THE CAST-AWAY SHIP.
He sought his sire from shore to shore,
The prow he track'd was seen no more,
Yet, as the winds his voyage sped,
Deep, deep beneath the rolling main :
Son of the brave! no longer weep;
His compass guides thee through;