A VESSEL Sail'd from Albion's shore,
To utmost India bound,
Its crest a hero's pendant bore,

With broad sea-laurels crown'd
In many a fierce and noble fight,
Though foil'd on that Egyptian night
When Gallia's host was drown'd,
And Nelson, o'er his country's foes,
Like the destroying angel rose. 2

A gay and gallant company,
With shouts that rend the air,
For warrior-wreaths upon the sea,
Their joyful brows prepare:
But many a maiden's sigh was sent
And many a mother's blessing went,
And many a father's prayer,
With that exulting ship to sea,
With that undaunted 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."

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The deep that, like a cradled child,
In breathing slumber lay,

More warmly blush'd, more sweetly smil'd,
As rose the kindling day:
Through ocean's mirror, dark and clear,
Reflected clouds and skies appear

In morning's rich array:
The land is lost, the waters glow,
'Tis heaven above, around, below.

Majestic o'er the sparkling tide
See the tall vessel sail,

With swelling wings in shadowy pride,
A swan before the gale;
Deep-laden merchants rode behind :
But, fearful of the fickle wind,
Britannia's cheek grew pale,

When, lessening through the flood of light,
Their leader vanish'd from her sight.

Oft had she hail'd its trophied prow
Victorious from the war,

And banner'd masts that would not bow,
Though riven with many a scar;

Oft had her oaks their tribute brought
To rib its flanks, with thunder fraught;
But late her evil star

Had curs'd it on its homeward way;
"The spoiler shall become the prey."

Thus warn'd, Britannia's anxious heart
Throbb'd with prophetic woe,
When she beheld that ship depart,
A fair, ill-omen'd show!

So views the mother, through her tears,
The daughter of her hopes and fears,
When hectic beauties glow

On the frail cheek, where sweetly bloom
The roses of an early tomb.

No fears the brave adventurers knew,
Peril and death they spurn'd;
Like full-fledg'd eagles forth they flew ;
Jove's birds that proudly burn'd
In battle-hurricanes to wield
His lightnings on the billowy field;
And many a look they turn'd
O'er the blue waste of waves, to spy
A Gallic ensign in the sky.

But not to crush the vaunting foe
In combat on the main,
Nor perish by a glorious blow,
In mortal triumph slain,

Was their unalterable fate:

That story would the muse relate,
The song might rise in vain;
In ocean's deepest, darkest bed
The secret slumbers with the dead.

On India's long-expecting strand
Their sails were never furl'd;
Never on known or friendly land,
By storms their keel was hurl'd.
Their native soil no more they trod,
They rest beneath no hallow'd sod;
Throughout the living world

This sole memorial of their lot


they were, and they are not.

The Spirit of the Cape1 pursued
Their long and toilsome way;

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,
Loos'd all his tempests on the tide,
Gave all his lightnings play;
The abyss recoil'd before the blast,
Firm stood the seamen till the last.

Like shooting stars, athwart the gloom
The merchant-sails were sped:
Yet oft, before its midnight doom
They mark'd the high mast-head
Of that devoted vessel, toss'd

By winds and floods, now seen, now lost;
While every gun-fire spread

A dimmer flash, a fainter roar;

At length they saw, they heard no more.

There are to whom that ship was dear,
For love and kindred's sake;

When these the voice of rumour hear,
Their inmost heart shall quake,

Shall doubt, and fear, and wish, and grieve,
Believe, and long to unbelieve,

But never cease to ache;

Still doom'd, in sad suspense, to bear

The Hope that keeps alive Despair.




He sought his sire from shore to shore,
He sought him day by day;

The prow he track'd was seen no more,
Breasting the ocean-spray :

Yet, as the winds his voyage sped,
He sail'd above his father's head,
Unconscious where it lay,

Deep, deep beneath the rolling main :
He sought his sire; he sought in vain.

Son of the brave! no longer weep;
Still, with affection true,
Along the wild disastrous deep
Thy father's course pursue;
Full in his wake of glory steer,
His spirit prompts thy bold career,

His compass guides thee through;
So, while thy thunders awe the sea,
Britain shall find thy sire in thee.


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