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| While young Arion sleeps, before his sight
* Studding-sails are long narrow sails, which are only uscd in fine weather and fair winds, on the outside of the larger square-sails. Stay-sails are three-cornered sails, which are hoisted up on the stays, when the wind crosses the ship's course either directly or obliquely. *The operation of taking the sun's azimuth, in order to discover the eastern or western variation of the magnetical needle.
Their sage experience thus explores the height,
[The ship, having been driven out of her course from Candia, is overtaken by a storm.]
As yet amid this elemental war,
1 The wales here alluded to are an assemblage of strong planks which envelope the lower part of the ship's side, wherein they are broader and thicker than the rest, and appear somewhat like a range of hoops, which separates the bottoni from the upper works. 80
The balanced mizen, rending to the head, In streaming ruins from the margin fled. The sides convulsive shook on groaning beams, And, rent with labour, yawned the pitchy seams. They sound the well, and terrible to hear! Five feet immersed along the line appear. At either pump they ply the clanking brake,” And turn by turn the ungrateful office take. Rodmond, Arion, and Palemon, here, At this sad task all diligent appear. As some fair castle, shook by rude alarms, Opposes long the approach of hostile arms; Grim war around her plants his black array, And death and sorrow mark his horrid way; Till in some destined hour, against her wall, In tenfold rage the fatal thunders fall; The ramparts crack, the solid bulwarks rend, And hostile troops the shattered breach ascend; Her valiant inmates still the foe retard, Resolved till death their sacred charge to guard: So the brave mariners their pumps attend, And help incessant by rotation lend; But all in vain—for now the sounding cord, Updrawn, an undiminished depth explored. Nor this severe distress is found alone; The ribs oppressed by ponderous cannon groan. Deep rolling from the watery volume's beight, The tortured sides seem bursting with their weight. So reels Pelorus, with convulsive throes, When in his veins the burning earthquake glows; Hoarse through his entrails roars the infernal flame; And central thunders rend his groaning frame; Accumulated mischiefs thus arise, And fate vindictive all their skill defies; One only remedy the season gave— To plunge the nerves of battle in the wave. From their high platforms thus the artillery thrown, Eased of their load, the timbers less shall groan; But arduous is the task their lot requires; A task that hovering fate alone inspires! For, while intent the yawning decks to ease, That ever and anon are drenched with seas, Some fatal billow, with recoiling sweep, May whirl the helpless wretches in the deep. No season this for counsel or delay! Too soon the eventful moments haste away; Here perseverance, with each help of art, Must join the boldest efforts of the heart. These only now their misery can relieve; These only now a dawn of safety give; While o'er the quivering deck, from van to rear, Broad surges roll in terrible career; Rodmond, Arion, and a chosen crew, This office in the face of death pursue. The wheeled artillery o'er the deck to guide, Rodmond descending claimed the weather-side. Fearless of heart, the chief his orders gave, Fronting the rude assaults of every wave. Like some strong watch-tower nodding o'er the deep, Whose rocky base the foaming waters sweep, Untamed he stood; the stern aerial war Had marked his honest face with many a scar. Meanwhile Arion, traversing the waist,3 The cordage of the leeward guns unbraced, And pointed crows beneath the metal placed.
* The well is an apartment in the ship's hold, serving to inclose the pumps. It is sounded by dropping a graduated iron rod down into it by a long line. Hence the increase or diminution of the leaks are easily discovered.
* The brake is the lever or handle of the pump, by which it is wrought.
* The waist of a ship of this kind is a hollow space of about five feet in depth, contained between the elevations of the quarter deck and forecastle, and having the upper deck for its base or platform.
Watching the roll, their forelocks they withdrew,
[The tempest increases, but the dismantled ship passes the island of St George.]
But now Athenian mountains they descry, And o'er the surge Colonna frowns on high. Beside the cape's projecting verge is placed A range of columns long by time defaced; First planted by devotion to sustain, In elder times, Tritonia’s sacred fane. | Foams the wild beach below with maddening rage, |
Where waves and rocks a dreadful combat wage. The sickly heaven, fermenting with its freight, Still vomits o'er the main the feverish weight: And now while winged with ruin from on high, Through the rent cloud the ragged lightnings fly, A flash quick glancing on the nerves of light, Struck the pale helmsman with eternal night: Rodmond, who heard a piteous groan behind, Touched with compassion, gazed upon the blind; And while around his sad companions crowd, He guides the unhappy victim to the shroud, Hie thee aloft, my gallant friend, he cries; | Thy only succour on the mast relies 1 The helm, bereft of half its vital force, | Now scarce subdued the wild unbridled course; Quick to the abandoned wheel Arion came, The ship's tempestuous sallies to reclaim. Amazed he saw her, o'er the sounding foam Upborne, to right and left distracted roam. So gazed young Phaeton, with pale dismay, When, mounted on the flaming car of day, With rash and impious hand the stripling tried The immortal coursers of the sun to guide. The vessel, while the dread event draws nigh, Seems more impatient o'er the waves to fly: Fate spurs her on. Thus, issuing from afar, Advances to the sun some blazing star; And, as it feels the attraction's kindling force, Springs onward with accelerated force. 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 seemed 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-pressed by watery weight the bowsprit bends, And from above the stem deep crashing rends. Beneath her beak the floating ruins lie; The foremast totters, unsustained on high; 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 maintop-mast 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'erpowered, they yield to cruel fate at **,
The hostile waters close around their head, They sink for ever, numbered with the dead! Those who remain their fearful doom await, Nor longer mourn their lost companions' fate. 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 the 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 viewed the adjacent shore, but viewed 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, lashed 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. Even Zeno's self, and Epictetus old, This fell abyss had shuddered to behold. Had Socrates, for godlike virtue famed, And wisest of the sons of men proclaimed, Beheld this scene of frenzy and distress, His soul had trembled to its last recess! 0 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 the 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 shattered 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 o convulsed with agonizing throes, The bleeding bull beneath the murderer'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. 0 were it mine with tuneful Maro's art, To wake to sympathy the feeling heart; Like him the smooth and mournful verse to dress In all the pomp of exquisite distress! Then, too severely taught by cruel fate | To share in all the perils I relate, Then might I with unrivalled strains deplore The impervious horrors of a leeward shore. | As o'er the surf the bending mainmast hung, Still on the rigging thirty seamen clung; | Some on a broken crag were struggling cast, | And there by oozy tangles grappled fast; Awhile they bore the o'erwhelming billow's rage, | Unequal combat with their fate to wage; | Till all benumbed and feeble, they forego | Their slippery hold, and sink to shades below;
Some, from the main yard-arm impetuous thrown
Robert LLoyd, the friend of Cowper and Churchill, was born in London in 1733. His father was under-master at Westminster school. He distinguished himself by his talents at Cambridge, but was irregular in his habits. After completing his education, he became an usher under his father. The wearisome routine of this life soon disgusted him, and he attempted to earn a subsistence by his literary talents. His poem called The Actor attracted some notice, and was the precursor of Churchill's “Rosciad.” The style is light and easy, and the observations generally correct and spirited. By contributing to periodical works as an essayist, a poet, and stage critic, Lloyd picked up a precarious subsistence, but his means were thoughtlessly squandered in company with Churchill and other wits “upon town.” He brought out two indifferent theatrical pieces, published his poems by subscription, and edited the “St James's Magazine,” to which Colman, Bonnel Thornton, and others, contributed. The magazine failed, and Lloyd was cast into prison for debt. Churchill generously allowed him a guinea a-week, as well as a servant; and endeavoured to raise a subscription for the purpose of extricating him from his embarrassments. Churchill died in November 1764. ‘Lloyd,” says Mr Southey, “had been apprised of his danger; but when the news of his death was somewhat abruptly announced to him, as he was sitting at dinner, he was seized with a sudden sickness, and saying, “I shall follow poor Charles,” took to his bed, from which he never rose again; dying, if ever man died, of a broken heart. The tragedy did not end here: Churchill's favourite sister, who is said to have possessed much of her brother's sense, and spirit, and genius, and to have been betrothed to Lloyd, attended him during his illness; and, sinking under the double loss, soon followed her brother and her lover to the grave.’ Lloyd, in conjunction with Colman, parodied the Odes of Gray and Mason, and the humour of their burlesques is not tinctured with malignity. Indeed, this unfortunate young poet seems to have been one of the gentlest of witty observers and lively satirists; he was ruined by the friendship of Churchill and the Nonsense Club, and not by the force of an evil nature. The vivacity of his style (which both Churchill and Cowper copied) may be seen from the following short extract on
[The Miseries of a Poet's Life.]
The harlot muse, so passing gay,
But bad as the life of a hackney poet and critic seems to have been in Lloyd's estimation, the situation of a school-usher was as little to his mind:—
[Wretchedness of a School-Usher.]
Were I at once empowered to show
For one, it hurts me to the soul, To brook confinement or control; Still to be pinioned down to teach The syntax and the parts of speech; Or, what perhaps is drudgery worse, The links, and points, and rules of verse; To deal out authors by retail, Like penny pots of Oxford ale; Oh 'tis a service irksome more, Than tugging at the slavish oar! Yet such his task, a dismal truth, Who watches o'er the bent of youth, And while a paltry stipend earning, He sows the richest seeds of learning, And tills their minds with proper care, And sees them their due produce bear; No joys, alas! his toil beguile, His own lies fallow all the while. “Yet still he's on the road,' you say, “Of learning.’ Why, perhaps he may, But turns like horses in a mill, "Nor getting on, nor standing still ; For little way his learning reaches, Who reads no more than what he teaches.
- chael Es CHURCHILL.
A second Dryden was supposed to have arisen in Churchill, when he published his satirical poem, The Rosciad, in 1761. The impression was continued by his reply to the critical reviewers, shortly afterwards; and his Epistle to Hogarth, The Prophecy of Famine, Night, and passages in his other poems— all thrown off in haste to serve the purpose of the day—evinced great facility of versification, and a breadth and boldness of personal invective that drew instant attention to their author. from early predilections, had a high opinion of Churchill, and thought he was “indeed a poet, we cannot now consider the author of the “Rosciad' as more than a special pleader or pamphleteer in verse. He seldom reaches the heart—except in some few lines of penitential fervour—and he never ascended to the higher regions of imagination, then trod by Collins, Gray, and Akenside. With the beauties of external nature he had not the slightest sympathy. He died before he had well attained the prime of life; yet there is no youthful enthusiasm about his works, nor any indications that he sighed for a higher fame than that of being the terror of actors and artists, noted for his libertine eccentricities, and distinguished for his devotion to Wilkes. That he misapplied strong original talents in following out these pitiful or unworthy objects of his ambition, is undeniable; but as a satirical poet—the only character in which he appears as an author—he is immeasurably inferior to Pope or Dryden. The “fatal facility’ of his verse, and his unscrupulous satire of living individuals and passing events, had, however, the effect of making all London “ring from side to side' with his applause, at a time when the real poetry of the age could hardly obtain either publishers or readers. Excepting Marlow, the dramatic poet, scarcely any English author of reputation has been more unhappy in his life and end than Charles
Churchill. He was the son of a clergyman in West
minster, where he was born in 1741. After attending Westminster school and Trinity college, Cambridge (which he quitted abruptly), he made a clandestine marriage with a young lady in Westminster, and was assisted by his father, till he was ordained and settled in the curacy of Rainham, in Essex. His father died in 1758, and the poet was appointed his successor in the curacy and lectureship of St John's at Westminster. This transition, which pro
Though Cowper, mised an accession of comfort and respectability, proved the bane of poor Churchill. He was in his twenty-seventh year, and his conduct had been up to this period irreproachable. He now, however, renewed his intimacy with Lloyd and other school companions, and launched into a career of dissipation and extravagance. His poetry drew him into notice; and he not only disregarded his lectureship, but he laid aside the clerical costume, and appeared
in the extreme of fashion, with a blue coat, goldlaced hat, and ruffles. The dean of Westminster re| monstrated with him against this breach of clerical propriety, and his animadversions were seconded by the poet's parishioners. Churchill affected to ridicule this prudery, and Lloyd made it the subject of an epigram:—
l To Churchill, the bard, cries the Westminster dean, Leather breeches, white stockings! pray what do you mean? 'Tis shameful, irreverent—you must keep to church rules. If wise ones I will; and if not they're for fools. If reason don’t bind me, I’ll shake off all fetters, To be black and all black I shall leave to my betters.
The dean and the congregation were, however, too powerful, and Churchill found it necessary to resign the lectureship. His ready pen still threw off at will his popular satires, and he plunged into the grossest debaucheries. These excesses he attempted to justify in a poetical epistle to Lloyd, entitled ‘Night, in which he revenges himself on prudence and the world by railing at them in good set terms. ‘This vindication proceeded,” says his biographer, ‘on the exploded doctrine, that the barefaced avowal of vice is less culpable than the practice of it under a hypocritical assumption of virtue. The measure of guilt in the individual is, we conceive, tolerably equal; but the sanction and dangerous example afforded in the former case, renders it, in a public point of view, an evil of tenfold magnitude.” The poet's irregularities affected his powers of composition, and his poem of The Ghost, published at this time, was an incoherent and tiresome production. A greater evil, too, was his acquaintance with Wilkes, unfortunately equally conspicuous for public faction and private debauchery. Churchill assisted his new associate in the North Briton, and received the profit arising from its sale. “This circumstance rendered him of importance enough to be included with Wilkes in the list of those whom the messengers had verbal instructions to apprehend under the general warrant issued for that purpose, the execution of which gave rise to the most popular and only beneficial part of the warm contest that ensued with government. Churchill was with Wilkes at the time the latter was apprehended, and himself only escaped owing to the messenger's ignorance of his person, and to the presence of mind with which Wilkes addressed him by the name of Thomson.’” The poet now set about his satire, the Prophecy of |Famine, which, like Wilkes's North Briton, was specially directed against the Scottish nation. The outlawry of Wilkes separated the friends, but they kept up a correspondence, and Churchill continued
* Life of Churchill prefixed to works. London: 1804. when | Churchill entered the room, Wilkes was in custody of the messenger. “Good morning, Mr Thomson,” said Wilkes to him. “How does Mrs Thomson do? Does she dine in the country?" Churchill took the hint as readily as it had been given. He replied that Mrs Thomson was waiting for him, , and that he only came, for a moment, to ask him how he did. Then almost directly he took his leave, hastened home, secured his papers, retired into the country, and eluded all search.
And hates that form she knows to be her own.
to be a keen political satirist. The excesses of his daily life remained equally conspicuous. Hogarth, who was opposed to Churchill for being a friend of Wilkes, characteristically exposed his habits by caricaturing the satirist in the form of a bear dressed canonically, with ruffles at his paws, and holding a pot of porter. Churchill took revenge in a fierce and sweeping ‘epistle' to Hogarth, which is said to have caused him the most exquisite pain. After separating from his wife, and forming an unhappy connexion with another female, the daughter of a Westminster tradesman, whom he had seduced, Churchill's career drew to a sad and premature close. In October 1764 he went to France to pay a visit to his friend Wilkes, and was seized at Boulogne with a fever, which proved fatal on the 4th of November. With his clerical profession Churchill had thrown off his belief in Christianity, and Mr Southey mentions, that though he made his will only the day before his death, there is in it not the slightest expression of religious faith or hope. So highly popular and productive had his satires proved, that he was enabled to bequeath an annuity of sixty pounds to his widow, and fifty to the more unhappy woman whom he had seduced, and some surplus remained to his sons. The poet was buried at Dover, and some of his gay associates placed over his grave a stone on which was engraved a line from one of his own poems—
Life to the last enjoyed, here Churchill lies.
The enjoyment may be doubted, hardly less than the taste of the inscription. It is certain that Churchill expressed his compunction for parts of his ot in verses that evidently came from the eart:
Look back! a thought which borders on despair,
The most ludicrous, and, on the whole, the best of Churchill's satires, is his Prophecy of Famine, a Scots pastoral, inscribed to Wilkes. The Earl of Bute's administration had directed the enmity of all disappointed patriots and keen partisans against the Scottish nation. Even Johnson and Junius descended to this petty national prejudice, and Churchill revelled in it with such undisguised exaggeration and broad humour, that the most saturnine or sensitive of our countrymen must have laughed at its absurdity. This unique pastoral opens as follows:–
Two boys whose birth, beyond all question, springs