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First Impressions of a Man-of-War. - Vastness of the Ocean. - A Storm.
A Hurricane. - Power of the Ocean. Sail from Boston. — Feelings thus excited. — Poetry. - Sea Sickness. - A Wet Ship. Greenhorns. - Marines. — A Commander of a Ship. - Peril at Sea. — The Ship strikes. Scene below. - Scene on Deck. -Narrow Escape. — Public Worship. Golden Mist. - Speak a Ship.--" Land ho!". Arrive at Gibraltar.
A MAN-OF-WAR of the larger class, with its crowded host, and armed and equipped for a distant voyage, is an object of new and peculiar interest to one who has been familiar only with the peaceful abodes of science, and the quiet seclusion of domestic life. How like a floating Babel, does such an inmate view this little world, with all its strife of tongues, its noisy jargon, its roaring cannon, and the loud, and longdrawn cheers, which greet the coming of some favorite chief. At first, he gazed, with wonder, on this mighty fabric, as, in the quiet harbour, with its gigantic hull, its towering masts, and wide-extended yards, it rested on the bosom of the deep. Then, as he moved along her decks, lined with long, dark rows of massive guns, and peopled with a thousand men, with means for their support at hand, and each with his allotted place and sphere of duty, “ What a vast and splendid exhibition this,” he exclaims, “ of human ingenuity and toil.” Perchance, too, he thinks of that Almighty Architect, who gave to man the skill to invent, and the power to construct, so vast a fabric; – or, to go still further back,
Who nerved with strength the firm and giant oak,
to the sea,
In this same ship he goes
ocean, and how swiftly doth she move along, when her wide canvass is opened to the breeze. The shores recede and are lost to the view. Day after day, and week after week, there is nothing but the sky above, and the wide-rolling ocean around him. The ship, which before he had thought so large, seems to diminish in size, when compared with the vastness and grandeur of the works of God, in the midst of which he is moving. She is wafted along like a feather, on the long-swelling waves of the sea, and he begins to feel that the ocean is, indeed, boundless as eternity. How as less than nothing, and vanity, do the proudest efforts of man now appear, when compared with the works of Him, who measureth the waters in the hollow of his hand, who saith
“ Hitherto shalt thou come, and no further, and here shall thy proud waves be stayed.” Had he, before this, any adequate idea of the vastness of the ocean, of those “wonders of God, in the mighty deep," which awaken feelings such as no language can excite, or description equal ?
He may have pored over the pages of history and geography, and dwelt with glowing rapture on the brilliant descriptions of the
have computed how many cubic inches of water there are on the surface of the globe, and how many thousand years
it would take, for all the rivers of the world to fill the empty space, which would be made by removing, at once, all the waters of the mighty deep. Still, what were all these, in their effects upon the mind, when compared with sailing across an almost boundless ocean.
But the lesson which one may thus learn, has but just commenced. Turn, now, and behold that little cloud in the horizon, which seems no bigger than a man's hand. Soon it expands, and spreads wildly over the heavens. All the sails are taken in, and fear, or deep anxiety, rests on every countenance. The water in the distance seems one wide expanse of foam, and now the waves begin to heave around, lashed to madness by the raging winds.
Then comes the wild and angry rush of the tempest, and the warring elements seem eager to devour their prey. That proud and lofty ship, which so lately seemed to dare the tempest's utmost rage, now reels and bows before the fury of the storm. It flees like a chased roe upon the mountains. It is tossed on high as a thing of nought, and then goes down again to the depths, as if the yeasty waves would swallow it up. When