網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

"He first deceased. She, for a little, tried and the proposition, according, as it To do without him, liked it not, and died."

does, with the rules of Blair and In one of his hymns he has this Kames and Whately, commands your striking image,

immediate assent; but still you feel “No hallowed oils, no gums I need,

that genuine emotion is there, and, if No pew-born drams of purging fire ;

you watch sharply, you will find that One rosy drop from David's seed

Taste, entering holy George Herbert's Was worlds of seas to quench their ire.”

“Temple," after a preliminary sniff of Excellent, however, of its kind as imbecile contempt, somehow slinks Wotton's poetry is, it is not equal to away abashed after the first verse at that living poem, his life. He was one the “ Church-porch": of those men who are not so much

“Thou whose sweet youth and early hopes enhance makers of poems as subjects about

Thy rate and price, and mark thee for a treasure, whom poems are made.

Hearken unto a verser, who may chance The last poet of whom we shall

Rhyme thee to good, and make a bait of pleasure :

A verse may find him whom a sermon flies, speak, George Herbert, was one in

And turn delight into a sacrifice." whom the quaintness of the time found its most fantastic embodiment. He

And that fine gentleman, Taste, havbegan life as a courtier; and on the ing relieved us of his sweetly scented disappointment of his hopes, or on his presence, redolent with the “ balm of conviction of the vanity of his ambi

a thousand flowers,” let us, in closing, tions, he suddenly changed his whole quote one of the profoundest utterances course of thought and life, became a of the Elizabethan age, George Herclergyman, and is known to posterity

bert's lines on Man :: only as “holy George Herbert.” His “Man is all symmetrie, poetry is the bisarre expression of a Full of proportions, one limbe to another,

And all to all the world besides : deeply religious and intensely thought

Each part may call the farthest, brother: ful nature, sincere at heart, but strange, For head with foot hath private amitie, far-fetched, and serenely crotchety in

And both with moon and tides. utterance. Nothing can be more frigid

“Nothing hath got so farre, than the conceits in which he clothes But man hath caught and kept it, as his prey. the great majority of his pious ejacu

His eyes dismount the highest starre :

Yet lations and heavenly ecstasies.

He is in little all the sphere

Herbs gladly cure our flesh, because that they every reader feels that his fancy, quaint Finde their acquaintance there. as it often is, is a part of the organism of his character; and that his quaint

"The starres have us to bed ;

Night draws the curtain, which the sun withdraws: ness, bis uncouth metaphors and com

Musick and light attend our head. parisons, his squalid phraseology, his All things unto our flesh are kinde holy charades and pious riddles, his

In their descent and being; to our minde

In their ascent and cause. inspirations crystallized into ingenuities, and his general disposition to rep- “More servants wait on Man resent the divine through the exterior

Than he 'll take notice of; in every path

He treads down that which doth befriend him, guise of the odd, are vitally connected

When sickness makes him pale and wan, with that essential beauty and sweet- O mightie love! Man is one world, and hath ness of soul which give his poems

Another to attend him. their wild flavor and fragrance. Ama

"Since then, my God, thou hast teurs in sanctity, and men of fine relig- So brave a Palace built ; O dwell in it, ious taste, will tell you that genuine

That it may dwell with thee at last ! emotion can never find an outlet in

Till then afford us so much wit,

That as the world serves us we may serve thee, such an elaborately fantastic form ; And both thy servants be.”

SOME CORAL ISLANDS AND ISLANDERS.

green islets.

THI

HE tropical Pacific is an ocean of the surf, rolling in heavily upon the

many islands. Some of these are reef, breaking into foam, dashing up high volcanic peaks, others are low the white coral beach, and contrasting coral islets. Some lie crowded in archi- strangely and beautifully with the green pelagoes, others in scattered groups of foliage above, became clearly visible. five or six, and a few are solitary specks A view from aloft revealed this still cf dry land or coral reef, the only ob- more to our admiration. The island, jects in vast areas that break the mo- with its enclosed lagoon, appeared pernotony of sea and sky.

haps four or five miles long by two or The “Union Group” is a little clus- three wide. A belt of reef and land, a ter of three low coral islands. It is hundred rods in width, encircled a lake. about nine degrees of latitude south of Without were the waters of the ocean, the equator, and near the one hundred the long heavy swells breaking violently and seventy-second meridian. It is on the outer reef; within were the placid, three or four hundred miles from any delicately tinted waters of the lagoon, other important group, and the three their surface scarcely ruffled by the islands composing it are about forty or wind, and dotted here and there with fifty miles from each other.

At noon on the tenth day of March, An occasional break in the line of 1860, we reckoned our little schooner foliage marked the place where a narto be eighteen miles to windward of row channel connected the waters of Oatafu, the northwestern member of the ocean and the lake. The outer reef, this group; and at three o'clock in the which first broke the force of the ocean afternoon all on board were earnestly waves, was a level platform three or looking for the first signs of land ahead. four hundred feet wide, about even with We only knew of this island, that it was or very little below the surface of the of coral formation. Whether it was in- sea, and over this the snowy breakers habited or not we had never learned. were chasing each other towards the Whether it was laid down on the chart shore. Then came the strip of elevated correctly we could not tell, and this un- land, a gently rising, snow-white beach, certainty, combined with the fear that crowned by a bright green belt of we might be the victims of misplaced shrubbery and trees, the lofty plumes confidence in our chronometer, caused of the cocoanut towering above the us to scan the horizon with uncommonly whole. This belt of land seemed but a sharp eyes.

few hundred feet wide, and about ten By four o'clock our anxiety was re- feet high. On the inner shore, a smooth moved, and new interest aroused by the beach of finest sand was gently washed cry of “ Land, ho!” Looking in the by the lagoon waters. It lay on the direction indicated by the lookout aloft, blue ocean before us like a green wreath, to whom belonged the honor of the with a border of sparkling spray and discovery, we discerned an uneven line foam. of tree-tops, -a kind of dotted line, a All this we saw while approaching little raised above the water, and stretch- and sailing along the southern shore of ing along the horizon for a few miles. the island; but in the mean time the These dots gradually developed into a wind had become so light, and our continuous line of verdure. Approach- progress had been so slow, that when ing still nearer, this line assumed a we were fairly under the lee of the land circular form, enclosing within its limits the sun had reached the horizon, and the quiet waters of a lagoon. Finally darkness would speedily follow the very short tropical twilight. It was not only explain this remarkable feature, and that too late to land, but too late to look for their speculations gave rise to some anchorage ; for the shores of a coral strange theories, in which their fancy island or reef usually make off so pre- pictured the "coral worms as skilful cipitously that the sounding-lead may architects, building up reefs and islands find a hundred fathoms of water within as beavers build dams, and invested a ship's length of the breakers, and the animalculæ with truly wonderful inanchorage, when it exists, must be stincts, supposed to be especially shown sought cautiously. Our captain, there in their choice of the annular form of fore, determined to test our patience by island, as best adapted to withstand the remaitling under sail all night, standing force of the waves, and provide a seoff and on until morning; and in a very cure retreat for themselves and their few minutes our little schooner found young. herself close hauled on the wind, and But Science, in later days, has set thereupon commenced pitching savagely aside these vague and erroneous impresinto the waves, as though she shared sions, and given clear ideas of the naour annoyance. Aggravating as this ture and functions of the coral-making was to those of us who were impatient zoophytes, and of the way in which the for a run ashore, there was no appeal, reefs are formed. And Mr. Darwin has and so we quietly made the best of it. shown that the annular form of island, We watched the island from the deck, instead of being due to the instinct of until it became indistinct in the dark- the polyp, is caused by the slow subness. Then we went down to tea, and sidence of the land on which the coral tried, with poor success, to compensate growth was based. That thus, in few ourselves for a slighted dinner. Then words, a coral reef, beginning in the came the inevitable rubber of whist, in shallow waters on the shore of an which the captain played atrociously, island, and encircling it as a fringing because, as he said, he never could reef, has gradually increased upward, play well when near the land. Finally, while the land itself has been slowly dehaving arranged for an earlier breakfast pressed; and finally, the upward growth than usual, we laid ourselves upon our having kept pace with the depression, respective shelves, and slept.

the reef appears as a ring of rock upon It is no wonder if our dreams that the surface, after the last peak of the night were somewhat colored by the island or mountain-top has disappeared. experience of the afternoon. The sight In time the loose fragments of broken of a coral island, especially of the la- coral and shells, ground into sand, are goon form, is very impressive. The swept together by the waves, and form origin of the material, the formation of a narrow strip of land a few feet above the reef, and notably the remarkable the ocean level. annular structure of the island, suggest Then floating cocoanuts or seeds, innumerable inquiries to any thought wafted by the winds, or brought by ful observer.

drifting logs, find their mysterious way No wonder the early voyagers were

to the newly made land. Trees spring struck with surprise and admiration at up, and soon a luxuriant growth of vegetheir first view of such an island, with tation converts the reef into 2. habitable all its beauty of grove and lake, and islet. In process of time a canoe-load of that they marvelled at beholding an voyagers, natives of sorze other island, immense ring of rock and dry land, perhaps drifted off by irresistible curstanding in mid-ocean, in almost un- rents or violent gaies, or, possibly, havfathomable depths, an irresistible bar- ing set out from an over-populated rier to the waves, and enclosing a quiet island in search of a new home, find lake, in whose undisturbed waters vast their way thither, and it becomes the fields of growing corals flourish.

abode of man. No wonder that they were puzzled to Thus coral lagoons are souvenirs of lands that have disappeared. They lie was quite naked, and the men wore like garlands upon the waters, simple nothing of enough importance to be memorials of buried islands.

described, baving only a narrow strip Oatafu, the island before us, on the of material, something like cloth, worn following morning, wore nothing of a above the hips, and passing between the sombre or funereal aspect. The bright thighs. Their faces were very friendly, green colors of the foliage, the dazzling and they could hardly restrain their debrilliancy of the snow-white beach, and light at seeing strangers. Although we the sparkling foam of the breakers, were could hardly understand a word they too gay and joyous in their appearance said, they talked unceasingly, with great to suggest regret for a departed con- earnestness and much gesticulation, tinent. Moreover, the novelties of the occasionally breaking out into an irrepresent were too interesting to allow pressible song, then a loud laugh, and just then a thought of the past. Early finally paddling away with a good-huin the morning, before we were fairly mored fury. up and dressed, we had been surprised, Through the interpretation of one and our curiosity excited, by the dis- of our men, a native of the Sandwich covery of two canoes putting off from Islands, who found that he could unthe lee side of the island towards us. derstand a little of their dialect, we In each canoe were two men, paddling made out that they gave us a warm vigorously. As we had no information welcome, and invited us to visit their concerning inhabitants, we were natu- village, which lay on the inner shore of rally very much interested in knowing the lagoon, just hidden by the cocoanutwhat manner of men these might be trees. We deferred doing this, howwho were about to pay us a visit. Our ever, until after breakfast, and meanunconfiding captain jumped directly to time our visitors paddled off for the the conclusion that the islanders were island, to make their report. a race of man-eaters, and that the four About nine o'clock, as we were prerepresentatives, now approaching us, paring to go ashore, we discovered anwere a sort of prospecting committee other and much larger canoe coming of the commissary department; but as towards us under sail. In it were there were only two men in each canoe, seated fifteen or twenty men. As they we who, with all hands told, were thrice neared the vessel, one old fellow stood that number, could have no hesitation in up, and waved in the air over his head receiving them, however carnally minded a large roll or bundle of matting, fringed they might be.

at both ends. Exactly what this meant In a few minutes the canoes came we were left to imagine, but it was alongside. These were each about doubtless the prerogative of royalty to twenty or twenty-five feet long, and two have it and wave it; for, as soon as they feet deep and wide, sharpened at both came alongside, our acquaintance of the ends, and furnished with out-riggers. early morning presented himself, and, Tlough having at first the appearance pointing to him who held the bundle, of “u'ug-outs,” they proved to be made gave us to understand that he was the of many parts, ingeniously fitted, and “ariki,” or king. lashed together with fastenings of na- His Coralline Majesty was a welltive twine. They seemed quite water- made man of about fifty years of age. tight, and behaved very well under the His raiment was as simple as that worn skilful managemenz of the natives, who by his ambassadors of the morning. were paddling with all their force to

As a mark of royalty, however, he wore keep up with the vessel.

a strip of a cocoanut leaf, two or three The occupants of the two canoes inches wide, split along the middle, were three men and one boy. They which, being put on over his head, were good-looking fellows, well made, rested upon his shoulders. The upper and in excellent condition. The boy part of his body, especially his breast,

was profusely tattooed. He was very and, though I was perhaps unable to dignified in manner, not talking much, judge fairly, it did not appear to me nor manifesting the great curiosity that he had gained much, if any, inwhich took possession of most of his fluence among the people. followers. Withal he was a very fair We proposed a visit on shore to the specimen of royalty in the crude state. chief, to which he earnestly expressed He sat down at once upon an offered his assent, and, in spite of the captain's deck chair, and, stretching out his legs, warning, three of us prepared to land. surveyed the assembly with a coolness Immediately all the canoes started off which quite took me by surprise. in advance, as if to advise the remain

Presently a number of canoes came der of the inhabitants of our coming; alongside, and the deck of our schooner and we soon followed them, taking the was soon crowded by native men and chief and two other natives with us. boys. Evidently the arrival and pres- Reaching the shore safely under the ence among them of a vessel was a guidance of the chief, we walked togreat and rare event, and was made the wards the village, which was on the occasion of a general holiday. Many inner or lagoon side of the belt of land. of them had got themselves up for the Passing for some distance through a visit with great care, and were abun- cocoanut grove, we presently came upon dantly anointed with oil. Some wore a collection of about fifty houses. They head-dresses of shells, and necklaces were arranged with considerable reguof shells or beads; and one fellow put larity along an avenue running parallel on a great many airs, parading about with the beach. In the middle of the the deck with a brass button (probably street was a walk paved with smooth a souvenir of some naval visit) hung slabs of coral beach rock. The houses round his neck by a piece of twine. were of very simple construction, conBut the most remarkable ornament of sisting of upright frames five or six feet all, worn by a good-looking man, was high, covered by a high-peaked roof of nothing else than a common board nail cocoanut thatch. The eaves of the roof stuck through his ear like an ear-ring extended considerably beyond the sides, I observed that they all had their ears and lacked but two or three feet of perforated, though more for utility than reaching the ground. The sides of the ornament, for, having no pockets, they houses were sometimes open, and in find it convenient to carry small articles some cases thatched. As we passed stuck through their ears. Some of the along towards the chief's house, troops older ones had so stretched their ears of young children made their appearby use, that the slits in them were larger ance; but the women, none of whom than a large button-hole. The king, on had been on board, remained within being presented with two cigars, lit one their houses, though their manner inof them, in imitation of his host, and dicated that their seclusion was not alstuck the other in his ear, to reserve for together a voluntary act. a future occasion.

The king's house only differed from Would not an island like this serve the more common in being larger. The well as a kind of Botany Bay for pick- floor was made of evenly spread gravel pockets?

or coral pebbles, covered with mats, for Among those who claimed special which the fibre of the cocoanut husk attention was one who said that he was probably furnished the material. About a native of the Navigators' (Samoan) the house were disposed many and Islands, and that he had been sent various articles of use or ornament. thence to Oatafu as a native mission Fish - hooks of shell and wood, nets, ary. He had, in evidence of this, a mats, calabashes, grass-rope, fish-lines, single copy of the Bible in the Samoan twine and cordage, generally were abunlanguage. During the visit, however, I dant. saw no other copy of this or any book; On his Majesty's “what-not” was an

« 上一頁繼續 »