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There sate the gentle savage of the wild,
* In growth a woman, though in years a child,
As childhood dates within our colder clime,
Where nought is ripen'd rapidly save crime !
The infant of an infant world, as pure
From nature-lovely, warm, and premature ;
Dusky like night, but night with all her stars,
Or cavern sparkling with its native spars ;
eyes that were a language and a spell,
A form like Aphrodite's in her shell,
With all her loves around her on the deep;
Voluptuous as the first approach of sleep,
Yet full of life—for through her tropic cheek
The blush would make its way, and all but speak;
The sun-born blood diffused her neck, and threw
O'er her clear nut-brown skin a lucid hue,
Like coral reddening through the darken’d wave,
Which draws the diver to the crimson cave.
Such was this daughter of the Southern Seas,
Herself a billow in her energies,
To bear the bark of others' happiness,
Nor feel a sorrow till their joy grew less :
Her wild and warm, yet faithful bosom knew
No joy like what it gave; her hopes ne'er drew
Aught from experience, that chill touchstone, whose
Sad proof reduces all things from their hues :
She fear'd no ill, because she knew it not,
Or what she knew was soon—too soon forgot :
Her smiles and tears had pass'd, as light winds pass
O’er lakes, to ruffle, not destroy, their glass,
Whose depths unsearch’d, and fountains from the hill,
Restore their surface, in itself so still,
Until the earthquake tear the Naiad's cave,
Root up the spring, and trample on the wave,
And crush the living waters to a mass,
The amphibious desert of the dank morass !
And must their fate be hers? The eternal change
But grasps humanity with quicker range;
And they who fall, but fall as worlds will fall,
To rise, if just, a spirit o'er them all.
And who is he? the blue-eyed northern child
Of isles more known to man, but scarce less wild;
The fair-hair’d offspring of the Hebrides,
Where roars the Pentland with its whirling seas;
Rock'd in his cradle by the roaring wind,
The tempest-born in body and in mind,
His young eyes opening on the ocean foam,
Had from that moment deem'd the deep his home,--
The giant coinrade of his pensive moods,
The sharer of his
The only Mentor of his youth, where'er
His bark was borne, the sport of wave and air ;
A careless thing, whọ placed his choice in chance,
Nursed by the legends of his land's romance ;
Eager to hope, but not less firm to bear,
Acquainted with all feelings save despair.
Placed in the Arab's clime, he would have been
As bold a rover as the sands have seen,
And braved their thirst with as enduring lip
As Ishmael wafted on his desert-ship;
Fix'd upon Chili's shore, a proud Cacique ;
On Hellas' mountains, a rebellious Greek ;
Born in a tent, perhaps a Tamerlane;
Bred to a throne, perhaps unfit to reign.
For the same soul that rends its path to sway,
If rear'd to such, can find no further
Beyond itself, and must retrace its way, t
Plunging for pleasure into pain ; the same
Spirit which made a Nero, Rome's worst shame,
A humbler state and discipline of heart
Had form’d his glorious namesake's counterpart: #
But grant his vices, grant them all his own,
How small their theatre without a throne!
Thou smilest, these comparisons seem high
To those who scan all things with dazzled eye;
Link'd with the unknown name of one whose doom
Has nought to do with glory or with Rome,
* The “ship of the desert” is the Oriental figure for the camel or dromedary, and they deserve the metaphor well; the former for his endurance, the latter for his swiftness.
+ “Lucullus, when frugality could charm,
Had wasted turnips in his Sabine farm.”_POPE. The Consul Nero, who made the unequalled march which deceived Hannibal, and defeated Asdrubal; thereby accomplishing an achievement almost unrivalled in military annals. The first intelligence of his return, to Hannibal, was the sight of Asdrubal's head thrown into his camp. When Hannibal saw this, he exclaimed with a sigh, that “Rome would now be the mistress of the world.” And yet to this victory of Nero's it might be owing that his imperial namesake reigned at all! But the infamy of the one has eclipsed the glory of the other. When the name of “Nero” is heard, who thinks of the Consul? But such are human things.
With Chili, Hellas, or with Araby.
Thou smilest!—Smile ; 't is better thus than sigh ;
Yet such he might have been ; he was a man,
A soaring spirit ever in the van,
A patriot hero or despotic chief,
To form a nation's glory or its grief ;
Born under auspices which make us more
Or less than we delight to ponder o'er.
But these are visions ; say, what was he here !
A blooming boy, a truant mutineer,
The fair-hair'd Torquil, free as ocean's spray,
The husband of the bride of Toobonai.
By Neuha's side he sate, and watch'd the waters,
Neuha, the sun-flower of the Island daughters,
High-born (a birth at which the herald smiles,
Without a scutcheon for these secret isles)
Of a long race, the valiant and the free,
The naked knights of savage chivalry,
grassy cairns ascend along the shore,
And thine,- I've seen,-Achilles ! do no more.
She, when the thunder-bearing strangers came
In vast canoes, begirt with bolts of flame,
Topp'd with tall trees which, loftier than the palm,
Seem'd rooted in the deep amidst its calm ;
But when the winds awaken'd, shot forth wings
Broad as the cloud along the horizon flings,
And sway'd the waves, like cities of the sea,
billows look less free ;She, with her paddling oar and dar.cing prow, Shot through the surf, like reindeer through the snow, Swift gliding o'er the breaker's whitening edge, Light as a Nereid in her ocean sledge, And gazed and wonder'd at the giant hulk Which heaved from wave to wave its trampling bulk : The anchor dropp’d, it lay along the deep, Like a huge lion in the sun asleep, While round it swarm’d the proas' flitting chain, Like summer-bees that hum around his mane.
XI. The white man landed, -need the rest be told? The New World stretch'd its dusk hand to the Old; Each was to each a marvel, and the tie Of wonder warm’d to better sympathy. Kind was the welcome of the sun-born sires, And kinder still their daughters' gentler fires.
Their union grew : the children of the storm
Found beauty link'd with many a dusky form;
While these in turn admired the paler glow,
Which seem'd so white in climes that knew no snow.
The chase, the race, the liberty to roam,
The soil where every cottage show'd a home ;
The sea-spread net, the lightly-launch'd canoe,
Which stemm'd the studded Archipelago,
O’er whose blue bosom rose the starry isles ;
The healthy slumber, earn'd by sportive toils ,
The palm, the loftiest Dryad of the woods,
Within whose bosom infant Bacchus broods,
While eagles scarce build higher than the crest
Which shadows o'er the vineyard in her breast ;
The cava feast, the yam, the cocoa's root,
Which bears at once the cup, and milk, and fruit ;
The bread-tree, which, without the ploughshare, yields
The unreap'd harvest of unfurrow'd fields,
And bakes its unadulterated loaves
Without a furnace in unpurchased groves,
And flings off famine from its fertile breast,
A priceless market for the gathering guest ;-
These, with the luxuries of seas and woods,
The airy joys of social solitudes,
Tamed each rude wanderer to the sympathies
Of those who were more happy if less wise,
Did more than Europe's discipline had done,
And civilized civilisation's son!
Of these, and there was many a willing pair,
Neuha and Torquil were not the least fair :
Both children of the isles, though distant far;
Both born beneath a sea-presiding star;
Both nourish'd amidst nature's native scenes,
Loved to the last, whatever intervenes
Between us and our childhood's sympathy,
Which still reverts to what first caught the eye.
He who first met the Highlands' swelling blue,
Will love each peak that shows a kindred hue,
Hail in each crag a friend's familiar face,
And clasp the mountain in his mind's embrace.
Long have I roam'd through lands which are not mine,
Adored the Alp, and loved the Apennine,
Revered Parnassus, and beheld the steep
Jove's Ida and Olympus crown the deep :
But 't was not all long ages' lore, nor all
Their nature held me in their thrilling thrall;
The infant rapture still survived the boy,
And Loch-na-gar with Ida look'd o'er Troy,*
Mix'd Celtic memories with the Phrygian mount,
And Highland linns with Castalie's clear fount.
Homer's universal shade!
Forgive me, Phoebus ! that ny fancy stray'd;
The North and nature taught me to adore
Your scenes sublime from those beloved before.
The love, which maketh all things fond and fair,
The youth, which makes one rainbow of the air,
The dangers past, that make even man enjoy
The pause in which he ceases to destroy,
The mutual beauty, which the sternest feel
Strike to their hearts like lightning to the steel,
United the half savage and the whole,
The maid and boy, in one absorbing soul.
No more the thundering memory of the fight
Wrapp'd his wean'd bosom in its dark delight;
No more the irksome restlessness of rest
Disturb’d him like the eagle in her nest,
Whose whetted beak and far-pervading eye
Darts for a victim over all the sky;
His heart was tamed to that voluptuous state,
At once elysian and effeminate,
Which leaves no laurels o'er the hero's urn;
These wither when for aught save blood they burn,
Yet, when their ashes in their nook are laid,
Doth not the myrtle leave as sweet a shade ?
Had Cæsar known but Cleopatra's kiss,
Rome had been free, the world had not been his.
And what have Cæsar's deeds and Caesar's fame
Done for the earth? We feel them in our shame :
The gory sanction of his glory stains
The rust which tyrants cherish on our chains.
Though glory, nature, reason, freedom, bid
Roused millions do what single Brutus did, -
Sweep these mere mock-birds of the despot's song
From the tall bough where they have perch'd so long,
*When very young, about eight years of age, after an attack of the scarlet fever at Aberdeen, I was removed by medical advice into the Highlands. Here I passed occasionally, some summers, and from this period I date my love of mountainous countries. I can never forget the effect a few years afterwards in England, of the only thing I had long seen, even in miniature, of a mountain, in the Malvern Hills. After I returned to Cheltenham, I used to watch them every afternoon at sunset, with a sensation which I cannot describe. This was boyish enough; but I was then only thirteen years of age, and it was in the holydays.