« PreviousContinue »
memento shall ever return for love to cherish. ever be known is, that she sailed from her port, never heard of more."
All that shall "and was
7. The sight of the wreck, as usual, gave rise to many dismal anecdotes. This was particularly the case in the evening, when the weather, which had hitherto been fair, began to look wild and threatening, and gave indications of one of those sudden storms that will sometimes break in upon the serenity of a summer voyage. As we sat round the dull light of a lamp, in the cabin, that made the gloom more ghastly, every one had his tale of shipwreck and disaster. I was particularly struck with a short one related by the captain.
8. "As I was once sailing," said he, “in a fine stout ship across the banks of Newfoundland, one of the heavy fogs that prevail in those parts rendered it impossible for me to see far a-head, even in the day time; but at night the weather was so thick that we could not distinguish any object at twice the length of our ship. I kept lights at the mast-head, and a constant watch forward to look out for fishing-smacks, which are accustomed to lie at anchor on the banks. The wind was blowing a smacking breeze, and we were going a a great rate through the water.
9. "Suddenly the watch gave the alarm of a sail a-head!' but it was scarcely uttered till we were upon her. She was a small schooner at anchor, with her broadside toward us.The crew were all asleep, and had neglected to hoist a light. We struck her just a-mid-ships. The force, the size, and the weight of our vessel, bore her down below the waves; we passed over her, and were hurried on our course:
10. "As the crashing wreck was sinking beneath us, I had a glimpse of two or three half-naked wretches, rushing from her cabin: they had just started from their beds to be swallowed shrieking by the waves. I heard their drowning cry mingling with the wind. The blast that bore it to our ears, swept us out of all further hearing. I shall never forget that cry! It was some time before we could put the ship about, she was under such headway. We returned, as nearly as we could judge, to the place where the smack was anchored.We cruised about for several hours in the dense fog. We fired several guns, and listened if we might hear the halloo of any survivors; but all was silent-we never heard nor saw any thing of them more!"
11. It was a fine sunny morning when the thrilling cry of "land!" was given from the mast-head. I question whether
Dense, close, thick.
a An'ec-dotes, short stories.
Se-ren'-i-ty, calmness, clearness.
Columbus, when he discovered the new world, felt a more delicious throng of sensations, than rush into an American's bosom when he first comes in sight of Europe. There is a volume of associations in the very name. It is the land o' promise, teeming with every thing of which his childhood has heard, or on which his studious ears have pondered.
12. From that time, until the period of arrival, it was all feverish excitement. The ships of war that prowled like guardian giants round the coast; the headlands of Ireland, stretching out into the channel; the Welsh mountains, towering into the clouds; all were objects of intense interest. As we sailed up the Mersey, I reconnoitred the shores with a telescope. My eye dwelt with delight on neat cottages, with their trim shrubberies and green grass plots. I saw the mouldering ruins of an abbey overrun with ivy, and the taper spire of a village church, rising from the brow of a neighboring hill-all were characteristic of England.
13. The tide and wind were so favorable, that the ship was enabled to come at once at the pier. It was thronged with people; some idle lookers-on, others eager expectants of friends or relatives. I could distinguish the merchant to whom the ship belonged. I knew him by his calculating brow, and restless air. His hands were thrust into his pockets; he was whistling thoughtfully, and walking to and fro, a small space having been accorded to him by the crowd, in deference to his temporary importance. There were repeated cheerings and salutations interchanged between the shore and the ship, as friends happened to recognize each other.
14. But particularly noted one young woman of humble dress, but interesting demeanor."-She was leaning forward from among the crowd; her eye hurried over the ship as it neared the shore, to catch some wished-for countenance.— She seemed disappointed and agitated, when I heard a faint voice call her name. It was from a poor sailor, who had been ill all the voyage, and had excited the sympathy of every one on board. When the weather was fine, his messmates had spread a mattress for him on deck in the shade; but of late his illness had so increased, that he had taken to his hammoc, and only breathed a wish that he might see his wife before he died.
15. He had been helped on deck as we came up the river, and was now leaning against the shrouds, with a countenance so wasted, so pale, and so ghastly, that it is no wonder even the eye of affection did not recognize him. But at the
c Shrouds, ranges of ropes.
a De-mean'-or, behavior, deportment.
sound of his voice her eye darted on his features, it read at once a whole volume of sorrow; she clasped her hands, uttered a faint shriek, and stood wringing them in silent agony.
16. All now was hurry and bustle-the meeting of acquaintances the greetings of friends-the consultation of men of business. I alone was solitary and idle. I had no friend to meet, no cheering to receive. I stepped upon the land of my forefathers-but felt that I was a stranger in the land.
Description of a Thunder Storm on the Highlands of the Hud
1. Ir was the latter part of a calm, sultry day, that we floated gently with the tide, between those stern mountains, the highlands of the Hudson. There was that perfect quiet which prevails over nature in the languora of summer heat; the turning of a plank, or the accidental falling of an oar on deck, was echoed from the mountain side, and reverberated" along the shores; and if by chance the captain gave a shout of command, there were airy tongues that mocked it from every cliff.
2. I gazed about me in mute delight and wonder, at these scenes of nature's magnificence. To the left the Dunderberg reared its woody precipices, height over height, forest over forest, away into the deep summer sky. To the right strutted forth the bold promontory of Antony's Nose, with a solitary eagle wheeling about it; while beyond, mountain succeeded to mountain, until they seemed to lock their arms together, and confine this mighty river in their embraces.-There was a feeling of quiet luxury in gazing at the broad, green bosoms, here and there scooped out among the precipices; or at woodlands high in air, nodding over the edge of some beetling bluff, and their foliage all transparent in the yellow sunshine.
3. In the midst of my admiration, I remarked a pile of bright snowy clouds peering above the western heights. It was succeeded by another, and another, each seemingly pushing onward its predecessor,d and towering, with dazzling brilliancy, in the deep blue atmosphere: and now, muttering peals of thunder were faintly heard, rolling behind the
a Lan'-guor, weakness, lassitude. Re-ver'-be-ra-ted, resounded.
c Prom'-on-to-ry, a headland, a cape. d Pred'-e-ces-sor, one who precedes an other.
mountains. The river, hitherto still and glassy, reflecting pictures of the sky and land, now showed a dark ripple at a distance, as the breeze came creeping up it. The fish hawks wheeled and screamed, and sought their nests on the high dry trees; the crows flew clamorously to the crevices of the rocks, and all nature seemed conscious of the approaching thundergust.
4. The clouds now rolled in volumes over the mountain tops; their summits still bright and snowy, but the lower parts of an inky blackness. The rain began to patter down in broad and scattered drops; the wind freshened, and curled up the waves; at length it seemed as if the bellying clouds were torn open by the mountain tops, and complete torrents of rain came rattling down. The lightning leaped from cloud to cloud, and streamed quivering against the rocks, splitting and rending the stoutest forest trees. The thunder burst in tremendous explosions; the peals were echoed from mountain to mountain; they crashed upon Dunderberg, and rolled up the long defile of the highlands, each headland making a new echo, until old Bull Hill seemed to bellow back the
5. For a time the scudding rack and mist, and the sheeted rain, almost hid the landscape from the sight. There was a fearful gloom, illumined still more fearfully by the streams of lightning which glittered among the rain drops. Never had I beheld such an absolute warring of the elements; it seemed as if the storm was tearing and rending its way through this mountain defile, and had brought all the artillery of heaven into action. Irving.
The happy effects of a virtuous sensibility.
1. THE exercise of a virtuous sensibility, powerfully influences the proper discharge of all the relative and social duties of life. Without some discharge of those duties, there could be no comfort nor security in human society. Men would become hordes of savages perpetually harrassing one another. In one way or other, therefore, the great duties of social life must be performed. There must be among mankind some reciprocal co-operation and aid. In this all consent. But let us observe, that these duties may be performed from different principles, and in different ways.
2. Sometimes they are performed merely from decency
a Hordes, clans, tribes.
b Re-cip'-ro-cal, mutual, alternate.
and regard to character; sometimes from fear, and even from selfishness, which obliges men to show kindness, in order that they may receive returns of it. In such cases, the exterior of fair behavior may be preserved. But all will admit, that when from constraint only, the offices of seeming kindness are performed, little dependance can be placed on them, and little value allowed to them.
3. By others, these offices are discharged solely from a principle of duty. They are men of cold affections, and perhaps of an interested character. But overawed by a sense of religion, and convinced that they are bound to be beneficent, they fulfill the course of relative duties with regular tenor. Such men act from conscience and principle. So far they do well, and are worthy of praise. They assist their friends; they give to the poor; they do justice to all.
4. But what a different complexion is given to the same actions, how much higher flavor do they acquire,-when they flow from the sensibility of a feeling heart? If one be not moved by affection, even supposing him influenced by principle, he will go no farther than strict principle appears to require. He will advance slowly and reluctantly. As it is justice, not generosity, which impels him, he will often feel as a task what he is required by conscience to perform. Whereas, to him who is prompted by virtuous sensibility, every office of beneficence and humanity is a pleasure.
5. He gives, assists, and relieves, not merely because he is bound to do so, but because it would be painful for him to refrain. Hence the smallest benefit he confers rises in its value on account of its carrying the affection of the giver impressed upon the gift. It speaks his heart, and the discovery of the heart is very frequently of greater consequence than all that liberality can bestow.
6. How often will the affectionate smile of approbation gladden the humble, and raise the dejected! How often will the look of tender sympathy, or the tear that involuntarily falls, impart consolation to the unhappy! By means of this correspondence of hearts, all the great duties which we owe to one another are both performed to more advantage, and endeared in the performance.
7. From true sensibility flow a thousand good offices, apparently small in themselves, but of high importance to the felicity of others;-offices which altogether escape the observation of the cold and unfeeling, who by the hardness of their manner render themselves unamiable, even when they
Fe-lic'-i-ty, bliss, happiness.
a Sym-pa-thy, compassion, fellow feelJag.