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Pomposo, insolent and loud,
Vain idol of a scribbling crowd,
Whose very name inspires an awe,
Whose ev'ry word is sense and law,
For what his greatness hath decreed,
Like laws of Persia and of Mede,
Sacred through all the realm of wit,
Must never of repeal admit;
Who, cursing flatt'ry, is the tool
Of ev'ry fawning, flatt'ring fool;
Who wit with jealous eye surveys,
And sickens at another's praise;
Who, proudly seized of Learning's throne,
Now damns all learning but his own;
Who scorns those common wares to trade in,
Reas'ning, convincing, and persuading,
But makes each sentence current pass
With "puppy," "coxcomb," "scoundrel," "ass,"
For 't is with him a certain rule,
The folly's proved when he calls “fool”;
Who, to increase his native strength,
Draws words six syllables in length,
With which, assisted with a frown
By way of club, he knocks us down.
In vain the cords and axes were prepared,
For now th' 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 reels, convulsed with agonizing throes,
The bleeding bull beneath the murd'rer'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.
Oh, 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
Th' impervious horrors of a leeward shore.
As o'er the surge the stooping main-mast hung,
Still on the rigging thirty seamen clung.
Some struggling on a broken crag were cast,
And there by oozy tangles grappled fast;
Awhile they bore th' o'erwhelming billows' 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
On marble ridges, die without a groan.
Three with Palemon on their skill depend,
And from the wreck on oars and rafts descend:
Now on the mountain wave on high they ride,
Then downward plunge beneath th' involving tide;
Till one, who seems in agony to strive,
The whirling breakers heave on shore alive;
The rest a speedier end of anguish knew,
And pressed the stony beach-a lifeless crew!
Next, O unhappy chief! th' eternal doom
Of Heaven decreed thee to the briny tomb!
What scenes of misery torment thy view!
What painful struggles of thy dying crew!
Thy perished hopes all buried in the flood
O'erspread with corses, red with human blood!
So, pierced with anguish, hoary Priam gazed
When Troy's imperial domes in ruin blazed,
While he, severest sorrow doomed to feel,
Expired beneath the victor's murdering steel.
Thus with his helpless partners till the last,
Sad refuge! Albert hugs the floating mast.
His soul could yet sustain this mortal blow,
But droops, alas! beneath superior woe;
For now soft nature's sympathetic chain
Tugs at his yearning heart with powerful strain:
His faithful wife, forever doomed to mourn
For him, alas! who never shall return;
To black adversity's approach exposed,
With want and hardships unforeseen enclosed;
His lovely daughter, left without a friend
Her innocence to succour and defend,
By youth and indigence set forth a prey
To lawless guilt, that flatters to betray.
While these reflections rack his feeling mind,
Rodmond, who hung beside, his grasp resigned;
And, as the tumbling waters o'er him rolled,
His outstretched arms the master's legs enfold:
Sad Albert feels the dissolution near,
And strives in vain his fettered limbs to clear,
For death bids every clinching joint adhere;
All faint, to Heaven he throws his dying eyes,
And "Oh protect my wife and child!" he cries-
The gushing streams roll back th' unfinished sound;
He gasps, he dies, and tumbles to the ground.
Five only left of all the perished throng
Yet ride the pine that shoreward drives along;
With these Arion still his hold secures,
And all th' assaults of hostile waves endures.
O'er the dire prospect as for life he strives.
He looks if poor Palemon yet survives.
"Ah wherefore, trusting to unequal art,
Didst thou, incautious, from the wreck depart?
Alas! these rocks all human skill defy-
Who strikes them once, beyond relief must die;
And now, sore wounded, thou perhaps art tost
On these or in some oozy cavern lost!"
Thus thought Arion, anxious gazing round
In vain; his eyes no more Palemon found.
The demons of destruction hover nigh,
And thick their mortal shafts commissioned fly;
And now a breaking surge, with forceful sway,
Two, next Arion, furious tears away:
Hurled on the crags, behold they gasp, they bleed,
And, groaning, cling upon th' elusive weed!
Another billow bursts in boundless roar;
Arion sinks! and memory views no more:
Ha! total night and horror here preside;
My stunned ear tingles to the whizzing tide;
It is the funeral knell! and gliding near
Methinks the phantoms of the dead appear!
But lo! emerging from the watery grave,
Again they float incumbent on the wave;
Again the dismal prospect opens round-
The wreck, the shore, the dying, and the drowned!
And see! enfeebled by repeated shocks,
Those two, who scramble on th' adjacent rocks,
Their faithless hold no longer can retain;
They sink o'erwhelmed, and never rise again.
Two with Arion yet the mast upbore,
That now above the ridges reached the shore.
Still trembling to descend, they downward gaze,
With horror pale, and torpid with amaze:
The floods recoil! the ground appears below!
And life's faint embers now rekindling glow.
Awhile they wait th' exhausted waves' retreat,
Then climb slow up the beach with hands and feet.
O Heaven! delivered by Whose sovereign hand,
Still on the brink of hell they shuddering stand,
Receive the languid incense they bestow,
That, damp with death, appears not yet to glow!
To Thee each soul the warm oblation pays
With trembling ardour of unequal praise.
In every heart dismay with wonder strives,
And Hope the sickened spark of life revives;
Her magic powers their exiled health restore,
Till horror and despair are felt no more.
A troop of Grecians who inhabit nigh,
And oft these perils of the deep descry,
Roused by the blustering tempest of the night,
Anxious had climbed Colonna's neighbouring height,
When, gazing downward on th' adjacent flood,
Full to their view the scene of ruin stood-
The surf with mangled bodies strewed around,
And those yet breathing on the sea-washed ground.
Though lost to science and the nobler arts,
Yet nature's lore informed their feeling hearts;
Straight down the vale with hastening steps they hied,
Th' unhappy sufferers to assist, and guide.
OR, A PROSPECT OF SOCIETY
Remote, unfriended, melancholy, slow,
Or by the lazy Scheld or wandering Po,
Or onward, where the rude Carinthian boor
Against the houseless stranger shuts the door,
Or where Campania's plain forsaken lies,
A weary waste expanding to the skies-
Where'er I roam, whatever realms to see,
My heart, untravelled, fondly turns to thee,
Still to my brother turns, with ceaseless pain,
And drags at each remove a lengthening chain.
Eternal blessings crown my earliest friend,
And round his dwelling guardian saints attend.
Blest be that spot where cheerful guests retire
To pause from toil and trim their ev'ning fire;
Blest that abode where want and pain repair,