BETA

THE MARINER’S RETURN.*

A DESCRIPTION.

Julian.
Blest be each grain of sand beneath my feet,1
And blest these shells so bright and beautiful,2
On which ’ twere sin to tread ! Pedro, behold3
How like a troop of gay and laughing friends,4
Greeting some exiled man on his return,5
With eager haste and voice most musical,6
Flow the sweet waves of this delightful bay !7
Fly not away, ye birds of loveliest plumes !8
Calm is the air,—the ocean and the shore9
Are calm as calm may be,—and love ye not,10
Fair Haleyons ! Ocean in his hours of rest !11
Well may the Sun in all his glory bathe12
Yon stately mount, that in the clear blue sky,13
Rock-crested, like an airy citadel,14
Spreads gorgeously abroad his olive-groves.15
See where yon towers and temples, through the mist16
Of the great city, sporting with the light,17
Now burn like fire above the brightening woods,18
And now, soft-sinking in the haze so dreamily,19
Lie imaged still within my gazing soul !20
Pedro ! we two have sail’d around the world,21
And many a strange and beauteous thing have seen22
On continent or isle,—yet saw we not,23
Methinks, through that our five years’ voyaging,24
A paradise like this ! But yesternight,25
Stretch’d on the deck, I dreamt of this same land,26
Bleak, desolate, and wild ; —henceforth, no more27
Trust I in foolish dreams.28
Pedro.
In foolish dreams !29
Nay ! then it is good time for men like us,30
To live dull landsmen on the sluggish shore ;31
Seafaring men, who, in our swinging cots,32
Sailing along through darksome solitude,33
’Mid shoals, sands, rocks, some single fathom deep34
Below our rushing keel, yet haply dream,35
Even in the shadow of Eternity,36
Of all most peaceful in this world,—of bays,37
Calm and serene as the untroubled light38
Within the crescent moon imparadised,39
Where proudly riding at her anchorage,40
Our good ship streams her proud emblazonry41
High o’er the island-woods,—of verdant lawns,42
Where suddenly our white pavilions43
Smile to the sea,—and of a glorious shew44
Of plumed princes, tall and beautiful,45
Marching with green boughs——46
Julian.
By the blessed rood !47
Pedro, thy phrase is right poetical.48
Ere long, accordant to the gay guitar,49
Thow’lt sing love-ditties by the wan moonlight,50
Beneath some lattice-window——51
Pedro.
Be it so—52
The like hath been with wiser men than I.53

* Four or five lines, perhaps, in this composition, are versified from a passage in a
prose article by the same author, published in this Magazine a good many years ago,
entitled, “ Singular Preservation from Death at Sea.”
Yet, Julian, thus to hear the Sailor’s creed54
Scoff’d at by one himself a mariner,55
Did stir the heart within me ! ’ Tis most true56
That dreams descend from heaven !57
Julian.
It is most true.58
God brought us here—I breathe the gales of heaven.59
Here would I wish to live—here wish to die !60
I touch yon green cliff with my magic wand,61
And lo ! exhaling, like a wreath of dew62
That girdles the fresh bosom of the morning,63
Uprises mine own dwelling from the height ;64
But whether resting on this earth of ours,65
Or on the tender, soft-embracing air,66
My soul scarce whispers to its happiness !67
Pedro.
Shame on this sighing mood ! The scene is fair,68
As needs must be where the great Ocean69
Walks monarch-like along his subject shores70
In calm or storm. But hast thou lost so soon71
All memory of those refulgent Isles72
lar in the West, where our delighted crew73
(And none more eager, Pedro ! than thyself)74
Would fain have sojourn’d, and their numerous tents75
Pitch’d, ne’er to strike them more ? There was the land76
Worthy indeed thy blessing, as it stretch’d77
Beyond the ken of searching telescope,78
Smooth, hard, and shelving gradual to the main,79
Till underneath our anchor’d ship it smiled80
Sparkling to us, who, from the idle deck,81
Hung gazing down ! There might your startled eyes82
Have worshipped a league-long wreath of shells,83
O’er which the billows, in their merry march,84
Blush’d crimson as they murmur’d—there, in sooth,85
Good cause there was for fond Idolatry,86
Where birds, like some celestial fruitage, hung87
On every large-leaved bough, or from the waves88
Rose meteor-like with soft zene plumes,89
Or on our rigging swung like magic lamps,90
Taming our Pendant’s lustre, though it shone91
With the proud arms of Spain. These olive-groves92
Are green and fresh, and breathe a summer-feeling93
But in my soul I see a Forest frown,94
Beneath whose shadow our top-gallant mast95
Shrinks to the mimic tackling of some skiff96
By burgher launched on the Venetian seas,97
The pride and glory of the gay Regatta !98
Julian.
Not undelightful, Pedro, is the dream99
Of all those fairy Islands, as they lie,100
Clustering like stars, amid a heavenly sea,101
Each in itself a solitary world102
Serene as sleep, where hermit well might build103
His bower, nor in that far tranquillity104
Hear the faint whisperings of his mortal nature !105
Or where the homeless dweller on the deep,106
Soul-stunn’d and heart-sick with the endless roll107
Of waves, waves, waves, a weary world of waves,108
And still his lonely ship, where’er she sail,109
The centre of that world of weariness,—110
Why, he might leap ashore in ecstasy,111
Fast pitch his tent, or build his summer-bower,112
Dismantle his proud ship, and fondly swear113
For aye to sojourn there ! And such a man114
Was I ! But yon bright spire of burnish’d gold115
Gleams o’er my native city, and, ere noon,116
I hope to say my prayers upon my knees117
Within my father’s house !118
Pedro.
These gushing tears,119
That sobbing voice, and solemn countenance,120
And clasped hands hard-press’d convulsively !121
My soul is touch’d within me—Yet I feel122
More sorrowful than glad thus to behold123
My friend in such a trance of happiness.124
Thy father’s house ! No wonder that kind heart125
Should weep. Nay, troth, these tears so womanlike126
Are follow’d fast by mine ; yet in their graves127
My father and my mother, side by side,128
Slept, ere their orphan child had memory129
To keep the dead alive within his soul !130
Julian.
God love thy tender heart ! —To me most dear131
My father’s silver locks, and may they long132
His honour’d temples shade !  Yet may a son,133
Without offence to filial piety,134
Own one sight holier than the holy snow135
That crowns his father’s head with reverend age.136
Then listen to me, Pedro ! while I strive137
To tell my friend the story of my life,138
The reason of these blessed tears, and all139
That tearless agony oft witness’d by him ;140
Whether, when sitting speechless at his side141
In our dim cabin, or in horrid mirth142
Singing and shouting through the solitude143
Of the huge Indian forest. Since the dawn, 144
The glorious dawn of this refulgent morn,145
My spirit burns within me to reveal146
Secrets, that tomb-like it so long hath kept,147
Not only, Pedro, to thy pitiful heart,148
But to that gentle sea, those skies serene,149
And those hush’d listening woods. All nature calls150
For my confession ; and the weight of joy151
So presses on my soul, that I must break152
With grateful words this universal calm,153
Too heavenly to be borne !154
Pedro.
Speak—Julian—speak,155
And I will listen to thee, like a brother156
Who for the first time knows his brother’s heart.157
Julian.
When first I came upon our warlike deck158
Thou well remember’st. Chain’d unto the oar,159
While you fierce boarders like a whirlwind swept160
The shrieking Pirate, all unarm’d I sat161
A wretched galley-slave. Three moons before,162
Sailing through sunshine in my war-ship’s barge,163
(Thou must have heard her not inglorious name—164
The Salvador,) a Moorish schooner bore165
Down on our beam, and nearing, hoisted straight166
Her bloody ensign. There was with me on board167
A fair and delicate lady, who my name168
Three little weeks had borne, my peerless bride.169
I saw her lying dead among the oars—I heard170
The plunge of her sweet body in the sea !171
And some days after, as a fellow slave172
Informed me, I woke as from the dead,173
Sitting in chains among a ghastly crew,174
Each ghastlier than the toiler at his side,175
What misery tore my being, God forbid176
That I should strive to tell thee—let it pass-177
With the forgotten clanking of my chains !178
I said unto myself that I would live,179
Till God in his good mercy should demand180
My not unwilling soul ; and so I sail’d181
Away from Spain, as I believed, for ever ;182
Though now, sweet Spain ! with reverential lips183
I kiss thy soil once more !184
Pedro.
And was despair185
The heart-companion of my Julian,186
Even when we stood together on the deck,187
Watching the stars that shone conspicuous188
Below as up above,—or in the shrouds189
Hung near each other, near although unseen,190
When storm at midnight laid the straining ship191
I’ the trough of the mad sea !  All—all the crew192
At all times happy—Thou at all times curst !193
Julian.
Aye ! many a thousand leagues we sail’d along194
For days before the wind, our gallant prow195
As in a cataract of thundering foam196
Buried, or in close contest with the storm,197
Even like an eagle to his mountain-cliff198
Steering on his broad vans majestical,199
Right through the broken hurricane, we bore200
The tempest’s fury on our slanting sails201
Close-reet’d, while high above the naked mast202
One solitary ensign through the gloom203
Like shivering gleams of lightning danced and play’d.204
I thought of nothing but our glorious ship !205
Save sometimes when she slacken’d in her course,206
Amid the sudden pause a sense confused207
Of irremediable misery :208
Seem’d shaken from the flapping of her sails.209
In truth that fever, and the midday-toil210
I suffer’d in my slavery, had touch’d,211
Most strangely touch’d, my brain ; and though I knew,212
And wept to know, that some sweet one had died,213
Whom I when well most tenderly had loved,214
Yet was her name unknown, her place of birth,215
Where I had loved her, and where she had died !216
Oft, I remember, did I climb the mast,217
And gazing on the Ocean, who no bound218
Felt to his vastness but the walls of heaven,219
’Mid his eternal thunder I forgot220
The far-off silence of that thing call’d land,221
All human beings but our crew alone ;222
And as she slowly wafted us along223
Through the pure ether, I believed our ship224
Not built by human hands, but gliding there225
On—on for aye—some product of the sea.226
At last, one morning, as I stood alone,227
Ne’er thinking on myself, nor aught around,228
All on a sudden the thick night of mist229
Ascended from my soul—as I have seen230
A shroudlike vapour from some mountain-vale231
Drawn up to heayen, and a resplendent lake,232
With steadfast woods and hanging palaces,233
Seeming immortal in their depth of rest.234
By heaven ! I was most happy, and I blest235
Sea, heaven, and ship, and pray’d that she might float236
For everlasting o’er those golden waves !237
Hast thou forgot Theresa ? ” a small yoice238
Breathed sadly from the sea ! and looking down,239
I saw her lying with her pale still face240
Under the wave that with a gentle mist241
Just dimm’d the snow-white stillness of her shroud.242
Then knew I, as that Vision disappear’d,243
All that had happen’d ! I had strength to crawl244
Down to my cabin, where I pass’d the day ;245
But never more, except in mockery,246
Had I the heart to smile.247
Pedro.
Thus Nature leaves248
Oft desolate her holiest worshippers,249
While millions upon millions gladden on250
Through Life’s bright voyage prosperous to the last,251
Who care no more for all her sanctities252
Than the poor mute cares for the sound of Psalms253
Chanted round his numb ear in a cathedral,254
By the voice of praise and prayer ! ’ Tis even so.255
Julian.
No ! Pedro ! Nature, gracious and benign,256
Ne’er leaves the immortal spirit that she framed257
Utterly destitute, else had I perish’d,258
Self-plunged into the sea. Soon reconciled259
To life, for life’s mere sake—I next began,260
At least by daylight and among the eyes261
Of creatures round me moving to and fro,262
To enjoy that life, though seemingly of all263
That makes up joy bereft ; —until erelong264
I could endure the silent majesty265
Of night rejoicing in her moon and stars.266
And not to wrong the Holy Power that made me,267
I will say, “ I was happy!” By these tears,268
Most truly happy, Padro, in thy love,269
And in my deep return of thy affection,270
That told me I had yet a human heart.271
Moments I felt so free from selfishness,272
That, looking outwards from myself, I loved273
My fellow Christians for no other cause274
Than that they were my brethren ; —yet had I275
Fallen overboard at night, I could have sunk276
Without a struggle—scarcely with a sigh !277
What ! though I cared not for myself ! Our ship,278
Was she not beautiful ? And was our crew279
Not worthy of a corner in the heart280
Even of despair ? From many thousand brave281
Chosen for their bravery, each bold soul a lyre282
Yielding its music only to the blast.283
Yes ! oft at stormy midnight, at the wheel284
Sole-sitting, when the watcher’s awful voice285
Proclaim’d the safety of five hundred souls,286
I pray’d unto Old Ocean with a voice287
Low as his humblest breeze, that he would fold288
His hoary arms in love around our ship,289
About to sail where ship had never sail’d,290
Nor e’er might sail again ! Need I narrate291
How my soul kindled, when on the New World292
I was the first to stand ? Through all my being293
Rush’d the Great Spirit of that continent294
With one wild forest-roar, and swept away295
The dwindled image of my native clime.296
Why should I own not, as thou now didst say,297
That none of all our crew surrender’d up,298
With lower prostration, hope and memory,299
Than my own wretched self, when o’er our tents,300
On some stream-water’d lawn pavilion’d,301
Hung the far shadow of primeval woods302
Awful, even mid the changeful melodies303
Of the mad mock-bird’s song ? And when, at night,304
In honour of the Ocean-King, out came305
To the wild chime of woodland instruments,306
Nymphs moving graceful in some figure-dance307
Processional, with such robes as the loom308
Might vainly emulate, by their own hands309
Framed from the rind of palm-tree, and bedew’d310
With the bright lustre sleeping in the shell,311
With shells their black hair braided, and with plume312
Confusedly nodding through the interchange313
Of many rainbow dies, while rising oft314
In chorus steep’d in a strange harmony,315
Yet like no earthly tune, their voices shook316
The blossoms from the boughs above their heads,317
Till their steps sunk in fragrance,—I could gaze318
Delighted on these lovely Islanders,319
And saw their beauty pure and passionless,320
As in a soft-toned picture, while the Ghost321
Of One more beauteous far across the lawn322
Glided close by me, and then disappear’d,323
Like smiling moonlight, in the noiseless woods !324
What man could have felt wretched—could have help’d325
The wave of joy from rising in his soul,326
Though in a fire or earthquake he had lost327
Wife, children, parents, friends, and stood alone328
In the wide lonesome world, who had beheld,329
As I beheld, and with a seaman’s eye,330
The ocean laden with a thousand barks,331
Cresting his foamy billows gloriously,332
Or in the hollow of his playful wrath333
Hanging, like creatures of the element,—334
Canoe and skiff, indebted to no sails,335
But by the virtue of the savage arm336
Shot swifter than the wind, and like a grove337
Of living palm-trees moving o’er the main,338
Betokening pease yet ready for the war.339
While, proudly station’d in his war-canoe,340
Upon a stately platform lay the King,341
The Island-King, surrounded by a guard342
Of nobles in their war-mats standing grim,343
And motionless all save their nodding plumes ?344
Pedro ! as rush’d that hundred-oar’d canoe345
Swift as a sunbeam past our lingering ship,346
That linger’d ne’er before, my roused soul,347
Expanding like a rainbow, seem’d to fold348
Heaven, air, and ocean, in its bright’ning joy !349
Pedro.
There spake the sailor’s heart. Thou still wert happy.350
Julian.
Oh ! what are some few moments of real joy,351
Peace, or indifference, mid the long, long hours,352
Days, nights, weeks, months of unknown wretchedness,353
That crowd themselves into five endless years !354
What mean some eo of animal delight355
To man’s immortal soul ! Can eye or ear356
Bring comfort to the haunted solitude,357
That weighs at midnight on the hopeless heart ?358
Oh ! what drear moonless nights of agony,—359
Eternal nights, whose blackness ne’er would end,360
Enclosed me in my cabin as a tomb !361
Impious repinings sicken’d in my blood ;362
Impious I felt them, yet I clung to them363
With something like an atheist hardihood,364
Because that they were wicked. Then the grave365
Commanded me to sit down on a stone,366
And mid the churchyard moonlight, ghostly-wan,367
To read one word—one little dreadful word—368
Theresa.” I could bear that misery,369
But who on earth might bear the tenderness370
That drown’d my spirit, wholly for her sake,371
Who was not ! Sure when Pity weeps the dead,372
Feeling that Death hath done a woful wrong373
To happy Innocence, she feels her tears374
More insupportable than dry despair.375
This was not all I suffer’d ; often rose376
My youth’s existence radiant and undimm’d,377
To shew what now I was ; as the sweet moon,378
Serenely gliding past some dungeon-bars,379
Reveals to the condemned prisoner380
His fetters and his straw. But worse than all,381
The consummated curse of wretchedness,382
I lost all hope in my immortal soul,383
At times believed that she for whom I wept,384
Extinct through all eternity, would lie385
A senseless clod ! and that this troubled world386
Was but some juggling demon’s mockery.387
Pedro.
Groans have I sometimes, Julian, heard by fits388
Rending thy sleep,—groans of articulate words389
But all disjointed, rapture with despair390
Alternating most wildly, hate with love,391
Curses with prayers,—while laughter suddenly,392
Such laughter as a maniac howls, wrung out393
Against the struggles of thy fetter’d will,394
In midnight-hush most horrible, awoke thee395
Back to the waking world, with all its woes,396
Oh ! not so dismal as the world of dreams !397
Julian.
The dreams of sleep, though dreadful, are unreal,398
And therefore no one pities them ; but I399
Found no relief from waking, for a weight,400
Heavier than ever hung on fantasy,401
Awaited me on opening of my eyes ;402
And then I knew that no imaginings403
Could ever be so woful as the truth.404
But be those years and all their agonies405
Extinguish’d in this morn ! Oh ! hear me now,406
For, Pedro ! I could sing aloud for joy,407
If joy like mine were not by gratitude408
Subdued down to an ecstasy divine !409
Just as the sun was rising from the sea,410
While yet our gallant ship at anchor hung411
’Mid the dim beauty of the verdant waves,412
I left my berth, and on the dewy deck,413
Ghostlike, I took my solitary stand.414
I dared to look around me.—I beheld415
A thousand friends, on ocean, earth, and sky,416
Which I from youth had loved. Oh ! all unchang417
They hung in glory, or in glory roll’d,418
Sound, silence, stillness, motion, form, and hue,419
The same that usher’d in the stately morn420
That saw Her my bright Bride. The flaming sun,421
Loving alike the ocean and the sky,422
Each worthy of the god, in the same train423
Of gorgeous clouds involved his majesty,424
And bade the swift beams of his orient light425
Smite the same billows kindling suddenly426
O’er all the foamy deep. The braided heavens,427
With the same marbled beauty blent their blue,428
Blue, purple, crimson, and that mingling light429
Too glorious to be named. A noble sweep430
Of shore, shaped to a crescent, there embay’d431
Our ship between its horns, and many a league432
Distant, I knew each wooded precipice,433
And almost wept to hear the melodies434
Of my own olive-groves. I raised my eyes,435
And with the inward senses of my soul436
Looking and listening, I forgot awhile437
Our voyage round the wonders of the world,—438
Forgot that I, by fate a mariner,439
Was doom’d to dwell for ever on the deep.440
I look’d again, and as I look’d, the sun441
Seem’d nothing but a beamless orb—the sea,442
Array’d before in dazzling happiness,443
Was now but water—water and no more ;444
And that same shore I could have kiss’d with tears,445
Fond grovelling on its breast, its very name446
Had lost its music— “ Barcelona ! —Spain ! ”447
My ear now heard them like a tuneless song.448
I could have cursed mine own identity,449
It bore so like the downfall of a storm450
Upon my hopeless heart—while all I knew451
Of native Spain or its inhabitants,452
Was, that one Tomb was there ! And, dismal dream !453
That among all so many million things454
Alone had my Theresa ceased to be !455
I gazed intently on the sullen waves,456
And felt them moaning on me to leap down,457
Even with one plunge into eternity ;458
And God forgive me, but the impious thought459
Was gathering power for deed,—when looking up,460
Bright in the sun and streaming to the breeze,461
I saw the Spanish Standard float in heaven.462
Ceased now the morning-watch, and on the deck463
Five hundred men, erect and beautiful,464
Walk’d with a mien and aspect that defied,465
With something like a guarded amity,466
The ever-awful sea. Their stirring feet,467
Gay voices, laughter loud, and cloudless eyes,468
Whose lights, as all the crew moved to and fro,469
Had made a coward brave, all roused my soul,470
As at a trumpet’s sound, and glorified471
My country’s Banner flying at the main.472
Soon was our ship surrounded as thou knowest,473
With many a barge that twinkled to the sun474
Her oars of glancing gold, and with her green475
Silk awning idly strove to emulate476
The foam-crown’d beauty of the emerald sea,—477
With many a mimic ship, whose snow-white sail478
All proudly lifted its fantastic flag479
High as our gunwale,—flag most deftly framed480
By lady’s lovely hand, where fancy mix’d481
Arms of all nations peacefully combined,482
Christian and Turk, Corsair and Maltese knight ;483
While, rising oft at intervals, the sound484
Of instrumental music, clarion clear,485
Soft-breathing flute, and heaven-ascending horn,486
Cheer’d by the clashing cymbal, or subdued487
By hollow sounding of the muffled drum,488
Gave motion to our vessel,—so it seem’d,489
Though her storm-anchor bound her to the sea.490
Pedro ! thou smilest to hear a seaman laud491
The gauderies of these landsmen, and, in sooth,492
I cared not for them, more than for the motes493
Then twinkling in the sun ; yet was I blind494
To all that show through foolish misery ;495
For, on my soul, they were most beautiful—496
That fairy fleet light glancing o’er the bay !497
Climbing our ship-side a delighted band498
Of maids and matrons, ’ mid our swarthy crew499
With steps like falling snow along the deck500
Glided with mantling smiles ; —apart I stood,501
With something of a stern misanthropy502
Mix’d with the joy that mint not be withstood.503
When, by the Holy Virgin ! a pale face,504
Too beautiful for grief, yet all too sad505
For joy ! —a face that long had smiled in heaven,506
Else what fond wretch were I ! —seem’d looking up,507
Beyond our top-mast, as to catch the light508
Of our far-floating standard !  No ! her eyes509
Look’d far beyond that vain emblazonry,510
And as serenely on the serene heavens511
They dwelt and fed, that deep blue silence fell512
Through the large dewy orbs into her heart.513
I thought her tomb was built upon the shore !514
For five long years by day and night that tomb515
Enclosed me in its walls—but on thy breast,516
O Pedro ! let me lay my dizzy brain,517
For in yon city, by all eyes beloved,518
Theresa is alive ! —mine own sweet wife—519
Alvarez’ daughter—Barcelona’s pride—520
Castille’s fair lily once ! the star of Spain !521
Pedro.
Heaven purchased by five years of misery !522
Cheap, although destined only to endure523
One single day !  Oh ! fatal ignorance524
Of God’s continual feednese, like a cloud525
Self-wrapp’d around our hearts, that in the darkness526
Go groping on for every hideous shape527
Of death, and sin, and shame, and sorrow, blind528
To the fair star of Hope, that in the sky529
Might still be seen a little lucid point,530
Far, far away, if that our filmy eyes531
Were purged by Faith ! —But now my friend is happy !532
Julian.
Happy ! O tame and unexpressive word !533
By what sweet-sounding airy syllables,534
Breathings held sacred in the hour of prayer,535
When, communing with God, the soul devout536
Chooses insensibly the holiest names537
For earthly things, as if they were of heaven !538
How, Pedro ! may I tell thee that my spirit,539
Late dark and desolate as the midnight hold540
Of sinking ship that springs a leak at sea,541
Where land is none—no rock amid the waves—542
Now dances through the sunshine, like that ship543
Rescued from wreck, with all her radiant sails544
Spread fearlessly before Old Ocean’s eye,545
Her ensigns holding in their pride of place546
Dominion o’er the winds, me as she stoops547
Queenlike in stately dalliance with the gale,548
Throwing the foam-spray from her roaring prow,549
The martial band is sounding on her deck,550
Music recording glorious victory ;551
Till, at the anthem’s close, the signal-gu552
Sends far its thunder o’er the echoing deep,553
And with the sunshine blends the sudden flash554
Of harmless lightning ! —Such a bark am I !555
So bear I onwards to the Port of Peace !556
Pedro.
To sail the seas no more !557
Julian.
Oh ! Pedro ! —friend !558
When the first shock of blessedness was past,559
I could, have smiled to see her widow’s weeds560
Braided so meekly o’er a frame that shew’d561
Life’s loveliest prime, though touch’d as by the breat562
Of slow-consuming sorrow for my sake !563
Behind the mast her long-wept husband stood,564
And, in the cowardice of sudden bliss,565
Scarce dared I longer to behold her face566
Angelical, the hush’d grief in her eyes ! —567
What sawst thou in that banner ? Didst thou dream568
Of thy own Julian’s triumphs, when from top569
Of watch-tower thou of yore didst feed thy sight570
With the first glimpse of his victorious flag571
Above the horizon, till, as she approach’,572
Stately and slow, with all her bravery on,573
The Sallee-rover, or the Pirate-bark,574
In sullen silence dragg’d along her wake,575
Lower’d the bloody ensign, and the Moon576
Trail’d in dishonour on the Christian’s deck !577
Oh ! why should Pride thus blend with Joy and Love ?578
Thou art alive ! And whether on thy heart579
My image is, or wasted Memory580
Survive not Hope,—and they oft die together,—581
Blessed am I beyond all blessed things,582
In His great goodness made on earth by God !583
Pedro.
Pale art thou, Julian ; and thou tremblest. Didst thou584
Not dare reveal thyself ?585
Julian.
I reason’d not586
What then were best to do, but I obey’d587
The bidding of my spirit, and was silent ;588
And stood apart, even like some guilty man589
Returning to his country, terrified590
By every eye that seems to search his face.591
Pedro.
No meeting of your eyes ?592
Julian.
Yes. Once there was,593
And mine grew blind. But when my sight return’d,594
Hers I beheld turn’d oo to the skies,595
And my Theresa wept ! Just then there rose596
A Vision at her knees ! Its head was bright597
As any star, the colour of its hair598
The same as hers that day she was my bride !599
It wept not—no, it smiled—and such a smile600
Could belong only to Theresa’s child.601
Though as an angel’s beautiful, that face602
A likeness had to mine, and all at once603
I knew that my Theresa had been happy,604
Though, during all our five years’ voyaging,605
Believing I was dead !606
Pedro.
How may we break607
To her the shock of such dread blessedness ?608
Julian.
Oh ! Pedro ! what if these long years—(how long,609
How like a life itself ! when creeping on610
On the slow feet of Sorrow)—haye so dimm’d611
My image, that the mourner scarcely knows612
Why, and for whom, she weeps !  What ! if her grief613
Hath brought its own unconscious remedy,614
And, almost happy in her widowhood,615
She hopeth, wisheth not that one called Julian616
Were now alive !  Yet, angels bless her soul—617
The calm pure waters of her gentle soul,618
Though Julian’s face be not reflected there !619
Is she not living ? Breathes she not the air ?620
Falls not her gentle shadow in the sun,621
Gentle as silent thought ?  The seasons breathe622
Their buds, flowers, leaves, before her living steps,623
Gladdening her heart, although she think it not ?624
Hears she not human voices ? And her own,625
(Oh, me ! it singeth in my memory626
More like the echo, than the voice itself)627
Each morn and evening breathes it not in prayer ?628
So long have I believed Theresa dead,629
That I could almost shudder when I think630
Upon her face—yet beautiful in life !631
Pedro ! such thoughts have sanctified my being,632
And if need were, methinks this very night633
From Barcelona I could sail away,634
And all life long keep wandering o’er the seas,635
Just knowing in the silence of my heart636
That she was well and happy !  O Pedro ! think,637
With what a right grave solemn face give out638
Your doctors in Love’s Court their shallow saws,639
By the poor worldling’s miserable soul640
Most eagerly imbibed, because they fit641
Aptly his changeful nature, and thus seem642
To fond self-love divine philosophy.643
If Love be not eternal, then doth Hope644
Cast out her anchor on the shifting sand ;645
And we poor voyagers o’er Life’s dim sea646
Must, spite of mystic magnet, chart, or pole-star,647
Be shipwreck’d all at last. But thou, O Sun,648
Beheld’st Theresa on my breast a bride !649
And by the sanctities that God and nature650
Breathe o’er the virgin and the wife, I fear not,651
Pedro, that any man of woman born,652
Though as an angel bright, might ever stand653
Between me and the shadow of her love !654
—But, hark ! the tinkling of the gay guitar !655
And, lo ! Roderigo, Beauty’s paramour,656
High up among the rocks, abstracted sits,657
And to the green-hair’d mermaid frames a song.658
Let us ascend unto the Poet’s cliff,659
And though his brain with its own fantasies,660
Aerial or marine, be busy all,661
Yet Roderigo hath a heart as tender662
As if it ne’er had left a human home !663
Let me to him again divulge my bliss,664
That I may be enabled to endure it,665
And you and he must go to my Theresa,666
And let her spirit comprehend by glimpses667
That ’ tis within the ordinance of nature668
That I may be alive, though long deem’d dead ;669
So when I stand before her she may shriek not,670
Seeing her husband’s ghost.671