BETA

Trips of the Lily of Bonchurch.

TRIP THE FIRST.

Wherein the Lily goes to Portsmouth in rough weather, and comports herself
gallantly.

1.

The moon looks wild, but heed it not, my boat is in the bay,1
The tide lies fair, the wind’s our own, up canvass and away !2
Hoist every stitch ! she’ll bear it all—e’en now she feels the strain,3
Her bow dips deep, then up she springs, and o’er the floods amain.4

2.

Off in a shower from her broad bows the baffled wave she throws,5
And o’er the wave, and through the wave, right gallantly she goes ;6
We’ve pass’d the Cook * with jagged point—East Dene’s already pass’d ;7
Our shadow, like a white-wing’d bird, on Luccombe’s cove we cast.8

3.

Hurrah ! the Yellow Ledge we’ve reach’d, and through the Race we drive,9
The breakers coil, and bubble, and hiss—the sea seems all alive ;10
But on she goes, my Lily fair, a queen o’er the wild sea,11
It seems as if she loved the strife, so buoyant is her glee.12

4.

Now Shanklin bay is o’er our stern, its shore is foamy white,13
The wind is fresh’ning—scarce yon gull can mate us in our flight ;14
See, Sandown soon is left behind, and eastward still I steer,15
Where round the frowning Culver’s base yon angry waves you hear.16

5.

The wind is piping on our beam—it freshens to a gale ;17
Cheer up ! the Lily loves the storm, spare not an inch of sail ;18
I’m prouder here her course to steer, and feel her ‘neath me spring,19
Than that I were a belted earl, or an anointed king !20

6.

But Bembridge ledge we’ve weather’d close, and bright before us spread21
There’s many a gallant ship, I ween, hard anchor’d at Spithead.22
Proud tamers of the subject sea ! my heart leaps up in pride,23
As your stately shadows come and go upon the weltering tide.24

7.

Your flag has waved in every clime ; —where, wafted many a mile,25
Comes the sweet scent of summer flowers from some fair Indian isle ;26
It waved where chilly icebergs float ’ mid Greenland’s ceaseless surge,27
And where the tortured Baltic howls ’ neath Winter’s icy scourge.28

8.

Pour’d ye the thunder of your power where bold St Vincent led ?29
Was yours the might that crown’d with light intrepid Rodney’s head ?30
Was yours the rush of mighty wings that sounded through the sky,31
When Nelson gave to Trafalgar the name that cannot die ?32

9.

Athwart the brine, in snowy line, on, on my Lily flies,33
Oh ! not more stately bounds the deer where Athole’s forests rise34
The harbour’s mouth we’ve gain’d, my lads ! down canvass ! bear a hand ; 35
Quick ! slack the sheets ! —she touches now ! —I spring on Portsmouth strand !36

TRIP THE SECOND.

Wherein the Lily proceedeth in quest of what seemed from the Shore to be a
Shipwrecked Mariner.

1.

All day a silence stern and deep37
Hath lain on land and sea ;38
Ye may not hear a rustle creep39
Through leafiest bush or tree ;40
The anchor’d vessels seem asleep,41
So motionless they be.42

2.

There’s not a cloud in all the sky,43
The sun shines bright and clear ;44
Hour after hour goes fleeting by,45
And yet no sound ye hear ;46
Hush’d and expectant earth doth
lie
47
As some dread thing were near.48

3.

Night comes—and with mysterious
sound,
49
While not a wave is stirr’d,50
There rises in the calm profound,51
As by enchanter’s word,52
A voice, as if the storm unbound53
In howling rage were heard.54

4.

In Bonchurch bay the flowing tide55
Is calm as inland lake ;56
In Ventnor cove the waters glide57
Without a heave or break ;58
There’s not a breath in Sandown wide59
Its sleeping might to wake.60

5.

Round Rocken End, from Chale’s far
shore,
61
The horrid sound is borne ;62
Well know the seamen from the roar,63
’Twill be a gale ere morn :64
Hoist every sail ! ply every oar !65
Such warning none may scorn.66

6.

The tempest downward rush’d at last,67
Like eagle on its prey ;68
And struck the sea with pinions vast,69
And shouted as in play,70
As the big waves rose wild and
fast,
71
And terror mark’d his way.72

7.

The moon rose up at midnight hour,73
And shed a feeble light ;74
The darksome waters scor’d her
power
75
In their tumultuous fight76
Save where, like beacon from a tower,77
She shed a streak of light78

8.

A narrow streak of ghastly grey79
Athwart the weltering deep : —80
Of God ! there’s something takes its
way,
81
With wild unsteady leap,82
Across that line, where breakers play83
And mountain billows sweep.84

9.

A moment seen ; but the shadows
dark
85
That brood on either side,86
Suddenly swallow’d up the bark,87
And she no more is spied88
No ear, no eye her course to mark89
On the stormy waters wide !90

10.

God help you, gallant mariners !91
Your bark can hardly rise,92
Dash’d by each billow as it rears93
Its crest of giant size :94
Masts are gone—no helmsman
steers
95
All like a log she lies.96

11.

That night my straw-roof’d cottage
shook
97
Beneath the tempest’s blows ;98
The stately elms that guard my nook99
Crash’d as it wilder rose100
And the chafed sea leapt, as it could
not brook
101
The barrier of Dunnose.102

12.

Up the tall cliff it strove to climb,103
And backward fell in rage,104
Like tiger gaunt in wrath sublime105
That beats against its cage,106
And leaps and howls, till conquering
Time
107
Doth his wild ire assuage.108

13.

So ceased the sea. When morning
shone
109
The sky was calm and clear ;110
But the wild waves kept tumbling on111
In their quick and fierce career ;112
For though the tempest’s voice was
gone,
113
His might seem’d waiting near.114

14.

There’s something moves — a mile
from land
115
It welters o’er the flood ;116
Tis a wreck’d man ! he waves his
hand !
117
He floats on log of wood !118
Quick ! launch the Lily down the
strand !
119
Heed not the breakers rude.120

15.

The Lily through the breakers flies,121
By four stout oarsmen plied ;122
And, watch’d by many glistening eyes,123
She gambols o’er the tide :124
But the floating man doth hardly rise,125
So high the billows glide.126

16.

’Tis not a man—’tis tall and hard127
And now we near it fast ;128
’Tis but the end of a broken yard,129
Or the fragment of a mast ;130
And so, with ropes our prize to guard,131
To leeward we have pass’d.132

17.

Our lines we fix’d ; we tugg’d and
tow’d,
133
But toil was all our meed ;134
The tide, that still impetuous flow’d,135
Scarce help’d us in our need136
It seem’d as if a weary load137
Repress’d us in our speed.138

18.

A weary load, as if of lead,139
Or some unholy thing,140
Some sunken vessel, where the dead141
Lay heap’d in ghastly ring :142
For at every tug the tall mast sway’d,143
But ever firm did cling.144

19.

It dipt, it bent, but upward still145
Sprang back with horrid bound,146
Spite of our utmost strength and skill147
We could not force it round,148
And at last beneath the Culver hill149
Our prize did take the ground.150

20.

Eight fathoms deep the water lay,151
And yet our prize stuck fast152
The tide had slack’d within the bay,153
And westward now it pass’d,154
And at each new foot it ebb’d away,155
Still higher tower’d the mast.156

21.

The waves sank down, and soon ap-
pear’d
157
A topsail fully set ;158
And down, far down, as the water
clear’d,
159
Our eyes a vision met160
As of a mainsail, which uprear’d161
Its swelling canvass yet !162

22.

The ropes hung loose, the shrouds
hung free,
163
But the yards their place had kept,164
And thus beneath that stormy sea,165
As if above’it swept,166
That mast with all its panoply167
Had with the billows leapt.168

23.

It was a piteous sight, I ween ;169
For well we guess’d the fate170
Of the brave ship, where it once had
been
171
So stately and elate ;172
And with sad hearts from that dismal
scene
173
The Lily bore us straight.174

TRIP THE THIRD.

Wherein the Lily coasteth five miles to the Westward, and cometh home again.

1.

A light south wind is blowing175
This gentle summer day ;176
And the tide is hardly flowing177
O’er the pebbles in the bay.178
The sunshine bright179
Sheds holy light180
On mount and down and lea ;181
Come hither, little Mary,182
And sail an hour with me !183

2.

How slowly now we’re sliding184
Beneath the chalky height,185
And the Lily, ghostlike gliding,186
Seems fill’d with calm delight.187
The tall cliffs throw188
Their shade below189
On all the rocky strand190
And we float within the shadow191
As we creep along the land.192

3.

See, Highport Ledge we’ve rounded,193
And the Cow-Leaze heave in sight,194
Fantastically mounded,195
And glistening in the light ;196
Their grassy dells197
And verdant swells198
In this sweet summer prime199
’Tis a lovely scene, my Mary,200
As 'twere a fairy clime.201

4.

There’s many a southern islet202
Round which ’ twere bliss to sail,203
And our idle course to pilot,204
From noon till twilight pale ;205
Where spreading bloom206
And rich perfume207
From flow’rs of every hue,208
Fill’d the air with balm and beauty209
Such as England never knew.210

5.

What joy 'twould be, my daughter,211
Beneath that dazzling moon,212
To thread each winding water,213
And trace each deep lagoon ?214
Where dewless night215
Was clear and bright,216
And great stars look’d down from heav’n217
Such climate, pensive Mary,218
Is not to England given.219

6.

Yet here, in these recesses,220
Where the east wind never blows ;221
And the high north Down represses222
December and his snows ;223
In Ventnor glade224
In Bonchurch shade225
How soft the Autumn air !226
And there’s many a Summer blossom227
In Winter’s tangled hair.228

7.

We’ve glided past St Lawrence,229
And to Puckaster we steer ;230
Proud Genoa ! lovely Florence !231
We match your beauties here !232
Our course we stay233
To scan the bay,234
And the flush of foliage deep,235
That spreads a fitting umbrage236
For some sainted hermit’s sleep.237

8.

Now mark, my silent Mary,238
As the helm’s aside inclined,239
The boat its motion vary240
As she falls off from the wind ;241
The light breeze blows242
The Lily goes243
With a step as soft and slow,244
As the mystic shapes in cloudland,245
That flit dimly to and fro.246

9.

Again we’re eastward veering,247
Where calm St Lawrence lies,248
Like some quiet nest appearing249
Where the bird for safety flies ;250
See Ventnor spire,251
’Tis tipt with fire252
In the sun’s unclouded ray ;253
And again Highport we’ve rounded,254
And east anchor in the bay.255

TRIP THE FOURTH.

Wherein the Lily visiteth a stranded Ship.

1.

The cheeriest spot in all the earth,256
The happiest nook of all to me,257
Is by mine own familiar hearth,258
When storms are on the sea.259
Loud let the tempests howl, we give no heed260
No argosies are ours propitious gales to need.261

2.

The sea sings gloriously for aye262
Its own wild triumph song of pow’r ;263
Tempest or calm it knows no stay,264
Mid-day nor midnight hour :265
In the great voice we live—it girds us round266
As doth the vital air—an atmosphere of sound.267

3.

It seems as if it fill’d my heart ;268
For if, perchance, I inland roam,269
Never one moment will depart270
That glorious voice of home271
My spirit is subdued by it ; I crave272
Needful as food or rest that murmuring of the wave.273

4.

Ye dwellers by the silent lakes,274
Where the dull waters lifeless lie,275
And when the wind its fury wakes276
Utter no sound nor cry277
Speak they their rage in thunder ? and their glee278
In passionate laughter hoarse, like the rejoicing sea ?279

5.

With life, with soul the sea is fraught280
I’ve seen its countenance grow dim,281
Darken’d by some most cruel thought,282
As might some tyrant’s grim283
Some Alva, when the shape of murder first284
O’ershadow’d his pale cheek, as from his heart it burst.285

6.

In its fierce joy it seems to scoff ;286
When its quick ear hath caught the roar287
Of battling hurricanes far off288
On mid- Atlantic’s floor,289
It feels the stormy tremor of their wrath,290
And rears its crested waves ere yet they’ve cross’d its path,291

7.

Sleep on, the sated serpent falls,292
And sleep falls on the wearied main ;293
And though the wind its challenge calls,294
It answers not again :295
Neath the high shadowing ledge it loves to lie,296
And on the rock-strewn shore waves sing its lullaby.297

8.

One night, on its uneasy bed,298
Our ocean grimly slept and heaved ;299
And oer its clammy face was spread300
A mist, so thickly weaved301
Ye could not pierce its woof—it cover’d all,302
As Ocean had been dead, and this had been its pall.303

9.

I sat within my chimney nook,304
With a bright fire—of books a store ;305
A man rush’d in, with startled look306
A great ship’s come ashore !307
Close to the cliff she lies—we heard the sound,308
As ’ mid the rocks she came, and now she’s fast aground ! ”309

10.

Rouse Bonchurch up ! —no moment waste310
Bring lights,” I cried, “ and man the boat ! ”311
And down I rush’d in breathless haste312
The Lily rock’d afloat !313
Six gallant lads jump’d in, and round she flew,314
Piercing the vapoury mist, and instant hid from view.315

11.

Impetuous o’er the shingly beach316
I struggled onward to Dunnose,317
And strain’d my eyes the ship to reach,318
But not an object rose319
And yet so close she lay, we heard the sound320
Of seamen’s trampling feet winding the capstan round.321

12.

Voices we heard, but nought we saw,322
So thick the mist around her fell ;323
It fill’d our beating hearts with awe,324
For soon we mark’d full well325
The tide was ebbing fast ; —and there she lay,326
By rocks encompass’d round, to wait the coming day.327

13.

If but a ripple lightly rise328
Tf but the gentlest south wind blow ;329
In that same hour a wreck she lies330
Down the brave ship must go !331
But hark ! the boat has near’d her, shouts we hear,332
Our men have reach’d the deck, and see, it ’ gins to clear !333

14.

Slowly, like mighty curtain raised334
To give some dreaded thing to view,335
Uprose the mist ; and, as we gazed,336
Clearer and clearer grew337
The outline of a vessel, looming vast,338
With all her canvass set, with sails on every mast.339

15.

Like phantom of a ship it seems,340
Draped in its solemn mist and cloud ;341
How glimmer ’ neath the lanthorn’s gleams342
White sail and dripping shroud !343
But lo ! like spectre pale, that mocks our fears,344
It folds its mantle round, and slowly disappears.345

16.

All night the Lily round her plied,346
To aid that vessel in her need347
Six gallants staid on board, and vied348
In zeal and perilous deed349
Toiling to warp her off, to clear the sails,350
Aiding the o’erwearied crew—but nought their strength avails.351

17.

Next morning, when the early sun352
Did first Dunnose’s summit tip,353
And the flood-tide began to run354
In ripples round the ship,355
Breathless we watch’d its rise, as streak by streak356
It clomb the vessel’s side, with efforts slow and weak.357

18.

Her floatage-marks it reaches now,358
XI. and XII. are cover’d o’er359
See! there’s a tremble in her bow,360
Oh ! for six inches more !361
Hoist the great anchors out ! and strive and strain !362
Row, gallant boatmen, row, the vessel heaves again !363

19.

Useless is all their strength—they fail364
To float her from that rocky bed ;365
And now the sea with many a sail366
(So quick the news has spread)367
Is dotted, as round Bembridge Point they crowd368
And bright shines forth the sun—the sky’s without a cloud.369

20.

Oh, lovely from the upland height370
To watch the busy scene below ! —371
The ship embay’d, while, like a flight372
Of bright birds, to and fro373
Boats of white sail and devious course draw near,374
And on the monster gaze, and pause in their career.375

21.

So might the wondering birds draw nigh376
To gaze upon their wounded king,377
Doom’d on some lonely rock to lie,378
Powerless of beak and wing,379
Turning despairing eyes, grown faint and dim,380
To the blue depths of air, now free to all but him.381

22.

But see ! where eager in its haste,382
Like vulture hurrying to the fray,383
On steam-sped wings, (whose might is traced384
By flashing foam and spray,)385
A strong bark hither comes ; —within an hour386
The flood will reach its height, the ship will feel its power !387

23.

The water rose—the giant urged388
His fiery strength, and shook the sea389
With ominous shrieks, and onward surg’d390
Like wild steed, rushing free391
Strain’d are the cables huge, the vessel reels392
She moves ! she moves ! new life in every plank she feels !393

24.

Down from the rock in joy she glides,394
And follows in the giant’s wake ;395
And light she skims above the tides396
Upon her bows that break !397
What thoughts were yours, O sailors ! when that night398
You heard the tempest rage, and saw the breakers white ?399