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And all on deck, kindling to life again,
Sent forth their anxious spirits o'er the main.
“ Oh whence, as wafted from Elysium, whence
These perfumes, strangers to the raptured sense?
These boughs of gold, and fruits of heavenly hue,
Tinging with vermeil light the billows blue?
And (thrice, thrice blessed is the eye that spied,
The hand that snatched it sparkling in the tide)
Whose cunning carved this vegetable bowl, *
Symbol of social rites, and intercourse of soul ?"
Such to their grateful ear the gush of springs,
Who course the ostrich, as away she wings;
Sons of the desert! who delight to dwell
'Mid kneeling camels round the sacred well;
Who, ere the terrors of his pomp be past,
Fall to the demon in the redd’ning blast. †
The sails were furled: with many a melting close,
Solemn and slow the evening-anthem rose,
Rose to the Virgin. 'Twas the hour of day,
When setting suns o'er summer-seas display
A path of glory, opening in the west
To golden climes, and islands of the blest;
And human voices, on the silent air,
Went o’er the waves in songs of gladness there!
Chosen of Men! 'Twas thine, at noon of night, First from the prow to hail the glimmering light;
* Ex ligno lucido confectum, et arte mirâ laboratum. P. Martyr. dec. i. 5.
+ The Simoom.
(Emblem of Truth divine, whose secret ray Enters the soul, and makes the darkness day!) “ PEDRO! RODRIGO! there, methought, it shone! There—in the west! and now, alas, 'tis gone!-. 'Twas all a dream! we gaze and gaze in vain! -But mark and speak not, there it comes again! It moves !—what form unseen, what being there With torch-like lustre fires the murky air ? His instincts, passions, say, how like our own? Oh! when will day reveal a world unknown?"
Long on the deep the mists of morning lay,
Then rose, revealing, as they rolled away,
Half-circling hills, whose everlasting woods
Sweep with their sable skirts the shadowy floods :
And say, when all, to holy transport given,
Embraced and wept as at the gates of Heaven,
When one and all of us, repentant, ran,
And, on our faces, blessed the wondrous Man;
Say, was I then deceived, or from the skies
Burst on my ear seraphic harmonies?
“ Glory to God!" unnumbered voices sung,
“ Glory to God !” the vales and mountains rung,
Voices that hailed Creation's primal morn,
And to the shepherds sung a Saviour born.
Slowly, bare-headed, thro’ the surf we bore
The sacred cross, and, kneeling, kissed the shore.
But what a scene was there? Nymphs of romance,
Youths graceful as the Faun, with eager glance,
Spring from the glades, and down the alleys peep,
Then head-long rush, bounding from steep to steep,
And clap their hands, exclaiming as they run,
“ Come and behold the Children of the Sun!”
When hark, a signal-shot! The voice, it came
Over the sea in darkness and in flame!
They saw, they heard; and up the highest hill,
As in a picture, all at once were still!
Creatures so fair, in garments strangely wrought,
From citadels, with Heaven's own thunder fraught,
Checked their light footsteps_statue-like they stood,
As worshipped forms, the Genii of the Wood!
At length the spell dissolves! The warrior's lance Rings on the tortoise with wild dissonance ! And see, the regal plumes, the couch of state! Still, where it moves, the wise in council wait!
See now borne forth the monstrous mask of gold,
And ebon chair of many a serpent-fold;
These now exchanged for gifts that thrice surpass
The wondrous ring, and lamp, and horse of brass.
What long-drawn tube transports the gazer home,
Kindling with stars at noon the ethereal dome?
'Tis here: and here circles of solid light
Charm with another self the cheated sight;
As man to man another self disclose,
That now with terror starts, with triumph glows !