Constantia: or, The Man of Law's Tale, Modernized from Chaucer - Part 15

" Go, Lovely Mariner! Imperial Fair!
" The warring winds and angry ocean dare;
" Strange climes and spheres, a lone adventurer, view,
" New to the main, and to misfortune new;
" Without the chart, or polar compass steer,
" Nor storms, in which the stoutest tremble, fear.
" But ill those limbs, for gentle office form'd,
" And in the down of nightly softness warm'd,
" Shall now, obsequious to the ruder gale,
" Command the frozen cord, and ponderous sail;
" Shall now, beneath the watery sky obscure,
" The nightly damp and piercing blast endure. "

Thus all disconsolate, and sore distrest,
And sorrow heaving in her beauteous breast,
Down sinks the Fair; her hands in anguish rise,
And up to Heaven she lifts her streaming eyes:
" O Thou ! " she said, " whence every being rose,
" In whom they safe exist, and soft repose;
" Fix'd in whose power, and patent to whose eye,
" Immense, those copious worlds of wonders lie;
" To me, the meanest of thy works descend;
" To me, the last of every being, bend!
" Since not exempt, in thy paternal care,
" The lowest triumph, and minutest share;
" Thy subjects all, and all their sovereign know,
" The seas that eddy, and the winds that blow;
" The winds thy ruling inspiration tell;
" The seas, exulting in thy presence, swell:
" O'er these, o'er those, supreme, do Thou preside;
" For I desire no other star to guide:
" In want, and weakness, be thy power display'd,
" And Thou assist, where else no arm can aid.
" But if, as surely every mortal must,
" If now I hasten to my native dust,
" From the dread hour, and this devouring deep,
" The Spark of Deathless Animation keep;
" Then may my Soul, as bright instinctive flame,
" Aspiring then, thy Kindred Radiance claim;
" Or to some humbler Heaven the trembler raise,
" Tho' there the last, the first to sing thy praise:
" Some lowly, vacant seat, Eternal , deign,
" Nor be Creation, and Redemption vain! "

So pray'd the Maid, and Peace, a wonted guest,
Sought the known mansion of her spotless breast;
To every peril arm'd, and pain resigned,
Cheer in her looks, and patience in her mind.

The wind fresh blowing from the Syrian shore,
Swift thro' the floods her spooming vessel bore.
Long breathed the current of the eastern gale,
And swell'd the expanse of each distended sail:
And now the hills of Candia rise to view,
As evening clouds and settled vapours blue;
And now, still driven before the orient blast,
Morea, and her lengthening capes are past:
Now land again her wistful prospect flies,
And gives the unvarying ocean to her eyes;
Till Malta's rocks, emerging from the main,
The circling war of earth and sea maintain.
Alike unknown, each varying clime appear'd;
The land and main alike the Virgin fear'd;
While every coast her wandering eyes explore,
Reminds her soul of Syria's hostile shore;
And more than every monster seas can yield,
From man, from man, she begs that Heaven would shield.
Rate this poem: 

Reviews

No reviews yet.