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The Spirit Of Discovery By Sea - Book The Fifth



Such are thy views, DISCOVERY! The great world
Rolls to thine eye revealed; to thee the Deep
Submits its awful empire; Industry
Awakes, and Commerce to the echoing marts
From east to west unwearied pours her wealth.
Man walks sublimer; and Humanity,
Matured by social intercourse, more high,
More animated, lifts her sovereign mien,
And waves her golden sceptre. Yet the heart
Asks trembling, is no evil found! Oh, turn,
Meek Charity, and drop a human tear
For the sad fate of Afric's injured sons,
And hide, for ever hide, the sight of chains,
Anguish, and bondage! Yes, the heart of man
Is sick, and Charity turns pale, to think
How soon, for pure religion's holy beam,
Dark crimes, that sullied the sweet day, pursued,
Like vultures, the Discoverer's ocean tract,
Screaming for blood, to fields of rich Peru,
Or ravaged Mexico, while Gold more Gold!
The caverned mountains echoed, Gold more Gold!
Then see the fell-eyed, prowling buccaneer,
Grim as a libbard! He his jealous look
Turns to the dagger at his belt, his hand
By instinct grasps a bloody scymitar,
And ghastly is his smile, as o'er the woods
He sees the smoke of burning villages
Ascend, and thinks ev'n now he counts his spoil.
See thousands destined to the lurid mine,
Never to see the sun again; all names
Of husband, sire, all tender charities
Of love, deep buried with them in that grave,
Where life is as a thing long passed; and hope
No more its sickly ray, to cheer the gloom,
Extends.
Thou, too, dread Ocean, toss thine arms,
Exulting, for the treasures and the gems
That thy dark oozy realm emblaze; and call
The pale procession of the dead, from caves
Where late their bodies weltered, to attend
Thy kingly sceptre, and proclaim thy might!
Lord of the Hurricane! bid all thy winds
Swell, and destruction ride upon the surge,
Where, after the red lightning flash that shows
The labouring ship, all is at once deep night
And long suspense, till the slow dawn of day
Gleams on the scattered corses of the dead,
That strew the sounding shore!
Then think of him,
Ye who rejoice with those you love, at eve,
When winds of winter shake the window-frame,
And more endear your fire, oh, think of him,
Who, saved alone from the destroying storm,
Is cast on some deserted rock; who sees
Sun after sun descend, and hopeless hears;
At morn the long surge of the troubled main,
That beats without his wretched cave; meantime
He fears to wake the echoes with his voice,
So dread the solitude!
Let Greenland's snows
Then shine, and mark the melancholy train
There left to perish, whilst the cold pale day
Declines along the further ice, that binds
The ship, and leaves in night the sinking scene.
Sad winter closes on the deep; the smoke
Of frost, that late amusive to the eye
Rose o'er the coast, is passed, and all is now
One torpid blank; the freezing particles
Blown blistering, and the white bear seeks her cave.
Ill-fated outcasts, when the morn again
Shall streak with feeble beam the frozen waste,
Your air-bleached and unburied carcases
Shall press the ground, and, as the stars fade off,
Your stony eyes glare 'mid the desert snows!
These triumphs boast, fell Demon of the Deep!
Though never more the universal shriek
Of all that perish thou shalt hear, as when
The deep foundations of the guilty earth
Were shaken at the voice of God, and man
Ceased in his habitations; yet the sea
Thy might tempestuous still, and joyless rule,
Confesses. Ah! what bloodless shadows throng
Ev'n now, slow rising from their oozy beds,
From Mete, and those gates of burial
That guard the Erythraean; from the vast
Unfathomed caverns of the Western main
Or stormy Orcades; whilst the sad shell
Of poor Arion, to the hollow blast
Slow seems to pour its melancholy tones,
And faintly vibrate, as the dead pass by.
I see the chiefs, who fell in distant lands,
The prey of murderous savages, when yells,
And shouts, and conch, resounded through the woods.
Magellan and De Solis seem to lead
The mournful train. Shade of Perouse! oh, say
Where, in the tract of unknown seas, thy bones
Th' insulting surge has swept?
But who is he,
Whose look, though pale and bloody, wears the trace
Of pure philanthropy? The pitying sigh
Forbid not; he was dear to Britons, dear
To every beating heart, far as the world
Extends; and my faint faltering touch ev'n now
Dies on the strings, when I pronounce thy name,
Oh, lost, lamented, generous, hapless Cook!
But cease the vain complaint; turn from the shores,
Wet with his blood
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Submitted on May 13, 2011

3:59 min read
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William Lisle Bowles

William Lisle Bowles was an English poet and critic In 1783 he won the chancellors prize for Latin verse In 1789 he published in a small quarto volume Fourteen Sonnets which were received with extraordinary favour not only by the general public but by such men as Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Wordsworth The Sonnets even in form were a revival a return to an older and purer poetic style and by their grace of expression melodious versification tender tone of feeling and vivid appreciation of the life and beauty of nature stood out in strong contrast to the elaborated commonplaces which at that time formed the bulk of English poetry more…

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    "The Spirit Of Discovery By Sea - Book The Fifth" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 24 Jan. 2022. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/40963/the-spirit-of-discovery-by-sea---book-the-fifth>.

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