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this world for them depends on the wind catching a head sail right. For one deadly half minute, she hung, her bows bobbing heavily, almost bowsprit under, the stay sail flapping as she dropped into the hollow of the sea, and undetermined on which side it should fill, as she rose again; the fore-top sail doing nothing to bring her round, sometimes back to the mast, and then full again, at every lurch the labouring vessel gave; and no object was visible, to show if she was at all disposed to pay off. The master rushed to the weather quarter, and looked for a moment anxiously down on the foaming water. At last-" Stern away, by Jove! shift your helm!-all's right-about she comes !-main-top sail haul-haul avall-fore-top bowline -out with the try sail again! Cheerily, my hearts! what are ye afraid of? Silence, and keep a better look out there forward! Ease her head, boy-no near-very well thus!"
Now, " very well" is a very compendious phrase, and does not always describe very correctly the general condition of affairs in the vessel to whose steersman this cousoling assurance is given. Yet here it spoke, with tolerable fairness, the state of mind of those on board, relieved from the danger which had just before been imminent. She was now on the other tack, standing towards the bold and beetling rock which faced the shoals at about a mile off, with an even chance of weathering it without another board, if she could continue to show sail enough to the gale.
But the water was high over her lee side, and it was all she could do to stagger through it. Yet the peril was no longer urgent and immediate; and, as to what might next
be apprehended, all was doubtful and indistinct; and the mind of man is always sanguine, and never more so than when at sea, where a sense of duty is always present and lively to support and assist. At sea there are so many moments when, all that is demanded from skill, experience, and forethought having been done, and no instant exertion being required or practicable, there is a pause, in which the mind naturally reposes on hope, and hope reposed on soon becomes confidence.
But why delight to portray the sea in its terrors, when there is so much more of what is sublime in its smiles? How ill have they scanned the real beauty and majesty of that glorious element, who combine them with the notion of an angry sea! The sea is never angry: it is much too mighty to be angry. How inadequate an image of infinite power is presented in a storm at sea! a thing with which human genius, human courage, nay, human force, may cope, and over which it is usually empowered to prevail— whose violence is great, but still is limited and surmountable. But, when all is calm, and boundless, and fathomless, no waves to be buffeted by the stalwart prow, no stooping clouds between man and heaven, but the depths of ocean and the depths of sky blending in the warm bright glory of a summer horizon, without a visible line to fence in or measure space; then may the mind take in a notion of Omnipotence. It is glorious to gaze upwards, from some spring-tide meadow, into that clear vault, from out the stores of which descend the viewless influences of light, of warmth, of freshening dew, and then perchance to hear the trill of the far off lark, poised above all scope of human eye, as it were the note of some glad spirit,
warbling forth its joy to earth from the bosom of heaven itself. But more glorious still to look into that bright bu inscrutable sea, the only pure, intense blue in nature, compared with which the sky itself is pale; that tranquil water, in whose awful bosom, far, far below, there are depths beyond which the seaman's lead will sink no deeper, from which the line returns slackened to his hand, where all things that can reach so deep, and which time has not consumed, remain hung in space unmeasurable beneath them and around them. To survey this, to ponder on this, may furnish an image of the power that rules beyond the regions of human sight or search.
The pure taste of ancient Greece-pure even among the infusions of its monstrous mythology-taught that perfect power is best expressed in perfect calmness. It formed an image of matchless strength*, but leaning on its club and lion's skin: it formed an image of matchless speed †, but reclining in the languid symmetry of limbs which, if roused to vigorous exertion, could spring aloft from the mere impulse of the small wing bound to the heel: it formed an image of matchless majesty in the statue of the great ruler of the gods, where it sat sedate, not bracing the sinewy terrors of a mortal arm, to hurl the brazen thunderbolt, but resting one hand upon the wand of Peace, and in the other bearing Victory; a symbol of such magic influence, that he who formed it, it is said, scarce
*The statue of Hercules, called the Farnese.
The statue of Mercury, found at Pompeii, and now in the collection of the King of Naples.
The great statue of Jove, made by Phidias, and placed in the temple at Olympia.
dared to look upon it while he worshipped. Such was the repose in which the pure taste of ancient Greece taught that perfect power was best to be adored-how much the rather by those who are taught to worship boundless inercy as the first attribute of boundless might!
The sea! the sublime, the graceful, the lovely sea! The sea, which, if it separates friends for awhile, unites nations, and for ever!-which links together the great kindred of mankind, and which, even to those the most dearly loved between whom it rolls, is the conductor along whose connecting chain the cherished intercourse between heart and heart is still preserved, and spead, untouched by foreign hands, as the strains of sweetest music come unbroken across its waters.
And look at that vessel, basking on its gentle swell, or hasting along before the breeze; that little gay bark in the distance, whose white sail only can be seen. Like the feather that skims across its surface, she stoops in acknowledgment to every breath; but her small frame is full of energy and resource, to grapple with the blast. The tall ship of war, that grand epitome of beauty, confidence, and strength; she seems as though alive to every impulse, and sentient of every duty. She bears herself as an imperial being; she moves as one fraught with intelligence to foresee, to protect," to threaten and command." "With all her bravery on," fit symbol of that glorious empire whose arm reaches forth to the remotest regions of the globe, wherever heaves the billow, wherever commerce courts, or danger presumes; whose "march is o'er the mountain wave, whose "home is on the deep." Though the black night be over the waste of waters, the ship is wakeful still. She
speaks, she answers, with bright and glancing lights, and, through the day, with many-coloured flags, now soaring to the peak, and fluttering there awhile, now sinking again from sight, their task performed, as she catches the quick meaning, or imparts it to the attentive partners of her course. Her voice is heard, short, sullen, imperious, as of one who brooks not hesitation or delay, to demand attention to what she inquires, to what she enjoins. See her diminish or increase her various powers, steady under change, to effect the object she has announced. How gracefully she rounds to, to wait the act of obedience in the rest! She lowers her boat from her side. The venturous little messenger dares the deep alone. Unheeded ? unprotected? No! for a watchful influence is o'er it still, to guard, to superintend, and assist. As the low, long galley leaves the shadow of her wing, as it mounts the swell or glides into the depths between, she marks its movements-she corresponds with her own. As an anxious mother's, her thousand cares are with him who is far away upon the wave. They cease not; they pause not; they speak in every gesture, till the returning wanderer is raised aloft to be received again within her sheltering bosom; and then she holds once more her free and onward way.
And there has been war upon the sea, and haply there may be again. Again the wrath of nations may cast its red glare along those waters on which man should never meet his fellow man but in friendship and in aid. Shall we speak of war? A melancholy theme! an unnatural and fearful state of man, on which his mind, as it advances in those arts and virtues which embellish and ennoble