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[Autumn of 1793.]
The twentieth year is well nigh past
Thy needles, once a shining store,
But well thou play'dst the housewife's part,
Thy indistinct expressions seem
Thy silver locks once auburn bright,
For could I view nor them nor thee,
Partakers of thy sad decline.
Such feebleness of limbs thou prov'st,
And still to love, though prest with ill,
But ah! by constant heed I know
And should my future lot be cast
My Mary! THE CASTAWAY.
[March, 20, 1799.)
OBSCUREST night involv'd the sky;
Th' Atlantic billows roar'd, When such a destined wretch as I,
Wash'd headlong from on board, Of friends, of hope, of all bereft, His floating home for ever left.
No braver chief could Albion boast,
Than he, with whom he went, Nor ever ship left Albion's coast,
With warmer wishes sent. He lov'd them both, but both in vain, Nor him beheld, nor her again.
Not long beneath the whelming brine,
Expert to swim, he lay : Nor soon he felt his strength decline,
Or courage die away; But wag'd with death a lasting strife, Supported by despair of life.
He shouted; nor his friends had fail'd
To check the vessel's course,
That, pitiless, perforce,
Some succour yet they could afford,
And, such as storms allow, The cask, the coop, the floated cord,
Delay'd not to bestow But he (they knew) nor ship nor shore, Whate'er they gave, should visit more.
Nor, cruel as it seem'd, could he
Their haste himself condemn,
Alone could rescue them;
He long survives, who lives an hour
In ocean, self-upheld:
His destiny repell’d:
At length, his transient respite past,
His comrades, who before
Could catch the sound no more.