His eye, methinks, pursued the flight
Of birds to Britain, half-way over,
With envy—they could reach the white
Dear cliffs of Dover.
A stormy midnight watch, he thought,
Than this sojourn would have been dearer,
If but the storm his vessel brought
To England nearer.
At last, when care had banished sleep,
He saw one morning, dreaming, doating,
An empty hogshead from the deep
Come shoreward floating.
He hid it in a cave, and wrought
The livelong day, laborious, lurking,
Until he launched a tiny boat,
By mighty working.
Heaven help us! ’twas a thing beyond
Description wretched: such a wherry,
Perhaps, ne’er ventured on a pond,
Or crossed a ferry.
For ploughing in the salt-sea field,
It would have made the boldest shudder;
Untarred, uncompassed, and unkeeled,—
No sail—no rudder.
From neighbouring woods he interlaced
His sorry skiff with wattled willows;
And thus equipped he would have passed
The foaming billows.
But Frenchmen caught him on the beach,
His little Argo sorely jeering.
Till tidings of him chanced to reach
With folded arms Napoleon stood,
Serene alike in peace and danger,
And, in his wonted attitude,
Addressed the stranger.
“Rash man, that wouldst yon Channel pass
On twigs and staves so rudely fashioned,
Thy heart with some sweet British lass
Must be impassioned.”
“I have no sweetheart,” said the lad;
“But,—absent years from one another,—
Great was the longing that I had
To see my mother.”
“And so thou shalt,” Napoleon said,
“You’ve both my favour fairly won,
A noble mother must have bred
So brave a son.”
He gave the tar a piece of gold,
And, with a flag of truce, commanded
He should be shipped to England old,
And safely landed.
Our sailor oft could scantly shift
To find a dinner, plain and hearty,
But never changed the coin and gift
THE BURIAL OF SIR JOHN MOORE.
(January 16, 1809.)
BY REV. CHARLES WOLFE.
Not a drum was
heard, not a funeral note,
As his corse to the rampant we hurried;
Not a soldier discharged his farewell shot
O’er the grave where our hero we buried.
We buried him
darkly at dead of night,
The sods with our bayonets turning,
By the struggling moonbeam’s misty light,
And the lantern dimly burning.