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And to the Waggon's skirts was tied
The Creature, by the Mastiff's side,
(The Mastiff not well pleased to be
So very near such company.)
This new arrangement made, the Wain
Through the still night proceeds again :
No moon hath risen her light to lend;
But indistinctly may be kenn'd
The VANGUARD, following close behind,
Sails spread, as if to catch the wind !
Thy Wife and Child are snug and warm,
Thy Ship will travel without harm ;
I like," said Benjamin, "her shape and stature ;
And this of mine this bulky Creature
Of which I have the steering
Seen fairly, is not much amiss!
We want your streamers, Friend, you know;
But, all together, as we go,
We make a kind of handsome show!
Among these hills, from first to last,
We've weathered many a furious blast;
Hard passage forcing on, with head
Against the storm and canvas spread.
I hate a boaster but to thee
Will say't, who know'st both land and sea,
The unluckiest Hulk that sails the brine
Is hardly worse beset than mine,
When cross winds on her quarter beat ;
And, fairly lifted from my feet,
I stagger onward - Heaven knows how
But not so pleasantly as now -
Poor Pilot I, by snows confounded,
And many a foundrous pit surrounded!
Yet here we are, by night and day
Grinding through rough and smooth our way,
Through foul and fair our task fulfilling ;
And long shall be so yet - God willing!"
"Aye," said the Tar, "through fair and foul
But save us from yon screeching Owl!"
That instant was begun a 'fray
Which called their thoughts another way;
The Mastiff, ill-conditioned carl!
What must he do but growl and snarl,
Still more and more dissatisfied
With the meek comrade at his side?
Till, not incensed though put to proof,
The Ass, uplifting a hind hoof,
Salutes the Mastiff on the head;
And so were better manners bred,
And all was calmed and quieted.
"Yon Screech-owl," says the Sailor, turning Back to his former cause of mourning, "Yon Owl! pray God that all be well! 'Tis worse than any funeral bell;
As sure as I've the gift of sight
We shall be meeting Ghosts to-night!"
-Said Benjamin, "This whip shall lay
A thousand if they cross our way.
I know that Wanton's noisy station,
I know him and his occupation;
The jolly Bird hath learned his cheer
On the banks of Windermere ;
Where a tribe of them make merry,
Mocking the Man that keeps the Ferry;
Hallooing from an open throat,
Like Travellers shouting for a Boat.
The tricks he learned at Windermere
This vagrant Owl is playing here —
That is the worst of his employment;
He's in the height of his enjoyment!"
This explanation stilled the alarm,
Cured the foreboder like a charm ;
This, and the manner, and the voice,
Summoned the Sailor to rejoice;
His heart is up he fears no evil
From life or death, from man or devil ;
He wheeled and, making many stops,
Brandished his crutch against the mountain tops;
And, while he talked of blows and scars,
Benjamin, among the stars,
Beheld a dancing and a glancing;
Such retreating and advancing
As, I ween, was never seen
In bloodiest battle since the days of Mars!
THUS they, with freaks of proud delight,
Beguile the remnant of the night;
And many a snatch of jovial song
Regales them as they wind along;
While to the music, from on high,
The echoes make a glad reply. —
But the sage Muse the revel heeds
No farther than her story needs;
Nor will she servilely attend
The loitering journey to its end.
-Blithe Spirits of her own impel
The Muse, who scents the morning air,
To take of this transported Pair