The Bijou

The Bijou;

or Annual of Literature and the Arts

compiled by William Fraser

London: William Pickering,


The Hellweathers
By N.T. Carrington, Author of "Dartmoor"

[Sir Cloudesley Shovel's ship, the Association, struck upon the Gilstone, off Sicilly, with so much violence, that in about two minutes the vessel went down, and every soul on board, but one, perished. This man saved himself on a piece of timber, which floated to a rock called the Hellweathers, where he was compelled to remain some days before he could receive any assistance. Besides the Association, the Eagle, of 70, and the Romney, of 50 guns, perished, with all their crews. The Firebrand, fireship, was also lost, but most of her men were saved. Many persons of rank, and about 2000 seamen perished on this occasion. DREW'S HISTORY OF CORNWALL.]

THE blue wave roll'd away before the breeze 1
Of evening, and that gallant fleet was seen 2
Darting across the waters; ship on ship 3
Following in eager rivalry, for home 4
Lay on the welcome lee. The sun went down 5
Amid a thousand glorious hues that liv'd 6
But in his presence; and the giant clouds 7
Mov'd on in beauty and in power before 8
The day- god's burning throne. But soon was o'er 9
The pomp celestial, and the gold-fring'd cloud 10

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Grew dark and darker, and the Elysian tints 11
Evanish'd swift; the clear, bright azure chang'd 12
To blackness, and with twilight came the shriek 13
Of the pursuing winds. Anon on high, 14
Seen dimly through the shadowy eve, the Chief 15
Threw out the wary signal, and they paus'd 16
Awhile upon the deep 1 . Again they gave 17
Their sails to the fresh gale — again the surge 18
Swept foaming by, and every daring prow 19
Pointed to England; — England! that should greet 20
With her green hills, and long- lost vales, their eyes 21
On the sweet morrow. Beautiful is morn, 22
But, oh, how beautiful the morn that breaks 23
On the returning wanderer, doom'd no more 24
To live on fancy's visions of that spot 25
Beyond all others lov'd; — that very spot 26
Now rising from the broad, blue waters, dear 27
To him as Heav'n. 28
With fatal speed they flew 29
Through the wide- parting foam. Again the deck 30
Slop'd to the billow, and the groaning mast 31
Bent to the rising gale; yet on that night 32
The voice of the loud ocean rose to them 33
In music, for the winds that hurry'd by 34

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So fierce and swift, but heralded the way 35
To the lov'd island- strand. The jaws of death 36
Were round them, and they knew it not, until 37
Chilling the life- blood of the bravest, burst 38
The everlasting cry of waves and rocks 39
From stern Cornubia's isles. Alas, to them — 40
The lost, there blaz'd no friendly Pharos' fire, 41
No star gleam'd from the heav'n. The sailor heard 42
The roar of the huge cliff, and on his brow 43
Fell the cold dew of horror. On they came — 44
Those gallant barks, fate driv'n — on they came — 45
Borne on the wings of the wild wind, to rush 46
In darkness on the black and bellowing reef 47
Where human help avails not. There they struck 48
And sank; — the hopes, the fears, the wishes all 49
Of myriads o'er, at once. Each fated ship 50
One moment sat in all her pride, and pomp, 51
And beauty, on the main; — the next, she plung'd 52
Into the "hell" of waves, and from her deck 53
Thrill'd the loud death scream — stifled as it rose 54
By the dark sea; — one blow — one shriek — the grave! 55

And all was silent — save the startling voice 56
Of the Atlantic, rising from that shore 57
In anger ever! Terribly its surge 58
Clos'd o'er them, and they perish'd in that gulf 59
Where the dead lie innumerous, and the depths 60
Are rife with monstrous shapes, and rest is none 61

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Amid the infuriate war of waters hurl'd 62
In endless, horrible commotion. Heard 63
Alone, between the pausings of the gale, 64
Was one faint, human wail. Where thousands sank 65
One rode the vengeful wave, preserv'd to be, 66
As seem'd, the sport of the mad billows: now 67
Upflung upon the mountain ridges — now 68
Swift sinking in abysses vast that yawn'd 69
Almost to Ocean's bed. Yet life fled not, 70
Nor hope, though in the tempest's giant coil 71
He gasp'd for breath, and often writhed beneath 72
The suffocating waters! 73
Morning came 74
In vain, though on the island rock the sea 75
Had flung the hapless mariner. Around 76
Howl'd the remorseless surge; — above, the cloud 77
Swept, terror- wing'd; — the lightening o'er the day 78
Shed an unnatural glare, and near him broke 79
The thunder with its peal of doom. No aid 80
Came through the long, long day, yet on the cliffs 81
Floated the cheering signal; — from the strand 82
Came voices animating; — men were there 83
Impatient as the bounding greyhound held 84
Within the straining leash — a gallant band 85
Nurs'd in the western storm, familiar long 86
With danger, and with — death, but might not brave 87
The monster, now. And thus the victim hung 88
Upon eternity's dread verge, and gaz'd 89

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Appall'd upon its gulf; — then backwards shrunk 90
Convulsively to life, and hope renew'd 91
Unfroze his blood, and o'er his features threw 92
A light that could not last. For evening came, 93
And the great sun descended to the main, 94
While oft the beautiful, beloved orb 95
The seaman watch'd, and sigh'd to see it sink 96
Beneath the wave; but as the twilight grew 97
Deeper and deeper, and the darkness clos'd 98
Upon him, and the hungry, howling surge 99
Was heard below, loud clamouring for its prey, 100
He wept — the lone man wept! 101
Again it came, 102
The unchang'd, unchanging morning, rising wild 103
Upon a joyless world; yet did his eye 104
Glisten to see the dawn, though it awoke 105
In tempest; and that day flew by, and night 106
Once more fell on him, and another morn 107
Broke, and the sufferer liv'd! The hand of death 108
Was on him, yet delay'd the fatal grasp; 109
And round the agonized victim look'd, 110
But succour came not! On the rugged rock 111
Crash'd the torn wreck in thunder, and the sea 112
Disgorg'd the dead — within the black recoil 113
Of waters dash'd the dead; and on the brave, 114
The lov'd, he gaz'd, and at his Despair 115
Now sat, and pointed on the abyss! 116

*************** 117
*************** 118

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A shout 119
Comes from the cliffs — a shout of joy! Awake, 120
Thou lonely one from death's fast- coming sleep! — 121
Arise, the strand is thronging with brave men — 122
A thousand eyes are on thee, and a bark 123
Bursts o'er the breaching foam! The shifting cloud 124
Flies westward, and away the storm, repell'd 125
Relunctant sails: the winds have backward flung 126
The billows of the Atlantic! See, — they come, — 127
They come — a dauntless island- band — and now 128
A cheer is heard— and hark the dash of oars 129
Among the reefs! His eye with instant hope 130
Brightens, and all the ebbing tides of life 131
Rush with returning vigour! Now the spray 132
Flies o'er the advancing pinnace, for the wave 133
Though half subdued is mighty; yet her prow 134
Victorious parts the surges, — nearer roll 135
The cheers of that bold crew — the welcome sounds 136
Thrill on his ear — the deep'ning plunge of oars 137
Foams round the desert rock — 'tis won! 'tis won! 138
And — he is sav'd! 139
from The Bijou, 1828, pp. 93-97
TEI-encoded version

1. [Note to "The Hellweathers":] A few hours before the ships struck, Sir Cloudesley Shovel hove out the signal to lie to, in order to ascertain the situation of the fleet. [Author, N.T. Carrington.] Back