Say, dark prow'd visitant! that o'er the brine
Stalk'st proudly--heeding not what wind may blow,
What chart, what compass, shapes that course of thine,
Whence didst thou come, and whither dost thou go?
Art thou a Monster born of sky and sea?
Art thou a Pagod moving in thine ire?
Were I a Savage I must bend to thee,
A Ghiber? I must own thee "God of fire."
The affrighted billows fly thy hissing rout,
Thy wake is followed by turmoil and din,
Blackness and darkness track thy course without,
And fire and groans and vapours strive within.
And they who cling about thee--who are they?
And canst thou be that fabled boat, that waits
On the dark banks of Styx for souls? Oh, say!
Let me not burst in ignorance--thy freight.
Thus spake I, wandering near the Brighton shore,
Straining my very eye-balls from my Cab;
First came two "ten-horse" laughs--and then a roar,
"Be off, queer Chap, or I'll soon stop your gab!"
Then swept she onward, breathing mist and cloud,
While from my bosom this reflection broke;
Although I think the steam-boat something proud,
Such lofty questions often end in smoke.
To all Grandiloquents a hint I deem it,
And whilst I live, I'll ever such esteem it.