William Lisle Bowles

The Favoriing gales invite; the bowsprit bears   
Right onward to the fearful shade; more black   
The cloudy spectre towers; already fear   
Shrinks at the view aghast and breathless. Hark!   
’T was more than the deep murmur of the surge           
That struck the ear; whilst through the lurid gloom   
Gigantic phantoms seem to lift in air   
Their misty arms; yet, yet,—bear boldly on,—   
The mist dissolves; seen through the parting haze,   
Romantic rocks, like the depictured clouds,           
Shine out; beneath, a blooming wilderness   
Of varied wood is spread, that scents the air;   
Where fruits of “golden rind,” thick interspersed   
And pendent, through the mantling umbrage gleam   
Inviting. Cypress here, and stateliest pine,           
Spire o’er the nether shades, as emulous   
Of sole distinction where all nature smiles.   
Some trees, in sunny glades alone their head   
And graceful stem uplifting, mark below   
The turf with shadow; whilst in rich festoons           
The flowery lianes braid their boughs; meantime   
Choirs of innumerous birds of liveliest song   
And brightest plumage, flitting through the shades,   
With nimble glance are seen; they, unalarmed,   
Now near in airy circles sing, then speed           
Their random flight back to their sheltering bowers,   
Whose silence, broken only by their song,   
From the foundation of this busy world,   
Perhaps had never echoed to the voice,   
Or heard the steps of Man. What rapture fired           
The strangers’ bosoms, as from glade to glade   
They passed, admiring all, and gazing still   
With new delight! ’T is solitude around;   
Deep solitude, that on the gloom of woods   
Primeval fearful hangs: a green recess           
Now opens in the wilderness; gay flowers   
Of unknown name purple the yielding sward;   
The ring-dove murmurs o’er their head, like one   
Attesting tenderest joy; but mark the trees,   
Where, slanting through the gloom, the sunshine rests!           
Beneath, a moss-grown monument appears,   
O’er which the green banana gently waves   
Its long leaf; and an aged cypress near   
Leans, as if listening to the streamlet’s sound   
That gushes from the adverse bank; but pause,—           
Approach with reverence! Maker of the world,   
There is a Christian’s cross! and on the stone   
A name, yet legible amid its moss,—   

Exctract from From The Spirit of Discovery by Sea

Main Location:

Madeira, Portugal