Selected Writings of Herman Melville: Complete Short Stories; Typee; Billy Budd, Foretopman

Selected Writings of Herman Melville: Complete Short Stories; Typee; Billy Budd, Foretopman

Selected Writings of Herman Melville: Complete Short Stories; Typee; Billy Budd, Foretopman

Selected Writings of Herman Melville: Complete Short Stories; Typee; Billy Budd, Foretopman

Excerpt

That may not be, said then the Ferryman,
Least we unweeting hap to be fordonne:
For those same Islands, seeming now and than,
Are not firme land, nor any certein wonne,
But stragling plots, which to and fro do ronne
In the wide waters; therefore are they hight
The Wandring Islands: Therefore doe them shonne;
For they have oft drawne many a wandring wight
Into most deadly daunger and distressed plight;
For whosoever once hath fastened
His foot thereon, may never it recure,
But wandreth evermore uncertein and unsure .

Darke, dolefull, dreary, like a greedy grave,
That still for carrion carcases doth crave:
On top whereof ay dwelt the ghastly owle,
Shrieking his balefull note, which ever drave
Far from that haunt all other chearefull fowle;
And all about it wandring ghostes did wayle and howle .

TAKE five-and-twenty heaps of cinders dumped here and there in an outside city lot; imagine some of them magnified into mountains, and the vacant lot the sea; and you will have a fit idea of the general aspect of the Encantadas, or Enchanted Isles. A group rather of extinct volcanoes than of isles; looking much as the world at large might, after a penal conflagration.

It is to be doubted whether any spot of earth can, in desolateness, furnish a parallel to this group. Abandoned . . .

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