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The New Zealand Survey

Canto Third

“New Zealand Survey”: Page 20.

Canto Third.

Past; Change; Religion; Nature; FutureAs mighty revolutions have occurred,
In ages long anterior to man,
And are transpiring even in his day,
So who can mark that finger which directs
In their occurrence, guiding to their end?
Or hear the fiat which commands them forth?
Him, whom all nature owns as sovereign Lord,
Whose word brought forth creation from the abyss
Of nothingness, reared high the ancient hills
Ere man was called to being; Him whose power
As efficacious now, as then, remains;
Yes, Him all nature readily obeys,
His plans beneficient will execute
For future good, by quick or slow degrees
As the appointments given! Nature; Work; Ocean; PerceptionThe coral worm,
A feeble thing for man to look upon,
Is yet a means, and one that will not err,
Or turn rebellious from the task imposed
As being one impossible to do!
By such an agency minute, He works
In rearing rock like structures from the depths
page 21“New Zealand Survey”: Page 21. Of ocean’s bed, unfathomable to man;
To which, the washings of the surging waves
Collect the particles of clay and sand,
Which time conglom’rates to a solid mass;
And while the mighty work is going on,
The spreading seaweed there, in upward growth,
Takes hold and propogates, and feels secure!

The mighty structure’s ever on th’ increase
As lab’rers still by myriads multiply;
So grows the work, as grows the forest oaks,
While nourished by the juices of the earth,
O’er which long ages pass ere they have gained
Their full maturity; Work; Change; Religion; Natureso thus combined
The builders in their energies, which tend
All to one given point, according to
The method of their work, as by behest;
The plan’s incorporated in their lives
As instinct, with no other knowledge theirs,
To make them run erratic from their toils
But give adherence faithfully to the end,
While forming rocky structures from the brine!
Though generations, as they build, may die
And in their works their bodies leave entombed
To petrify, (brave architects indeed!
They build their own mausoleum of fame!)—
Yet each, succeeding, takes the matter up
Where the preceeding left it, carrying on
The great design unaltered, till complete
It gains the water’s surface, and is stayed!
As they, to wherefores asked, would thus reply—
“Thus far no further our commission runs,
page 22“New Zealand Survey”: Page 22. We’ve done our duty! He who us employed
Knows best what power can finish the design!”—
Meanwhile the submarine constructors ply
Instinctively their callings, and extend
Beyond the first foundations laid, their toils;
While He who orders all things for the best
Acknowledges their progress; though by man
Accounted slow, yet perseverance tells!
Their aim unwavering is their strength, and proves
Th’ appointed means, by which, that work is done
Which forms the basis of some ocean isles!

Religion; Nature; ChangeThe earth’s deep centre with its magazine
Of great resistless powers, proves a reserve
To finish what’s begun; which, when desired,
Gives forth its energies to crown the work—
Which nothing but omnipotence can do!—
As man would prove his edifice complete,
By having raised the copestone to its place!
That powerful word, which issues promp behest,
Has agencies as powerful to perform!
The earthquake at his bidding, is as apt,—
Its mission to fulfil, and that for Good,
As the bright seraph who before Him stands!—
Though seeming contradictions be displayed,
Perception; Change; FutureBy what might hap, to man’s short sighted views
With judgment much awry, yet deeds are done
By agents strange t’effect some purpose good
Which to another could not trusted be:
And when such act, as their commission runs
So to the letter is the task fulfilled,
Though mountains must be levelled, or the plains
page 23“New Zealand Survey”: Page 23. Be raised to mountains, or submerged in lakes,
Or pop’lous cities be o’erthrown and sunk,
Wholesale entombed!---With dread commotions tossed
Earth must its features change, remodelled be
To best advantage, as transformed to more
Of usefulness, in time to be complete!
Or what, submersed, lay in the soundless depths
Of ocean, may to awful heights be thrown
And round their base have shallows, upon which
The billows break with a tremendous roar!
Future; Religion; FriendshipSuch the results which earthquakes have produced
All for good purposes, to be explained
In far futurity; when will shine out
Benevolence divine, in what may now
Be judged quite the reverse! So Providence
Works His own certain way, as one prepares
A welcome to some distant-coming friend,
Of whom none but himself can be aware!

WorkThe earthquake put to work, no tongue can tell
What may be the result. ChangeThe coral worms
May rear their structures to a given height
And there must leave them, till some other means
The sequel form of what was first begun.
Perception; MemoryOne shock may do its part, though little more
Than prove a warning note, as to prepare
For other elevation; first t’ effect
A loosening of joints! Though ages pass
Until from all remembrance ’tis extinct,
’Twill yet return to say—“I must complete
The orders first received!”—if not at once
Yet in such intervals, as He, who gave
page 24“New Zealand Survey”: Page 24. Such orders, may see fit. Then rocky caves,—
Where huge sea monsters lodged, begin to feel
Commotions strange and sore, Ocean; Nature; Artsa rending, and
Upheaving impetus no more to lie
In deeps invisible,—where waters dense
The sunlight cannot penetrate to cheer
The fathomless profound;—these, in their turn,
To share in beauty’s pleasures, and receive
The genial influence of light and heat
Must from their shades be brought! ChangeThe coral rock
By such a power asunder can be rent
And driven to confusion, much commixed
With its foundation, upward turned, upheaved
As ’twere, to view the sky! That mighty power
Thus held in readiness to work His will
Who wills it, can the earth’s foundations shake;
Which, made convulsive, labours as in birth
Until it heaves with dread explosion high,
The once inverted sea-bed, ’bove the clouds,
As a stupendous mountain in its height,
With ranges branching forth in other hills
With many a plain between, extending far!—
Change; FutureThus, ocean’s made give birth t’another isle,
In time, to be inhabited by man!

Yes, still in time, at some great future date!
For though the frame work of the structure’s reared
’Tis yet unfinished, unreplenished—quite
Unfit to be inhabited—a wild
And barren uncouth naked mass of rock,
And slimy clay, with sand and sediment
And vegetation submarine commixed;
page 25“New Zealand Survey”: Page 25. With Perception; Artsvarious kinds of shells first rais’d to light,
To sparkle divers beauties in the sun!
Change; ReligionThus at the first when the Almighty called
Earth from its nothingness, ’twas but a mass
Of heterogenous matter,—yet ’twas “Good!”
In its first stage of being, as the base
On which improvements might be still enlarged
In their respective periods; so with each
Fair isle, when it was to existence called.

Religion; Work; OceanThus the omnipotent Jehovah has
His armies of most powerful agencies
T’ effect some purpose, when He wills to call
Them into action, either for a work
Of sudden effort, or for that, as much
In power, though of long persevering toil!
So, He, in His wise providence, looked down,
And saw the ocean of the unknown South
A welt’ring waste of waters, void of aught
Betokening of some peculiar care;
Religion; Change; Joy; ColonyAnd in the nature of His bounteous grace,
He called these islands forth, as to prepare
New scenes of active life, and stud this field
Of emptiness with other scenes of bliss,
In fruitful lands, as might outvie the north
With all its bulk of continental shores!

Religion; Land; ChangeNow, th’ ancient world, when from the depths of nought
It rose to being by the great command
Which called it forth, as when an infant’s born;
It had progressive stages, and its times
Of revolutionary changes, meet
For growing to maturity, ev’n till
page 26“New Zealand Survey”: Page 26. Land; Prosperity; Work’Twas furnished in due order with all things
Which requisite were for the various needs
Which could anticipated be, to spring
In man’s creation’s ultimate design;
So that his comforts therein might be found,
According as his needs would urge the search
For such requirements, and rewarded be
For industry well guided; thus t’excite
Such gratitude, that might result in praise!

Now justice to the southern world be done!
Work; Religion; Colony; Nature; Change; HomeIt must be clothed with all such requisites
That can be called attractive, and conduce
To welfare, in a future time ordained,—
(So far as elemental weal’s concerned
Consistent with the curse which hangs o’er earth,
With much of mercy, undeserved attached!)—
In genial clime, as capable to yield
Much paradisian cheer, when well prepared!
Since man, where’er he dwells, must earn by toil
His living—thus himself declaring far
Above the brute capacity of life,
And owning a dependence on the care
Of bounteous Providence—he must exert
Th’ endowments of his reason, and his skill,
As talents in his care to be improved;
Thus earning happiness, such as the earth
Has in its power to yield; though he must rove
To seek his welfare, or another home,
As prompted by his emigrating will;
Or love of acquisition in a part
Of Nature’s earth, that he can call his own!

page 27“New Zealand Survey”: Page 27.

The sun, profuse of favours to a host
Of other isles, all cherished by his rays,
Looks down a welcome to another guest
Just usher’d to his presence, to receive
The beneficial influence of his beams;
Society; LandAs when a father, with his happiest smile,
Beholds the newborn infant whom he owns;
So has it thus, New Zealand, been with thee!

When Inquisition sits upon his throne
And calls thee to account, thy features shew
What strugglings great thou hast had in thy birth,
As plain as human language can declare!
Deep was thy bed; (1) composed each stratum lay
As first they were laid down; while Oceano’er thy space
At pleasure roll’d the sup’rincumbent weight
Of ocean in its vastness uncontrolled;
Till, in an hour, suspecting nothing else
Than still to be as ever thou had’st been
Beneath the depths possessed of horrid gloom;
When forth the mandate came,—an awful sound,
As of some monster growling ’neath thy couch;
Or as etherial thunders, gone astray
In subterranean caves, had uttered loud
A roar of desperation for a guide
To set them in the paths from which they erred—
Peace; Change; FutureSuch roused thee from thy peace, thy dormant state
In deep immersion; ’twas a warning note
That grumbled out “PREPARE!—Thy time is come
That thou must meet some transformations new,
And be exalted to the cheering light,
Preparatory to more active scenes
page 28“New Zealand Survey”: Page 28. For which thou now art destined to enjoy!”

Thus warn’d, the execution now begins:
Ocean; Society; Land; ChangeA fearful hasty rocking to and fro,
Awhile most violently driven, occurs
With an unwonted energy; and next
Transverse as fiercely; then with sudden twist
And circular motion;—as if one, whose grasp
Had hold on thee, and loosening thy base
Most deeply fixed beneath, as with a turf
He with much force would loosen from its bed
Ere such he pulls;—while heavings strange are felt,
As when ’tis said of yore, old Atlas hove
His mighty load, with strenuous effort oft,
Ere he its weight upon his shoulders poised!
Rocks burst assunder! with commotions dire;
While various orders ’gainst each other crashed,
And shattered into fragments, got commixed
In wild confusion, jostled to a strange
And mutilated heterogeneous mass
Of various sorts; all meanwhile much upturned
And sideways shoved by that explosive force
Employed to urge the hollows downside up
Them sending towering far above the waves!

Amid such breaking up of solids, and
The transformations passing o’er the scene,
Old ocean, smitten, raged with furious storm,
Aye, fiercer than when roused by boisterous gales;
Then waves no longer followed, as in chase,
Each other, tossing sportively their spray
As they before the breeze would scud along;
But, billows met with billows, all deranged
page 29“New Zealand Survey”: Page 29. And ’gainst each other broke with direful clash
Whose mingling foam would seem to lash the skies,—
Like furious maniacs tossing high their arms
Defiant against some power they would resist,—
As they incensed were, stirred to vengeful wrath,
At being checked where once they amply rolled
Without a barrier to disturb their course,
Through immemorial time! While lifeless shoals
Of every kind of tennant of the deep,
From the great whale that wallow’d amid foam,
Or the voracious shark, down to its prey
Of meanest mouthful,—havoc’s motely mass (2)
Of victims, great and small, about were tossed
Promiscuous ’mid the storm,—a ghastly waste
Of life, as death would arbitrarily reign!
Thus all were poisoned by the gasses flow
Of sulphury stench, when steaming through the rents
Of ocean bed, which th’ earthquake’s power had burst,
When forcing it above its ancient lay!
All, all shewed wild commotion; earth and sea
At variance, as the one’s exalted high,
To the confusion of the other’s power;
Whose raging billows with tumultuous swell,
Would seem as never to be pacified!

As man would tremble, of commotions full,
With ev’ry nerve excited, unrelaxed,
After some great achievement had been done;
So quivered the new island, and full oft
Some hard vibrations rocked it to and fro
In an unsettled state; as one would try
Its steadfastness, to see if but a move
page 30“New Zealand Survey”: Page 30. Would discommode, or tend to work its fall;
Till by degrees it seemed to settle down
Consolidated, as having gained its rest
Upon a sure foundation of its own.
Society; Peace; FriendshipThus were its turmoils now assuaged to peace;
As when a child, with inward aches, in grief,
Is soothed to peacefulness, adopting smiles,
Forgetful of the pains it had endured!—
And as contending parties, friends become
When angry feuds evaporate to air!
So the great ocean’s surface calm becomes;
As finding now ’tis useless to contend
In further strife; but better to embrace
New friendships, it relapses to its state
Of former quietude, and regular tides;
When its old peaceful welterings are resumed,
The basis laving of its new raised bounds;
Or o’er obstructing rocks, at leap-frog play,
In quick succession rolling waves disport;
But oft reflecting on its bosom smooth,
When lying like a mirror, the new born,
As ’twould congratulate its lofty state,
Exalted far above from whence it rose!

Thus rose New Zealand in its prestine state;
The newly born from a most painful birth,
Displaying lofty mountains, bare and bleak,
With many rugged, dripping dells between;
Their shattered sides would seem like shapeless walls
Of matter all confused, as stones and clay
Were jumbled up with neither form nor care!
While on the lofty summits may be seen
page 31“New Zealand Survey”: Page 31. Such fragments of burst rocks, as they’d been tossed
From out their places upward, and returned
But quite too late to be admitted in
Beneath the surface! There, they still remain,
Like foam upon the sea wave petrified;
To tell to future ages whence they’ve come,
And with what violence they’ve been upward thrown!

Society; Land; ScienceHard was the labours of the prestine rocks
At such a juncture; as when painful toils,
Or other inward maladies severe
Affect the human frame, when steaming sweat
From ev’ry pore exudes—and may of blood,
When agonizing under dreadful woes;
So in like manner, ’mid the direful throes,
And rendings of the bowels of the globe,
In pressing upward, ’bove the surface high,
O’er ocean’s waves, what long had been depressed!
Such labour, and such heat intense combined,
Internal, must have made the precious ores
Exude, as sweated drops, whence such have lain
Incorporate with granite grains, and quartz,
From first, when the creation was begun;
Till melted, by electric heat, forced out,
And running into chinks, and other rents,—
As in a furnace, molten ores are run,
Into the moulds for their reception made,
Till cooling formed into a solid state;—
Or further upward forced, as would ascend
Dense vapours, mixing in the clay and sand
As superincumbent stratum, Colony; Prosperity; Future; Work; Joywhere such form’d
In particles, or nuggets of some note;
page 32“New Zealand Survey”: Page 32. They wait as treasures hid, till enterprize
Takes hold upon the country, when them forth
Some accident may bring—a tempting bait,—
Alluring thousands into fortune’s chase,
Who people may this isle in future days!

Where hard the struggle is, when victory’s gain’d
So the rejoicing’s great o’er what’s achieved!
SocietyMuch like the politician, when to express
His pleasure at the advancement of his cause,
O’er some opposing party, he’d illumne
The night with ev’ry fancy work of fire!
">Land; Perception; ArtsSo the volcanic mountain, as with joy,
At being raised high ’bove the briny floods,
Would now send up its volumes of red flame,
Oft burnishing around the face of heaven;
While squirting high its jets of liquid fire,
With stones, which fly like meteor’s through the air,
Sublimely dreadful all to be beheld!
Such would, indeed, no ordinary fear
In human breasts create, to be within
The reach of such dread demonstrations shewn
Of joy, lest danger to their lots accrue;
So lavish in expenditure from out
Exhaustless magazines, and much elate
At being thus exalted from that state
Of low depression ’neath the welt’ring waves,
Where long they lay; no matter now how much
They’re rent as ruinous by powerful spasms,
Since mounted to their attitude, as forced
Above the level of surrounding hills!