| Geisterschiff in Walter Scott:
Rokeby, Canto II, XI. und John Leyden "Scenes of
Eine der frühesten literarischen Stellen für den Fliegenden Holländer.
Anmerkungen Walter Scotts: The Demon Frigate John Leyden "Scenes of Infancy"
|Nor think to village swains alone
Are these unearthly terrors known;
For not to rank nor sex confined
Is this vain ague of the mind;
Hearts firm as steel, as marble hard,
'Gainst faith, and love, and pity barr'd,
Have quaked like aspen leaves in May
Beneath its universal sway.
Bertram had listed many a tale
Of wonder in his native dale,
That in his secret soul retain'd
The credence they in childhood gain'd;
Nor less his wild adventurous youth
Believed in every legend's truth;
Learn'd when, beneath the tropic gale,
Full swell'd the vessel's steady sail,
And the broad Indian moon her light
Pour'd on the watch of middle night,
When seamen love to hear and tell
Of portent, prodigy, and spell;
What gales are sold on Lapland's shore,
How whistle rash bids tempests roar,
Of witch, of mermaid, and of sprite,
Of Erick's cap and Elmo s light;
Or of that Phantom Ship, whose form
Shoots like a meteor through the storm;
When the dark scud comes driving hard,
And lower'd is every topsail-yard,
And canvas, wove in earthly looms,
No more to brave the storm presumes!
Then, 'mid the war of sea and sky,
Top and top-gallant hoisted high,
Full spread and crowded every sail,
The Demon Frigate braves the gale;
And well the doom'd spectators know
The harbinger of wreck and woe.
"Rokeby". The Poetical Works of Sir Walter Scott. London 1940. . 326-327.
The Demon Frigate.P. 327
This is an allusion to a well-known nautical superstition concerning a fantastic vessel, called by sailors the Flying Dutchman, and supposed to be seen about the latitude of the Cape of Good Hope. She is distinguished from earthly vessels by bearing a press of sail when all others are unable, from stress of weather, to show an inch of canvas. The cause of her wandering is not altogether certain; but the general account is, that she was originally a vessel loaded with great wealth, on board of which some horrid act of murder and piracy had been committed; that the plague broke out among the wicked crew who had perpetrated the crime, and that they sailed in vain from port to port; offering, as the price of shelter, the whole of their ill-gotten wealth; that they were excluded from every harbour, for fear of the contagion which was devouring them; and that, as a punishment of their crimes, the apparition of the ship still continues to haunt those seas in which the catastrophe took place, and is considered by the mariners as the worst of all possible omens.
The Poetical Works of Sir Walter Scott. London 1940. . 389. Hervorhebung: H.H.
|My late lamented
friend, Dr. John Leyden, 
has introduced this phenomenon into his 'Scenes of
Infancy,' imputing, with poetical ingenuity the dreadful lodgment to
the first ship which commenced the slave trade:
'Stout was the ship, from Benin's palmy shore
That first the weight of barter 'd captives bore;
Bedimm'd with blood, the sun with shrinking beams
Beheld her bounding o'er the ocean streams;
But, ere the moon her silver horns had rear'd,
Amid the crew the speckled plague appear'd.
Faint and despairing, on their watery bier,
To every friendly shore the sailors steer;
Repell'd from port to port, they sue in vain,
And track with slow unsteady sail the main.
Where ne'er the bright and buoyant wave is seen
To streak with wandering foam the sea-weeds green,
Towers the tall mast, a lone and leafless tree,
Till self-impell'd amid the waveless sea;
Where summer breezes ne'er were heard to sing,
Nor hovering snow-birds spread the downy wing,
Fix 'd as a rock amid the boundless plain,
The yellow stream pollutes the stagnant main,
Till far through night the funeral flames aspire,
As the red lightning smites the ghastly pyre.
Still doom' by fate on weltering billows roll'd,
Along the deep their restless course to hold,
Scenting the storm, the shadowy sailors guide
The prow with sails opposed to wind and tide;
The Spectre Ship, in livid glimpsing light,
Glares baleful on he shuddering watch at night,
Unblest of God and man:Till time shall end,
Its view strange horror to the storm shall lend.'
The Poetical Works of Sir Walter Scott. London 1940. . 389.
Hervorhebung und Einfügung: H.H.