The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero)/Poetry/Volume 5/The Island
CHRISTIAN AND HIS COMRADES.
INTRODUCTION TO THE ISLAND.
The first canto of The Island was finished January 10, 1823, We know that Byron was still at work on "the poeshie," January 25 (Letters, 1901, vi. 164), and may reasonably conjecture that a somewhat illegible date affixed to the fourth canto, stands for February 14, 1823. The MS. had been received in London before April 9 (ibid., p. 192); and on June 26, 1823, The Island; or, The Adventures of Christian and his Comrades, was published by John Hunt.
Byron's "Advertisement," or note, prefixed to The Island contains all that need be said with regard to the "sources" of the poem.
Two separate works were consulted: (1) A Narrative of the Mutiny on board His Majesty's Ship Bounty, and the subsequent Voyage of ... the Ship's Boat from Tofoa, one of the Friendly Islands, to Timor, a Dutch Settlement in the East Indies, written by Lieutenant William Bligh, 1790; and (2) An Account of the Natives of the Tonga Islands, Compiled and Arranged from the Extensive Communications of Mr. William Mariner, by John Martin, M.D., 1817.
According to George Clinton (Life and Writings of Lord Byron, 1824, p. 656), Byron was profoundly impressed by Mariner's report of the scenery and folklore of the Friendly Islands, was "never tired of talking of it to his friends," and, in order to turn this poetic material to account, finally bethought him that Bligh's Narrative of the mutiny of the Bounty would serve as a framework or structure "for an embroidery of rare device"—the figures and foliage of a tropical pattern. That, at least, is the substance of Clinton's analysis of the "sources" of The Island, and whether he spoke, or only feigned to speak, with authority, his criticism is sound and to the point. The story of the mutiny of the Bounty, which is faithfully related in the first canto, is not, as the second title implies, a prelude to the "Adventures of Christian and his Comrades," but to a description of "The Island," an Ogygia of the South Seas.
It must be borne in mind that Byron's acquaintance with the details of the mutiny of the Bounty was derived exclusively from Bligh's Narrative; that he does not seem to have studied the minutes of the court-martial on Peter Heywood and the other prisoners (September, 1792), or to have possessed the information that in 1809, and, again, in 1815, the Admiralty received authentic information with regard to the final settlement of Christian and his comrades on Pitcairn Island. Articles, however, had appeared in the Quarterly Review, February, 1810, vol. iii. pp. 23, 24, and July, 1815, vol. xiii. pp. 376-378, which contained an extract from the log-book of Captain Mayhew Folger, of the American ship Topaz, dated September 29, 1808, and letters from Folger (March 1, 1813, and Sir Thomas Staines, October 18, 1814, which solved the mystery. Moreover, the article of February, 1810, is quoted in the notes (pp. 313-318) affixed to Miss Mitford's Christina, the Maid of the South Seas, 1811, a poem founded on Blights Narrative, of which neither Byron or his reviewers seem to have heard.
But whatever may have been his opportunities of ascertaining the facts of the case, it is certain (see his note to Canto IV. section vi. line 122) that he did not know what became of Christian, and that whereas in the first canto he follows the text of Bligh's Narrative, in the three last cantos he draws upon his imagination, turning Tahiti into Toobonai (Tubuai), and transporting Toobonai from one archipelago to another—from the Society to the Friendly Islands.
Another and still more surprising feature of The Island is that Byron accepts, without qualification or reserve, the guilt of the mutineers and the innocence and worth of Lieutenant Bligh. It is true that by inheritance he was imbued with the traditions of the service, and from personal experience understood the necessity of discipline on board ship; but it may be taken for granted that it he had known that the sympathy, if not the esteem, of the public had been transferred from Bligh to Christian, that in the opinion of grave and competent writers, the guilt of mutiny on the high seas had been almost condoned by the violence and brutality of the commanding officer, he would have sided with the oppressed rather than the oppressor. As it is, he takes Bligh at his own valuation, and carefully abstains from "eulogizing mutiny." (Letter to L. Hunt, January 25, 1823.)
The story of the "mutiny of the Bounty" happened in this wise. In 1787 it occurred to certain West India planters and merchants, resident in London, that it would benefit the natives, and perhaps themselves, if the bread-fruit tree, which flourished in Tahiti (the Otaheite of Captain Cook and Sir Joseph Banks, see Poetical Works, 1899, ii. 7, note 2) and other islands of the South Seas, could be acclimatized in the West Indies. A petition was addressed to the king, with the result that a vessel, with a burden of 215 tons, which Banks christened the Bounty, sailed from Spithead December 23, 1787. Lieutenant William Bligh, who had sailed with Cook in the Resolution, acted as commanding officer, and under him were five midshipmen, a master, two master's mates, etc.—forty-four persons all told. The Bounty arrived at Tahiti October 26, 1788, and there for six delightful months the ship's company tarried, "fleeting the time carelessly, as in the elder world." But "Scripture saith an ending to all fine things must be," and on April 4, 1789, the Bounty, with a cargo of over a thousand bread-fruit trees, planted in pots, tubs, and boxes (see for plate of the pots, etc., A Voyage, etc., 1792, p. 1), sailed away westward for the Cape of Good Hope, and the West Indies. All went well at first, but "just before sun-rising" on Tuesday, April 28, 1789, "the north-westernmost of the Friendly Islands, called Tofoa, bearing north-east," Fletcher Christian, who was mate of the watch, assisted by Charles Churchill, master-at-arms, Alexander Smith (the John Adams of Pitcairn Island), and Thomas Burkitt, able seamen, seized the captain, tied his hands behind his back, hauled him out of his berth, and forced him on deck. The boatswain, William Cole, was ordered to hoist out the ship's launch, which measured twenty-three feet from stem to stern, and into this open boat Bligh, together with eighteen of the crew, who were or were supposed to be on his side, were thrust, on pain of instant death. When they were in the boat they were "veered round with a rope, and finally cast adrift." Bligh and his eighteen innocent companions sailed westward, and, after a voyage of "twelve hundred leagues," during which they were preserved from death and destruction by the wise ordering and patient heroism of the commander, safely anchored in Kœpang Bay, on the north-west coast of the Isle of Timor, June 14, 1789. (See Bligh's Narrative, etc., 1790, pp. 11-88; and The Island, Canto I. section ix. lines 169-201.)
The Bounty, with the remainder of the crew, twenty-five in number, "the most able of the ship's company," sailed eastward, first to Toobooai, or Tubuai, an island to the south of the Society Islands, thence to Tahiti (June 6), back to Tubuai (June 26), and yet again, to Tahiti (September 20), where sixteen of the mutineers, including the midshipman George Stewart (the "Torquil" of The Island), were put on shore. Finally, September 21, 1789, Fletcher Christian, with the Bounty and eight of her crew, six Tahitian men, and twelve women, sailed away still further east to unknown shores, and, so it was believed, disappeared for good and all. Long afterwards it was known that they had landed on Pitcairn Island, broken up the Bounty, and founded a permanent settlement.
When Bligh returned to England (March 14, 1790), and acquainted the Government "with the atrocious act of piracy and mutiny" which had been committed on the high seas, the Pandora frigate, with Captain Edwards, was despatched to apprehend the mutineers, and bring them back to England for trial and punishment. The Pandora reached Tahiti March 23, 1791, set sail, with fourteen prisoners, May 8, and was wrecked on the "Great Barrier Reef" north-east of Queensland, August 29, 1791. Four of the prisoners, including George Stewart, who had been manacled, and were confined in "Pandora's box," perished in the wreck, and the remaining ten were brought back to England, and tried by court-martial. (See The Eventful History of the Mutiny, etc. (by Sir John Barrow), 1831, pp. 205-244.)
The story, which runs through the second, thirds and fourth cantos, may possibly owe some of its details to a vague recollection of incidents which happened, or were supposed to happen, at Tahiti, in the interval between the final departure of the Bounty, September 21, 1789, and the arrival of the Pandora, March 23, 1791; but, as a whole, it is a work of fiction.
With the exception of the fifteenth and sixteenth cantos of Don Juan, The Island was the last poem of any importance which Byron lived to write, and the question naturally suggests itself—Is the new song as good as the old? Byron answers the question himself. He tells Leigh Hunt (January 25, 1823) that he hopes the "poem will be a little above the ordinary run of periodical poesy," and that, though portions of the Toobonai (sic) islanders are "pamby," he intends "to scatter some uncommon places here and there nevertheless." On the whole, in point of conception and execution, The Island is weaker and less coherent than the Corsair; but it contains lines and passages (e.g. Canto I. lines 107-124, 133-140; Canto II. lines 272-297; Canto IV. lines 94-188) which display a finer feeling and a more "exalted wit" than the "purple patches" of The Turkish Tales.
The poetic faculty is somewhat exhausted, but the poetic vision has been purged and heightened by suffering and self-knowledge.
The Island was reviewed in the Monthly Review, July 1823, E.S., vol. 101, pp. 316-319; the New Monthly Magazine, N.S., 1823, vol. 8, pp. 136-141; the Atlantic Magazine, April, 1826, vol. 2, pp. 333-337; in the Literary Chronicle, June 21, 1823; and the Literary Gazette, June 21, 1823.
The foundation of the following story will be found partly in Lieutenant Bligh's "Narrative of the Mutiny and Seizure of the Bounty, in the South Seas (in 1789);" and partly in "Mariner's Account of the Tonga Islands."
CANTO THE FIRST.
Her course, and gently made her liquid way;
The cloven billow flashed from off her prow
In furrows formed by that majestic plough;
The waters with their world were all before;
Behind, the South Sea's many an islet shore.
The quiet night, now dappling, 'gan to wane,
Dividing darkness from the dawning main;
The dolphins, not unconscious of the day,
Swam high, as eager of the coming ray;10
The stars from broader beams began to creep,
And lift their shining eyelids from the deep;
The sail resumed its lately shadowed white,
And the wind fluttered with a freshening flight;
The purpling Ocean owns the coming Sun,
But ere he break—a deed is to be done.
Secure in those by whom the watch was kept:
His dreams were of Old England's welcome shore,
Of toils rewarded, and of dangers o'er;20
His name was added to the glorious roll
Of those who search the storm-surrounded Pole.
The worst was over, and the rest seemed sure,
And why should not his slumber be secure?
Alas! his deck was trod by unwilling feet,
And wilder hands would hold the vessel's sheet;
Young hearts, which languished for some sunny isle,
Where summer years and summer women smile;
Men without country, who, too long estranged,
Had found no native home, or found it changed,30
And, half uncivilised, preferred the cave
Of some soft savage to the uncertain wave—
The gushing fruits that nature gave untilled;
The wood without a path—but where they willed;
The field o'er which promiscuous Plenty poured
Her horn; the equal land without a lord;
The wish—which ages have not yet subdued
In man—to have no master save his mood;
The earth, whose mine was on its face, unsold,
The glowing sun and produce all its gold;40
The Freedom which can call each grot a home;
The general garden, where all steps may roam,
Where Nature owns a nation as her child,
Exulting in the enjoyment of the wild;
Their shells, their fruits, the only wealth they know,
Their unexploring navy, the canoe;
Their sport, the dashing breakers and the chase;
Their strangest sight, an European face:—
Such was the country which these strangers yearned
To see again—a sight they dearly earned.50
Awake! awake!——Alas! it is too late!
Fiercely beside thy cot the mutineer
Stands, and proclaims the reign of rage and fear.
Thy limbs are bound, the bayonet at thy breast;
The hands, which trembled at thy voice, arrest;
Dragged o'er the deck, no more at thy command
The obedient helm shall veer, the sail expand;
That savage Spirit, which would lull by wrath
Its desperate escape from Duty's path,60
Glares round thee, in the scarce believing eyes
Of those who fear the Chief they sacrifice:
For ne'er can Man his conscience all assuage,
Unless he drain the wine of Passion—Rage.
Thou call'st the loyal with thy menaced breath:—
They come not; they are few, and, overawed,
Must acquiesce, while sterner hearts applaud.
In vain thou dost demand the cause: a curse
Is all the answer, with the threat of worse.70
Full in thine eyes is waved the glittering blade,
Close to thy throat the pointed bayonet laid.
The levelled muskets circle round thy breast
In hands as steeled to do the deadly rest.
Thou dar'st them to their worst, exclaiming—"Fire!"
But they who pitied not could yet admire;
Some lurking remnant of their former awe
Restrained them longer than their broken law;
They would not dip their souls at once in blood,
But left thee to the mercies of the flood.80
And who dare answer "No!" to Mutiny,
In the first dawning of the drunken hour,
The Saturnalia of unhoped-for power?
The boat is lowered with all the haste of hate,
With its slight plank between thee and thy fate;
Her only cargo such a scant supply
As promises the death their hands deny;
And just enough of water and of bread
To keep, some days, the dying from the dead:90
Some cordage, canvass, sails, and lines, and twine,
But treasures all to hermits of the brine,
Were added after, to the earnest prayer
Of those who saw no hope, save sea and air;
And last, that trembling vassal of the Pole—
The feeling compass—Navigation's soul.
To stun the first sensation of his crime,
Lest passion should return to reason's shoal.100
"Brandy for heroes!" Burke could once exclaim—
No doubt a liquid path to Epic fame;
And such the new-born heroes found it here,
And drained the draught with an applauding cheer.
"Huzza! for Otaheite!" was the cry.
How strange such shouts from sons of Mutiny!
The gentle island, and the genial soil,
The friendly hearts, the feasts without a toil,
The courteous manners but from nature caught,
The wealth unhoarded, and the love unbought;110
Could these have charms for rudest sea-boys, driven
Before the mast by every wind of heaven?
And now, even now prepared with others' woes
To earn mild Virtue's vain desire, repose?
Alas! such is our nature! all but aim
At the same end by pathways not the same;
Our means—our birth—our nation, and our name,
Our fortune—temper—even our outward frame,
Are far more potent o'er our yielding clay
Than aught we know beyond our little day,120
Yet still there whispers the small voice within,
Heard through Gain's silence, and o'er Glory's din:
Whatever creed be taught, or land be trod,
Man's conscience is the Oracle of God.
The launch is crowded with the faithful few
Who wait their Chief, a melancholy crew:
But some remained reluctant on the deck
Of that proud vessel—now a moral wreck—
And viewed their Captain's fate with piteous eyes;
While others scoffed his augured miseries,130
Sneered at the prospect of his pigmy sail,
And the slight bark so laden and so frail.
The tender nautilus, who steers his prow,
The sea-born sailor of his shell canoe,
The ocean Mab, the fairy of the sea,
Seems far less fragile, and, alas! more free.
He, when the lightning-winged Tornados sweep
The surge, is safe—his port is in the deep—
And triumphs o'er the armadas of Mankind,
Which shake the World, yet crumble in the wind.140
When all was now prepared, the vessel clear
Which hailed her master in the mutineer,
A seaman, less obdurate than his mates,
Showed the vain pity which but irritates;
Watched his late Chieftain with exploring eye,
And told, in signs, repentant sympathy;
Held the moist shaddock to his parchéd mouth,
Which felt Exhaustion's deep and bitter drouth.
But soon observed, this guardian was withdrawn,
Nor further Mercy clouds Rebellion's dawn.150
Then forward stepped the bold and froward boy
His Chief had cherished only to destroy,
And, pointing to the helpless prow beneath,
Exclaimed, "Depart at once! delay is death!"
Yet then, even then, his feelings ceased not all:
In that last moment could a word recall
Remorse for the black deed as yet half done,
And what he hid from many showed to one:
When Bligh in stern reproach demanded where
Was now his grateful sense of former care?160
Where all his hopes to see his name aspire,
And blazon Britain's thousand glories higher?
His feverish lips thus broke their gloomy spell,
"'Tis that! 'tis that! I am in hell! in hell!"
No more he said; but urging to the bark
His Chief, commits him to his fragile ark;
These the sole accents from his tongue that fell,
But volumes lurked below his fierce farewell.
The arctic Sun rose broad above the wave;
The breeze now sank, now whispered from his cave;170
As on the Æolian harp, his fitful wings
Now swelled, now fluttered o'er his Ocean strings.
With slow, despairing oar, the abandoned skiff
Ploughs its drear progress to the scarce seen cliff,
Which lifts its peak a cloud above the main:
That boat and ship shall never meet again!
But 'tis not mine to tell their tale of grief,
Their constant peril, and their scant relief;
Their days of danger, and their nights of pain;
Their manly courage even when deemed in vain;180
The sapping famine, rendering scarce a son
Known to his mother in the skeleton;
The ills that lessened still their little store,
And starved even Hunger till he wrung no more;
The varying frowns and favours of the deep,
That now almost ingulfs, then leaves to creep
With crazy oar and shattered strength along
The tide that yields reluctant to the strong;
The incessant fever of that arid thirst
Which welcomes, as a well, the clouds that burst190
Above their naked bones, and feels delight
In the cold drenching of the stormy night,
And from the outspread canvass gladly wrings
A drop to moisten Life's all-gasping springs;
The savage foe escaped, to seek again
More hospitable shelter from the main;
The ghastly Spectres which were doomed at last
To tell as true a tale of dangers past,
As ever the dark annals of the deep
Disclosed for man to dread or woman weep.200
We leave them to their fate, but not unknown
Nor unredressed. Revenge may have her own:
Roused Discipline aloud proclaims their cause,
And injured Navies urge their broken laws.
Pursue we on his track the mutineer,
Whom distant vengeance had not taught to fear.
Wide o'er the wave—away! away! away!
Once more his eyes shall hail the welcome bay;
Once more the happy shores without a law
Receive the outlaws whom they lately saw;210
Nature, and Nature's goddess—Woman—woos
To lands where, save their conscience, none accuse;
Where all partake the earth without dispute,
And bread itself is gathered as a fruit;
Where none contest the fields, the woods, the streams:—
The goldless Age, where Gold disturbs no dreams,
Inhabits or inhabited the shore,
Till Europe taught them better than before;
Bestowed her customs, and amended theirs,
But left her vices also to their heirs.220
Away with this! behold them as they were,
Do good with Nature, or with Nature err.
"Huzza! for Otaheite!" was the cry,
As stately swept the gallant vessel by.
The breeze springs up; the lately flapping sail
Extends its arch before the growing gale;
In swifter ripples stream aside the seas,
Which her bold bow flings off with dashing ease.
Thus Argo ploughed the Euxine's virgin foam,
But those she wafted still looked back to home;230
These spurn their country with their rebel bark,
And fly her as the raven fled the Ark;
And yet they seek to nestle with the dove,
And tame their fiery spirits down to Love.
End of Canto 1st, Jn 14.
CANTO THE SECOND.
How pleasant were the songs of Toobonai,
When Summer's Sun went down the coral bay!
Come, let us to the islet's softest shade,
And hear the warbling birds! the damsels said:
The wood-dove from the forest depth shall coo,
Like voices of the Gods from Bolotoo;
We'll cull the flowers that grow above the dead,
For these most bloom where rests the warrior's head;
And we will sit in Twilight's face, and see
The sweet Moon glancing through the Tooa tree,10
The lofty accents of whose sighing bough
Shall sadly please us as we lean below;
Or climb the steep, and view the surf in vain
Wrestle with rocky giants o'er the main,
Which spurn in columns back the baffled spray.
How beautiful are these! how happy they,
Who, from the toil and tumult of their lives,
Steal to look down where nought but Ocean strives!
Even He too loves at times the blue lagoon,
And smooths his ruffled mane beneath the Moon.20
Yes—from the sepulchre we'll gather flowers,
Then feast like spirits in their promised bowers,
Then plunge and revel in the rolling surf,
Then lay our limbs along the tender turf,
And, wet and shining from the sportive toil,
Anoint our bodies with the fragrant oil,
And plait our garlands gathered from the grave,
And wear the wreaths that sprung from out the brave.
But lo! night comes, the Mooa woos us back,
The sound of mats are heard along our track;30
Anon the torchlight dance shall fling its sheen
In flashing mazes o'er the Marly's green;
And we too will be there; we too recall
The memory bright with many a festival,
Ere Fiji blew the shell of war, when foes
For the first time were wafted in canoes.
Alas! for them the flower of manhood bleeds;
Alas! for them our fields are rank with weeds:
Forgotten is the rapture, or unknown,
Of wandering with the Moon and Love alone.40
But be it so:—they taught us how to wield
The club, and rain our arrows o'er the field:
Now let them reap the harvest of their art!
But feast to-night! to-morrow we depart.
Strike up the dance! the Cava bowl fill high!
Drain every drop!—to-morrow we may die.
In summer garments be our limbs arrayed;
Around our waists the Tappa's white displayed;
Thick wreaths shall form our coronal, like Spring's,
And round our necks shall glance the Hooni strings;50
So shall their brighter hues contrast the glow
Of the dusk bosoms that beat high below.
But now the dance is o'er—yet stay awhile;
Ah, pause! nor yet put out the social smile.
To-morrow for the Mooa we depart,
But not to-night—to-night is for the heart.
Again bestow the wreaths we gently woo,
Ye young Enchantresses of gay Licoo!
How lovely are your forms! how every sense
Bows to your beauties, softened, but intense,60
Like to the flowers on Mataloco's steep,
Which fling their fragrance far athwart the deep!—
We too will see Licoo; but—oh I my heart!—
What do I say?—to-morrow we depart!
Thus rose a song—the harmony of times
Before the winds blew Europe o'er these climes.
True, they had vices—such are Nature's growth—
But only the barbarian's—we have both;
The sordor of civilisation, mixed
With all the savage which Man's fall hath fixed.70
Who hath not seen Dissimulation's reign,
The prayers of Abel linked to deeds of Cain?
Who such would see may from his lattice view
The Old World more degraded than the New,—
Now new no more, save where Columbia rears
Twin giants, born by Freedom to her spheres,
Where Chimborazo, over air,—earth,—wave,—
Glares with his Titan eye, and sees no slave.
Such was this ditty of Tradition's days,
Which to the dead a lingering fame conveys80
In song, where Fame as yet hath left no sign
Beyond the sound whose charm is half divine;
Which leaves no record to the sceptic eye,
But yields young History all to Harmony;
A boy Achilles, with the Centaur's lyre
In hand, to teach him to surpass his sire.
For one long-cherished ballad's simple stave,
Rung from the rock, or mingled with the wave,
Or from the bubbling streamlet's grassy side,
Or gathering mountain echoes as they glide,90
Hath greater power o'er each true heart and ear,
Than all the columns Conquest's minions rear;
Invites, when Hieroglyphics are a theme
For sages' labours, or the student's dream;
Attracts, when History's volumes are a toil,—
The first, the freshest bud of Feeling's soil.
Such was this rude rhyme—rhyme is of the rude—
But such inspired the Norseman's solitude,
Who came and conquered; such, wherever rise
Lands which no foes destroy or civilise,100
Exist: and what can our accomplished art
Of verse do more than reach the awakened heart?
And sweetly now those untaught melodies
Broke the luxurious silence of the skies,
The sweet siesta of a summer day,
The tropic afternoon of Toobonai,
When every flower was bloom, and air was balm,
And the first breath began to stir the palm,
The first yet voiceless wind to urge the wave
All gently to refresh the thirsty cave,110
Where sat the Songstress with the stranger boy,
Who taught her Passion's desolating joy,
Too powerful over every heart, but most
O'er those who know not how it may be lost;
O'er those who, burning in the new-born fire,
Like martyrs revel in their funeral pyre,
With such devotion to their ecstacy,
That Life knows no such rapture as to die:
And die they do; for earthly life has nought
Matched with that burst of Nature, even in thought;
And all our dreams of better life above121
But close in one eternal gush of Love.
There sat the gentle savage of the wild,
In growth a woman, though in years a child,
As childhood dates within our colder clime,
Where nought is ripened rapidly save crime;
The infant of an infant world, as pure
From Nature—lovely, warm, and premature;
Dusky like night, but night with all her stars;
Or cavern sparkling with its native spars;130
With eyes that were a language and a spell,
A form like Aphrodite's in her shell,
With all her loves around her on the deep,
Voluptuous as the first approach of sleep;
Yet full of life—for through her tropic cheek
The blush would make its way, and all but speak;
The sun-born blood suffused her neck, and threw
O'er her dear nut-brown skin a lucid hue,
Like coral reddening through the darkened wave,
Which draws the diver to the crimson cave.140
Such was this daughter of the southern seas,
Herself a billow in her energies,
To bear the bark of others' happiness,
Nor feel a sorrow till their joy grew less:
Her wild and warm yet faithful bosom knew
No joy like what it gave; her hopes ne'er drew
Aught from Experience, that chill touchstone, whose
Sad proof reduces all things from their hues:
She feared no ill, because she knew it not,
Or what she knew was soon—too soon—forgot:150
Her smiles and tears had passed, as light winds pass
O'er lakes to ruffle, not destroy, their glass,
Whose depths unsearched, and fountains from the hill,
Restore their surface, in itself so still,
Until the Earthquake tear the Naiad's cave,
Root up the spring, and trample on the wave,
And crush the living waters to a mass,
The amphibious desert of the dank morass!
And must their fate be hers? The eternal change
But grasps Humanity with quicker range;160
And they who fall but fall as worlds will fall,
To rise, if just, a Spirit o'er them all.
And who is he? the blue-eyed northern child
Of isles more known to man, but scarce less wild;
The fair-haired offspring of the Hebrides,
Where roars the Pentland with its whirling seas;
Rocked in his cradle by the roaring wind,
The tempest-born in body and in mind,
His young eyes opening on the ocean-foam,
Had from that moment deemed the deep his home,170
The giant comrade of his pensive moods,
The sharer of his craggy solitudes,
The only Mentor of his youth, where'er
His bark was borne; the sport of wave and air;
A careless thing, who placed his choice in chance,
Nursed by the legends of his land's romance;
Eager to hope, but not less firm to bear,
Acquainted with all feelings save despair.
Placed in the Arab's clime he would have been
As bold a rover as the sands have seen,180
And braved their thirst with as enduring lip
As Ishmael, wafted on his Desert-Ship;
Fixed upon Chili's shore, a proud cacique;
On Hellas' mountains, a rebellious Greek;
Born in a tent, perhaps a Tamerlane;
Bred to a throne, perhaps unfit to reign.
For the same soul that rends its path to sway,
If reared to such, can find no further prey
Beyond itself, and must retrace its way,
Plunging for pleasure into pain: the same190
Spirit which made a Nero, Rome's worst shame,
A humbler state and discipline of heart,
Had formed his glorious namesake's counterpart;
But grant his vices, grant them all his own,
How small their theatre without a throne!
Thou smilest:—these comparisons seem high
To those who scan all things with dazzled eye;
Linked with the unknown name of one whose doom
Has nought to do with glory or with Rome,
With Chili, Hellas, or with Araby;—200
Thou smilest?—Smile; 'tis better thus than sigh;
Yet such he might have been; he was a man,
A soaring spirit, ever in the van,
A patriot hero or despotic chief,
To form a nation's glory or its grief,
Born under auspices which make us more
Or less than we delight to ponder o'er.
But these are visions; say, what was he here?
A blooming boy, a truant mutineer.
The fair-haired Torquil, free as Ocean's spray,210
The husband of the bride of Toobonai.
By Neuha's side he sate, and watched the waters,—
Neuha, the sun-flower of the island daughters,
Highborn, (a birth at which the herald smiles,
Without a scutcheon for these secret isles,)
Of a long race, the valiant and the free,
The naked knights of savage chivalry,
Whose grassy cairns ascend along the shore;
And thine—I've seen—Achilles! do no more.
She, when the thunder-bearing strangers came,220
In vast canoes, begirt with bolts of flame,
Topped with tall trees, which, loftier than the palm,
Seemed rooted in the deep amidst its calm:
But when the winds awakened, shot forth wings
Broad as the cloud along the horizon flings,
And swayed the waves, like cities of the sea,
Making the very billows look less free;—
She, with her paddling oar and dancing prow,
Shot through the surf, like reindeer through the snow,
Swift-gliding o'er the breaker's whitening edge,230
Light as a Nereid in her ocean sledge,
And gazed and wondered at the giant hulk,
Which heaved from wave to wave its trampling bulk.
The anchor dropped; it lay along the deep,
Like a huge lion in the sun asleep,
While round it swarmed the Proas' flitting chain,
Like summer bees that hum around his mane.
The white man landed!—need the rest be told?
The New World stretched its dusk hand to the Old;
Each was to each a marvel, and the tie240
Of wonder warmed to better sympathy.
Kind was the welcome of the sun-born sires,
And kinder still their daughters' gentler fires.
Their union grew: the children of the storm
Found beauty linked with many a dusky form;
While these in turn admired the paler glow,
Which seemed so white in climes that knew no snow.
The chace, the race, the liberty to roam,
The soil where every cottage showed a home;
The sea-spread net, the lightly launched canoe,250
Which stemmed the studded archipelago,
O'er whose blue bosom rose the starry isles;
The healthy slumber, earned by sportive toils;
The palm, the loftiest Dryad of the woods,
Within whose bosom infant Bacchus broods,
While eagles scarce build higher than the crest
Which shadows o'er the vineyard in her breast;
The Cava feast, the Yam, the Cocoa's root,
Which bears at once the cup, and milk, and fruit;
The Bread-tree, which, without the ploughshare, yields
The unreaped harvest of unfurrowed fields,261
And bakes its unadulterated loaves
Without a furnace in unpurchased groves,
And flings off famine from its fertile breast,
A priceless market for the gathering guest;—
These, with the luxuries of seas and woods,
The airy joys of social solitudes,
Tamed each rude wanderer to the sympathies
Of those who were more happy, if less wise,
Did more than Europe's discipline had done,270
And civilised Civilisation's son!
Of these, and there was many a willing pair,
Neuha and Torquil were not the least fair:
Both children of the isles, though distant far;
Both born beneath a sea-presiding star;
Both nourished amidst Nature's native scenes,
Loved to the last, whatever intervenes
Between us and our Childhood's sympathy,
Which still reverts to what first caught the eye.
He who first met the Highlands' swelling blue280
Will love each peak that shows a kindred hue,
Hail in each crag a friend's familiar face,
And clasp the mountain in his Mind's embrace.
Long have I roamed through lands which are not mine,
Adored the Alp, and loved the Apennine,
Revered Parnassus, and beheld the steep
Jove's Ida and Olympus crown the deep:
But 'twas not all long ages' lore, nor all
Their nature held me in their thrilling thrall;
The infant rapture still survived the boy,290
And Loch-na-gar with Ida looked o'er Troy,
Mixed Celtic memories with the Phrygian mount,
And Highland linns with Castalie's clear fount.
Forgive me, Homer's universal shade!
Forgive me, Phœbus! that my fancy strayed;
The North and Nature taught me to adore
Your scenes sublime, from those beloved before.
The love which maketh all things fond and fair,
The youth which makes one rainbow of the air,
The dangers past, that make even Man enjoy300
The pause in which he ceases to destroy,
The mutual beauty, which the sternest feel
Strike to their hearts like lightning to the steel,
United the half savage and the whole,
The maid and boy, in one absorbing soul.
No more the thundering memory of the fight
Wrapped his weaned bosom in its dark delight;
No more the irksome restlessness of Rest
Disturbed him like the eagle in her nest,
Whose whetted beak and far-pervading eye310
Darts for a victim over all the sky:
His heart was tamed to that voluptuous state,
At once Elysian and effeminate,
Which leaves no laurels o'er the Hero's urn;—
These wither when for aught save blood they burn;
Yet when their ashes in their nook are laid,
Doth not the myrtle leave as sweet a shade?
Had Cæsar known but Cleopatra's kiss,
Rome had been free, the world had not been his.
And what have Cæsar's deeds and Cæsar's fame320
Done for the earth? We feel them in our shame.
The gory sanction of his Glory stains
The rust which tyrants cherish on our chains.
Though Glory—Nature—Reason—Freedom, bid
Roused millions do what single Brutus did—
Sweep these mere mock-birds of the Despot's song
From the tall bough where they have perched so long,—
Still are we hawked at by such mousing owls,
And take for falcons those ignoble fowls,
When but a word of freedom would dispel330
These bugbears, as their terrors show too well.
Rapt in the fond forgetfulness of life,
Neuha, the South Sea girl, was all a wife,
With no distracting world to call her off
From Love; with no Society to scoff
At the new transient flame; no babbling crowd
Of coxcombry in admiration loud,
Or with adulterous whisper to alloy
Her duty, and her glory, and her joy:
With faith and feelings naked as her form,340
She stood as stands a rainbow in a storm,
Changing its hues with bright variety,
But still expanding lovelier o'er the sky,
Howe'er its arch may swell, its colours move,
The cloud-compelling harbinger of Love.
Here, in this grotto of the wave-worn shore,
They passed the Tropic's red meridian o'er;
Nor long the hours—they never paused o'er time,
Unbroken by the clock's funereal chime,
Which deals the daily pittance of our span,350
And points and mocks with iron laugh at man.
What deemed they of the future or the past?
The present, like a tyrant, held them fast:
Their hour-glass was the sea-sand, and the tide,
Like her smooth billow, saw their moments glide;
Their clock the Sun, in his unbounded tower;
They reckoned not, whose day was but an hour;
The nightingale, their only vesper-bell,
Sung sweetly to the rose the day's farewell;
The broad Sun set, but not with lingering sweep,360
As in the North he mellows o'er the deep;
But fiery, full, and fierce, as if he left
The World for ever, earth of light bereft,
Plunged with red forehead down along the wave,
As dives a hero headlong to his grave.
Then rose they, looking first along the skies,
And then for light into each other's eyes,
Wondering that Summer showed so brief a sun,
And asking if indeed the day were done.
And let not this seem strange: the devotee370
Lives not in earth, but in his ecstasy;
Around him days and worlds are heedless driven,
His Soul is gone before his dust to Heaven.
Is Love less potent? No—his path is trod,
Alike uplifted gloriously to God;
Or linked to all we know of Heaven below,
The other better self, whose joy or woe
Is more than ours; the all-absorbing flame
Which, kindled by another, grows the same,
Wrapt in one blaze; the pure, yet funeral pile,380
Where gentle hearts, like Bramins, sit and smile.
How often we forget all time, when lone,
Admiring Nature's universal throne,
Her woods—her wilds—her waters—the intense
Reply of hers to our intelligence!
Live not the Stars and Mountains? Are the Waves
Without a spirit? Are the dropping caves
Without a feeling in their silent tears?
No, no;—they woo and clasp us to their spheres,
Dissolve this clog and clod of clay before390
Its hour, and merge our soul in the great shore.
Strip off this fond and false identity!—
Who thinks of self when gazing on the sky?
And who, though gazing lower, ever thought,
In the young moments ere the heart is taught
Time's lesson, of Man's baseness or his own?
All Nature is his realm, and Love his throne.
Neuha arose, and Torquil: Twilight's hour
Came sad and softly to their rocky bower,
Which, kindling by degrees its dewy spars,400
Echoed their dim light to the mustering stars.
Slowly the pair, partaking Nature's calm,
Sought out their cottage, built beneath the palm;
Now smiling and now silent, as the scene;
Lovely as Love—the Spirit!—when serene.
The Ocean scarce spoke louder with his swell,
Than breathes his mimic murmurer in the shell,
As, far divided from his parent deep,
The sea-born infant cries, and will not sleep,
Raising his little plaint in vain, to rave410
For the broad bosom of his nursing wave:
The woods drooped darkly, as inclined to rest,
The tropic bird wheeled rockward to his nest,
And the blue sky spread round them like a lake
Of peace, where Piety her thirst might slake.
But through the palm and plantain, hark, a Voice!
Not such as would have been a lover's choice,
In such an hour, to break the air so still;
No dying night-breeze, harping o'er the hill,
Striking the strings of nature, rock and tree,420
Those best and earliest lyres of Harmony,
With Echo for their chorus; nor the alarm
Of the loud war-whoop to dispel the charm;
Nor the soliloquy of the hermit owl,
Exhaling all his solitary soul,
The dim though large-eyed wingéd anchorite,
Who peals his dreary Pæan o'er the night;
But a loud, long, and naval whistle, shrill
As ever started through a sea-bird's bill;
And then a pause, and then a hoarse "Hillo!430
Torquil, my boy! what cheer? Ho! brother, ho!"
"Who hails?" cried Torquil, following with his eye
The sound. "Here's one," was all the brief reply.
But here the herald of the self-same mouth
Came breathing o'er the aromatic south,
Not like a "bed of violets" on the gale,
But such as wafts its cloud o'er grog or ale,
Borne from a short frail pipe, which yet had blown
Its gentle odours over either zone,
And, puffed where'er winds rise or waters roll,440
Had wafted smoke from Portsmouth to the Pole,
Opposed its vapour as the lightning flashed,
And reeked, 'midst mountain-billows, unabashed,
To Æolus a constant sacrifice,
Through every change of all the varying skies.
And what was he who bore it?—I may err,
But deem him sailor or philosopher.
Sublime Tobacco! which from East to West
Cheers the tar's labour or the Turkman's rest;
Which on the Moslem's ottoman divides450
His hours, and rivals opium and his brides;
Magnificent in Stamboul, but less grand,
Though not less loved, in Wapping or the Strand;
Divine in hookas, glorious in a pipe,
When tipped with amber, mellow, rich, and ripe;
Like other charmers, wooing the caress,
More dazzlingly when daring in full dress;
Yet thy true lovers more admire by far
Thy naked beauties—Give me a cigar!
Through the approaching darkness of the wood460
A human figure broke the solitude,
Fantastically, it may be, arrayed,
A seaman in a savage masquerade;
Such as appears to rise out from the deep,
When o'er the line the merry vessels sweep,
And the rough Saturnalia of the tar
Flock o'er the deck, in Neptune's borrowed car;
And, pleased, the God of Ocean sees his name
Revive once more, though but in mimic game
Of his true sons, who riot in the breeze470
Undreamt of in his native Cyclades.
Still the old God delights, from out the main,
To snatch some glimpses of his ancient reign.
Our sailor's jacket, though in ragged trim,
His constant pipe, which never yet burned dim,
His foremast air, and somewhat rolling gait,
Like his dear vessel, spoke his former state;
But then a sort of kerchief round his head,
Not over tightly bound, nor nicely spread;
And, 'stead of trowsers (ah! too early torn!480
For even the mildest woods will have their thorn)
A curious sort of somewhat scanty mat
Now served for inexpressibles and hat;
His naked feet and neck, and sunburnt face,
Perchance might suit alike with either race.
His arms were all his own, our Europe's growth,
Which two worlds bless for civilising both;
The musket swung behind his shoulders broad,
And somewhat stooped by his marine abode,
But brawny as the boar's; and hung beneath,490
His cutlass drooped, unconscious of a sheath,
Or lost or worn away; his pistols were
Linked to his belt, a matrimonial pair—
(Let not this metaphor appear a scoff,
Though one missed fire, the other would go off);
These, with a bayonet, not so free from rust
As when the arm-chest held its brighter trust,
Completed his accoutrements, as Night
Surveyed him in his garb heteroclite.
"What cheer, Ben Bunting?" cried (when in full view
Our new acquaintance) Torquil. "Aught of new?"501
"Ey, ey!" quoth Ben, "not new, but news enow;
A strange sail in the offing."—"Sail! and how?
What! could you make her out? It cannot be;
I've seen no rag of canvass on the sea."
"Belike," said Ben, "you might not from the bay,
But from the bluff-head, where I watched to-day,
I saw her in the doldrums; for the wind
Was light and baffling."—"When the Sun declined
Where lay she? had she anchored?"—"No, but still510
She bore down on us, till the wind grew still."
"Her flag?"—"I had no glass: but fore and aft,
Egad! she seemed a wicked-looking craft."
"Armed?"—"I expect so;—sent on the look-out:
'Tis time, belike, to put our helm about."
"About?—Whate'er may have us now in chase,
We'll make no running fight, for that were base;
We will die at our quarters, like true men."
"Ey, ey! for that 'tis all the same to Ben."
"Does Christian know this?"—"Aye; he has piped all hands520
To quarters. They are furbishing the stands
Of arms; and we have got some guns to bear,
And scaled them. You are wanted."—"That's but fair;
And if it were not, mine is not the soul
To leave my comrades helpless on the shoal.
My Neuha! ah! and must my fate pursue
Not me alone, but one so sweet and true?
But whatsoe'er betide, ah, Neuha! now
Unman me not: the hour will not allow
A tear; I am thine whatever intervenes!"530
"Right," quoth Ben; "that will do for the marines."
CANTO THE THIRD.
The fight was o'er; the flashing through the gloom,
Which robes the cannon as he wings a tomb,
Had ceased; and sulphury vapours upward driven
Had left the Earth, and but polluted Heaven:
The rattling roar which rung in every volley
Had left the echoes to their melancholy;
No more they shrieked their horror, boom for boom;
The strife was done, the vanquished had their doom;
The mutineers were crushed, dispersed, or ta'en,
Or lived to deem the happiest were the slain.10
Few, few escaped, and these were hunted o'er
The isle they loved beyond their native shore.
No further home was theirs, it seemed, on earth,
Once renegades to that which gave them birth;
Tracked like wild beasts, like them they sought the wild,
As to a Mother's bosom flies the child;
But vainly wolves and lions seek their den,
And still more vainly men escape from men.
Beneath a rock whose jutting base protrudes
Far over Ocean in its fiercest moods,20
When scaling his enormous crag the wave
Is hurled down headlong, like the foremost brave,
And falls back on the foaming crowd behind,
Which fight beneath the banners of the wind,
But now at rest, a little remnant drew
Together, bleeding, thirsty, faint, and few;
But still their weapons in their hands, and still
With something of the pride of former will,
As men not all unused to meditate,
And strive much more than wonder at their fate.30
Their present lot was what they had foreseen,
And dared as what was likely to have been;
Yet still the lingering hope, which deemed their lot
Not pardoned, but unsought for or forgot,
Or trusted that, if sought, their distant caves
Might still be missed amidst the world of waves,
Had weaned their thoughts in part from what they saw
And felt, the vengeance of their country's law.
Their sea-green isle, their guilt-won Paradise,
No more could shield their Virtue or their Vice:40
Their better feelings, if such were, were thrown
Back on themselves,—their sins remained alone.
Proscribed even in their second country, they
Were lost; in vain the World before them lay;
All outlets seemed secured. Their new allies
Had fought and bled in mutual sacrifice;
But what availed the club and spear, and arm
Of Hercules, against the sulphury charm,
The magic of the thunder, which destroyed
The warrior ere his strength could be employed?50
Dug, like a spreading pestilence, the grave
No less of human bravery than the brave!
Their own scant numbers acted all the few
Against the many oft will dare and do;
But though the choice seems native to die free,
Even Greece can boast but one Thermopylæ,
Till now, when she has forged her broken chain
Back to a sword, and dies and lives again!
Beside the jutting rock the few appeared,
Like the last remnant of the red-deer's herd;60
Their eyes were feverish, and their aspect worn,
But still the hunter's blood was on their horn.
A little stream came tumbling from the height,
And straggling into ocean as it might,
Its bounding crystal frolicked in the ray,
And gushed from cliff to crag with saltless spray;
Close on the wild, wide ocean, yet as pure
And fresh as Innocence, and more secure,
Its silver torrent glittered o'er the deep,
As the shy chamois' eye overlooks the steep,70
While far below the vast and sullen swell
Of Ocean's alpine azure rose and fell.
To this young spring they rushed,—all feelings first
Absorbed in Passion's and in Nature's thirst,—
Drank as they do who drink their last, and threw
Their arms aside to revel in its dew;
Cooled their scorched throats, and washed the gory stains
From wounds whose only bandage might be chains;
Then, when their drought was quenched, looked sadly round,
As wondering how so many still were found80
Alive and fetterless:—but silent all,
Each sought his fellow's eyes, as if to call
On him for language which his lips denied,
As though their voices with their cause had died.
Stern, and aloof a little from the rest,
Stood Christian, with his arms across his chest.
The ruddy, reckless, dauntless hue once spread
Along his cheek was livid now as lead;
His light-brown locks, so graceful in their flow,
Now rose like startled vipers o'er his brow.90
Still as a statue, with his lips comprest
To stifle even the breath within his breast,
Fast by the rock, all menacing, but mute,
He stood; and, save a slight beat of his foot,
Which deepened now and then the sandy dint
Beneath his heel, his form seemed turned to flint.
Some paces further Torquil leaned his head
Agdnst a bank, and spoke not, but he bled,—
Not mortally:—his worst wound was within;
His brow was pale, his blue eyes sunken in,100
And blood-drops, sprinkled o'er his yellow hair,
Showed that his faintness came not from despair,
But Nature's ebb. Beside him was another,
Rough as a bear, but willing as a brother,—
Ben Bunting, who essayed to wash, and wipe,
And bind his wound—then calmly lit his pipe,
A trophy which survived a hundred fights,
A beacon which had cheered ten thousand nights.
The fourth and last of this deserted group
Walked up and down—at times would stand, then stoop
To pick a pebble up—then let it drop—111
Then hurry as in haste—then quickly stop—
Then cast his eyes on his companions—then
Half whistle half a tune, and pause again—
And then his former movements would redouble,
With something between carelessness and trouble.
This is a long description, but applies
To scarce five minutes passed before the eyes;
But yet what minutes! Moments like to these
Rend men's lives into immortalities.120
At length Jack Skyscrape, a mercurial man,
Who fluttered over all things like a fan,
More brave than firm, and more disposed to dare
And die at once than wrestle with despair,
Exclaimed, "G—d damn!"—those syllables intense,—
Nucleus of England's native eloquence,
As the Turk's "Allah!" or the Roman's more
Pagan "Proh Jupiter!" was wont of yore
To give their first impressions such a vent,
By way of echo to embarrassment.130
Jack was embarrassed,—never hero more,
And as he knew not what to say, he swore:
Nor swore in vain; the long congenial sound
Revived Ben Bunting from his pipe profound;
He drew it from his mouth, and looked full wise,
But merely added to the oath his eyes;
Thus rendering the imperfect phrase complete,
A peroration I need not repeat.
But Christian, of a higher order, stood
like an extinct volcano in his mood;140
Silent, and sad, and savage,—with the trace
Of passion reeking from his clouded face;
Till lifting up again his sombre eye,
It glanced on Torquil, who leaned faintly by.
"And is it thus?" he cried, "unhappy boy!
And thee, too, thee—my madness must destroy!"
He said, and strode to where young Torquil stood,
Yet dabbled with his lately flowing blood;
Seized his hand wistfully, but did not press,
And shrunk as fearful of his own caress;150
Enquired into his state: and when he heard
The wound was slighter than he deemed or feared,
A moment's brightness passed along his brow,
As much as such a moment would allow.
"Yes," he exclaimed, "we are taken in the toil,
But not a coward or a common spoil;
Dearly they have bought us—dearly still may buy,—
And I must fall; but have you strength to fly?
'Twould be some comfort still, could you survive;
Our dwindled band is now too few to strive.160
Oh! for a sole canoe! though but a shell,
To bear you hence to where a hope may dwell!
For me, my lot is what I sought; to be,
In life or death, the fearless and the free."
Even as he spoke, around the promontory,
Which nodded o'er the billows high and hoary,
A dark speck dotted Ocean: on it flew
Like to the shadow of a roused sea-mew;
Onward it came—and, lo! a second followed—
Now seen—now hid—where Ocean's vale was hollowed;
And near, and nearer, till the dusky crew171
Presented well-known aspects to the view,
Till on the surf their skimming paddles play,
Buoyant as wings, and flitting through the spray;—
Now perching on the wave's high curl, and now
Dashed downward in the thundering foam below,
Which flings it broad and boiling sheet on sheet,
And slings its high flakes, shivered into sleet:
But floating still through surf and swell, drew nigh
The barks, like small birds through a lowering sky.180
Their art seemed nature—such the skill to sweep
The wave of these born playmates of the deep.
And who the first that, springing on the strand,
Leaped like a Nereid from her shell to land,
With dark but brilliant skin, and dewy eye
Shining with love, and hope, and constancy?
Neuha—the fond, the faithful, the adored—
Her heart on Torquil's like a torrent poured;
And smiled, and wept, and near, and nearer clasped,
As if to be assured 'twas him she grasped;190
Shuddered to see his yet warm wound, and then,
To find it trivial, smiled and wept again.
She was a warrior's daughter, and could bear
Such sights, and feel, and mourn, but not despair.
Her lover lived,—nor foes nor fears could blight
That full-blown moment in its all delight:
Joy trickled in her tears, joy filled the sob
That rocked her heart till almost heard to throb;
And Paradise was breathing in the sigh
Of Nature's child in Nature's ecstasy.200
The sterner spirits who beheld that meeting
Were not unmoved; who are, when hearts are greeting?
Even Christian gazed upon the maid and boy
With tearless eye, but yet a gloomy joy
Mixed with those bitter thoughts the soul arrays
In hopeless visions of our better days,
When all's gone—to the rainbow's latest ray.
"And but for me!" he said, and turned away;
Then gazed upon the pair, as in his den
A lion looks upon his cubs again;210
And then relapsed into his sullen guise,
As heedless of his further destinies.
But brief their time for good or evil thought;
The billows round the promontory brought
The plash of hostile oars.—Alas! who made
That sound a dread? All around them seemed arrayed
Against them, save the bride of Toobonai:
She, as she caught the first glimpse o'er the bay
Of the armed boats, which hurried to complete
The remnant's ruin with their flying feet,220
Beckoned the natives round her to their prows,
Embarked their guests and launched their light canoes;
In one placed Christian and his comrades twain—
But she and Torquil must not part again.
She fixed him in her own.—Away! away!
They cleared the breakers, dart along the bay,
And towards a group of islets, such as bear
The sea-bird's nest and seal's surf-hollowed lair,
They skim the blue tops of the billows; fast
They flew, and fast their fierce pursuers chased.230
They gain upon them—now they lose again,—
Again make way and menace o'er the main;
And now the two canoes in chase divide,
And follow different courses o'er the tide,
To baffle the pursuit.—Away! away!
As Life is on each paddle's flight to-day,
And more than Life or lives to Neuha: Love
Freights the frail bark and urges to the cove;
And now the refuge and the foe are nigh—
Yet, yet a moment! Fly, thou light ark, fly!240
CANTO THE FOURTH.
White as a white sail on a dusky sea,
When half the horizon 's clouded and half free,
Fluttering between the dun wave and the sky,
Is Hope's last gleam in Man's extremity.
Her anchor parts; but still her snowy sail
Attracts our eye amidst the rudest gale:
Though every wave she climbs divides us more,
The heart still follows from the loneliest shore.
Not distant from the isle of Toobonai,
A black rock rears its bosom o'er the spray,10
The haunt of birds, a desert to mankind,
Where the rough seal reposes from the wind,
And sleeps unwieldy in his cavern dun,
Or gambols with huge frolic in the sun:
There shrilly to the passing oar is heard
The startled echo of the Ocean bird,
Who rears on its bare breast her callow brood,
The feathered fishers of the solitude.
A narrow segment of the yellow sand
On one side forms the outline of a strand;20
Here the young turtle, crawling from his shell,
Steals to the deep wherein his parents dwell;
Chipped by the beam, a nursling of the day,
But hatched for ocean by the fostering ray;
The rest was one bleak precipice, as e'er
Gave mariners a shelter and despair;
A spot to make the saved regret the deck
Which late went down, and envy the lost wreck.
Such was the stern asylum Neuha chose
To shield her lover from his following foes;30
But all its secret was not told; she knew
In this a treasure hidden from the view.
Ere the canoes divided, near the spot,
The men that manned what held her Torquil's lot,
By her command removed, to strengthen more
The skiff which wafted Christian from the shore.
This he would have opposed; but with a smile
She pointed calmly to the craggy isle,
And bade him "speed and prosper." She would take
The rest upon herself for Torquil's sake.40
They parted with this added aid; afar,
The Proa darted like a shooting star,
And gained on the pursuers, who now steered
Right on the rock which she and Torquil neared.
They pulled; her arm, though delicate, was free
And firm as ever grappled with the sea,
And yielded scarce to Torquil's manlier strength.
The prow now almost lay within its length
Of the crag's steep inexorable face,
With nought but soundless waters for its base;50
Within a hundred boats' length was the foe,
And now what refuge but their frail canoe?
This Torquil asked with half upbraiding eye,
Which said—"Has Neuha brought me here to die?
Is this a place of safety, or a grave,
And yon huge rock the tombstone of the wave?"
They rested on their paddles, and uprose
Neuha, and pointing to the approaching foes,
Cried, "Torquil, follow me, and fearless follow!"
Then plunged at once into the Ocean's hollow.60
There was no time to pause—the foes were near—
Chains in his eye, and menace in his ear;
With vigour they pulled on, and as they came,
Hailed him to yield, and by his forfeit name.
Headlong he leapt—to him the swimmer's skill
Was native, and now all his hope from ill:
But how, or where? He dived, and rose no more;
The boat's crew looked amazed o'er sea and shore.
There was no landing on that precipice,
Steep, harsh, and slippery as a berg of ice.70
They watched awhile to see him float again,
But not a trace rebubbled from the main:
The wave rolled on, no ripple on its face,
Since their first plunge recalled a single trace;
The little whirl which eddied, and slight foam,
That whitened o'er what seemed their latest home,
White as a sepulchre above the pair
Who left no marble (mournful as an heir)
The quiet Proa wavering o'er the tide
Was all that told of Torquil and his bride;80
And but for this alone the whole might seem
The vanished phantom of a seaman's dream.
They paused and searched in vain, then pulled away;
Even Superstition now forbade their stay.
Some said he had not plunged into the wave,
But vanished like a corpse-light from a grave;
Others, that something supernatural
Glared in his figure, more than mortal tall;
While all agreed that in his cheek and eye
There was a dead hue of Eternity.90
Still as their oars receded from the crag,
Round every weed a moment would they lag,
Expectant of some token of their prey;
But no—he had melted from them like the spray.
And where was he the Pilgrim of the Deep,
Following the Nereid? Had they ceased to weep
For ever? or, received in coral caves,
Wrung life and pity from the softening waves?
Did they with Ocean's hidden sovereigns dwell,
And sound with Mermen the fantastic shell?100
Did Neuha with the mermaids comb her hair
Flowing o'er ocean as it streamed in air?
Or had they perished, and in silence slept
Beneath the gulf wherein they boldly leapt?
Young Neuha plunged into the deep, and he
Followed: her track beneath her native sea
Was as a native's of the element,
So smoothly—bravely—brilliantly she went,
Leaving a streak of light behind her heel,
Which struck and flashed like an amphibious steel.110
Closely, and scarcely less expert to trace
The depths where divers hold the pearl in chase,
Torquil, the nursling of the northern seas,
Pursued her liquid steps with heart and ease.
Deep—deeper for an instant Neuha led
The way—then upward soared—and as she spread
Her arms, and flung the foam from off her locks,
Laughed, and the sound was answered by the rocks.
They had gained a central realm of earth again,
But looked for tree, and field, and sky, in vain.120
Around she pointed to a spacious cave,
Whose only portal was the keyless wave,
(A hollow archway by the sun unseen,
Save through the billows' glassy veil of green,
In some transparent ocean holiday,
When all the finny people are at play,)
Wiped with her hair the brine from Torquil's eyes,
And clapped her hands with joy at his surprise;
Led him to where the rock appeared to jut,
And form a something like a Triton's hut;130
For all was darkness for a space, till day,
Through clefts above let in a sobered ray;
As in some old cathedral's glimmering aisle
The dusty monuments from light recoil,
Thus sadly in their refuge submarine
The vault drew half her shadow from the scene.
Forth from her bosom the young savage drew
A pine torch, strongly girded with gnatoo;
A plantain-leaf o'er all, the more to keep
Its latent sparkle from the sapping deep.140
This mantle kept it dry; then from a nook
Of the same plantain-leaf a flint she took,
A few shrunk withered twigs, and from the blade
Of Torquil's knife struck fire, and thus arrayed
The grot with torchlight. Wide it was and high,
And showed a self-born Gothic canopy;
The arch upreared by Nature's architect,
The architrave some Earthquake might erect;
The buttress from some mountain's bosom hurled,
When the Poles crashed, and water was the world;150
Or hardened from some earth-absorbing fire,
While yet the globe reeked from its funeral pyre;
The fretted pinnacle, the aisle, the nave,
Were there, all scooped by Darkness from her cave.
There, with a little tinge of phantasy,
Fantastic faces moped and mowed on high,
And then a mitre or a shrine would fix
The eye upon its seeming crucifix.
Thus Nature played with the stalactites,
And built herself a Chapel of the Seas.160
And Neuha took her Torquil by the hand,
And waved along the vault her kindled brand,
And led him into each recess, and showed
The secret places of their new abode.
Nor these alone, for all had been prepared
Before, to soothe the lover's lot she shared:
The mat for rest; for dress the fresh gnatoo,
And sandal oil to fence against the dew;
For food the cocoa-nut, the yam, the bread
Born of the fruit; for board the plantain spread170
With its broad leaf, or turtle-shell which bore
A banquet in the flesh it covered o'er;
The gourd with water recent from the rill,
The ripe banana from the mellow hill;
A pine-torch pile to keep undying light,
And she herself, as beautiful as night,
To fling her shadowy spirit o'er the scene,
And make their subterranean world serene.
She had foreseen, since first the stranger's sail
Drew to their isle, that force or flight might fail,180
And formed a refuge of the rocky den
For Torquil's safety from his countrymen.
Each dawn had wafted there her light canoe,
Laden with all the golden fruits that grew;
Each eve had seen her gliding through the hour
With all could cheer or deck their sparry bower;
And now she spread her little store with smiles,
The happiest daughter of the loving isles.
She, as he gazed with grateful wonder, pressed
Her sheltered love to her impassioned breast;190
And suited to her soft caresses, told
An olden tale of Love,—for Love is old,
Old as eternity, but not outworn
With each new being born or to be born:
How a young Chief, a thousand moons ago,
Diving for turtle in the depths below,
Had risen, in tracking fast his ocean prey,
Into the cave which round and o'er them lay;
How, in some desperate feud of after-time,
He sheltered there a daughter of the clime,200
A foe beloved, and offspring of a foe,
Saved by his tribe but for a captive's woe;
How, when the storm of war was stilled, he led
His island clan to where the waters spread
Their deep-green shadow o'er the rocky door,
Then dived—it seemed as if to rise no more:
His wondering mates, amazed within their bark,
Or deemed him mad, or prey to the blue shark;
Rowed round in sorrow the sea-girded rock,
Then paused upon their paddles from the shock;210
When, fresh and springing from the deep, they saw
A Goddess rise—so deemed they in their awe;
And their companion, glorious by her side,
Proud and exulting in his Mermaid bride;
And how, when undeceived, the pair they bore
With sounding conchs and joyous shouts to shore;
How they had gladly lived and calmly died,—
And why not also Torquil and his bride?
Not mine to tell the rapturous caress
Which followed wildly in that wild recess220
This tale; enough diat all within that cave
Was love, though buried strong as in the grave,
Where Abelard, through twenty years of death,
When Eloïsa's form was lowered beneath
Their nuptial vault, his arms outstretched, and pressed
The kindling ashes to his kindled breast.
The waves without sang round their couch, their roar
As much unheeded as if life were o'er;
Within, their hearts made all their harmony,
Love's broken murmur and more broken sigh.230
And they, the cause and sharers of the shock
Which left them exiles of the hollow rock,
Where were they? O'er the sea for life they plied,
To seek from Heaven the shelter men denied.
Another course had been their choice—but where?
The wave which bore them still their foes would bear,
Who, disappointed of their former chase,
In search of Christian now renewed their race.
Eager with anger, their strong arms made way,
Like vultures baffled of their previous prey.240
They gained upon them, all whose safety lay
In some bleak crag or deeply-hidden bay:
No further chance or choice remained; and right
For the first further rock which met their sight
They steered, to take their latest view of land,
And yield as victims, or die sword in hand;
Dismissed the natives and their shallop, who
Would still have battled for that scanty crew;
But Christian bade them seek their shore again,
Nor add a sacrifice which were in vain;250
For what were simple bow and savage spear
Against the arms which must be wielded here?
They landed on a wild but narrow scene,
Where few but Nature's footsteps yet had been;
Prepared their arms, and with that gloomy eye,
Stern and sustained, of man's extremity,
When Hope is gone, nor Glory's self remains
To cheer resistance against death or chains,—
They stood, the three, as the three hundred stood
Who dyed Thermopylæ with holy blood.260
But, ah! how different! 'tis the cause makes all,
Degrades or hallows courage in its fall.
O'er them no fame, eternal and intense,
Blazed through the clouds of Death and beckoned hence;
No grateful country, smiling through her tears,
Begun the praises of a thousand years;
No nation's eyes would on their tomb be bent,
No heroes envy them their monument;
However boldly their warm blood was spilt,
Their Life was shame, their Epitaph was guilt.270
And this they knew and felt, at least the one,
The leader of the band he had undone;
Who, born perchance for better things, had set
His life upon a cast which lingered yet:
But now the die was to be thrown, and all
The chances were in favour of his fall:
And such a fall! But still he faced the shock,
Obdurate as a portion of the rock
Whereon he stood, and fixed his levelled gun,
Dark as a sullen cloud before the sun.280
The boat drew nigh, well armed, and firm the crew
To act whatever Duty bade them do;
Careless of danger, as the onward wind
Is of the leaves it strews, nor looks behind.
And, yet, perhaps, they rather wished to go
Against a nation's than a native foe,
And felt that this poor victim of self-will,
Briton no more, had once been Britain's still.
They hailed him to surrender—no reply;
Their arms were poised, and glittered in the sky.290
They hailed again—no answer; yet once more
They offered quarter louder than before.
The echoes only, from the rock's rebound,
Took their last farewell of the dying sound.
Then flashed the flint, and blazed the volleying flame,
And the smoke rose between them and their aim,
While the rock rattled with the bullets' knell,
Which pealed in vain, and flattened as they fell;
Then flew the only answer to be given
By those who had lost all hope in earth or heaven.300
After the first fierce peal as they pulled nigher,
They heard the voice of Christian shout, "Now, fire!"
And ere the word upon the echo died,
Two fell; the rest assailed the rock's rough side,
And, furious at the madness of their foes,
Disdained all further efforts, save to close.
But steep the crag, and all without a path,
Each step opposed a bastion to their wrath,
While, placed 'midst clefts the least accessible,
Which Christian's eye was trained to mark full well,310
The three maintained a strife which must not yield,
In spots where eagles might have chosen to build.
Their every shot told; while the assailant fell,
Dashed on the shingles like the limpet shell;
But still enough survived, and mounted still,
Scattering their numbers here and there, until
Surrounded and commanded, though not nigh
Enough for seizure, near enough to die,
The desperate trio held aloof their fate
But by a thread, like sharks who have gorged the bait;
Yet to the very last they battled well,321
And not a groan informed their foes who fell.
Christian died last—twice wounded; and once more
Mercy was offered when they saw his gore;
Too late for life, but not too late to die,
With, though a hostile hand, to close his eye.
A limb was broken, and he drooped along
The crag, as doth a falcon reft of young.
The sound revived him, or appeared to wake
Some passion which a weakly gesture spake:330
He beckoned to the foremost, who drew nigh,
But, as they neared, he reared his weapon high—
His last ball had been aimed, but from his breast
He tore the topmost button from his vest,
Down the tube dashed it—levelled—fired, and smiled
As his foe fell; then, like a serpent, coiled
His wounded, weary form, to where the steep
Looked desperate as himself along the deep;
Cast one glance back, and clenched his hand, and shook
His last rage 'gainst the earth which he forsook;340
Then plunged: the rock below received like glass
His body crushed into one gory mass,
With scarce a shred to tell of human form,
Or fragment for the sea-bird or the worm;
A fair-haired scalp, besmeared with blood and weeds,
Yet reeked, the remnant of himself and deeds;
Some splinters of his weapons (to the last,
As long as hand could hold, he held them fast)
Yet glittered, but at distance—hurled away
To rust beneath the dew and dashing spray.350
The rest was nothing—save a life mis-spent,
And soul—but who shall answer where it went?
'Tis ours to bear, not judge the dead; and they
Who doom to Hell, themselves are on the way,
Unless these bullies of eternal pains
Are pardoned their bad hearts for their worse brains.
The deed was over! All were gone or ta'en,
The fugitive, the captive, or the slain.
Chained on the deck, where once, a gallant crew,
They stood with honour, were the wretched few360
Survivors of the skirmish on the isle;
But the last rock left no surviving spoil.
Cold lay they where they fell, and weltering,
While o'er them flapped the sea-birds' dewy wing,
Now wheeling nearer from the neighbouring surge,
And screaming high their harsh and hungry dirge:
But calm and careless heaved the wave below,
Eternal with unsympathetic flow;
Far o'er its face the Dolphins sported on,
And sprung the flying fish against the sun,370
Till its dried wing relapsed from its brief height,
To gather moisture for another flight.
'Twas morn; and Neuha, who by dawn of day
Swam smoothly forth to catch the rising ray,
And watch if aught approached the amphibious lair
Where lay her lover, saw a sail in air:
It flapped, it filled, and to the growing gale
Bent its broad arch: her breath began to fail
With fluttering fear, her heart beat thick and high,
While yet a doubt sprung where its course might lie.380
But no! it came not; fast and far away
The shadow lessened as it cleared the bay.
She gazed, and flung the sea-foam from her eyes,
To watch as for a rainbow in the skies.
On the horizon verged the distant deck,
Diminished, dwindled to a very speck—
Then vanished. All was Ocean, all was Joy!
Down plunged she through the cave to rouse her boy;
Told all she had seen, and all she hoped, and all
That happy love could augur or recall;390
Sprung forth again, with Torquil following free
His bounding Nereid over the broad sea;
Swam round the rock, to where a shallow cleft
Hid the canoe that Neuha there had left
Drifting along the tide, without an oar,
That eve the strangers chased them from the shore;
But when these vanished, she pursued her prow,
Regained, and urged to where they found it now:
Nor ever did more love and joy embark,
Than now were wafted in that slender ark.400
Again their own shore rises on the view,
No more polluted with a hostile hue;
No sullen ship lay bristling o'er the foam,
A floating dungeon:—all was Hope and Home!
A thousand Proas darted o'er the bay,
With sounding shells, and heralded their way;
The chiefs came down, around the people poured,
And welcomed Torquil as a son restored;
The women thronged, embracing and embraced
By Neuha, asking where they had been chased,410
And how escaped? The tale was told; and then
One acclamation rent the sky again;
And from that hour a new tradition gave
Their sanctuary the name of "Neuha's Cave."
A hundred fires, far flickering from the height,
Blazed o'er the general revel of the night,
The feast in honour of the guest, returned
To Peace and Pleasure, perilously earned;
A night succeeded by such happy days
As only the yet infant world displays.420
END OF VOL. V.
PRINTED BY WILLIAM CLOWES AND SONS, LIMITED,
LONDON AND BECCLES.
- ——and made before the breeze her way.—[MS. D. erased.]
- ——their doubtful shimmer from the deep.—[MS. D. erased.]
- [William Bligh, the son of Cornish parents, was born September 9, 1754 (? 1753). He served under Cook in his second voyage in the Resolution 1772-75, as sailing-master; and, in 1782, fought under Lord Howe at Gibraltar. He married a daughter of William Betham, first collector of customs in the Isle of Man, and hence his connection with Fletcher Christian, who belonged to a Manx family, and the midshipman Peter Hayward, who was the son of a Deemster. He was appointed to the Bounty in December, 1787, and in 1791 to the Providence, which was despatched to the Society Islands to obtain a fresh cargo of bread-fruit trees in place of those which were thrown overboard by the mutineers. He commanded the Glatton at Copenhagen, May 21, 1801, and on that and other occasions served with distinction. He was made Governor of New South Wales in 1805, but was forcibly deposed in an insurrection headed by Major Johnston, January, 1808. He was kept in prison till 1810, but on his return to England his administration of his office was approved, and Johnston was cashiered. He was advanced to the rank of Vice-Admiral of the Blue in 1814, and died, December 7, 1817.
In his Narrative Bligh describes the mutiny as "a close-planned act of villainy," and attributes the conspiracy not to his own harshness, or to disloyalty provoked by "real or imaginary grievances," but to the contrast of life on board ship, "in ever climbing up the climbing wave," with the unearned luxuries of Tahiti, "the allurements of dissipation ... the female connections," which the sailors had left behind. Besides his own apology, there are the sworn statements of the two midshipmen, Hayward and Hallet, and others, which Bligh published in answer to a pamphlet which Edward Christian, afterwards Chief Justice of Ely, wrote in defence of his brother Fletcher. The evidence against Bligh is contained in the MS. journal of the boatswain's mate, James Morrison, which was saved, as by a miracle, from the wreck of the Pandora, and is quoted by Sir John Barrow, Lady Belcher, and other authorities. There is, too, the testimony of John Adams (Alexander Smith), as recorded by Captain Beachey, and, as additional proof of indifference and tyrannical behavioiur, there are Bligh's own letters to Peter Hayward's mother and uncle (March 26, April 2, 1790), and W. C. Wentworth's account of his administration as Governor of New South Wales (see A Statistical Description, etc., 1819, p. 166). It cannot be gainsaid that Bligh was a man of integrity and worth, and that he was upheld and esteemed by the Admiralty. Morrison's Journal, though in parts corroborated by Bligh's MS. Journal, is not altogether convincing, and the testimony of John Adams in his old age counts for little. But according to his own supporters he "damned" his men though not the officers, and his own Narrative, as well as Morrison's Journal, proves that he was suspicious, and that he underrated and misunderstood the character and worth of his subordinates. He was responsible for the prolonged sojourn at Tahiti, and he should have remembered that time and distance are powerful solvents, and that between Portsmouth Hard and the ontracked waters of the Pacific, "all Arcadia" had intervened. He was a man of imperfect sympathies, wanting in tact and fineness, but in the hour of need he behaved like a hero, and saved himself and others by submission to duty and strenuous self-control Moreover, he "helped England" not once or twice, "in the brave days of old." (See A Narrative, etc., 1790; The Naval History of Great Britain, by E. P. Brenton, 1823. i. 96, sq.; Royal Naval Biography, by John Marshall, 1823-35, ii. pp. 747, sq.; Mutineers of the Bounty, by Lady Belcher, 1870, p. 8; Dictionary of National Biography, art. "Bligh.")]
- ["A few hours before, my situation had been peculiarly flattering. I had a ship in the most perfect order, and well stored with every necessary, both for service and health; ... the voyage was two thirds completed, and the remaining part in a very promising way."—A Narrative of the Mutiny, etc., by Lieut. W. Bligh, 1790, p. 9.]
- ["The women at Otaheite are handsome, mild, and cheerful in their manners and conversation, possessed of great sensibility, and have sufficient delicacy to make them admired and beloved. The chiefs were so much attached to our people, that they rather encouraged their stay among them than otherwise, and even made them promises of large possessions. Under these and many other attendant circumstances equally desirable, it is now, perhaps, not so much to be wondered at . . . that a set of sailors, most of them void of connections, should be led away, especially when they imagined it in their power to fix themselves, in the midst of plenty . . . on the finest island in the world, where they need not labour, and where the allurements of dissipation are beyond anything that can be conceived."—ibid., p. 10.]
- And all enjoy the exuberance of the wild.—[MS. D. erased.]
- Their formidable fleet the quick canoe.—[MS. D. erased.]
- ["Just before sunrising Mr. Christian, with the master-at-arms, gunner's mate, and Thomas Burkitt, seaman, came into my cabin while I was asleep, and, seizing me, tied my hands with a cord behind my back, and threatened me with instant death if I spoke or made the least noise. I, however, called out so loud as to alarm every one; but they had already secured the officers who were not of their party, by placing sentinels at their doors. There were three men at my cabin door, besides the four within; Christian had only a cutlass in his hand, the others had muskets and bayonets. I was hauled out of bed, and forced on deck in my shirt, suffering great pain from the tightness with which they had tied my hands. . . . The boatswain was now ordered to hoist the launch out. The boat being hoisted out, Mr. Hayward and Mr. Hallet, midshipmen, were ordered into it; upon which I demanded the cause of such an order, and endeavoured to persuade some one to a sense of duty; but it was to no effect: 'Hold your tongue, sir, or you are dead this instant,' was constantly repeated to me."—A Narrative if the Mutiny, etc., by Lieut. W. Bligh, 1790, pp. 1, 2.]
- ["The boatswain, and seamen who were to go in the boat, were allowed to collect twine, canvass, lines, sails, cordage, an eight-and-twenty-gallon cask of water, and the carpenter to take his tool-chest. Mr. Samuel got one hundred and fifty pounds of bread with a small quantity of rum and wine ... also a quadrant and compass."—Ibid., p. 3.]
- ["The mutineers now hurried those they meant to get rid of into the boat, ... Christian directed a dram to be served to each of his own crew."—A Narrative, etc., 1790, p. 3.]
And lull it in his followers—"Ho! the drum"
Rebellion's sacrament, and paschal lamb.
(A broken metaphor of flesh for wine
But Catholics know the exchange is none of mine.—[MS. D. erased.]
And raise it in his followers—Ho! the bowl
That sure Neponthe for the wavering [soul].—[MS. D. erased.]
- [It was Johnson, not Burke, who upheld the claims of brandy.—"He was persuaded," says Boswell, "to drink one glass of it [claret]. He shook his head, and said, 'Poor stuff!—No, Sir, claret is the liquor for boys; port for men; but he who aspires to be a hero (smiling) must drink brandy.'"—Boswell's Life of Johnson, 1848, p. 627.]
- ["While the ship ... was in sight she steered to the W.N.W., but I considered this only a feint; for when we were sent away, 'Huzza for Otaheite!' was frequently heard among the mutineers."—A Narrative, etc., 1790, pp. 4-8. This statement is questioned by Sir John Barrow (The Eventful History, etc., 1831, p. 91), on the grounds that the mutiny was the result of a sudden determination on the part of Christian, and that liberty, and not the delights of Tahiti, was the object which the mutineers had in view.]
- [A variant of Pope's lines—
"For modes of faith let graceless zealots fight,
His can't be wrong, whose life is in the right."
Essay on Man. iii. 305, 306.]
- ["Isaac Martin, one of the guard over me, I saw, had an inclination to assist me: and as he fed me with shaddock (my lips being quite parched with my endeavours to bring about a change), we explained our wishes to each other by our looks; but this being observed, Martin was instantly removed from me."—A Narrative, etc., 1790, p. 4.]
- ["Christian ... then ... said, 'Come, Captain Bligh, your officers and men are now in the boat; and you must go with them; if you attempt to make the least resistance you will instantly be put to death;' and without any farther ceremony, holding me by the cord that tied my hands, with a tribe of armed ruffians about me, I was forced over the side, where they untied my hands. Being in the boat, we were veered astern by a rope. A few pieces of pork were thrown to me and some clothes.... After having undergone a great deal of ridicule, and being kept for some time to make sport for these unfeeling wretches, we were at length cast adrift in the open ocean.... When they were forcing me out of the ship, I asked him [Christian] if this treatment was a proper return for the many instances be had received of my friendship? He appeared disturbed at the question, and answered, with much emotion, 'That,—Captain Bligh,—that is the thing;—I am in hell—I am in hell.'"—A Narrative, etc., 1790, pp. 4-8.
Bligh's testimony on this point does not correspond with Morrison's journal, or with the evidence of the master, John Fryer, given at the court-martial, September 12, 1792. According to Morrison, when the boatswain tried to pacify Christian, he replied, "It is too late. I have been in hell for this fortnight past, and am determined to bear it no longer." The master's version is that he appealed to Christian, and that Christian exclaimed, "Hold your tongue, sir, I have been in hell for weeks past; Captain Bligh has brought all this on himself." Bligh seems to have flattered himself that in the act of mutiny Christian was seized with remorse, but it is clear that the wish was father to the thought. Moreover, on being questioned, Fryer, who was a supporter of the captain, explained that Christian referred to quarrels, to abuse in general, and more particularly to a recent accusation of stealing cocoa-nuts. (See The Eventful History, etc., 1831, pp. 84, 208, 209.)]
- [Byron must mean "antarctic." "Arctic" is used figuratively for "cold," but not as a synonym for "polar."]
- Now swelled now sighed along—.—[MS. D. erased.]
- ["At dawn of day some of my people seemed half dead; our appearances were horrible; and I could look no way, but I caught the eye of some one in distress."—A Narrative, etc., p. 37. Later on, p. 80, when the launch reached Timor, he speaks of the crew as "so many spectres, whose ghastly countenances, if the cause had been unknown, would have excited terror rather than pity."]
- [Bligh dwells on the misery caused to the luckless crew by drenching rains and by hunger, but says that no one suffered from thirst.]
- Nor yet unpitied. Vengeance had her own.—[MS. D. erased.]
- ——the undisputed root.—[MS. D. erased.]
- The now celebrated bread fruit, to transplant which Captain Bligh's expedition was undertaken.
[The bread-fruit (Autocarpus incisa) was discovered by Dampier, in 1688. "Cook says that its taste is insipid, with a slight sweetness, somewhat resembling that of the crumb of wheaten bread mixed with a Jerusalem artichoke."—The Eventful History, etc., 1831, p. 43.]
- [See Letters from Mr. Fletcher Christian (pseud.), 1796. pp. 48, 49.]
- Thus Argo plunged into the Euxine's foam.—[MS. D. erased.]
- The first three sections are taken from an actual song of the Tonga Islanders, of which a prose translation is given in "Mariner's Account of the Tonga Islands." Toobonai is not however one of them; but was one of those where Christian and the mutineers took refuge. I have altered and added, but have retained as much as possible of the original.
["Whilst we were talking of Vaváoo tóoa Lico, the women said to us, 'Let us repair to the back of the island to contemplate the setting sun: there let us listen to the warbling of the birds, and the cooing of the wood-pigeon. We will gather flowers from the burying-place at Matáwto, and partake of refreshments prepared for us at Lico O'nĕ: we will then bathe in the sea, and rinse ourselves in the Váoo A'ca; we will anoint our skins in the sun with sweet-scented oil, and will plait in wreaths the flowers gathered at Matáwto.' And now as we stand motionless on the eminence over Anoo Mánoo, the whistling of the wind among the branches of the lofty toa shall fill us with a pleasing melancholy; or our minds shall be seized with astonishment as we behold the roaring surf below, endeavouring but in vain to tear away the firm rocks. Oh! how much happier shall we be thus employed, than when engaged in the troublesome and insipid cares of life!
"Now as night comes on, we must return to the Moóa. But hark!—hear you not the sound of the mats?—they are practising a bo-oóla ['a kind of dance performed by torch-light'], to be performed to-night on the malái, at Tanéa. Let us also go there. How will that scene of rejoicing call to our minds the many festivals held there, before Vaváoo was torn to pieces by war! Alas! how destructive is war! Behold! how it has rendered the land productive of weeds, and opened untimely graves for departed heroes! Our chiefs can now no longer enjoy the sweet pleasure of wandering alone by moonlight in search of their mistresses. But let us banish sorrow from our hearts: since we are at war, we must think and act like the natives of Fiji, who first taught us this destructive art. Let us therefore enjoy the present time, for to-morrow perhaps, or the next day, we may die. We will dress our-selves with chi coola, and put bands of white táppa round our waists. We will plait thick wreaths of jiale for our heads, and prepare strings of hooni for our necks, that their whiteness may show off the colour of our skins. Mark how the uncultivated spectators are profuse of their applause! But now the dance is over: let us remain here to-night and feast and be cheerful, and to-morrow we will depart for the Mooa. How troublesome are the young men, begging for our wreaths of flowers! while they say in their flattery, 'See how charming these young girls look coming from Licoo!—how beautiful are their skins, diffusing around a fragrance like the flowering precipice of Mataloco:—Let us also visit Licoo. We will depart to-morrow.'"—An Account of the Natives of the Tonga Islands, etc., 1817, i. 307, 308. See, too, for another version, ed. 1827, vol. ii. Appendix, p. xl.]
- [Bolotoo is a visionary island to the north westward, the home of the Gods. The souls of chieftains, priests, and, possibly, the gentry, ascend to Bolotoo after death; but the souls of the lower classes "come to dust" with their bodies.—An Account, etc., 1817, ii. 104, 105.]
- [The toa, or drooping casuarina (C. equisetifolia). "Formerly the toa was regarded as sacred, and planted in groves round the 'Morais' of Tahiti."—Polynesia, by G. F. Angas, 1866, p. 44.]
- [The capital town of an island.]
- ["The preparation of gnatoo, or tappa-cloth, from the inner bark of the paper mulberry tree, occupies much of the time of the Tongan women. The bark, after being soaked in water, is beaten out by means of wooden mallets, which are grooved longitudinally.... Early in the morning," says Mariner, "when the air is calm and still, the beating of the gnatoo at all the plantations about has a very pleasing effect; some sounds being near at hand, and others almost lost by the distance, some a little more acute, others more grave, and all with remarkable regularity, produce a musical variety that is ... heightened by the singing of the birds, and the cheerful influence of the scene."—Polynesia, 1846, pp. 249, 250.]
- [Marly, or Malái, is an open grass plat set apart for public ceremonies.]
Ere Fiji's children blew the shell of war
And armed Canoes brought Fury from afar.—[MS. D. erased.]
- Too long forgotten in the pleasure ground.—[MS. D. erased.]
- [Cava, "kava," or "ava," is an intoxicating drink, prepared from the roots and stems of a kind of pepper (Piper methysticum). Mariner (An Account, etc., 1817, ii. 183-206) gives a highly interesting and suggestive account of the process of brewing the kava, and of the solemn "kava-drinking," which was attended with ceremonial rites. Briefly, a large wooden bowl, about three feet in diameter, and one foot in depth in the centre (see, for a typical specimen, King Thakombanu's kava-bowl, in the British Museum), is placed in front of the king or chief, who sits in the midst, surrounded by his guests and courtiers. A portion of kava root is handed to each person present, who chews it to a pulp, and then deposits his quid in the kava bowl. Water being gradually added, the roots are well squeezed and twisted by various "curvilinear turns" of the hands and arms through the "fow," i.e. shavings of fibrous bark. When the "kava is in the cup," quaighs made of the "unexpanded leaf of the banana" are handed round to the guests, and the symposium begins. Mariner (ibid., p. 205, note) records a striking feature of the preliminary rites, a consecration or symbolic "grace before" drinking. "When a god has no priest, as Tali-y-Toobó [the Supreme Deity of the Tongans], no person ... presides at the head of his cava circle, the place being left ... vacant, but which it is supposed the god invisibly occupies.... And they go through the usual form of words, as if the first cup was actually filled and presented to the god: thus, before any cup is filled, the man by the side of the bowl says ... 'The cava is in the cup:' the mataboole answers ... 'Give it to our god:' but this is mere form, for there is no cup filled for the god." (See, too, The Making o9f Religion, by A. Lang, 1900, p. 279.)]
- [The gnatoo, which is a piece of tappa cloth, is worn in different ways. "Twenty yards of fine cloth are required by a Tahitian woman to make one dress, which is worn from the waist downwards."—Polynesia, 1866, p. 45.]
- Licoo is the name given to the back of or unfrequented part of any island.]
How beauteous are their skins, how softly all
The forms of Beauty wrap them like a pall.—[MS. D. erased.]
- Glares with his mountain eye——.—[MS. D. erased.]
- [The Morning Chronicle, November 6, 1822, prints the following proclamation of José Maria Carreno, Commandant-General of Panama: "Inhabitants of the Isthmus! The Genius of History, which has everywhere crowned our arms, announces peace to Colombia.... From the banks of Orinoco to the towering summits of Chimborazo not a single enemy exists, and those who proudly marched towards the abode of the ancient children of the Sun have either perished or remain prisoners expecting our clemency."]
- [Compare "a wise man's sentiment," as quoted by Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun: "He believed if a man were permitted to make all the Ballads, he need not care who should make the Laws."—An Account of a Conversation, etc., 1704, p. 10.]
- Than all the records History's annals rear.—[MS. D. erased.]
- [Jean François Champollion (1790-1832), at a meeting of the Académie des inscriptions, at Paris, September 17, 1822, announced the discovery of the alphabet of hieroglyphics.]
- [So, too, Shelley, in his Preface to the Revolt of Islam, speaks of "that more essential attribute of Poetry, the power of awakening in others sensations like those which animate my own bosom."]
And she herself the daughter of the Seas
As full of gems and energy as these.—[MS. D. erased.]
- [George Stewart was born at Ronaldshay (circ. 1764), but was living at Stromness in 1780 (where his father's house, "The White House," is still shown), when, on the homeward voyage of the Resolution, Cook and Bligh were hospitably entertained by his parents. He was of honourable descent. His mother's ancestors were sprung from a half-brother of Mary Stuart's, and his father's family dated back to 1400. When he was at Timor, Bligh gave a "description of the pirates" for purposes of identification by the authorities at Calcutta and elsewhere. "George Stewart, midshipman, aged 23 years, is five feet seven inches high, good complexion, dark hair, slender made ... small face, and black eyes; tatowed on the left breast with a star," etc. Lieutenant Bligh took Stewart with him, partly in return for the "civilities" at Stromness, but also because "he was a seaman, and had always borne a good character." Alexander Smith told Captain Beachey (Narrative of a Voyage to the Pacific, 1831, Part I. p. 53) that it was Stewart who advised Christian "to take possession of the ship," but Peter Hayward, who survived to old age, strenuously maintained that this was a calumny, that Stewart was forcibly detained in his cabin, and that he would not, in any case, have taken part in the mutiny. He had, perhaps, already wooed and won a daughter of the isles, and when the Bounty revisited Tahiti, September 20, 1789, he was put ashore, and took up his quarters in her father's house. There he remained till March, 1791, when he "voluntarily surrendered himself" to the captain of the Pandora, and was immediately put in irons. The story of his parting from his bride is told in A Missionary Voyage to the Southern Pacific Ocean in the Ship Duff (by W. Wilson), 1799, p. 360: "The history of Peggy Stewart marks a tenderness of heart that never will be heard without emotion.... They had lived with the old chief in the most tender state of endearment; a beautiful little girl had been the fruit of their union, and was at the breast when the Pandora arrived.... Frantic with grief, the unhappy Peggy ... flew with her infant in a canoe to the arms of her husband. She was separated from him by violence, and conveyed on shore in a state of despair and grief too big for utterance ... she sank into the deepest dejection, pined under a rapid decay ... and fell a victim to her feelings, dying literally of a broken heart." Stewart was drowned or killed by an accident during the wreck of the Pandora, August 29, 1791. Sunt lacrymæ rerum! It is a mournful tale.]
- The "ship of the desert" is the Oriental figure for the camel or dromedary; and they deserve the metaphor well,—the former for his endurance, the latter for his swiftness. [Compare The Deformed Transfrmed, Part I. sc. 1, line 117.]
- [Compare The Age of Bronze lines 271-279.]
"Lucullus, when frugality could charm,
Had roasted turnips in the Sabine farm."
Pope [Moral Essays, i. 218, 219.]
- The consul Nero, who made the unequalled march which deceived Hannibal, and defeated Asdrubal; thereby accomplishing an achievement almost unrivalled in military annals. The first intelligence of his return, to Hannibal, was the sight of Asdrubal's head thrown into his camp. When Hannibal saw this, he exclaimed with a sigh, that "Rome would now be the mistress of the world." And yet to this victory of Nero's it might be owing that his imperial namesake reigned at all. But the infamy of one has eclipsed the glory of the other. When the name of "Nero" is heard, who thinks of the consul?—But such are human things! [For Hannibal's cry of despair, "Agnoscere se fortunam Carthaginis!" see Livy, lib. xxvii. cap. li. s.f.]
- Tyrant or hero—patriot or a chief.—[MS. erased.]
- [Compare Childe Harold, Canto II. stanza v. line 1, see Poetical Works, 1899, ii. 102, and 99, note 1.]
- [Toobo Neuha is the name of a Tongan chieftain. See Mariner's Account, etc., 1817, 141, sq.]
- When very young, about eight years of age, after an attack of the scarlet fever at Aberdeen, I was removed by medical advice into the Highlands. Here I passed occasionally some summers, and from this period I date my love of mountainous countries. I can never forget the effect, a few years afterwards, in England, of the only thing I had long seen, even in miniature, of a mountain, in the Malvern Hills. After I returned to Cheltenham, I used to watch them every afternoon, at sunset, with a sensation which I cannot describe. This was boyish enough: but I was then only thirteen years of age, and it was in the holidays. [Byron spent his summer holidays, 1796-98, at the farmhouse of Ballatrich, on Deeside. (See Poetical Works, 1898, i. 192, note 2. For his visit to Cheltenham, in the summer of 1801, see Life, pp. 8, 19.)]
- [For the eagle's beak, see Childe Harold, Canto III. stanza xviii. line 6, Poetical Works, 1899, ii. 226, note 1.]
- [Compare Macbeth, act ii. sc. 4, line 13.]
"The never-merry clock."
Werner, act iii. sc. 3, line 3.]
- Which knolls the knell of moments out of man.—[MS. D. erased.]
- The now well-known story of the loves of the nightingale and rose need not be more than alluded to, being sufficiently familiar to the Western as to the Eastern reader. [Compare Werner, act iv. sc. 1, lines 380-382; and The Giaour, lines 21, 33.]
- Which kindled by another's——.—[MS. D.]
- [Compare Childe Harold, Canto III. stanzas lxxii., lxxv. Once again the language and the sentiment recall Wordsworth's Tintern Abbey. (See Poetical Works, 1899, ii. 261, note 2.)]
- If the reader will apply to his ear the sea-shell on his chimney-piece, he will be aware of what is alluded to. If the text should appear obscure, he will find in Gebir the same idea better expressed in two lines. The poem I never read, but have heard the lines quoted, by a more recondite reader—who seems to be of a different opinion from the editor of the Quarterly Review, who qualified it in his answer to the Critical Reviewer of his Juvenal, as trash of the worst and most insane description. It is to Mr. Landor, the author of Gebir, so qualified, and of some Latin poems, which vie with Martial or Catullus in obscenity, that the immaculate Mr. Southey addresses his declamation against impurity!
[These are the lines in Gebir to which Byron alludes—
"But I have sinuous shells of pearly hue.
Shake one and it awakens; then apply
Its polisht lips to your attentive ear,
And it remembers its august abodes,
And murmurs as the ocean murmurs there."
Compare, too, The Excursion, bk. iv.—
"I have seen
A curious child, who dwelt upon a tract
Of inland ground, applying to his ear
The convolutions of a smooth-lipped shell,
To which, in silence hushed, his very soul
Listened intently," etc.
Landor, in his Satire upon Satirists, 1836, p. 29, commenting on Wordsworth's alleged remark that he "would not give five shillings for all the poetry that Southey had written" (see Letters, 1900, iv. Appendix IX. pp. 483, 484), calls attention to this unacknowledged borrowing. "It would have been honester," he says, "and more decorous if the writer of the following verses had mentioned from what bar he drew his wire." According to H. C. Robinson (Diary, 1869, iii. 114), Wordsworth acknowledged no obligation to Landor's Gebir for the image of the sea-shell. "From his childhood the shell was familiar to him, etc. The 'Satire' seemed to give Wordsworth little annoyance."]
- In his Preface to Cantos I., II. of Childe Harold (Poetical Works, 1899, ii. 5), Byron relies on the authority of "Ariosto, Thomson, and Beattie" for the inclusion of droll or satirical "variations" in a serious poem. Nevertheless, Dallas prevailed on him to omit certain "ludicrous stanzas." It is to be regretted that no one suggested the of sections xix.-xxi. from the second canto of The Island.]
- Hobbes, the father of Locke's and other philosophy, was an inveterate smoker,—even to pipes beyond computation.
["Soon after dinner he [Hobbes] retired to his study, and had his candle, with ten or twelve pipes of tobacco laid by him; then, shutting his door, he fell to smoking, and thinking, and writing for several hours."—Memoirs of the Family of Cavendish, by White Kennet, D.D., 1708, pp. 14, 15.]
- Yet they who love thee best prefer by far.—[MS. D. erased.]
- ["I shall now smoke two cigars, and get me to bed.... The Havannah are the best;—but neither are so pleasant as a hooka or chiboque."—Journal, December 6, 1813, Letters, 1898, ii. 368.]
- This rough but jovial ceremony, used in crossing the line, has been so often and so well described, that it need not be more than alluded to.
- "That will do for the marines, bat the sailors won't believe it," is an old saying: and one of the few fragments of former jealousies which still survive (in jest only) between these gallant services.
- Archidamus, King of Sparta, and son of Agesilaus, when he saw a machine invented for the casting of stones and darts, exclaimed that it was the "grave of valour." The same story has been told of some knights on the first application of gunpowder; but the original anecdote is in Plutarch. [The Greek is "Ἀπόλωλεν, ἀνδρὸς ἀρετά." Plutarch's Scripta Moralia, 1839, i. 230.]
- To people in a small embarrassment.—[MS. D. erased.]
- I. [Fletcher Christian, born 1763, was the fourth son of Charles Christian, an attorney, of Moreland Close, in the parish of Brigham, Cumberland. His family, which was of Manx extraction, was connected with the Christians of Ewanrigg, and the Curwens of Workington Hall. His brother Edward became Chief Justice of Ely, and was well known as the editor of Blackstone's Commentaries. For purposes of verification (see An Answer to certain Assertions, etc., 1794, p. 9), Bligh described him as "aged 24 years, five feet nine inches high, blackish or very dark brown complexioned, dark brown hair, strong made, star tatowed on the left breast," etc. According to " Morrison's Journal," high words had passed between Bligh and Christian on more than one occasion, and, on the day before the mutiny, a question having arisen with regard to the disappearance of some cocoa-nuts, Christian was cross-examined by the captain as to his share of the plunder. "I really do not know, sir," he replied; "but I hope you do not think me so mean as to be guilty of stealing yours." "Yes," said Bligh, "you——hound, I do think so, or you could have given a better account of them." It was after this offensive accusation that Christian determined, in the first instance, to quit the ship, and on the morning of April 28, 1788, finding the mate of the watch asleep, on the spur of the moment resolved to lay violent hands on the captain, and assume the command of the Bounty. The language attributed to Bligh reads like a translation into the vernacular, but if Christian kept his designs to himself, it is strange that they were immediately understood and acted upon by a body of impomptu conspirators. Testimony, whether written or spoken, with regard to the succession of events "in moments like to these," is worth very little; but it is pretty evident that Christian was a gentleman, and that Bligh's violent and unmannerly ratings were the immediate cause of the mutiny.
Contradictory accounts are given of Christian's death. It is generally believed that in the fourth year of the settlement on Pitcairn Island the Tahitians formed a plot to massacre the Englishmen, and that Christian was shot when at work in his plantation (The Mutineers, etc., by Lady Belcher, 1870, p. 163; The Mutiny, etc., by Rosalind A. Young, 1894, p. 28). On the other hand, Amasa Delano, in his Narrative of Voyages, etc. (Boston, 1817, cap. v. p. 140), asserts that Captain Mayhew Folger, who was the first to visit the island in 1808, "was very explicit in his inquiry at the time, as well as in his account of it to me, that they lived under Christian's government several years after they landed; that during the whole time they enjoyed tolerable harmony; that Christian became sick, and died a natural death." It stands to reason that the ex-pirate, Alexander Smith, who had developed into John Adams, the pious founder of a patriarchal colony, would be anxious to draw a veil over the early years of the settlement, and would satisfy the curiosity of visitors who were officers of the Royal Navy, as best he could, and as the spirit moved him.]
- The ruined remnant of the land's defeat.—[MS. D. erased.]
- [Compare The Siege of Corinth, lines 438, 439, Poetical Works, 1900. iii. 467.]
- Of this cave (which is no fiction) the original will be found in the ninth chapter of "Mariner's Account of the Tonga Islands" [1817. i. 267-279]. I have taken the poetical liberty to transplant it to Toobonai, the last island where any distinct account is left of Christian and his comrades.
[The following is the account given by Mariner: "On this island [Hoonga] there is a peculiar cavern, which was first discovered by a young chief, whilst diving after a turtle. The nature of this cavern will be better understood if we imagine a hollow rock rising sixty feet or more above the surface of the water, into the cavity of which there is no known entrance but one, and that is on the side of the rock, as low down as six feet under the water, into which it flows; and, consequently, the base of the cavern may be said to be the sea itself." Mariner seeing some young chiefs diving into the water one after another, and not rise again, he inquired of the last, ... what they were about? "'Follow me,'" said he, "'and I will take you where you have never been before....'" Mariner prepared to follow his companion, and, guided by the light reflected from his heels, entered the opening in the rock, and rose into the cavern. The light was sufficient, after remaining about five minutes, to show objects with some little distinctness; ... Nevertheless, as it was desirable to have a stronger light, Mariner dived out again, and, priming his pistol, tied plenty of gnatoo tight round it, and wrapped the whole up in a plantain-leaf: he directed an attendant to bring a torch in the same way. Thus prepared, he re-entered the cavern, unwrapped the gnatoo, fired it by the flash of the powder, and lighted the torch. "The place was now illuminated tolerably well.... It appeared (by guess) to be about forty feet wide in the main part, but it branched off, on one side, in two narrower portions. The medium height seemed also about forty feet. The roof was hung with stalactites in a very curious way, resembling, upon a cursory view, the Gothic arches and ornaments of an old church." According to one of the matabooles present, the entire family of a certain chief had, in former times, been condemned to death for conspiring against a rival tyrant—the chief to be taken out to sea and drowned, the rest of the family to be massacred. One of the chief's daughters was a beautiful girl, to whom the youth who discovered the cave was attached. "He had long been enamoured of this young maiden, but had never dared to make her acquainted with the soft emotions of his heart, knowing that she was betrothed to a chief of higher rank and greater power, but now, ... no time was to be lost; he flew to her abode ... declared himself her deliverer if she would trust to his honour.... Soon her consenting hand was clasped in his: the shades of evening favoured their escape ... till her lover had brought a small canoe to a lonely part of the beach. In this they speedily embarked.... They soon arrived at the rock, he leaped into the water, and she, instructed by him, followed close after; they rose into the cavern, and rested from their fatigue, partaking of some refreshments which he had brought there for himself...." Here she remained, visited from time to time by her more fortunate Leander, until he was enabled to carry her off to the Fiji islands, where they dwelt till the death of the tyrant, when they returned to Vavaoo, "and lived long in peace and happiness."]
- This may seem too minute for the general outline (in Mariner's Account) from which it is taken. But few men have travelled without seeing something of the kind—on land, that is. Without adverting to Ellora, in Mungo Park's last journal, he mentions having met with a rock or mountain so exactly resembling a Gothic cathedral, that only minute inspection could convince him that it was a work of nature.
[Ellora, a village in the Nizám's dominions, is thirteen miles northwest of Aurangábád. "It is famous for its rock-caves and temples. The chief building, called the kailás, ... is a great monolithic temple, isolated from surrounding rock, and carved outside as well as in.... It is said to have been built about the eighth century by Rájá Edu of Ellichpur."—Hunter's Imperial Gazetteer of India, 1885, iv. 348-351. The passage in Mungo Park's Journal of a Mission to the Interior of Africa, 1815, p. 75, runs thus: "June 24th .—Left Sullo, and travelled through a country beautiful beyond imagination, with all the possible diversities of rock, sometimes towering up like ruined castles, spires, pyramids, etc. We passed one place so like a ruined Gothic abbey, that we halted a little, before we could satisfy ourselves that the niches, windows, etc., were all natural rock."]
- [Byron's quadrisyllable was, probably, a poetic licence. There is, however, an obsolete plural, stalactitæ, to be found in the works of John Woodward, M.D., Fossils of England, 1729, i. 155.]
- Where Love and Torquil might be safe from men.—[MS. D. erased.]
- The reader will recollect the epigram of the Greek anthology, or its translation into most of the modern languages—
"Whoe'er thou art, thy master see—
He was, or is, or is to be."
[Byron is quoting from memory an "Illustration" in the notes to Collections from the Greek Anthology, by the Rev. Robert Bland, 1813, p. 402—
"Whoe'er thou art, thy Lord and master see.
Thou wast my Slave, thou art, or thou shalt be."
The couplet was written by George Granville, Lord Lansdowne (1667-1735), as an Inscription for a Figure representing the God of Love. (See The Genuine Works, etc., 1732, l. 129.)]
- The tradition is attached to the story of Eloïsa, that when her body was lowered into the grave of Abelard (who had been buried twenty years), he opened his arms to receive her.
[The story is told by Bayle, who quotes from a manuscript chronicle of Tours, preserved in the notes of Andreas Quercetanus, affixed to the Historia Calamitatum Abælardi: "Eadem defuncta ad tumulum apertum deportata, maritus ejus qui multis diebus ante eam defunctus fuerat, elevatis brachiis eam recepit, et ita eam amplexatus brachia sua strinxit."—See Petri Abelardi Opera, Paris, 1616, ii. 1195.]
- Too late it might be still at least to die.—[MS. D. erased.]
- The crag as droop a bird without her young.—[MS. D. erased.]
- In Thibault's account of Frederick the Second of Prussia, there is a singular relation of a young Frenchman, who with his mistress appeared to be of some rank. He enlisted and deserted at Schweidnitz; and after a desperate resistance was retaken, having killed an officer, who attempted to seize him after he was wounded, by the discharge of his musket loaded with a button of his uniform. Some circumstances on his court-martial raised a great interest amongst his judges, who wished to discover his real situation in life, which he offered to disclose, but to the king only, to whom he requested permission to write. This was refused, and Frederic was filled with the greatest indignation, from baffled curiosity or some other motive, when he understood that his request had been denied. [Mes Souvenirs de vingt ans de séjour à Berlin, ou Frédéric Le Grand, etc., Paris, 1804, iv. 145-150.]
- He tore a silver vest——.—[MS. D. erased.]
- Their hollow shrine——.—[MS. D. erased.]
As only a yet infant——.—[MS. D.]
As only an infantine World——.
As only a yet unweaned World——.—[Alternative readings. MS. D.]