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And in my tongue the thirst became A something fierier far than flame.
XII. “ We ncar'd the wild wood - 't was so wide, I saw no bounds on either side ; 'T was studded with old sturdy trees, That bent not to the roughest breeze Which howls down from Siberia's waste, And strips the forest in its haste, But these were few, and far between Set thick with shrubs more young and green, Luxuriant with their annual leaves, Ere strown by those autumnal eves That nip the forest's foliage dead, Discolour'd with a lifeless red, Which stands thereon like stiffen'd gore Upon the slain when battle 's o'er, And some long winter's night hath shed Its frost o'er every tombless head, So cold and stark the raven's beak May peck unpierced each frozen cheek: 'T was a wild waste of underwood, And here and there a chestnut stood, The strong oak, and the hardy pine ;
But far apart -- and well it were, Or else a different lot were mine
The boughs gave way, and did not tear My limbs; and I found strength to bear My wounds, already scarr'd with cold My bonds forbade to loose my hold. We rustled through the leaves like wind, Left shrubs, and trees, and wolves behind; By night I heard them on the track, Their troop came hard upon our back, With their long gallop, which can tire The hound's deep hate, and hunter's fire : Where'er we few they follow'd on, Nor left us with the morning sun; Behind I saw them, scarce a rood, At day-break winding through the wood, And through the night had heard their feet Their stealing, rustling step repeat. Oh! how I wish'd for spear or sword, At least to die amidst the horde, And perish — if it must be soAt bay, destroying many a foe. When first my courser's race begun, I wish'd the goal already won; But now I doubted strength and speed. Vain doubt! his swift and savage breed Had nerved him like the mountain-roe ; Nor faster falls the blinding snow Which whelms the peasant near the door Whose threshold he shall cross no more, Bewilder'd with the dazzling blast, Than through the forest-paths he past Untired, untamed, and worse than wild ; All furious as a favour'd child Balk'd of its wish; or fiercer still A woman piqued — who has her will.
XIII. “ The wood was past; 't was more than noon, But chill the air, although in June;
I [The reviewer already quoted says, “ As the Hetman proceeds, it strikes us there is a much closer resemblance to the fiery dow of Walter Scott's chivalrous narrative, than in
Or it might be my veins ran cold-
And strove to wake; but could not make
But a confusion worse than such:
I own that I should deem it much,
XIV. “ My thoughts came back; where was I ? Cold,
And numb, and giddy : pulse by pulse
Which for a moment would convulse,
My blood reflow'd, though thick and chill ; My ear with uncouth noises rang,
My heart began once more to thrill ; My sight return'd, though dim; alas ! And thicken'd, as it were, with glass. Methought the dash of waves was nigh; There was a gleam too of the sky, Studded with stars; - it is no dream; The wild horse swins the wilder stream! The bright broad river's gushing tide Sweeps, winding onward, far and wide,
any of Lord Byron's previous pieces. Nothing can be grander than the sweep and torrent or the horse's speed, and the slow, unwearied, indexible pursuit of the wolves.")
Rose crimson, and deposed the stars,
And we are half-way, struggling o'er
My stiffen'd limbs were rebaptized.
A haven I but little prized,
XV. * With glossy skin, and dripping inane,
And reeling limbs, and reeking flank, The wild steed's sinewy nerves still strain
Up the repelling bank. We gain the top: a boundless plain Spreads through the shadow of the night,
And onward, onward, onward, seems,
Like precipices in our dreams,
Or scatter'd spot of dusky green,
But nought distinctly seen
That very cheat had cheer'd me then! Although detected, welcome still, Reminding me, through every ill,
Of the abodes of men.
A trampling troop; I see them come!
I strove to cry --my lips were dumb.
Came thickly thundering on,
He answer'd, and then fell;
His first and last career is done!
They saw me strangely bound along
His back with many a bloody thong :
Without a single speck or hair
They left me there to my despair, Link'd to the dead and stiffening wretch, Whose lifeless limbs beneath me stretch,
XVI. * Onward we went - but slack and slow;
His savage force at length o'erspent,
All feebly foaming went.
But useless all to me.
Perchance, had they been free.
But still it was in vain;
Which but prolong'd their pain:
How slow, alas ! he came !
Before the eastern flame
[“ Rose crimson, and forbad the stars
To sparkle in their radiant cars." - MS.]
Relieved from that unwonted weight,
The dying on the dead !
Would see my houseless, helpless head.
I saw his wing through twilight fit,
I could have smote, but lack'd the strength;
Together scared him off at length. I know no more — my latest dream
Is something of a lovely star
Which fix'd my dull eyes from afar,
And then subsiding back to death,
And then again a little breath,
An icy sickness curdling o'er
A sigh, and nothing more.
“ And there from morn till twilight bound,
That prudence might escape :
And welcome in no shape.
Hath nought to hope, and nought to leave ;
With nought perhaps to grieve :: The wretch still hopes his woes must end, And Death, whom he should deem his friend, Appears, to his distemper'd eyes, Arrived to rob him of his prize, The tree of his new Paradise. To-morrow would have given him all, Repaid his pangs, repair'd his fall ; To-morrow would have been the first Of days no more deplored or curst, But bright, and long, and beckoning years, Seen dazzling through the mist of tears, Guerdon of many a painful hour; To-morrow would have given him power To rule, to shine, to smite, to save – And must it dawn upon his grave ?
I closed my own again once more,
Could not as yet be o'er.
A prying, pitying glance on me
With her black eyes so wild and free:
No vision it could be,-
But fail'd- and she approach'd, and made
With lip and finger signs that said,
And gently oped the door, and spake
But those she call'd were not awake, And she went forth ; but, ere she pass'd, Another look on me she cast,
Another sign she made, to say,
And she would not delay
XVIII. “ The sun was sinking still I lay
Chain'd to the chill and stiffening steed, I thought to mingle there our clay ;
And my dim eyes of death hath necd,
No hope arose of being freed : I cast my last looks up the sky,
And there between me and the sun I saw the expecting raven fly, Who scarce would wait till both should dic,
Ere his repast begun; He flew, and perch'd, then flew once more, And each time nearer than before ;
They bore me to the nearest hut-
Thus the vain fool who strove to glut
Sent me forth to the wilderness, Bound, naked, bleeding, and alone, To pass the desert to a throne,
What mortal his own doom may guess ? —
Let none despond, let none despair !
As I shall yield when safely there. I
His length beneath the oak-tree shade,
With leafy couch already made,
His eyes the hastening slumbers steep.
The king had been an hour asleep. ?
The cloven billow flash'd from off her prow
In furrows formd by that majestic plough;
The waters with their world were all before;
The quiet night, now dappling, 'gan to wane, of the Tonga Islands." 5
Dividing darkness from the dawning main;
The dolphins, not unconscious of the day,
Swam high, as eager of the coming ray ;
And lift their shining eyelids from the deep ;
The sail resumed its lately shadow'd white,
The purpling ocean owns the coming sun,
But ere he break - a deed is to be done.
" Charles, having perceived that the day was lost, and that his only chance of safety was to retire with the utmost precipitation, suffered himself to be mounted on horseback, and with the remains of his army fled to a place called Pere. Holochaa, situated in the angle formed by the junction of the Vorskla and the Borysthenes. Here, accompanied by Mazeppa, and a few hundreds of his followers, Charles swam over the Latter great river, and proceeding over a desolate country, in danger of perishing with hunger, at length reached the Bog, bere be as kindly received by the Turkish pacha. The Russian envoy at the Sublime Porte demanded that Mazeppa should be delivered up to Peter ; but the old Hetman of the Cossacks escaped this sate by taking a disease which hastened his death." - BARROW's Prier the Great, pp. 196_-203.]
2 (It is impossible not to suspect that the Poet had some circumstances of his own personal history in his mind, when he portrayed the fair Polish Theresa, her youthful lover, and the jeaious rage of the old Count Palatinc. )
:("The Island" was written at Genoa, early in the year 1823, and published in the June following.)
* [We are taught by The Book of sacred history, that the disobedience of our first parents entailed on our globe of earth
a sinful and a suffering race. In our time there has sprung up from the most abandoned of this 'sinful family – from pírates, mutineers, and murderers - a little society, which, under the precepts of that sacred volume, is characterised by religion, morality, and innocence. The discovery of this happy people, as unexpected as it was accidental, and all that regards their condition and history, partake so much of the romantic, as to render the story not ill adapted for an epic poem. Lord Byron, indeed, has partially treated the subject; but, ty blending two incongruous stories, and leaving both of them imperfect, and by mixing up fact with tiction, has been less felicitous than usual; for, beautiful as many passages in his “ Island" are, in a region where every tree, and flower, and fountain, breathe poetry, yet, as a whole, the poem is deficient in dramatic effect. - BARROW.]
s [The hitherto scattered materials of the “ Eventful His. tory of the Mutiny and Piratical Seizure of the Bounty," with many important and most interesting additions, from the records of the Admiralty, and the family papers of Captain Heywood, R. N., have lately been collected and arranged by Sir John Barrow, in a little voluine, to which the reader of this poem is referred, and from which every young officer of the navy may derive valuable instruction.]
For ne'er can man his conscience all assuage, Unless he drain the wine of passion - rage.
His dreams were of Old England's welcome shore,
IV. In vain, not silenced by the eye of death, Thou call'st the loyal with the 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. Full in thine eyes is waved the glittering blade, Close to thy throat the pointed bayonet laid. The levell’d muskets circle round thy breast In hands as steel'd to do the deadly rest. Thou darest them to their worst, exclaiming - Fire !" But they who pitied not could yet admire ; Some lurking remnant of their former awe Restraind them longer than their broken law; They would not dip their souls at once in blood, But left thee to the inercies of the food. S
V. “ Hoist out the hoat !" was now the leader's cry; And who dare answer “ No !” to Mutiny, In the first dawning of the drunken hour, The Saturnalia of unhoped-for power ? The boat is lower'd 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 : 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. 4
III. Awake, bold Bligh! the foe is at the gate ! 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; Dragg'd 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 Jts desperate escape from duty's path, Glares round thee, in the scarce believing eyes Of those who fear the chief they sacrifice :
VI. And now the self-elected chief finds time To stun the first sensation of his crime, And raise it in his followers – “Ho! the bowl!" Lest passion should return to reason's shoal. “ Brandy for heroes !” 6 Burke could once exclaim No doubt a liquid path to epic fame;
"C" A few hours before, my situation had been peculiarly Alattering: I had a ship in the most perfect order, stored with every necessary, both for health and service; the object of the voyage was attained, and two thirds of it now completed. The reinaining part had every prospect of success." — B1.IGH.)
? [“ The women of Otaheite are handsome, mild, and cheerful in manners and conversation, possessed of grcat sensibility, and have sufficient delicacy to make them be 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 concomitant circumstances, it ought hardly to be the subject of surprise that a set of sailors, most of them void of connections, should be led away, where they had the power of fixing themselves, in the midst of plenty, in one of the finest islands in the world, where there was no necessity to labour, and where the allurements of dissipation are beyond any conception that can be formed of it." -B.)
3 [" Just before sunrise, while I was yet asleep, Mr. Chris. tian, with the master at arms, gunner's mate, and Thomas Burkitt, seaman, came into my cabin, and, seizing me, tiert my hands with a cord behind my back, threatening me with instant death, if I spoke or made the least noise. I nevertheJess called out as lond as I could, in hopes of assistance; but the otficers not of their parts were already secured by sen. tinels at their doors. At my own cabin door were three men, besides the four within: all except Christian had muskets and
bayonets; he had only a cutlass. I was dragged out of bed, and forced on deck in my shirt. On demanding the reason o! such violence, the only answer was abuse for not holding my tongue. The boatswain was then ordered to hoist out the launch, accompanied by a threat, if he did not do it instantly.to take care of himself. "The boat being hoisted out, Mr. Heç. ward and Mr. Hallet two of the midshipmen, and Mr. Samuel, the clerk, were ordered into it. I demanded the intention of giving this order, and endeavoured to persuade the people near me not to persist in such acts of violence; but it was to no etfect ; for the constant answer was, . Hold your tongue, or you are dead this moment!'" – BLIGH.]
* (* The boatswain and those seamen who were to be put into the boat were allowed to collect twine, canvass, lines, sails, cordage, an eight-and-twenty-gallon cask of water ; and Mr. Samuel got one hundred and filty pounds of bread, with a small quantity of rum and wine; also a quadrant and compass."
--B.] 5 [" The mutineers having thus forced those of the seamen whom they wished to get rid of into the boat, Christian di. rected a dram to be served to each of his crew." - B.)
6 [It appears to have been Dr. Johnson who thus fare honour to Cognac. -" He was persuadeci," sars Boswell, “ to take one glass of 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) inust drink brandy.'"- See Dusucll, vol. viii. p. A. ed. 1835)