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When Bligh, in stern reproach, demanded where
Was now his grateful sense of former care ?—
Where all his hopes to see his name aspire,
And blazon Britain's thousand glories higher ?
His feverish lips thus broke their gloomy spell,
66'T is that! 't is 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 lurk'd below his fierce farewell.
The arctic sun rose broad above the wave;
The breeze now sunk, now whisper'd from his cave;
As on the Æolian harp, his fitful wings
Now swell’d, now flutter'd o'er his ocean strings.
With slow despairing oar,
the abandon'd 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 't is 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 deem'd in vain;
The sapping famine, rendering scarce a son
Known to his mother in the skeleton;
The ills that lessen'd still their little store,
And starved even hunger till he wrung no more;
The varying frowns and favours of the deep,
That now almost engulphs, then leaves to creep
With crazy oar and shatter'd 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 burst
Above their naked bones, and feels delight
In the cold drenching of the stormy night,
And from the outspread canvas gladly wrings
A drop to moisten life's all-gasping springs ;
foe escaped, to seek again
More hospitable shelter from the main ;
The ghastly spectres which were doom’d 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.
We leave thein to their fate, but not unknown
Nor unredress'd! 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,
vengeance had not taught to fear, Wide o'er the wave-away! away! away! Once more
shall hail the welcome bay;
Once more the happy shores without a law
Receive the outlaws whom they lately saw;
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 gather'd 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,
Bestow'd her customs, and amended theirs,
But left her vices also to their heirs.
Away with this ! behold them as they were,
Do good with nature, or with nature err.
“ Huzza! for Otaheite!
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 plough'd the Euxine's virgin foam ;
But those she wafted still look'd back to home-
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.
* The now celebrated bread-fruit, to transplant which Captain Bligh's expedition was undertaken.
How pleasant were the songs of Toobonai,
When summer's sun went own 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 must bloom where rests the warrior's head;
And we will sit in twilight's face, and see
The sweet moon dancing through the tooa tree,
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,
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 smoothes his ruffled mane beneath the moon.
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 gather'd 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 is heard along our track ;
Anon the torch-light dance shall fling its sheen
In flashing mazes o'er the Marly's green;
And we too will be there; we too recal
The memory bright with many a festival,
*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 re. tained as much as possible of the original.'
Ere Fiji blew the shell of war, when foes
For the first time were wafted in canoes.
Alas! for them the flower of mankind bleeds ;
Alas! for them our fields are rank with weeds ;
Forgotten is the rapture, or unknown,
Of wandering with the moon and love alone.
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.
the dance, the cava bowl fill high, Drain every drop!-to-morrow we may die. In summer garments be our limbs array'd; Around our waist the Tappa's white display'd; Thick wreaths shall form our coronals, like spring's, And round our necks shall glance the Hooni strings ; 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
How lovely are your forms! how every sense
Bows to your beauties, softened, but intense,
Like to the flowers on Mataloco's steep,
Which fling their fragrance far athwart the deep;
We too will see Licoo; but oh!
heartWhat 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 civilization, mix'd
With all the savage which man's fall hath fix'd.
Who hath not seen dissimulation's reign,
of Abel link'd 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 conveys
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-cherish'd 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,
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 conquer'd ; such, wherever rise
Lands which no foes destroy or civilize,
Exist : and what can our accomplish'd art
Of verse do more than reach the awaken'd 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
All gently to refresh the thirsty cave,
Where sate 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
With such devotion to their ecstacy,
That life knows no such rapture as to die :
And die they do; for earthly life has nought
Match'd with that burst of nature, even in thought;
And all our dreams of better life above
But close in one eternal gush of love.