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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 5.djvu/627

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THE ISLAND.

 


 

CANTO THE FIRST.

I.

The morning watch was come; the vessel lay
Her course, and gently made her liquid way;[1]
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;[2]
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.


II.

The gallant Chief[3] within his cabin slept,

Secure in those by whom the watch was kept:
  1. ——and made before the breeze her way.—[MS. D. erased.]
  2. ——their doubtful shimmer from the deep.—[MS. D. erased.]
  3. [William Bligh, the son of Cornish parents, was born September 9,