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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 5.djvu/631

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CANTO I.
591
THE ISLAND.

They would not dip their souls at once in blood,
But left thee to the mercies of the flood.[1]80


V.

"Hoist out the boat!" 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 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.[2]


VI.

And now the self-elected Chief finds time

To stun the first sensation of his crime,
  1. ["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.]
  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.]