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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 5.djvu/632

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592
[CANTO I.
THE ISLAND.

And raise it in his followers—"Ho! the bowl!"[1]
Lest passion should return to reason's shoal.[2]100
"Brandy for heroes!"[3] 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!"[4] 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,
  1. ["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.]
  2. 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.]

  3. [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.]
  4. ["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.]