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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 5.djvu/640

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[CANTO II.
THE ISLAND.

Anoint our bodies with the fragrant oil,
And plait our garlands gathered from the grave,
And wear the wreaths that sprung from out the brave.
But lo! night comes, the Mooa[1] woos us back,
The sound of mats[2] are heard along our track;30
Anon the torchlight dance shall fling its sheen
In flashing mazes o'er the Marly's[3] green;
And we too will be there; we too recall
The memory bright with many a festival,
Ere Fiji blew the shell of war, when foes
For the first time were wafted in canoes.[4]
Alas! for them the flower of manhood bleeds;
Alas! for them our fields are rank with weeds:
Forgotten is the rapture, or unknown,[5]
Of wandering with the Moon and Love alone.40
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.

Strike up the dance! the Cava bowl[6] fill high!
  1. [The capital town of an island.]
  2. ["The preparation of gnatoo, or tappa-cloth, from the inner bark of the paper mulberry tree, occupies much of the time of the Tongan women. The bark, after being soaked in water, is beaten out by means of wooden mallets, which are grooved longitudinally.... Early in the morning," says Mariner, "when the air is calm and still, the beating of the gnatoo at all the plantations about has a very pleasing effect; some sounds being near at hand, and others almost lost by the distance, some a little more acute, others more grave, and all with remarkable regularity, produce a musical variety that is ... heightened by the singing of the birds, and the cheerful influence of the scene."—Polynesia, 1846, pp. 249, 250.]
  3. [Marly, or Malái, is an open grass plat set apart for public ceremonies.]
  4. Ere Fiji's children blew the shell of war
    And armed Canoes brought Fury from afar
    .—[MS. D. erased.]

  5. Too long forgotten in the pleasure ground.—[MS. D. erased.]
  6. [Cava, "kava," or "ava," is an intoxicating drink, prepared from the roots and stems of a kind of pepper (Piper methysticum). Mariner (An Account, etc., 1817, ii. 183-206) gives a highly interesting and suggestive account of the process of brewing the kava, and of the solemn "kava-drinking," which was attended with ceremonial rites. Briefly, a large wooden bowl, about three feet in diameter, and one foot in depth in the centre (see, for a typical specimen, King Thakombanu's kava-bowl, in the British Museum), is placed in front of the king or chief, who sits in the midst, surrounded by his guests and courtiers. A