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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 5.djvu/641

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CANTO II.]
601
THE ISLAND.

Drain every drop!—to-morrow we may die.
In summer garments be our limbs arrayed;
Around our waists the Tappa's white displayed;
Thick wreaths shall form our coronal,[1] like Spring's,
And round our necks shall glance the Hooni strings;50
So shall their brighter hues contrast the glow
Of the dusk bosoms that beat high below.


III.

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 gay Licoo![2]
How lovely are your forms! how every sense
Bows to your beauties, softened, but intense,[3]60
Like to the flowers on Mataloco's steep,

Which fling their fragrance far athwart the deep!—

    portion of kava root is handed to each person present, who chews it to a pulp, and then deposits his quid in the kava bowl. Water being gradually added, the roots are well squeezed and twisted by various "curvilinear turns" of the hands and arms through the "fow," i.e. shavings of fibrous bark. When the "kava is in the cup," quaighs made of the "unexpanded leaf of the banana" are handed round to the guests, and the symposium begins. Mariner (ibid., p. 205, note) records a striking feature of the preliminary rites, a consecration or symbolic "grace before" drinking. "When a god has no priest, as Tali-y-Toobó [the Supreme Deity of the Tongans], no person ... presides at the head of his cava circle, the place being left ... vacant, but which it is supposed the god invisibly occupies.... And they go through the usual form of words, as if the first cup was actually filled and presented to the god: thus, before any cup is filled, the man by the side of the bowl says ... 'The cava is in the cup:' the mataboole answers ... 'Give it to our god:' but this is mere form, for there is no cup filled for the god." (See, too, The Making o9f Religion, by A. Lang, 1900, p. 279.)]

  1. [The gnatoo, which is a piece of tappa cloth, is worn in different ways. "Twenty yards of fine cloth are required by a Tahitian woman to make one dress, which is worn from the waist downwards."—Polynesia, 1866, p. 45.]
  2. Licoo is the name given to the back of or unfrequented part of any island.]
  3. How beauteous are their skins, how softly all
    The forms of Beauty wrap them like a pall
    .—[MS. D. erased.]