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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 5.djvu/645

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CANTO II.]
605
THE ISLAND.

And crush the living waters to a mass,
The amphibious desert of the dank morass!
And must their fate be hers? The eternal change
But grasps Humanity with quicker range;160
And they who fall but fall as worlds will fall,
To rise, if just, a Spirit o'er them all.


VIII.

And who is he? the blue-eyed northern child[1]
Of isles more known to man, but scarce less wild;
The fair-haired offspring of the Hebrides,

Where roars the Pentland with its whirling seas;
  1. [George Stewart was born at Ronaldshay (circ. 1764), but was living at Stromness in 1780 (where his father's house, "The White House," is still shown), when, on the homeward voyage of the Resolution, Cook and Bligh were hospitably entertained by his parents. He was of honourable descent. His mother's ancestors were sprung from a half-brother of Mary Stuart's, and his father's family dated back to 1400. When he was at Timor, Bligh gave a "description of the pirates" for purposes of identification by the authorities at Calcutta and elsewhere. "George Stewart, midshipman, aged 23 years, is five feet seven inches high, good complexion, dark hair, slender made ... small face, and black eyes; tatowed on the left breast with a star," etc. Lieutenant Bligh took Stewart with him, partly in return for the "civilities" at Stromness, but also because "he was a seaman, and had always borne a good character." Alexander Smith told Captain Beachey (Narrative of a Voyage to the Pacific, 1831, Part I. p. 53) that it was Stewart who advised Christian "to take possession of the ship," but Peter Hayward, who survived to old age, strenuously maintained that this was a calumny, that Stewart was forcibly detained in his cabin, and that he would not, in any case, have taken part in the mutiny. He had, perhaps, already wooed and won a daughter of the isles, and when the Bounty revisited Tahiti, September 20, 1789, he was put ashore, and took up his quarters in her father's house. There he remained till March, 1791, when he "voluntarily surrendered himself" to the captain of the Pandora, and was immediately put in irons. The story of his parting from his bride is told in A Missionary Voyage to the Southern Pacific Ocean in the Ship Duff (by W. Wilson), 1799, p. 360: "The history of Peggy Stewart marks a tenderness of heart that never will be heard without emotion.... They had lived with the old chief in the most tender state of endearment; a beautiful little girl had been the fruit of their union, and was at the breast when the Pandora arrived.... Frantic with grief, the unhappy Peggy ... flew with her infant in a canoe to the arms of her husband. She was separated from him by violence, and conveyed on shore in a state of despair and grief too big for utterance ... she sank into the deepest dejection, pined under a rapid decay ... and fell a victim to her feelings, dying literally of a broken heart." Stewart was drowned or killed by an accident during the wreck of the Pandora, August 29, 1791. Sunt lacrymæ rerum! It is a mournful tale.]