Open main menu

Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 5.djvu/663

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
CANTO III.]
623
THE ISLAND.

Silent, and sad, and savage,—with the trace
Of passion reeking from his clouded face;
Till lifting up again his sombre eye,
It glanced on Torquil, who leaned faintly by.
"And is it thus?" he cried, "unhappy boy!
And thee, too, thee—my madness must destroy!"
He said, and strode to where young Torquil stood,
Yet dabbled with his lately flowing blood;
Seized his hand wistfully, but did not press,
And shrunk as fearful of his own caress;150
Enquired into his state: and when he heard
The wound was slighter than he deemed or feared,
A moment's brightness passed along his brow,
As much as such a moment would allow.
"Yes," he exclaimed, "we are taken in the toil,
But not a coward or a common spoil;
Dearly they have bought us—dearly still may buy,—
And I must fall; but have you strength to fly?
'Twould be some comfort still, could you survive;
Our dwindled band is now too few to strive.160
Oh! for a sole canoe! though but a shell,
To bear you hence to where a hope may dwell!
For me, my lot is what I sought; to be,
In life or death, the fearless and the free."


VII.

Even as he spoke, around the promontory,
Which nodded o'er the billows high and hoary,
A dark speck dotted Ocean: on it flew
Like to the shadow of a roused sea-mew;
Onward it came—and, lo! a second followed—
Now seen—now hid—where Ocean's vale was hollowed;
And near, and nearer, till the dusky crew171

Presented well-known aspects to the view,

    after they landed; that during the whole time they enjoyed tolerable harmony; that Christian became sick, and died a natural death." It stands to reason that the ex-pirate, Alexander Smith, who had developed into John Adams, the pious founder of a patriarchal colony, would be anxious to draw a veil over the early years of the settlement, and would satisfy the curiosity of visitors who were officers of the Royal Navy, as best he could, and as the spirit moved him.]