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on Bligh's 'Narrative of the Mutiny and Seizure of the Bounty, in the South Seas, in 1789,' and on Mariner's 'Account of the Tonga Islands.' This passage occurs at the beginning of canto II.
301 : I ff. "The first three sections are taken from an actual song of the Tonga Islanders, of which a prose translation is given in - Mariner's Account of the Tonga Islands.' Toobonai is not, however, one of them; but was one of those where . . . the mutineers took refuge. I have altered and added, but have retained as much as possible of the original." [Byron's note.—This "original," in the prose translation mentioned, is as follows:
"Whilst we were talking of Vavdoo tda Licoo, the women said to us, let us repair to the back of the island to contemplate the setting sun: there let us listen to the warbling of the birds and the cooing of the wood-pigeon. We will gather flowers from the burying-place at Matdwto, and partake of refreshments prepared for us at Licoo One: we will then bathe in the sea, and rinse ourselves in the Vdoo Aca; we will anoint our skins in the sun with sweet scented oil, and will plait in wreaths the flowers gathered at Matdwto. And now as we stand motionless on the eminence over Ana Mdnoo, the whistling of the wind among the branches of the lofty toa shall fill us with a pleasing melancholy; or our minds shall be seized with astonishment as we behold the roaring surf below, endeavouring but in vain to tear away the firm rocks. Oh I how much happier shall we be thus employed, than when engaged in the troublesome and insipid affairs of life!
Now as night comes on, we must return to the Moda: But hark !— hear you not the sound of the mats?—they are practising a bo-odla* to be performed to-night on the maldi at Tanfo. Let us also go there. How will that scene of rejoicing call to our minds the many festivals held there, before Vavdoo was torn to pieces by war! Alas, how destructive is war I Behold ! how it has rendered the land productive of weeds, and opened untimely graves for departed heroes I Our chiefs can now no longer enjoy the sweet pleasures of wandering alone by moonlight in search of their mistresses. But let us banish sorrow from our hearts: since we are at war, we must think and act like the natives of Fiji, who first taught us this destructive art. Let us therefore enjoy the present time, for to-morrow perhaps, or the next day, we may die. We will dress ourselves with chi coola, and put bands of white tdppa round our waists. We will plait thick wreaths of jiale for our heads, and prepare strings of hooni for our necks, that their whiteness may show off the colour of our skins. Mark how the
* " A kind of dance performed by torch-light."
uncultivated spectators are profuse of their applause I—But now the dance is over: l*t us remain here tonight and feast and be cheerful, and tomorrow we will depart for the Mooa. How troublesome are the young men, begging for our wreaths of flowers, while they say in their flattery, 'See how charming these young girls look coming from Licoo !—how beautiful are their skins, diffusing around a fragrance like the flowery precipice of Mataloco' :—Let us also visit Licoo, We will depart to-morrow." (Mariner's Account, etc., 1827 ed., I, 244.)
In the same place is given a poetical version in eight-line stanzas (by "a literary friend "). A more strictly literal prose version also is given in vol. II, at page xl of the Appendix. Byron, however, seems to have used only the version quoted above. The author notes that "it is perhaps a curious circumstance that love and war seldom form the subjects of their poetical compositions, but mostly scenery and moral reflections."— In what sense are Byron's verses original poetry? What is the most important element in poetic originality?
301 : 10. tooa. "A superior sort of yam" (Mariner). 302: 29. Mooa. "Place where the chiefs, etc., dwell" (Mariner).
302 : 30. "Mais" are a common article of clothing in the Tonga Islands, according to Mariner.
302: 32. Marly, or Malai, "a piece of ground, generally before a large house, or chiefs grave, where public ceremonies are principally held" (Mariner).
302 : 45. Cava, the pepper-plant, from which an intoxicating drink is prepared.
302: 49. Tappa. ''A substance used for clothing, prepared from the bark of the Chinese paper mulberry tree" (Mariner).
302 : 50. Hooni. A kind of flower.
302 : 58. "Licoo is the name given to the back or unfrequented part of any island" (Mariner).
303. On This Day I Complete My Thirty-sixth Year. Byron's last poem, written in Greece a few weeks before his death.
303 : 5. Cf. 'Macbeth,' V, iii, 23:
"my way of life Is fall'n into the sear, the yellow leaf."
The following passage is from an article on Byron in Blackwood's Magazine, 1825:
"The last poem he wrote was produced upon his birthday, not many weeks before he died. We consider it as one of the finest and most touching effusions of his noble genius. . . . The deep and passionate struggles with the inferior elements of his nature (and ours) which it records—the lofty thirsting after purity—the heroic devotion of a soul half weary of life, because unable to believe in its own powers to live up to what it so intensely felt to be, and so reverentially honoured as, the right—the whole picture of this mighty spirit, often darkened, but never sunk, often erring, but never ceasing to see and to worship the beauty of virtue—the repentance of it, the anguish, the aspiration, almost stifled in despair—the whole of this is such a whole that we are sure no man can read these solemn verses too often."
INDEX OF FIRST LINES
Adieu, adieu! my native shore 7
Afric is all the sun's, and as her earth 273
And thou art dead, as young and fair 289
Ave Maria! blessed be the hour 270
'Bring forth the horse!' The horse was brought 223
Clime of the unforgotten brave! 291
Come, blue-eyed maid of heaven !—but thou, alas 25
Eternal Spirit of the chainless Mind! 155
Hail to our master !—Prince of Earth and Air 192
How pleasant were the songs of Toobonai 301
If that high world, which lies beyond 296
I had a dream, which was not all a dream 220
I stood in Venice, on the Bridge of Sighs 92
I tread on air, and sink not; yet I fear 279
Is thy face like thy mother's, my fair child! 51
Know ye the land where the cypress and myrtle 292
Maid of Athens, ere we part 288
Mont Blanc is the monarch of mountains 170
Mortal! to thy bidding bowed 170
My hair is gray, but not with years 155
Not in those climes where I have late been straying I
O'er the glad waters of the dark-blue sea 293
O snatch'daway in beauty's bloom 297
O talk not to me of a name great in story 300
O, thou! in Hellas deemed of heavenly birth 3
Our life is twofold: Sleep hath its own world 213
Roll on, thou deep and dark-blue Ocean—roll 151
She walks in beauty, like the night 296
Slow sinks, more lovely ere his race be run.,., 294
So, we'll go no more a roving 300
Tambourgi! Tambourgi! thy larum afar 42
The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold 298
The castled crag of Drachenfels 69
The isles of Greece ! the isles of Greece 263
The lamp must be replenish'd, but even then 168
The ship, call'd the most holy 'Trinidada' 238
There be none of Beauty's daughters 299
There is a pleasure in the pathless woods 151
There was a sound of revelry by night 58
Thus usually when he was ask'd to sing 262
'Tis time this heart should be unmov'd 303
When coldness wraps this suffering clay 297
When the moon is on the wave 175
When we two parted 287