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Perhaps more mischief had been done, but for 1
Got to the spirit-room, and stood before
As if Death were more dreadful by his door
Kept still aloof the crew, who, ere they sunk,
Thought it would be becoming to die drunk. 2
"Give us more grog," they cried, " for it will be All one an hour hence." Juan answer'd, " No!
'T is true that death awaits both you and me,
Like brutes:"—and thus his dangerous post kept he,3
And even Pedrillo, his most reverend tutor,
Was for some rum a disappointed suitor.
The good old gentleman was quite aghast.
Repented all his sins, and made a last
Nothing should tempt him more (this peril past)
In cloisters of the classic Salamanca,
To follow Juan's wake, like Sancho Panca.
But now there came a flash of hope once more;
Day broke, and the wind lull'd: the masts were gone, The leak increased; shoals round her, but no shore,
The vessel swam, yet still she held her own. They tried the pumps again, and though before
Their desperate efforts seem'd all useless grown, A glimpse of sunshine set some hands to bale— The stronger pump'd, the weaker thrumm'd a sail. 4
Under the vessel's keel the sail was pass'd,
But with a leak, and not a stick of mast,
But still 'tis best to struggle to the last,
: "[ A midshipman was appointed to guard the spirit-room, to repress that unhappy desire of a devoted crew to die in a state of intoxication. The sailors, though in other respects orderly in conduce, here pressed eagerly upon him." — Loss of the Abergavenny.]
3 [" * Give us somegrog* they exclaimed,' */ will be all one an hour hence.' —11 know we must die,' replied the gallant officer, coolly, 'but let us die like men!' — armed with a bract' of pistol*, he kept his post, even while the ship was sinking." — Ibid.]
4 [" However, by great exertion of the chain-pump, we held our own. All who were not seamen by profession, had been employed in thrumming a sail." —Ibid.]
5 [ "which was passed under the ship's bottom, and
J thought had some eifect." — Ibid.]
« [" 'T Is ugly dying in the Gulf of Lyons." — MS.] 1 [" The ship laboured so much, that I could scarce hope she would swim till morning: our sufferings were very great for want of water." — Loss of the Abergavenny.]
8 [" The weather again threatened, and by noon if blew a storm. The ship laboured greatly; the water appeared in the fore and after hold. The leathers were nearly consumed, and the chains of the pumps, by constant exertion, and friction of the coils, were rendered almost useless." — Ibid.]
9 [" At length, the carpenter came up from below, and told the crew, who were working at the pumps, he could do no
And though 'tis true that man can only die once, 'T is not so pleasant in the Gulf of Lyons.6
There winds and waves had hurl'd them, and from thence, .
Without their will, they carried them away;
And never had as yet a quiet day
A jurymast or rudder, or could say
The wind, in fact, perhaps, was rather less,
To weather out much longer; the distress
For want of water, and their solid mess'
Was used—nor sail nor shore appear'd in sight,
Nought but the heavy sea, and coming night
Again the weather threaten'd,—again blew >
Water appear'd j yet, though the people knew
Until the chains and leathers were wom through Of all our pumps: — a wreck complete she roU'd,
At mercy of the waves, whose mercies arc
Like human beings during civil war.
Then came the carpenter, at last, with tears
Could do no more: he was a man In years.
And long had voyaged through many a stormy sea,
And if he wept at length 9, they were not fears
Hut he, poor fellow, had a wife and children,—
Two things for dying people quite bewildering.
The ship was evidently settling now10
Fast by the head; and, all distinction gone,
Some went to prayers again, and made a vow
more for them. Seeing their efforts useless, many of i[rs burst into tears, and wept like children." — Loss of the titergavenny.]
i" [•' I perceived the ship settling by the head." —IbH-] "[The followingextract is taken from Lord Byron'■ w cony of Erasmus's Dialogues. The delightful collow >•: titled " Naufraglum " must, as it is obvious from his lordHB? > pencil-marks, have been much in his hands:—"haer* Anglus quldam, qui promlttebat montes aureos Yirpai \Valsamgamica\ si vivus attigisset terrain: alii route mittebant ligno crucis, quod esset hi tali loco. Unura s non sine risu, qui clara voce, ne non exaudiretur,po!l*iT>'!-r Christophoro, qui est Lutrtis in summo templo, mop nr» quam statua, cereum tantum quantus esset ipse, ruec «e vociferans quantum poterat identidem inculcaret, qui fo«proxlmus assistebat fill notus, cubito Ilium tetujit,« »•> raonuit: Vide quid pollicearis: etiamsi rerum omnium rum auctioncm facias, non fueris solvendo. Turn uk, *oc* jam pressiore, ne videlicet exaudiret Christopborus: T«. I inqult, fatue I An credls me ex animu loaui? Si semei «osI tlgero terrain, non daturus sum ill! eandelam seoacasra "There was there a certain Englishman, who pro^j golden mountains to Our Lady of Walsingham, if >* te"?*J land again. Others promised many things lo the woeae the Cross, which was in such a place. I heard one. not «eout laughter, who, with a clear voice, lest he should »' heard, promised Christopher, who is at Paris, on the tea J' church,—a mountain more truly than a statue, —o r* candle as big as he wot himself. When, bawling out ai
! To pay them with; and some look'd o'er the bow;
Some lash'd them in their hammocks; some put on
Some cursed the day on which they saw the sun,
And others went on as they had begun, [hair;
Getting the boats out, being well aware
That a tight boat will live in a rough sea,
Unless with breakers close beneath her lee. *
The worst of all was, that in their condition,
Twas difficult to get out such provision
Men, even when dying, dislike inanition ; *
Two casks of biscuit, and a keg of butter,
Were all that could be thrown into the cutter.
But in the long-boat they contrived to stow
Water, a twenty-gallon cask or so;
A portion of their beef up from below,4
But scarce enough to serve them for a luncheon —
Then there was rum, eight gallons in a puncheon.
The other boats, the yawl and pinnace, had
And the long-boat's condition was but bad,
And one oar for a mast, which a young lad
And two boats could not hold, far less be stored,
To save one half the people then on board.
'Twas twilight, and the sunless day went down
as he could, the man reiterated this offer, an acquaintance that by chance stood next, known to him, touched him with hii elbow, and said — * Have a care what you promise; though you make an auction of all your goods, you 11 not be able to par.' Then ho says, with a voice now lower, to wit. lest Christopher should hear, —' Hold your tongue, you fool; do you think 1 speak from my heart? If once I touch land, 1 '11 not give him a tallow candle.' "— Clakke's Translation.]
1 ["You cannot Imagine," says Cardinal de Retx, (who narrowly escaped shipwreck in the Ciulf of Lyons) — "the horror of a great storm: you can as little imagine the ridicule of it. Everybody were at their prayers, or were confessing themselves. The private captain of the galley caused.
in the~greatest height of the danger, his embroidered coat and kit red scarf to be brought to him, saying, that a true Spaniard ought to die bearing his king's marks of distinction.
ife sat himself down in his great elbow chair, ana w ith his foot struck a poor Neapolitan In the chops, who, not being able to stand, was crawling along, crying out aloud, 'Senhor Don Fernando, por I'amor de Dios, confession.' Thecaptaln, when he struck him, said to him,' Inimigo de Dios piedes confession 11 iind on my representing to him, that his Interference was not right, he said that that old man gave offence to the whole galley. A Sicilian Obscrvantlne monk was preaching at the foot of the great mast, that St. Francis had appeared to him, and had assured him that we should not perish. I shoidd never have done, were 1 to describe all the ridiculous sights that are seen on these occasions."] * [" Some appeared perfectly resigned, went to their ham
. , and desired their messmates to lash them in; others
were for securing themselves to gratings and small rafts; but
Which, if withdrawn, would but disclose the frown
Thus to their hopeless eyes the night was shown,
And the dim desolate deep: twelve days had Fear
Been their familiar, and now Death was here.
Some trial had been making at a raft,
With little hope in such a rolling sea, A sort of thing at which one would have laugh'd, •
If any laughter at such times could be,
And have a kind of wild and horrid glee,
At half-past eight o'clock, booms, hencoops, spars,
That still could keep afloat the struggling tars,»
There was no light in heaven but a few stars,
She gave a heel, and then a lurch to port,
And, going down head foremost—sunk, In short.10
Then rose from sea to sky the wild farewell—
Then some leap'd overboard with dreadful yell,11
And the sea yawn'd around her like a hell,
And down she suck'd with her the whirling wave,
Like one who grapples with his enemy,
And strives to strangle him before he die.
And first one universal shriek there rush'd,
Of echoing thunder; and then all was hush'd,
Of billows; but at Intervals there gush'd,
A solitary shriek, the bubbling cry
Of some strong swimmer in his agony. >
the most predominant Idea was that of putting on their best ;md cleanest clothes. The bouts were got over the side." — Abergavenny.]
\f'' * m*ove k^gry, even when next perdition.**
« [" Eight bags of rice, six flasks qf wine, and a small quantity qf salted beef and pork, were put into the long-boat, as provisions for the whole." — Wreck qf the Sydney.]
I [" The yawl was stove alongside and sunk." — Centaur.]
* [One oar was erected for a main-mast, and the other bent to the breadth of the blankets for a sail." — Loss qf the Wellington Transport.]
• [" Which being withdrawn, discloses but the frown
Of one who hates us, so the night was shown," &c MS.]
8 [" As rafts had been mentioned by the carpenter, I thought it right to make the attempt. It was Impossible for any man to deceive himself with the hopes of being saved on a raft in such a sea as this." — Centaur.]
9 [" Spars, booms, hencoops, and every thing buoyant, were therefore cast loose, that the men might have some chance to save themselves." — Loss qf the Pandora.]
10 r" We had scarcely quitted the ship, when she gave a heavy lurch to port, ana then went down, headforemost." — Lady Hobart.]
II [" At this instant, one of the officers told the captain she was going down, and bidding him farewell, leapt overboard: the crew had Just time to leap overboard, which they did, uttering a most dreadful yell," —Pandora.]
,a [How accurately has Byron described the whole progress.
The boats, as stated, had got off before,
And yet their present hope was hardly more
There was slight chance of reaching any shore;
Nine in the cutter, thirty in the boat,
Were counted in them when they got afloat.
All the rest perish'd; near two hundred souls
When over Catholics the ocean rolls.
They must wait several weeks before a mass
Takes off one peck of purgatorial coals,
Because, till people know what's come to pass,
They won't lay out their money on the dead—
It costs three francs for every mass that's said.
Juan got into the long-boat, and there
Contrived to help Pedrillo to a place;
For Juan wore the magisterial face
Of eyes were crying for their owner's case:
Pedro, his valet, too, he tried to save,
Left him so drunk, he jump'd into the wave,
And so he found a wine-and-watery grave;
Because the sea ran higher every minute,
And for the boat—the crew kept crowding in it
A small old spaniel,—which had been Don Jose's, His father's, whom he loved, as ye may think,
For on such things the memory reposes
With tenderness—stood howling on the brink,
Knowing, (dogs have such intellectual nosea 1)
And Juan caught him up, and ere be stepp'd
Off threw him in, then after him he leap'd.'
He also stufTd his money where he could
About his person, and Pedrillo's too,
Not knowing what himself to say, or do,
But Juan, trusting they might still get through, And deeming there were remedies for any ill, Thus re-embark'd his tutor and his spaniel.
of a shipwreck, to the final catastrophe! — Sir John Barrow: History of the Bounty.]
1 [" The boat, being fastened to the rigging, was no sooner cleared of the greatest part of the water, than a dog of mine came to me running along the gunwale. / took him in." — Shipwreck of the Betsey.]
* [" It blew a violent storm, so that between the seas the Shii was becalmed ; and when on the top of the wave, it was too much to be set, but wc could not venture to take it in, for we were in very Imminent danger and distress ; the sea curling over the stern of the boat, which obliged us to bale with all tmr might."—Illigh's Open Boat Navigation. See BarRow's Eventful History, p. 09.]
T was a rough night, and blew so stiffly yet.
Though on the wave's high top too much to set,
Each sea curl'd o'er the stem, and kept them wet.
So that themselves as well as hopes were damu'd.
And the poor little cutter quickly swamp'd.
Nine souls more went in her: the long-boat still
Two blankets stitch'd together, answering ill
Though every wave roll'd menacing to fill,
They grieved for those who perish'd with the cutter,
And also for the biscuit-casks and butter.
The sun rose red and fiery, a sure sign
Before the sea until it should grow fine,
A few tea-spoonfuls of their rum and wine
To faint, and damaged bread wet through the bags,
And most of them had little clothes but 1
They counted thirty, crowded in a space
Which left scarce room for motion or exertion;
They did their best to modify their case.
One half sate up, though numb'd with the immersion,
While t' other half were laid down in their place.
Ague in its cold fit, they flU'd their boat.
With nothing but the sky for a great coat. »
'T is very certain the desire of life
Prolongs it: this is obvious to physicians.
When patients, neither plagued with friends nor wife.
Because they still can hope, nor shines the knife
Despair of all recovery spoils longevity.
And makes men's miseries of alarming brevity.
'T is said that persons living on annuities
Are longer lived than others, — God knows why.
Unless to plague the grantors,—yet so true it U,
Of any creditors the worst a Jew it is.
And that's their mode of furnishing supply:
In my young days they lent me cash that way,
Which I found very troublesome to pay.
3 [" Before It was dark, a blanket was disenrered in the boat. This was immediately bent to one of th* stretcher*, and under ft, as a sail, wc scudded all night, in expectation at being swallowed by every wave."— Centaur.)
* [" The sun rose red and fiery, a sure indication af a term
gale of wind We could do nothing more than ran befon
the sea / served a lea-spoonful of rum to every pertm.
The bread we found was dotnaged and rotten."— Hugr-j
1 [" As our lodging was very wretched and confined fj* want of room, I endeavoured to remedy (his defect, by rAienv ourselves at watch and watch; so that one half always sst u|. while the other half lay down in the bottom of the boat. wttR nothing to cover us but the heavens." — IbiJ ]
T is thus with people In an open boat,
More than can be believed, or even thought,
And hardship still has been the sailor's lot,
She had a curious crew as well as cargo,
Like the first old Greek privateer, the Argo.
But man is a carnivorous production,
He cannot live, like woodcocks, upon suction,
Although his anatomical construction
Tour labouring people think beyond all question
Beef, veal, and mutton, better for digestion.
And thus it was with this our hapless crew;
For on the third day there came on a calm, And though at first their strength it might renew,
And lying on their weariness like balm, Luil'd them like turtles sleeping on the blue
Of ocean, when they woke they felt a qualm, And fell all ravenously on their provision, Instead of hoarding it with due precision.
The consequence was easily foreseen—
In spite of all remonstrances, and then
On what, in fact, next day were they to dine?
They hoped the wind would rise, these foolish men! And carry them to shore j these hopes were fine,
But as they had but one oar, and that brittle,
It would have been more wise to save their victual.
The fourth day came, but not a breath of air,1
The fifth day, and their boat lay floating there,
With their one oar (I wish they had had a pair)
So Juan's spaniel, spite of his entreating,
Was kill'd, and portion'd out for present eating. 2
On the sixth day they fed upon his hide,
1 [•'The fourth day came, and not a breath of air, 4c." — Buch.]
1 [" The fourth day we began to suffer exceedingly from hunger and thirst. I then seized my dog, and plunged my knife into its throat. We caught his blood in the hat, receiving in our hands and drinking what ran over; we afterwards drank in turn out of the bat, and felt ourselves refreshed." — Shipwreck oJthe Betsey.J
3 ['* Now, however, when Mr. Byron was at home with his dog, a party came to tell htm their necessities were such, that they must eat the dog, or starve. In spite of Mr. B.'s desire to preserve the faithful animal, they took him by force and killed him. Thinking he was entitled to a share, he partook of their repast. Three weeks afterwards, recollecting the spot where the dog was killed, ho went to It, and was glad to make a meal of the pawsandskm." — CoHHoooas BvaoN'i Sarrative.]
* f The fact of men, in extreme cases, destroying each other for the sake of appeasing hunger, is but too well established — and to a great extent, on the raft of the French frigate
The creature was his father's dog that died,
With some remorse received (though iirst denied)
Which he divided with Pedrillo, who
Dcvour'd it, longing for the other too.
The seventh day, and no wind — the burning sun
Blister'd and scorch'd, and, stagnant on the sea. They lay like carcasses ; and hope was none,
Save in the breeze that came not: savagely They glared upon each other — all was done,
Water, and wine, and food,—and you might see The longings of the cannibal arise (Although they spoke not) in their wolfish eyes.
At length one whisper'd his companion, who
And then into a hoarser murmur grew,
An ominous, and wild, and desperate sound;
And when his comrade's thought each sufferer knew, 'T was but his own, suppress'd till now, he found:
And out they spoke of lots for flesh and blood,
But ere they came to this, they that day shared Some leathern caps, and what rcmain'd of shoes;
And then they look'd around them, and despair'd,
At length the lots were torn upJ, and prepared,
Having no paper, for the want of better,
They took by force from Juan Julia's letter.
The lots were made, and mark'd, and mix'd, and handed,
In silent horror", and their distribution
Like the Promethean vulture, this pollution;
'T was nature gnaw'd them to this resolution, By which none were permitted to be neuter— And the lot fell on Juan's luckless tutor.
Meduse, when wrecked on the coast of Africa, and also on the rock In the Mediterranean, when the Nautilus frigate was lost Sia John Barrow,]
5 [" Being driven to distress for want of food, they soaked their shoes, and two hairy caps which were among them, in the water; which being rendered soft, each partook of them. But day after day having passed, and the cravings of hunger pressing hard upon them, they fell upon the horrible and dreadful expedient of eating each other ; and in order to Drorent any contention about who should become the food or the others, they cast lots to determine the sufferer." — Sufferings of the Crew of the Thomas.]
8 [" The lots were drawn: the captain, summoning all his strength, wrote upon slips of paper the name of each man, folded them up, put them into a hat, and shook them together. The crew, meanwhile, preserved an awful silence; each eye was fixed and each mouth open, while terror was strongly Impressed upon every countenance. The unhappy person, with manly fortitude, resigned himself to his miserable associates."—Famine in the American Ship Peggy.]
He but requested to be bled to death:
The surgeon had his Instruments, and bled 1
Pedrillo, and so gently ebb'd his breath,
You hardly could perceive when he was dead.
He died as born, a Catholic in faith,
Like most in the belief in which they 're bred,
And first a little crucifix he kiss'd,
And then held out his jugular and wrist.
The surgeon, as there was no other fee,
Had his first choice of morsels for his pains;
But being thirstiest at the moment, he
Preferr'd a draught from the fast-flowing veins :»
Part was divided, part thrown In the sea,
And such things as the entrails and the brains
Regaled two sharks, who follow'd o'er the billow —
The sailors ate the rest of poor Pedrillo.
The sailors ate him, all save three or four,
To these was added Juan, who, before
Feel now his appetite increased much more;
Even in extremity of their disaster,
Dine with them on his pastor and his master.
'T was better that he did not; for, in fact,
For they, who were most ravenous in the act.
Went raging mad ' — Lord! how they did blaspheme!
And foam, and roll, with strange convulsions rack'd,
Drinking salt-water like a mountain-stream, Tearing, and grinning, howling, screeching, swearing, And, with hysena-laughter, died despairing.
Their numbers were much thinn'd by this infliction, And all the rest were thin enough, Heaven knows;
And some of them had lost their recollection,
But others ponder'd on a new dissection,
Who had already perish'd, suffering madly,
For having used their appetites so sadly.
1 [" He requested to be Med to death, the surgeon being with them, and having his case of instruments in bis pocket when he quitted the ■hip." — Thomas.]
9 [" No sooner had the fatal instrument touched the vein, than the operator applied his parched lips, and drank the blood as it flowed, while the rest anxiously watched the victim's departing breath, that they might proceed to satisfy the hunger which preyed upon them to so frightful a degree."— Ibid.]
'3 [" Those who glutted themselves with human flesh and gnre, and whose stomachs retained the unnatural food, soon perished with raging insanity," Sec Ibid.]
* [" Another expedient we had frequent recourse to, finding it supplied our mouths with temporary moisture, was chewing any substance we could find, generally a bit of canvass, or even lead."—Juno.]
s [" On the 25th, at noon, we caught a noddy. T divided it into eighteen portions. In the evening we caught two boobies.'' — Buuh.]
6 [" Quandb ebbe detto cio, con gli occhi torti
The passage is thus powerfully rendered by Dante's last translator, Mr. Icnabod Wright —
And next they thought upon the master's mate,
Besides being much averse from such a fate.
He had been rather indisposed of late;
And that which chiefly proved his saving clause,
Was a small present made to him at Cadiz,
By general subscription of the ladies.
Of poor Pedrillo something still remain'd,
And others still their appetites constraint,
All except Juan, who throughout abstain'd,
At length they caught two boobies, and a noddy, >
And then they left off eating the dead body.
Remember TJgolino 8 condescends
The moment after he politely ends His tale: if foes be food in hell, at sea
'T Is surely fair to dine upon our friends, When shipwreck's short allowance grows too scaur/, Without being much more horrible than Dante.
And the same night there fell a shower of rain, For which their mouths gaped, like the cracks cart h
When dried to summer dust; till taught by pain, Men really know not what good water's worth;
If you had been In Turkey or in Spain,
Or with a famish'd boat's-crew had your berth,
Or in the desert heard the camel's bell,
You'd wish yourself where Truth is — in a well.
It pour'd down torrents, but they were no richer
Which served them as a sort of spongy pitcher,
They wrung it out, and though a thirsty ditcher;
As a full pot of porter, to their thinking
They ne'er till now had known the joys of driniinf.
"Then both ray bands through anguish I did bite;
Inferno, c. ixx. v. m.j '[" In the evening there came on a squall, which hr ra*' the most seasonable relief, as it was accompanied with vsrr ram; we had no means of catching it, but bv sprradioifj^ our clothes; catching the drops as they feu, or them out of our clothes." — Centaur.]