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The Trials Of William Bligh
DS (270552 / Australia)

The Trials Of William Bligh

Poem By David SmithWhite

William Bligh was in command
of a ship bound for Tahiti.
He ruled his men with an iron hand
and not one ounce of pity.

Captain William Bligh could only rely
on the force of a strict compliance.
For well he knew that an idle crew
might lapse into defiance.

But there was one aboard, who abhorred,
this misuse of the arbitrary lash.
With William Bligh he soon crossed swords
for they seemed meant to clash.

Fletcher Christian as First Mate
was a proud but insolent man,
and with William Bligh he would debate
the Captain's every plan.

But then the tensions were relieved
when they landed In Tahiti.
And they found themselves much less aggreived
when sporting maidens pretty.

When six months passed, the die was cast,
and the breadfruit had been collected.
Bligh made a start to depart
but his crew was disaffected.

As if the elements themelves conspired,
the weather was rough, the sea was wild.
The work was hard with little relief,
and the Captain drove his men to grief.

As the ship was borne through gale and storm
the beams reeled with violence;
but then the waters turned dead calm
amidst an eerie silence.

With their energy sapped, the crew just napped,
for the days were hot and balmy;
and the sails hung like flags among
a morose and vanquished army.

On the lower deck where the crew was crammed,
they cursed their Captain that he be damned!
Amidst the squalor and the stench of death
they murmured mutiny beneath their breath.

Fletcher Christian was aware
of the feelings of the crew.
He told them not to despair,
he would see what he could do.

To the Captain, Christian took their suit: :
that the food was bad, not fit for brutes!
To prevent the scurvy, they were resolute
he extend their ration to include breadfruit.

Captain Bligh, in anger shook,
as he listened to Christian's plea.
Opposition he would not brook,
for this was mutiny.

'Mr. Christian, you're stripped of rank;
and in your cabin, you'll be confined.
And when we dock, I'll have you charged,
unless you change my mind.'

But Fletcher Christian was a reckless man.
This insult stung his pride.
With sword in hand he'd chance his luck
to tan this cur's hide.

Willliam Bligh, William Bligh,
the Captain of the Bounty.
Willliam Bligh, William Bligh,
a loyal servant of his country.

William Bligh was an honest man,
yet his was a sorry tale.
William Bligh, doomed and damned,
to rebellion and betrayal.

To the cause of mutiny, his disgruntled men,
were nervous and divided.
But a loyal few of the fearful crew
with Captain Bligh they sided.

Though there were those who proposed
that they should cut his throat,
he maintained disdain when Christian chose
to let them flee by boat.

Through three thousand miles of perilous seas
he sailed his craft into history.
Yet nature's wiles were honest trials
compared to foul treachery.

Set adrift to die on that open boat
he prayed to his Lord and Saviour;
to steady his hand and stay afloat
and guide him to Batavia.

Sent as Governor to New South Wales
to clean out all corruption,
this overseer of the land of gaols
fermented a violent eruption.

For Sydney Cove had become
an outpost of the greedy;
where wages were paid in jugs of rum
to exploit the poor and needy.

William Bligh, in fairness, tried
at first, to be evenhanded.
But William Bligh would never know why
he was hated the moment he landed.

For John MacCarthur was a cunning man
who would wrap Bligh round his finger.
But when William Bligh would not comply
MacCarthur seethed with anger.

'This upstart Bligh would spoil our fun;
the wheels of commerce are oiled by rum.
How dare he meddle in what we've done!
His day of reckoning is yet to come.'

As Governor, Bligh had little guile,
he was as open as he was candid.
The people, he was sure, would respect the law
more if the Corps disbanded.

In the body-politic. a canker grew,
a running sore that festered;
till the power stuggle became acute
when the Governor was arrested.

William Bligh, William Bligh,
Governor of the Colony.
William Bligh was never shy
of his duty to his country.

William Bligh was an honest man,
yet his was a sorry tale.
William Bligh, doomed and damned,
to rebellion and betrayal.

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