Saturday, March 14, 2009

333. Mary Bryant

This is a true story.


Bryant is my husband's name, not mine;
I've nothing very startling in my line.
But, through him, I am able
To lay claim to a fable,
A legend, really, that is rather fine.

Bryant's a name from Britain, in the West,
Devon, Cornwall, Somerset, the rest.
There Mary Bryant dwelt,
And I have always felt
Admiring of her, yes, and most impressed.

The relationship is somewhat vague I fear;
A surname's all they share; let's make that clear.
But he likes to feel related
To someone who's so feted,
For Mary is a heroine, down here.

Of course, she was a criminal of sorts,
Stealing a cloak and brought before the courts,
Her sentencing was tough,
The justice rather rough,
And the prison hulks were waiting at the ports.

Transportation was her fate; with many more
She was destined for a bleak far-distant shore
Where women were in demand,
To populate the land,
And she little guessed what hardships were in store.

The men were waiting when the ship arrived.
It's amazing that a single girl survived!
They were married-off post-haste;
There was little time to waste
With the men of female company deprived.

William was as good a man as any.
As a fisherman he earned a steady penny,
But he had to catch the fish
For the local colonel's dish
And he cheated, not one single time but many.

And so he earned the lash for his deceiving
And he told his wife the two of them were leaving!
Mary was aghast.
They must sail with wind and mast,
On a journey that was quite beyond believing.

Australia was an isolated place;
The soldiers would, quite certainly, give chase!
The country's Eastern coast
Was more desolate than most!
Thirst and hunger might be more than they could face!

But they stole a boat with others of like mind,
And they couldn't leave their family behind,
So the children boarded too!
They were a motley crew,
And the fate of all of them was sealed and signed.

They set off rowing right into the gale.
They had to win; they simply could not fail!
They must cross the Barrier Reef!
They'd be sure to come to grief!
But they never ever thought of turning tail.

Through vicissitudes uncounted they ploughed on,
Soaked and shivering at times,and woebegone.
Mary's hands bled from the rowing,
But still she kept on going,
She was steadfast even when all hope had gone.

When they pulled ashore at times their meager fare
Was the grasses or wild berries they found there.
They existed on raw fish,
Not a very tasty dish,
And be certain there was never much to spare!

Her husband perished and her children died;
The ocean stretched before her wild and wide.
Soon, almost all alone,
She was only skin and bone
And in anguish to the Heavens Mary cried.

Three thousand miles they rowed! Yes, that and more!
A distance never ever rowed before!
Timor at last was reached
And the battered boat was beached.
And Mary fell exhausted on the shore.

Her fame reached London Town, of course, in time.
And her tale was told in story, song and rhyme.
Then she lived a lengthy life,
Peaceful, devoid of strife,
And, of course, she was forgiven for her crime.

So my husband's surname isn't his alone.
Because of Mary's exploits, which have shown
That a most determined lady,
Even one who's slightly shady,
Can have a reputation all her own.

Answers to CRIME.
1 Playful  5 Pupil  8 Eva  9 Sever  10  Learn  11 Rhyme 12 Relay  14 Terse   15 Plot   17 Dress  20 Eject  
 22 Cage   23 Voice   24 Air   27 Naked  29 Litre   30 Mogul   31 Rap   32 Enemy   33 Totally
1 Poser 2 Anvil  3 Ferry   4 Levy   5 Palette   6 Prairie   7 Lenient   13  Err   16 Leg   17 Divulge   18 Epistle  
19 Scenery   21 Coe  24 Admit   25 Regal   26   Daily   28 Kept


Darlene said...

Now there was a courageous lady. Her persistence is unbelievable and I am glad that she found peace and a long life after her ordeal.

Reader Wil said...

That was a gripping story written in a powerful ballad. Who is composing the music to it?

Kat said...

Mary's a great heroine.
I loved the line
...They had to win; they simply could not fail!... so inspiring.