The Emigrant to His Wife by Henry Parkes

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I remember days all glowing, love,
   With sunshine and delight,  
When the tide of life was flowing, love,
   With many a sail in sight.
I remember evermore, love,   
   That long-ago of ours,      
When the sands along the shore, love,  
   Were strewed with shells and flowers.

What a nest of flowers that cottage was,
   The Severn's flow beside,
Where, to see my rose, I used to pass
   At morn and eventide:
Oh ! thou little then didst dream, love,
   That other loving eyes
Than thy white-hair'd sire's did beam, love,
   On all thy reveries.

And I could have watched for ever, love,
   Methinks, in secret so,
If the spoiler's hand had never, love,
   There scattered death and woe!   
And I think I see thee yet, love,
   As 'midst thy garden flowers,
When the sun seemed loth to set, love,
   And leave thy happy bowers.

I remember, I remember, love,
   One later Autumn eve,
When the leaves of chill September, love,
   Had changed like things that grieve,
How I saw thee sit and mourn, love,
   Where sat thy sire before,
With the crape about thee worn, love,
   Which told he was no more.

And my heart found voice in sorrow, then,
  Thy comforter to be;  
And it sought no garb to borrow, then,
   For true love's sympathy.
Soon unfeeling strangers came, love,
   Who bade thee thence begone;
And thy beauty and fair name, love,
   Were left to thee alone.

Then I woo'd and won thee for my bride,
   Nor did more fondly vow,
When we left the winding Severn's side,
   To love, than I do now.
In the city's depths we dwelt, love,  
   Till half life's sands were run;
And fair children round us knelt, love,
  'Twas joy to gaze upon.

Still the memory of those early days
   Came fresh, and at all hours,  
How I used to steal unknown to gaze  
   On thee among thy flowers!
And misfortunes came at last, love,  
   Which fell like tempest rain:
But the sunlight of the past, love,
   Broke through the clouds again.

Thou didst cling to me the fonder, love,    
   Alone on ruin's brink,
When the storm had burst asunder, love,
   Poor Friendship's frailer link.
I remembered 'mid the blast, love,
   Which rushed o'erwhelming on,
Other days of light long passed, love!  
   And blest thee, faithful one!

When I rose up from affliction's bed,
   Hope beckoned o'er the sea,
And how cheerfully the word was said --
   That thou would'st go with me.
As we watched the levelling shore, love,
   From 'mid the waves' unrest,
To behold it never more, love,
   No murmur 'scaped thy breast.

I remembered, on the billow rude,
   The happy Severn's side,
By our little daughter's pillow rude,
   Even in the night she died:
As they lowered her dust unurned, love,
   Down in the restless sea,
To my brain that light returned, love,
   That blessed memory.

I remember days all glowing, love,
   With sunshine and delight;  
Now the sea is round us flowing, love,
   Nor land nor sail in sight.
I'll remember evermore, love,
   Beneath a milder sun,
All those happy days of yore, love,
   Mine own beloved one!  

First published in The Empire, 22 November 1853;
and later in
Murmurs of the Stream by Henry Parkes, 1857.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on November 22, 2011 7:39 AM.

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