The Sea-Boy by Henry Parkes

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Poor little orphan! thou dost go,
   Seeming with heart at ease --
Rejoicing even, because 'tis so --
   To trust the treacherous seas.
And then hast paced that high ship's deck,
   In foreign climes, ere now;
And forth thou goest again, to seek
   Lands 'neath th' Equator's glow.

Thou'st seen that good ship's prow divide
   Old Ganges' sacred stream;   
By island shores hast watched her glide,
   Where conch and coral gleam:
Calcutta's streets of palaces
   Thou'st wandered through, alone;
And 'neath Sumatra's spice-fraught trees
   Dreamt of the dear hearts gone.

From summer isles afar thou'st brought
   Bright shells and fine wrought toys;
Not deeming then such things were nought,
   With none to share thy joys.
And oft with happy thoughts of home
   Thy little heart would burn --
Thou hadst forgot no friend would come
   To welcome thy return.

Alas, poor boy! a bitter fate,
   In childlhood's bloom, is thine:
Though wealth and honour elevate
   Thy fortunes, thou'lt repine.
For culture ne'er illumed thy mind,
   Life's sweets with thee were brief:
Thou ow'st to stranger's even each kind
   Word whispered 'mid thy grief.  

First published in The Australasian Chronicle, 20 March 1841;
and later in
Stolen Moments: A Short Series of Poems by Henry Parkes, 1842.

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

See also.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on March 20, 2012 7:17 AM.

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