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'Twas a hard change, an evil time was come;
We had no hope, and no relief could gain,
But soon, day after day, the noisy drum
Beat round, to sweep the streets of want and pain.
My husband's arms now only served to strain
Me and his children hungering in his view :
In such dismay my prayers and tears were vain :
To join those miserable men he flew :
And now to the sea-coast, with numbers more, we drew.
There, Jong were we neglected, and we bore
Much sorrow ere the fleet its anchor weigh’d;
Green fields before us and our native shore,
We breath'd a pestilential air that made
Ravage for which no knell was heard. We pray'd
For our departure; wish’d and wish’d-nor knew
'Mid that long sickness, and those hopes delay'd,
That happier days we never more must view:
The parting signal streamed, at last the land withdrew
But the calm summer season now was past.
On as we drove, the equinoctial Deep
Ran mountains-high before the howling blast;
And many perished in the whirlwind's sweep.
We gazed with terror on their gloomy sleep,
Untaught that soon such anguish must ensue,
Our hopes such harvest of aMiction reap,
That we the mercy of the waves should rue.
We reach'd the Western World, a poor, devoted crew.
The pains and plagues that on our heads came down,
Disease and famine, agony and fear,
In wood or wilderness, in camp or town,
It would thy brain unsettle, even to hear.
All perished-all, in one remorseless year,
Husband and Children! one by one, by sword
And ravenous plague, all perished : every tear
Dried up, despairing, desolate, on board
A British ship I waked, as from a trance restored.
Peaceful as some immeasurable plain
By the first beams of dawning light impress'd,
In the calm sunshine slept the glittering main.
The very ocean has its hour of rest.
I too was calm, though heavily distress'd !
Oh me, how quiet sky and ocean were !
My heart was healed within me, I was bless'd,
And looked, and looked along the silent air,
Until it seemed to bring a joy to my despair.
Ah! how unlike those late terrific sleeps !
And groans, that rage of racking famine spoke!
The unburied dead that lay in festering heaps !
The breathing pestilence that rose like smoke!
The shriek that from the distant battle broke !
The mine's dire earthquake, and the pallid host
Driven by the bomb's incessant thunder-stroke
To loathsome vaults, where heart-sick anguish toss'd,
Hope died, and fear itself in agony was lost!
At midnight once the storming Army came,
Yet do I see the miserable sight,
The Bayonet, the Soldier, and the Flame
That followed us and faced us in our flight;
When Rape and Murder by the ghastly light
Seized their joint prey, the Mother and the Child !
But I must leave these thoughts.--From night to night,
From day to day, the air breathed soft and mild :
And on the gliding vessel Heaven and Ocean smiled.
Some mighty gulph of separation past,
I seemed transported to another world :-
A thought resigned with pain, when from the mast
The impatient mariner the sail unfurl'd,
And, whistling, called the wind that hardly curled
The silent sea. From the sweet thoughts of home
And from all hope I was for ever hurled.
For me-farthest from earthly port to roam
Was best, could I but shun the spot where man might
And oft I thought (my fancy was so strong)
That I at last a resting-place had found;
“ Here will I dwell," said I,“ my whole life-long,
Roaming the illimitable waters round:
Here will I live :-of every friend disown'd,
Here will I roam about the ocean flood."-
To break my dream the vessel reached its bound :
And homeless near a thousand homes I stood,
And near a thousand tables pin’d, and wanted food.
By grief enfeebled was I turned adrift,
Helpless as sailor cast on desert rock;
Nor morsel to my mouth that day did lift,
Nor dared my hand at any door to knock.
I lay where, with his drowsy Mates, the Cock
From the cross timber of an out-house hung;
Dismally tolled, that night, the city clock!
At morn my sick heart hunger scarcely stung,
Nor to the beggar's language could I frame my tongue.