1827-12-14 Poem. “Song of Emigration” (Freedom’s Journal)


There was heard a song on the chiming sea,
A mingled breathing of grief and glee;
Man’s voice, unbroken by sighs, was there,
Filling with triumph the sunny air;
Of fresh green lands, and of pastures new,
It sang, while the bark through the surges flew.
But ever and anon,
A murmur of farewell
Told, by its plaintive tone,
The from woman’s lips it fell.

“Away, away, o’er the foaming man!”
-This was the free and the joyful strain-
“There are clearer skies than ours afar,
We will shape our course by a brighter star;
There are plains whose verdure no foot hath press’d,
And whose wealth is all for the first brave guest.”
“But alas! That we should go,”
Sang the farewell voices then,
“From the homesteads warm and low,
By the brook and in the glen.”

“We will rear new homes, under trees that glow
As if gems were the fruitage of every bough;
O’er our white walls we will train the vine;
And sit its shadow at day’s decline,
And watch our herds, as they range at will
Through the green savannas, all bright and still.”
“But woe for that sweet shade
Of the flowering orchard trees,,
Where first our children play’d
Midst the birds and honey-bees!”

“All, all our own shall the forest be,
As to the bound of the roe-buck free!
None shall say, “Hither, no farther pass!”
We will track each step through the wavy grass!
We will chase the elk in his speed and might,
And bring proud spoils to the hearth at night.”
“But oh! the grey church tower,
And the sound of the Sabbath bell,
And the shelter’d garden bow’r-
We have bid them all farewell!”

“We will give the names of our fearless race
To each bright river whose course we trace;
We will leave our memory with mounts and floods,
And the path of our daring in boundless woods,
And our works unto many a lake’s green shore,
Where the Indian graves lay alone before!”
“But who will teach the flowers,
Which our children loved, to dwell
In a soil that is not ours?
-Home, home, and friends, farewell.”

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