Sequel to Poor Joe
The Morning Chronicle (November 7, 1811)
The topsails had caught the first beams of the morning,
The ocean was smiling, the sky was serene,
When Harwich we made, with our cargo returning
Of sick and of dying from swampy Walcheren.
(Where death of my father had lately bereft me,
And the son of my sad widow'd bosom laid low;
Where my comrade and brother for ever had left me—
The wedded of ANNA—my sister's POOR JOE!)
Alas; the still sky, and the wave softly glowing
With light's lovely dawn, and dear Harwich in view,
Sooth'd not my lorn heart, and check'd not the flowing
Of tears, my dear ANNA, that streamed for you.
For, there, in the hope of a husband embracing,
When fondly you thought the foul pest had gone by,
I saw you the brink of the main wildly pacing,—
Saw your stretch'd arms, and I mark'd your strain'd eye.
Say, how, my forlorn heart—Oh! how can I tell her—
Whose breast fond affection has chose for its throne?
How can my tongue utter what loss has befel her?
A loss that brings back all my griefs for my own.
I leap'd on the strand, with my eyes overflowing;
For mankind recoil'd from its burthen of woe,
When ANNA—her fond arms around my neck throwing—
Cry'd "Welcome!—Oh! welcome!—Where lingers POOR JOE?
"Behold yonder cottage, where, waiting to greet him,
"Sweet slumbers my WILLIAM, the pledge of his joy;
"From whose tender arms I have hurried to meet him,
"To catch one embrace ere he blesses his boy.
"And where is my father, that vet'ran in glory?
"And where your own HENRY, the gallant and brave?"
"Oh! ANNA! most mournful and dark is their story—
"By folly destroy'd, they lie low in the grave.
"And JOE—Oh! no never thine eyes shall behold him!
"My spirit with horror revolts from the scene!
"No more shall the arms of his ANNA enfold him,
"Who languish'd and dy'd on the shores of Walcheren.
"It was not the Warrior, in battle contending,
"By strength or by courage, that hasten'd their doom;
"But neglect, want, and pestilence, horribly blending,
"That dragg'd them inglorious to rest in the tomb."
I look'd—and the eye of poor ANNA was closing—
I felt—and the cheek of poor ANNA was cold.
"Yet, take me"—she said "where my child is reposing,
"That his face, 'ere I die, I may once more behold."
I obey'd. From the strand with her lifeless form bending,
By hardships enfeebled—by misery brought low—
I went—my brave comrades in silence attending,
And shedding a tear for the wrongs of "POOR JOE."
By the side of her dear one, unconscious I laid her,
The loving—the innocent victim of woe;
She, joining my hand and her orphan's together,
Said, "Oh! be a friend to the child of POOR JOE."
And struggling with death—"Oh! I feel my heart breaking,
"Far, far from this scene of my anguish I go;
"Great Power! to THY BEST, which my spirit is seeking,
"Receive me!"—then dying, she join'd her "POOR JOE."
Oh! deep was the sorrow from sympathy flowing,
That stream'd o'er the orphan we all vowed to save;
Yet—Blest is the heart where compassion is glowing,
And, dear to his God are the tears of the brave.