Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
The Sailor’s Orphans
By Thomas Mac Kellar

Girl.  MY brother dear! I’m faint and weak;
    O, hold me with your hand;
  The sky and trees are running round;
    I can no longer stand.
Boy.  O gentle sister! lean on me!        5
    For you I’m sure I’d die;
  Rest on this bank, and let your head
    Upon my bosom lie.
Girl.  My brother dear! we’ve travell’d far—
    When will our journey end?        10
  I’m weary, hungry, sick, and sad—
    Where shall we find a friend?
Boy.  O sister, our dear mother said,
    That God a friend will be
  To those who seek him in their need—        15
    And this now comforts me.—
  O Lord! look on our hapless lot;
    Two little orphans we,
  With none to love us in the world,
    And not a friend but Thee!—        20
  Now, sister dear! the darkness comes,
    But let us trust in God;
  For he will watch us, while we sleep
    Upon this dewy sod.
Trav.  Ho! little ones! why loitering here?        25
    The night is coming fast;
  Hie quickly to your happy home,
    Before the day is past.
Boy.  We have no home; our mother lies
    Deep buried in the ground;        30
  Our father sail’d upon the seas,
    And in a storm was drown’d.
  His ship was wreck’d upon the rocks,
    When dreadful winds did blow;
  And this broke our kind mother’s heart—        35
    And laid her body low.
  Last evening, to the burial-ground
    They bore her corpse away;
  And we have come along this road,
    E’er since the break of day.        40
  Now homeless, parentless, and poor,
    We know not where to go;
  But God will not let orphans starve
    Our mother told us so.
Trav.  Sad is your lot, ye hapless babes!        45
    I will your father be;
  I’ve no one on this earth to love—
    Then come along with me!
Boy.  Sweet sister! now our prayer is heard;
    How soon our griefs have fled!        50
  O, let us praise His holy name—
    ’Tis just as mother said!
Trav.  Upon my strong and noble steed,
    Sit firm, my little ones;
  And food and shelter soon we’ll find,        55
    For like the wind he runs.
Boy.  O gentle sir! that distant house,
    That dimly comes to sight,
  Is where our tender parents lived,
    When all our hearts were light.        60
Trav.  There shall we rest, beneath His care
    Who promises to keep
  All those who put their trust in Him
    Awake, or when asleep.——
  —The sun is rising in the east;        65
    Rise, children, from your bed;
  Again partake, with gratitude,
    The bounties God hath spread.
  Then lead me to your mother’s grave,
    That spot I fain would see.        70
Boy.  ’Twas here they laid her form, beneath
    This weeping willow tree.
Trav.  Sweet, gentle woman! well beloved!
    I’ll turn aside and weep,
  While o’er my pensive mind awhile        75
    Its early memories creep.
Boy.  See! sister, see! the good man weeps!
    The tears his cheeks bedew!
  O, let us love him, for it seems
    He loved our mother too.        80
Trav.  My noble boy, and gentle girl,
    Sit near me on this mound,
  While I a simple tale shall tell,
    Upon this holy ground.
  The angry waves ran mountain high,        85
    The night was pitchy dark,
  When furious winds upon the rocks
    Dash’d your poor father’s bark.
  But when his vessel split in twain,
    Amid the surge’s roar,        90
  Upon a fragment of the wreck
    He floated to the shore.
  But soon, alas! a savage band
    Came down, like beasts of prey,
  And bore him o’er the desert’s sands        95
    To slavery away.
  For five long years he bore the task,
    The burden of a slave
  To cruel Arabs, till he sigh’d
    For refuge in the grave.        100
  The Arab bargain’d him away
    To one who wander’d wide,
  And oft across the burning sands,
    Where every rill is dried.
  He brought him to a city, where        105
    Some Christian men agreed
  To pay the ransom-price, for which
    The captive should be freed.
  Your father then sought out a ship
    In haste, to reach his home;        110
  “And never more will I,” he cried,
    “From kin and country roam.”
  The favouring winds bore on the ship
    To New York’s noble bay;
  He sprang ashore, and to his home        115
    He swiftly urged his way.
  And, as the shades of night came down,
    Two little ones he met,
  Reposing on the verdant grass,
    By dews of evening wet.        120
  His heart yearn’d o’er them, as they told
    The touching woes they knew——
B. & G.  The children we! It is! it is!—
    Dear father! it is you!

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