Verse > Anthologies > > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse
Arthur Quiller-Couch, comp.  The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse.  1922.
A Maori Girl’s Song
By Alfred Domett (1811–1887)
ALAS, and well-a-day! they are talking of me still:
By the tingling of my nostril, I fear they are talking ill:
Poor hapless I—poor little I! So many mouths to fill—
  And all for this strange feeling—O, this sad, sweet pain!
O senseless heart—O simple! to yearn so and to pine        5
For one so far above me, confess’d o’er all to shine;
For one a hundred dote upon, who never can be mine—
  O, ’tis a foolish feeling, all this fond sweet pain!
When I was quite a child, not many moons ago—
A happy little maiden—O then it was not so;        10
Like a sunny-dancing wavelet then I sparkled to and fro,
  And I never had this feeling—O, this sad, sweet pain!
I think it must be owing to the idle life I lead
In the dreamy house for ever that this new bosom-weed
Has sprouted up and spread its shoots till it troubles me indeed        15
  With a restless, weary feeling—such a sad, sweet pain!
So in the pleasant islet, O, no longer will I stay,
And the shadowy summer dwelling I will leave this very day;
On Arapa I’ll launch my skiff, and soon be borne away
  From all that feeds this feeling—O, this fond sweet pain!        20
I’ll go and see dear Rima. She’ll welcome me, I know,
And a flaxen cloak, her gayest, o’er my weary shoulders throw,
With purfle red and points so free—O, quite a lovely show
  To charm away this feeling—O, this sad, sweet pain!
Two feathers I will borrow, and so gracefully I’ll wear—        25
Two feathers soft and snowy for my long, black, lustrous hair:
Of the albatross’s down they’ll be—O, how charming they’ll look there,
  All to chase away this feeling—O, this fond, sweet pain!
Then the lads will flock around me with flattering talk all day;
And, with anxious little pinches, sly hints of love convey;        30
And I shall blush with happy pride to hear them, I dare say,
  And quite forget this feeling—O, this sad, sweet pain!

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