Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
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Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
 
The Wanderer of Africa
By Alonzo Lewis (1794–1861)
 
HE launch’d his boat where the dark waves flow,
Through the desert that never was white with snow
When the wind was still, and the sun shone bright,
And the stream glow’d red with the morning light.
 
He had sat in the cool of the palm’s broad shade        5
And drank of the fountain of Kafnah’s glade,
When the herb was scorch’d by the sun’s hot ray,
And the camel failed on his thirsty way.
 
And the dark maids of Sego their mats had spread,
And sung all night by the stranger’s bed;        10
And his sleep was sweet on that desert sand,
For his visions were far in his own loved land.
 
He was weary and faint in a stranger clime,
But his soul was at home as in youth’s sweet time,
And he lay in the shade, by his cot’s clear pool,        15
And the breeze which came by was refreshing and cool.
 
And the look of his mother was gentle and sweet,
And he heard the loved steps of his sister’s light feet,
And their voices were soft and expressive and low,
Like the distant rain, or the brook’s calm flow.        20
 
And this was the song which the dark maids sung,
In the beautiful strains of their own wild tongue;
“The stranger came far, and sat under our tree,
We will bring him sweet food, for no sister has he.”
 
And the stranger went forth when the night-breeze had died,        25
And launch’d his light bark on the Joliba’s tide;
And he waved his white kerchief to those dark maids,
As he silently enter’d the palmy shades.
 
And the maidens of Sego were sad and lone,
And sung their rude song, like the death spirit’s moan:        30
“The stranger has gone where the simoom will burn,
Alas! for the white man will never return!”
 
 
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