Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
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Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
 
South Sea Missionaries
By William Croswell
 
WITH pleasure not unmix’d with pain,
  They find their passage o’er,
As with the Sabbath’s dawn they gain
  That islet’s rocky shore.
Behind them is the sweltry main,        5
  The torrid land before.
 
No sound was in the silence heard
  To break the air of balm,
Save when the screaming tropic bird
  Wheel’d seaward in the calm:        10
The faint and heated breeze scarce stirr’d
  The streamers of the palm.
 
The shipman in the distance sees
  Across the glowing bay,
The crowded, strawbuilt cottages,        15
  Like sunburnt ricks of hay,
Beneath the tall banana trees,
  Bask in the morning ray.
 
And as that self-devoted band
  Of christian hearts drew near,        20
No cool and bracing current fann’d
  The lifeless atmosphere;—
Why should they seek that savage land
  So desolate and drear?
 
In faith, those far-off shores they trod,        25
  This humble six or seven,
And through those huts of matted sod
  Shall spread the gospel leaven,
Till each becomes a house of God,
  A mercy gate of Heaven.        30
 
 
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