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The Emancipated Convict (1847)

Lines supposed to have been written by an Emancipated Convict in V. D. Land on the eve of his departure for England.

I'll tarry no longer in scenes of my sorrow,
Where vile chains of bondage in anguish I've borne ;
I'll fly on the crest of the billow to-morrow,
And start for my home at the dawning of morn.
All in vain would ye tempt me, false feelings of shame,
To linger from scenes of my former disgrace ;
Though with blackest dishonour they've branded my name,
With good resolutions I'll dare show my face.

I know they will shun me, and treat with contumely
The poor wretched wand'rer they formerly knew;
Bul this I will slight, nor brood o'er it gloomily,
If my children and wife to me should prove true.
And I think they'll receive me with swift tears of joy,
As one that was dead now recall'd unto life,
And the first that will meet me will be my poor boy,
Who'll lead me at once to the arms of my wife.

Then she'll tell me what oft she has written before,
That one single crime she will never resent ;
But forgiveness from Heav'n she will humbly implore,
For she knows how fervently I did repent :
And a character, too, she will help to reclaim,
To avert the keen edge of bitterest scorn :
Then my own reputation with care I'll maintain,
And thus will not rue the dark day I was born.

Yes, dear honored England ! my heart does incline
To the land of my birth, the vale of my home ;
In that calm happy valley again I'll recline,--
In confines of bondage no more I will roam,
Once more I will breathe the pure air of the mountains
Surrounding the spot that to me is so dear,
And live in the curling and glistening fountains,
Which mirror the blue sky all brilliant an clear.

Then, farewell Tasmania ! thou land of the exile,
May thy skies beam kindness o'er children of woe,
(And may laws that are good and humane reconcile),
Till like me with joy to their kindred they go,
And farewell to you, my companions in sorrow,
Though from you thus joyously I would depart :
I will not forget, on a brightening morrow,
To cherish a wish for your welfare at heart.

X. I. X.
Hobart Town, Sept. 29, 1847.


From the Hobart Newpaper the Colonial Times 5 Oct 1847 p. 4.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory