Once a Week (magazine)/Series 1/Volume 2/The return of the Firefly


We’re into port at last, Fred, we’ve pass’d the harbour bar,
I see the vane upon the spire blaze like a fiery star.
The town’s in sight, I see the cliffs, the very torrent’s track,
And the windows at St. Arthur’s flashing all the sunlight back.

Fred, rouse your heart for this, man! just think of mother’s joy,
And of our dear blind father’s pride in you, his youngest boy.
Fancy how madcap Mary in a breath will laugh and cry,
And, more than all, how one you know will greet you by and by.

The Return of the Firefly.jpg

Nay, never look so white, man: remember when we lay
Becalm’d for five long days and nights in Trinidado’s bay.
You said ’twould bring back life and strength to heart and arm once more,
Could you but feel the wind that breath’d along our own old shore.

And now ’tis here: I smell the thyme and broom from off the down,
I see the yellow gorse that girds the hilltop like a crown.
I cannot blame your weakness, boy, my tears could almost flow,
To think of nearing all we left three weary years ago.

I’m sure they’re thinking of us now with anxious hearts at home,
I warrant me they’ve heard long since the gallant Firefly’s come;
And little Mary will have been, a hundred times to-day,
Begging a peep through Walter’s glass, and watching on the quay.

We’ll not be half an hour at home ere Katie will be there,
Blushing like any half-blown rose, as modest as she’s fair.
What! not a word or smile at that? as if I did not know
For whom you’ve bought the shawl and wreath you’ve safely stowed below.

Huzza! we’re come to anchor; I see the steamers’ smoke;
A little time, and we shall sit amid our own dear folk.
Come let me help you up, Fred, by this you’re rested well.”
But the cheery words and loving voice on heedless senses fell.

The sailor boy lay dead and cold upon the sunny deck,
A little lock of golden hair hung from his bended neck.
Twas just as well—he ne’er could know that on his Katie’s breast
Another’s child look’d up and smiled before it sank to rest.

A. M.