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Lyr Add: Napoleon and the British Sailor

DigiTrad:
BONAPARTE
BONAPARTE'S RETREAT
BONAPARTE'S RETREAT
DONE WITH BONAPARTE
NAPOLEON BONAPARTE
THE DREAM OF NAPOLEON
THE GRAND CONVERSATION OF NAPOLEON


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katlaughing 27 Jul 99 - 03:09 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: NAPOLEON AND THE BRITISH SAILOR
From: katlaughing
Date: 27 Jul 99 - 03:09 PM

Misnamed, by me, in the saddest songs thread. This is the other poem I thought people might want to see and perhaps find a tune for it. Thanks, kat

NAPOLEON AND THE BRITISH SAILOR

I love contemplating - apart
From all his homicidal glory
The traits that soften to our heart
Napoleon's story!

"'Twas when his banners at Boulogne
Arm'd in our island every freeman,
His navy chanced to capture one
Poor British seaman.

They suffer'd him, I know not how,
Unprison'd on the shore to roam;
Ad aye was bent his longing brow
On England's home.

His eye, methinks! pursued the flight
Of birds to Britain halfway over;
With envy they could reach the white
Dear cliffs of Dover.

A stormy, midnight watch, he thought,
Than this sojourn would have been dearer
If but the storm his vessel brought
To England nearer.

At last, when care had banished sleep,
He saw one morning - dreaming - doting,
An empty hogshead from the deep
Come shoreward floating.

He hid it in a cave, and wrought
The live-long day laborious; lurking
Until he launched a tiny boat
By mighty working.

Heaven help us! 'twas such a thing beyond
Description wretched; such a wherry
Perhaps ne'er ventured on a pond,
Or crossed a ferry.

Far ploughing in the salt-sea field,
It would have made the boldest shudder;
Untarr'd, uncompass'd, and unkeel'd,
No sail, - no rudder.

From neighb'ring woods he interlaced
His sorry skiff with wattled willow;
And thus equipped he would have pass'd
The foaming billows.

But Frenchmen caught him on the beach,
His little Argo sorely jeering;
Tidings of him chanced to reach,
Napoleon's hearing.

With folded arms Napoleon stood,
Serene alike in peace and danger;
And, in his wonted attitude,
Addressed the stranger:-

"Rash man, that would'st yon Channle pass,
On twigs and staves so rudely fashion'd;
Thy heart with some sweet British lass
Must be impassion'd."

"I have no sweetheart," said the lad;
"But absent long from one another -
Great was my longing that I had
To see my mother."

"And so thou shalt," Napoleon said;
"Ye've both my favor fairly won;
A noble mother must have bred
So brave a son.

He gave the tar a piece of gold,
And, with a flag of truce commanded,
He should be shipped to England old,
And safely landed.

Our sailor oft could scantly shift
To find a dinner, plain and hearty;
But never changed the coin and gift,
of Bonaparte.
- Thomas Campbell -

Copied from my great-great aunt's book, "Home Book of Poetry" given to her for Christmas in 1882.

kat


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