"The Shipwrecked Lascar." by Jane Taylor (1783-1824)
(A True Tale.)
Then gathered the tempest, then heightened the gale:
The hearts of her bravest were ready to fail:
Night adds to the horror, and deepens the roar:–
She lies in the morning a wreck on our shore.
And Heaven in its mercy has rescued the crew;
They live and return to their country anew:
But one sickly stranger–unfriended, unknown,
Is left by his comrades to perish alone.
He thinks of his home, for no shelter has he;
His wife and his mother are over the sea:
He came from the Islands of Spices afar,
–The dark Asiatic, the gentle Lascar.
He stretches in anguish the languishing limb,
Expecting no pity, no mercy for him;
–But England has pity–and O, there was one,
Who saw his dark face, and the kindness was done.
She took him, she nursed him with tender address;
And fair was the hand that relieved his distress:
She came like the angel of mercy from far,
To minister health to the dying Lascar.
His wants and her pity could only be known
By broken expressions, and sympathy's tone:
But pity has language no words can supply,
And gratitude speaks from the eloquent eye.
He watches her coming, for all must appear
In safety and comfort, if Madame be near;
He sits in her casa, unclouded by care,
For nothing is wanting if Madame be there.
Her care is rewarded:–the sick man is well;
And now he must bid her a final farewell:
Have pity, ye sailors, ye sons of the brave!
Oh, bear him in tenderness over the wave!
Borne on by the swell of the ocean he goes
To tell to his kindred the tale of his woes;
To tell his dark beauty, with many a tear,
Of Madame's kind casa, that sheltered him here.
And O, that the knowledge she strove to impart,
May lighten the gloom of his desolate heart!
And long as he lives will be heard from afar,
The blessings and prayers of the grateful Lascar.
Marazion, November, 1815.