1806 1

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Written on a Swallow . . .

“I. H. G.” [1]
The Morning Chronicle (January 30, 1806)

Written on a Swallow, that took Refuge in the Ward
Room of His Majesty's Ship Captain, Off Brest,
November 10, 1805.

    Say, hapless Bird! what distant shore
Thy wand'ring wings would fain explore?
Or why fair Albion's peaceful Isle,
Where every blessing deigns to smile,
Can hold no lure to tempt your stay,
And bask in Sol's resplendent ray?

    Thy walls of mud, on yonder dome,
Where peaceful smiled the SWALLOW'S home,
No notes of cheering joy rehearse—
No Childrens' sweet responsive verse;
Alas! they wail the Parent fled,
And wait, forlorn, their daily bread.

    Perhaps some Bird, with rude essay,
Has forced thee from thy home away,
Some vile Intruder, who ne'er knew
The joys that kindred love pursue
Too indolent to build his nest,
Usurps thy downy bed of rest.

    Like NOAH'S Dove, in ancient Ark,
You live within a hallowed bark,
For sacred are BRITANNIA'S walls,
That guard her shores from daring Gauls,
And here thy wandring feet may stay,
And hop secure the live long day.

    Perhaps a Bird portending bliss,
Omen of FAME! you enter this—
Arrested by keen Hunger's rage,
Here seek thy mis'ries t'assuage.
Whene'er you please, unharmed, retreat,
For you're no Prisoner in the Fleet!


1. The poem is signed: "I. H. G. Assistant Surgeon H.M.S. Captain."

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