1806 8

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A Ballad

John Mayne [1]
The Morning Chronicle (October 28, 1806)

The troops were all embark'd on board;
    The ships were under weigh;
And loving wives, and maids ador'd,
    Were weeping round the Bay.

They parted from their dearest friends,
    From all their heart desires;
And ROSABELL to HEAV'N commends
    The Man her soul admires!

For him she fled from soft repose;
    Renounc'd a Parent's care;
He sails to crush his Country's foes—
    She wanders in despair!

A Seraph, in an Infant's frame,
    Reclin'd upon her arm;
And sorrow, in the comely Dame,
    Now heighten'd every charm:

She thought, if Fortune had but smil'd—
    She thought upon her Dear;
But when she look'd upon his child,
    O! then ran many a tear!

"Ah! who will watch thee as thou sleep'st?
    "Who'll sing a lullaby,
"Or rock thy cradle, when thou weep'st,
    "If I shou'd chance to die!"

On board the ship, resign'd to Fate,
    Yet planning joys to come,
Her love, in silent sorrow sate,
    Upon a broken drum:

He saw her, lonely, on the beach;
    He saw her on the strand;
And, far as human eye can reach,
    He saw her wave her hand!

"O, ROSABELL! tho' forc'd to go,
    "With thee my soul shall dwell;
"And HEAV'N, who pities human woe,
    "Will comfort ROSABELL!"

August, 1806.


1. A Scottish poet, Mayne began his career as a printer in the office of the Dumfries Journal. He went to London in 1787 where he became proprietor and joint editor of TheStar. His long poem, Siller Gun, expanded over a period 1777-1836, was considered by Walter Scott to be superior to anything of Ferguson and close to Burns (Lady of the Lake, v. 20.).

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