From a Jamaica Portfolio

by Francis Williams

Francis Williams

- 157 -

Will mourn her banners scatter'd in the air;
Lament her vanquisht troops with many a sigh,
Nor less to see her towns in ruin lie.
Fav'rite of Mars! believe, th' attempt were vain,
It is not mine to try the arduous strain.
What ! shall an Mthwy touch the martial string,
Of battles, leaders, great achievements sing?
Ah no ! Minerva, with th' indignant Nine,
Restrain him, and forbid the bold design.
To a Buchanan does the theme belong;
A theme, that well deserves Buchanan's song,
'Tis he, should swell the din of war's alarms,
Record thee great in council, as in arms;
Recite each conquest by thy valour won,
And equal thee to great Peleides' son.
That bard, his country's ornament and pride,
Who e'en with Maro might the bays divide:
Far worthier he, thy glories to rehearse,
And paint thy deeds in his immortal verse.
We live, alas ! where the bright god of day,
Full from the zenith whirls his torrid ray:
Beneath the rage of his consuming fires,
All fancy melts, all eloquence expires.
Yet may you deign accept this humble song,
Tho' wrapt in gloom, and from a falt'ring tongue;
Tho' dark the stream on which the tribute flows,
Not from the skin, but from the heart it rose.
To all of human kind, benignant heaven
(Since nought forbids) one common soul has given.
This rule was 'stablish'd by th' Eternal Mind;
Nor virtue's self, nor prudence are confin'd
To colour; none imbues the honest heart;
To science none belongs, and none to art.
Oh! Muse, of blackest tint, why shrinks thy breast.
Why fears t' approach the Coesar of the West!
Dispel thy doubts, with confidence ascend
The regal dome, and hail him for thy friend:
Nor blush, altho' in garb funereal drest,
Thy body's white, tho' clad in sable vest.
Manners unsullied, and the radiant glow
Of genius, burning with desire to know;
And learned speech, with modest accent worn,
Shall best the sooty African adorn.
An heart with wisdom fraught, a patriot flame.
A love of virtue; these shall lift his name
Conspicuous, far beyond his kindred race,
Distinguish'd from them by the foremost place.
In this prolific isle I drew my birth,
And Britain nurs'd, illustrious through the earth;

Last updated August 10, 2015