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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Oceanica: Vol. XXXI. 1876–79.

Polynesia: Pitcairn’s Island

A Song of Pitcairn’s Island

By William Cullen Bryant (1794–1878)

COME, take our boy, and we will go

Before our cabin-door;

The winds shall bring us, as they blow,

The murmurs of the shore;

And we will kiss his young blue eyes,

And I will sing him, as he lies,

Songs that were made of yore;

I ’ll sing, in his delighted ear,

The island lays thou lov’st to hear.

And thou, while stammering I repeat,

Thy country’s tongue shalt teach;

’T is not so soft, but far more sweet,

Than my own native speech:

For thou no other tongue didst know,

When, scarcely twenty moons ago,

Upon Tahete’s beach,

Thou cam’st to woo me to be thine,

With many a speaking look and sign.

I knew thy meaning,—thou didst praise

My eyes, my locks of jet;

Ah! well for me they won thy gaze,—

But thine were fairer yet!

I ’m glad to see my infant wear

Thy soft blue eyes and sunny hair,

And when my sight is met

By his white brow and blooming cheek,

I feel a joy I cannot speak.

Come talk of Europe’s maids with me,

Whose necks and cheeks, they tell,

Outshine the beauty of the sea,

White foam and crimson shell.

I ’ll shape like theirs my simple dress,

And bind like them each jetty tress,—

A sight to please thee well;

And for my dusky brow will braid

A bonnet like an English maid.

Come, for the soft low sunlight calls,

We lose the pleasant hours;

’T is lovelier than these cottage walls,

That seat among the flowers.

And I will learn of thee a prayer,

To Him, who gave a home so fair,

A lot so blessed as ours,—

The God who made, for thee and me,

This sweet lone isle amid the sea.