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

West Indies: Cuba, the Island

Farewell to Cuba

By Maria Brooks (1795?–1845)

ADIEU, fair isle! I love thy bowers,

I love thy dark-eyed daughters there,

The cool pomegranate’s scarlet flowers

Look brighter in their jetty hair.

They praised my forehead’s stainless white!

And when I thirsted, gave a draught

From the full clustering cocoa’s height,

And smiling, blessed me as I quaffed.

Well pleased, the kind return I gave,

And clasped in their embraces’ twine,

Felt the soft breeze, like Lethe’s wave,

Becalm this beating heart of mine.

Why will my heart so wildly beat?

Say, seraphs, is my lot too blest,

That thus a fitful, feverish heat

Must rifle me of health and rest?

Alas! I fear my native snows—

A clime too cold, a heart too warm—

Alternate chills, alternate glows—

Too fiercely threat my flower-like form.

The orange-tree has fruit and flowers;

The grenadilla, in its bloom,

Hangs o’er its high, luxuriant bowers,

Like fringes from a Tyrian loom.

When the white coffee blossoms swell,

The fair moon full, the evening long,

I love to hear the warbling bell,

And sunburnt peasant’s wayward song.

Drive gently on, dark muleteer,

And the light seguidilla frame;

Fain would I listen still to hear

At every close thy mistress’ name.

Adieu, fair isle! the waving palm

Is pencilled on thy purest sky;

Warm sleeps the bay, the air is balm,

And, soothed to languor, scarce a sigh

Escapes for those I love so well,

For those I ’ve loved and left so long;

On me their fondest musings dwell,

To them alone my sighs belong.

On, on, my bark! blow, southern breeze,

No longer would I lingering stay;

’T were better far to die with these

Than live in pleasure far away.